Get Back on the Bike

Oh man. I am Struggling today. Struggling with a capital S and so incredibly tempted to give up. Give up on ever finding any type of recovery. Give up on therapy and just accept binging, purging and restricting as my normal. I am my own worst enemy. I’ve learned all the keys and steps and lifestyle changes. The insanity remains. I know all the buzzwords and metaphors:

• I am the key – others can show me the lock but it’s up to me to open the door
• Recovery is a puzzle – keep collecting the pieces and putting them together
• Instead of flailing around drowning, stand up and walk
• Fall down seven times, stand up eight
• If the building is burning, pick up the phone and call the fire brigade
• I’m the only one who can stop the motion of hand to mouth
• Sit with the feelings
• Emotions can’t kill me
• This too shall pass
• Just for today

It’s all so logical, right? I am despairing today. I have done this for so long and feel so old. And hopeless. And beyond redemption. I do the same things again and again and again and it frustrates me. Disgusts me. I am disappointed in me. And oh so tired.

I challenge my thoughts and beliefs but I don’t believe the changes. Why?! Other people have travelled this path, found it difficult, overcome the obstacles and reached the magical land of recovery. Why can’t I? Why am I so willing in theory and so unwilling in practice?

My weight is going up. The past two weeks I have not restricted – at all. I have gone from purging 10-15 times a day, to once every two or three days. Progress? It doesn’t feel like it. Instead I just binge and gain weight. And feel depressed and exhausted. I want to restrict today but I’m trying and trying and trying to do the right thing. Restricting feels good. It feels GREAT! I feel in control and powerful and successful. I shouldn’t – but I do. However restricting ALWAYS leads to binging. I’ve heard it and read it and lived it. I believe it.

So instead, today I am making a valiant effort to pick myself up, get back on my bike, and search out that recovery path. Here’s my list of reminders:

BREAKFAST: It is so easy to skip breakfast. When I do, I’m setting myself up to restrict. It’s the one meal of the day where I always make nutritious and sustainable choices. From both a physical and psychological point of view, breakfast is crucial to my recovery.

DISCOMFORT: I need to be ready, willing and able to experience discomfort. When I’m preparing to binge, wanting to binge, ready to binge – I have to find the willingness to be willing to be willing. To feel uncomfortable and unhappy. Sit with emotions. Just put the fucking food down! So simple and so hard all at once. Just put the food down. Stop. Feel uncomfortable. The habits started. They can stop.

HYDRATION: I am so frequently dehydrated. I spend a lot of time eating crap, then binging and purging. Then I restrict. Some days I eat nothing but sugar. My blood sugars are all over the shop. I forget to drink then get dehydrated. Staying well hydrated is important for so many reasons. It should be a simple task.

EXERCISE: This is so important for my mental health. Even when I’m totally sapped of energy, I go to gym because socially it’s great for me and the exercise really helps my mood. I always feel better afterwards. I want to start doing my daily walk again. Just getting out into the fresh air and spending time on my own, in my own head. Trying to be mindful…

MINDFULNESS: I keep talking about this but haven’t been doing it. I used to – but then stopped. I am deeply conscious of the importance of mindfulness and/or meditation and the incredible benefits that are proven again and again. I have a gazillion apps I can use. Just do it woman. Just do it!

READING: I’ve stopped reading. I need to start again. It doesn’t really matter what I read… As long as I do it. I should return to the 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder book. I’ve completed the first four keys but the fifth key included getting rid of my scales and I ran away as fast as I could. The idea of throwing away my scales is utterly terrifying.

WRITING: This is a really important key for me. I started journaling then blogging, and it helps. It really, really helps. It is crucial I make the time to write each day. It is more important than resting, eating, socialising or playing candy crush. Make the time to write. Every, single, day.

VIDEOS: I am a member of a closed support group on Facebook and Rana posts regular recovery videos. She does such an amazing job. I am just in awe of her. Her videos speak to me – she has understanding (as a recovering bulimic) and compassion and knowledge. I will work my way through the entire backlog of videos.

DIETICIAN: Several people suggested I see a dietician and my GP has given me the name of a lady who specialises in eating disorder clients. So far I have resisted, but I’ll make an appointment tomorrow (I’m not procrastinating… It’s a public holiday here 😊 )

PSYCHOLOGIST: I love my psychologist. She’s awesome. I trust her and feel extremely comfortable talking to her. But after nearly two years, I worry she’s sick of me. That she’s frustrated with my unwillingness to change. I worry I’m annoying and she’s run out of options in her bag of tricks. But I also know, if I stop going it is a line in the sand and I have given up entirely when that happens. All hope gone. So I will faithfully trot along to my appointment at the end of the month.

I think that’s enough for now. Today I’m utterly exhausted so will rest. I feel lazy… But I can barely put one foot in front of the other.

From my list of important things to do, so far today I have: had breakfast, been to the gym and done some writing. I have made a decision to keep seeing my psychologist and to make an appointment to see a dietician – for now. When I’ve finished writing this I will watch one of Rana’s videos while drinking a cup of tea to stay hydrated. I hope they are good recovery tools. And I really hope one day I stop feeling insane…

This too shall pass huh?!