Nourishment

Today, my therapist said she is proud of me. I feel it’s important for me to record this here because I’m holding it at arm’s length and not letting it sink in yet.

I told her about the things I wrote about in my last post that have shifted my feelings about starving myself. I realise that I am heading towards death. As I said to her, I feel I’ve turned around. I am facing away from death and towards life. I know which way I want to go.

She’s proud because of this, but also the way I have been talking about my feelings about my family. That I have been having little conversations with my family that ask a little more of them, even if I don’t expect to get it. It’s okay for them to have to deal with my expectations.

I want nourishment and care from my family. I have to face up to the devastating possibility that they may be incapable of giving me this, and that it is their failure to provide this that has made me unable to accept and receive care and love as an adult.

I can still want this from them, how could I not. Denying that it’s something I’ll always want and wish I had doesn’t help anyone. But to keep seeking it at some point becomes self destructive. How much of me starving myself has been down to me trying to show them how hurt I am, as if to stand emaciated before them and say “look at what you’ve done to me”. That is what I have done – and the reaction is NOTHING as ever. I get nothing back. They feel helpless. They cannot give what I am looking for. It is tragic.

Today, I begin trying to nourish myself. Take those tentative first steps towards the life I want to live. It is not recovery, I am not recovering anything I have ever had. It is life building. It is a journey into, towards, and through life – one choice, thought and action at a time. I plan to nourish myself with food and hopefully by thinking more compassionately towards myself. I will also try to let care in from my partners, especially the one that I live with. We may be going together to an ED support group this evening.

The shit hits the fan; diagnosed with anorexia

TW: eating disorders, weight

Had a really cathartic appointment with my individual therapist this morning. I sobbed over my parents not giving any reaction to me, they are always on the other side of this wall they’ve put up, the only feeling that ever broke through was anger.

I’m desperate to feel love and care from them. I feel like I never learnt how to accept love and care and so I can’t get it from other relationships either. I don’t know how to move forward with this right now.

Also it’s never about me. Even when I’m really ill like now, it is always about protecting mum and her feelings. It should be about me and my hurt for once rather than it being that I’m screwed up and causing people stress. I want my feelings to finally be heard. But not this weekend. Not on mother’s day.

The title refers to the hell of a week I’ve had. I weigh 99.8lbs. My bmi is 16. Sunday evening I had a meltdown and couldn’t stop crying. I felt like I can’t go on. The stress of worrying about food stuff and all these hurt feelings and anger is unbearable. My life is unmanageable. I’m too tired and weak to do the things I need to do. Eating is torture and so is not eating. Agonising about food is causing me immense stress.

I reached crisis point and luckily I was able to see my GP the next day (Monday). He weighed me and asked me lots of questions and he diagnosed me with anorexia nervosa. I had to go for blood tests and then an ECG at the hospital yesterday. I’m being referred to the eating disorders team. I don’t know how long it will take and I’m desperate but at the same time I’m afraid. I’m afraid of gaining weight. I’m scared I’ll start eating and won’t be able to stop. I’m scared I won’t be able to eat even if I really try.

At group this week I came clean about what is going on with the eating disorder. I got a couple of supportive reactions and one who made it all about her. Not a bad average I guess. The group leader said it was good I’d gone to my GP and was being referred and that treatment for my ED should take priority for now. He said that some people take a break from MBT at least at first when they are getting treatment for things like anorexia.

My therapist today also said a couple of times that she thinks it’s really good that I made the decision to go the the GP. She said it shows me making a decision and an action to help myself, to look after myself and towards becoming myself, becoming an adult person who will be able to move on from the poisonous thoughts my parents gave me about myself, the thoughts that have been such a core part of me but they don’t have to be a part of me forever.

Back in Individual Therapy

It wasn’t as awkward seeing my therapist today as I’d feared it would be. She’s been away for three weeks over Christmas and it has been tough trying to deal with things on my own. I’m so glad she’s back.

I told her about the small overdose I took on Christmas Eve, and about how seeing my family at Christmas was a monumental effort as usual in the category of Acting Like Everything is OK.

What really got us talking was when I brought up what my sister said on the way over to my parents’ house on Christmas Day. Basically, she admitted that our dad used to get very drunk each year on Christmas Eve (he drank a lot the rest of the time too), and that this was upsetting. She even gave the example of the time he started crying and wandered off (I had to go after him) and we were all really worried.

This may not seem like much, so let me explain the significance for me. My family never admit that anything has ever been wrong or difficult except for my behaviour. There is an unspoken agreement that I was the cause of conflict as a child and that other than that things were fine. My sister saying this is an admission that not only were things not always fine, but also that my dad’s drinking was an issue and that his behaviour had a negative effect on us.

This has brought up a lot of confusing thoughts for me. There is a battle going on inside me about who I am and what happened when I was a kid. What feels true is what I’ve been told all my life: that I am bad and worthless and the cause of anything bad that befell me. What I am thinking now though is starting to question those feelings and beliefs of badness. My sister saying the above is the first evidence from someone else in my family that things were not right, and not just because of me. That’s huge.

My therapist said there was a shift today in the way that I spoke about my childhood and my family. I spoke more from a personal perspective and was more emotionally engaged. She was more able to understand what things were like for me growing up. It hurt very much to speak about things that way, but it is reassuring to hear that she feels I am making progress.

Feeling stronger

MBT has been really good this week, I feel like I’ve been able to be myself more. It’s a bit scary but my therapist finished our session this morning by saying “you’re doing really well” which made me feel so good about the effort I’ve put in. I really need that praise/reassurance.

I saw my family recently and it was sort of ok. I have painful moments but I’m still able to enjoy some of the time with them. It has made me a little less afraid of Christmas. I feel like I’ll get through it at least, whereas just last week I felt I really wouldn’t survive seeing them. I feel stronger right now. I wish I knew how to hold on to this feeling.

My Christmas presents are almost all sorted. I hand make almost all my gifts thanks to being skint and on benefits but I’ve made enough progress with my list that I feel confident I’ll finish everything in time. It has therefore gone from a source of stress to a welcome distraction.

I tried to go backwards

Lately I’ve been trying to deny what I have come to understand about my gender. Trying to fit myself back into that woman-shaped box, trying to say that is who I am, who I can be but it’s not and I can’t.

I got to the point where I got scared, things started to get really tough. People started seeing me differently. I retreated. I’ve been trying to dress how people want me to dress. I’ve stopped talking to people about my gender confusion. I’ve been calling myself she sometimes, even.

It’s making me miserable. Even more so this week because I’m menstruating. I feel betrayed by my body as always at this time of the month.

I always feel betrayed by my body. For not matching how I feel about my gender inside. For being unable to fight back when I was abused and raped.

I’m sorry if this is awkward reading. I hope it communicates the intense discomfort I feel with myself. I’m trying to get through the days again. I’m trying to steer gently back closer to feeling more comfortable with myself. I don’t know who I am and it’s a constant game of ‘warmer, colder, freezing’.*

*This is a game our parents used to play with my sister and I when we would be searching for something. They’d say warmer or colder depending on if we were closer or further away from finding something, such as an Easter Egg.