Today I did some dream writing. It was a technique I learned through Joanne when I did her Seven Day Challenge. I was super teary and tired when I started the day today. It’s been a bit of a rough road but you know – that’s life. These things happen. It’ll be fine. I knew I needed to do some writing and couldn’t think of what I needed to write. So I thought I would do some dream writing – I want to mix and match a lot of writing over the period of this January challenge (have I mentioned the January challenge is to write a thousand words every single day? Which doesn’t daunt me in the least. But I don’t want to write the same thousand words in the same boring place every day.) So today I thought – dream writing. And I did. Dream writing involves setting a timer for a set period of time (just 15 minutes today), starting with a “prompt”, and then letting your hand flow across the page for the entire time without stopping or resting or going back at all – just an unbroken stream of thoughts. I wrote the prompt “In the clinic I hope to…” and then my hand flew across the page for fifteen minutes with the following stream of consciousness.
Heal. Recover. Learn. I have every tool at my disposal already – I think I own the world’s largest eating disorder toolkit. Now I need to assemble the tools and learn the habits. That is what I don’t have and what I believe people really struggle to comprehend. In all my almost 52 years, I have never known regulated, normal, healthy eating. I have known how to eat in a healthy manner. I have had arbitrary rules placed upon me – by others and by myself – for short periods of time. I have been controlled but always felt out of control. I am so incredibly ready to let my body reset with regular feeding and to learn how to eat regularly and to stop thinking about food in between times. That is the most precious gift I seek. To stop thinking about food when I do not need, require or desire it. When instead my thoughts and emotions and energies can be invested into my family and friends, my work and words, my loves and my home and all the things that make up a life. Food is but a small part – a necessary – but small part of living. And many moons ago it became the central, almost single focus of my being. My greatest hope and dream for the stay at the clinic this month is to regulate food and lose the obsession. I also hope to refocus all those loose thoughts into healthier places (because my thought processes are wild and woolly and rampant and rapid at the best of times – they need to be kept busy!) 2018 is my year for writing. Lots of it. For writing rubbish and gems and heartfelt messages and useless self indulgent twat and every now and again finding something that touches somebody. Or me. Writing is where it’s at for me for now. And unlike music, I don’t feel precious about it. It isn’t my career. If it’s not good and nobody likes it that’s fine. I don’t feel any necessity for it to be great or perfect or amazing. I just want the words to flow and to let my insides out. Which I struggle to do with the spoken word. Which brings me back to the clinic. Emotions have strangled me over the years. And then I ate them. And then I got an eating disorder. And now I’m going to an inpatient program for eating disorders. So it would appear the root of the problem – as so often is in these situations – is malfunctioning emotions. Which terrify me in a way that is all out of proportion to most people. So that is definitely something to think about as I endlessly contemplate my navel for six weeks. So in the clinic I hope to heal. And when I leave I hope to eat. Without fear. Without guilt. Without loathing. I have eaten all my life. But never – ever – have I eaten without these accompaniments.
I don’t know if these words are useful to other people. They were useful to me.
I don’t do nearly enough dream writing. It is certainly a useful tool. It is interesting how teachers and mentors know a lot of stuff and if only we trust their knowledge to just do as they suggest, then perhaps we might learn something!
I have done the dream writing in the past and enjoyed it, but it has been a while. I know I will come back to this stream of consciousness again over the next few days, but it was really interesting to me that I broke away from the clinic for quite a while, and then briefly came back to it, before ending with the real heart of the matter – the thing that really struck me in the end. I have never, ever eaten food without the accompanying feelings of fear, guilt or loathing. Ever. I mean never, ever. I have zero recollection.
Perhaps as a child I ate food without care? I don’t know. I have no memory of such a thing. All I remember of childhood eating is being told not to eat something because it was the wrong food, or it was too much, or save it for later, or it would make me fat. Messages I absorbed and took to be true. Messages I taught myself and repeat now. All these years later.
The real question is – can I unlearn these messages in a mere six weeks? Can 52 years of messages be undone in 42 days? Can I dare to hope that is possible? Some days I think it impossible. Some days I believe anything is possible. When I wake tomorrow, I hope to believe that anything is possible.