Dealing with an imperfect goodbye

I didn’t say goodbye to my one-on-one MBT therapist properly in our last session, because I knew I’d be seeing her a couple of weeks later at my care plan assessment meeting. I did cry lots and I did get angry over feeling abandoned and I did say thank you for all the help she’s given me. (She said “you’re very welcome”.)

During the care plan assessment meeting that followed, I was so aware that it was the last time I’d ever see her. I was distracted, hung on her every word and kept staring at her though there were several other people in the room. She didn’t say that much at the meeting and I was disappointed.

At the end of the meeting they all left in one go and I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to her. I don’t know how to deal with that. I wish I had the chance to say goodbye properly. I feel so heartbroken.

Why am I focusing on what the last moment with her was like rather than the entirety of our relationship? Why should that moment have so much importance simply because of it’s chronological place? It was not the most important moment of our therapeutic relationship, surely.

What will I remember of her? Her sense of humour. Her words echo in my mind “but you were just a child” – that’s an invaluable gift she’s given me, her voice saying those words when I blame myself for my past.

Her listing good qualities she sees in me – kind, clever, funny. Her disagreeing when I feel disgusting and saying she doesn’t see that at all. Her belief in me, “you CAN do it”, “I think you’re more capable than you realise”, and “I think you’re very articulate”.

I’m scared of forgetting what it was like, what she was like, what have I learnt? What of the relationship can I carry with me? I can’t put it into words that I can come back and reread. I can’t think of anything. It’s not tangible.

I don’t have the answer. I’m not dealing well with it being a goodbye at all, let alone an imperfect one. I’d love to hear other people’s experiences in the comments or on twitter.

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Curb your enthusiasm

I feel like I screwed myself over a bit in that group therapy session. I was talking animatedly about all the things I’ve been doing because I have this sudden urge and motivation to get myself things in life.

I’ve applied for a couple of different volunteering jobs, contacted my driving instructor about getting my lessons going again and signed up for a poetry slam (why?!). The trouble when I get like this is that I find it hard to remember when I am in an intense mood that it won’t last forever. That goes for good and bad moods – so I risk signing up for more than I can follow through on and burning out.

I’m hoping this self awareness this time around means I’ll have caught it before I do more than is healthy for me right now. It’s good if i can harness the enthusiasm without overdoing it and I think overall this is a positive sign! It must mean I’m on the mend from the anorexia if I’m looking forward to the next challenge!

When I said I feel like I screwed myself over in group it’s just because I didn’t realise but I talked right up to the end of the session. This meant I had no responses to what I said so I have to live with the uncertainty of not knowing people’s reactions. This is good practice for me as I find it hard to tolerate. I need to reassure myself that I’m happy with what I said and they probably think it sounds like positive steps anyway.

Starving for attention

Content note: eating disorder, bmi, scars

I’m in recovery from anorexia. I’ve gained weight, warmth and am gradually getting my personality back. I’m slowly connecting with people in new ways. Choosing starvation gives me nothing, while choosing life leaves all kinds of possibilities open. The chance of something good is better than certain death.

I’m struggling with having my feelings back. I’ve got my depression and anxiety back. I’ve got my fear of abandonment or rejection back. I’ve got my self hatred.

I’m 8 stone and my bmi is 18. I’ve been struggling with bingeing and I’ve had serious health problems as a consequence of refeeding following more than three months of starvation.

I’ve been given 6-8 sessions with a dietician on the NHS on top of the therapy I’m having at the CMHRS. I saw her on Monday and we talked about how I can tackle trying to stick to my meal plan. It’s not easy but this week I am doing much better with it.

Today in individual therapy we talked about the possible reasons why I did something so extreme as starving myself to the point I did – my bmi went down to 16 at my lowest weight and my periods have yet to return.

I used food as an analogy for how I am in relationships. I talked about how eating cakes is a shortcut to a feeling the way self harming is a shortcut to getting care from someone. But a more nutritious diet and a different kind of genuine, ongoing connection with people will do me better in the long run.

Starving myself sent a message to the world that described how much emotional pain I am in. It made the outside match the inside the same way my scars do.

I need to learn to live without the intense hit of a binge or a dramatic show of pain if I want the more nutritious and sustaining things I can get from life. Or I guess: stop living from binge to binge or dramatic pain to dramatic pain – still have a cake or an honest outpouring of emotion, but don’t make them my main source of sustenance because that’s not healthy!

I’m working towards being more spontaneous and real with people because then I get more genuine responses back that I can trust. I need to trust myself that my real self is OK and not the horrible monster I fear is inside. This will be my route to better relationships with others.

Feeling desperate and urgent

Today my therapist and I talked positively about steps I’ve taken recently to let people (especially my partners) in. She says I’ve been a lot more real with here and a lot more emotionally honest, a noticeable change in the last couple of weeks.

Now that I’m eating again I’m not feeling so numb and distant but this has meant having to engage with and feel my emotions. The first main feeling that came in was sadness. I think I’m sad because my family have let me down. They didn’t give me the start in life I needed, they abused me and told me I was bad and worthless – something I ultimately believe to this day and something that has limited what I’ve been able to get out of my life so far.

My eating and my spending habits are out of control. I’ve been bingeing every day. I push myself to keep eating when I’m hungry, until I am in agony. I punish myself with food. I’m grabby with food, desperate to eat all the things, as though starvation again is just around the corner. It’s hard for me to trust that there’s no rush, that there will be food provided and it will be ample and I will still be satisfied (in fact, more satisfied) if I don’t scoff everything immediately. I’m letting myself enjoy food and eat what I like – but I just want to be able to stop eating when I get full and wait a while before I eat anything else.

I’m gaining weight quickly because of this, something that brings a lot of anxiety. I know I’m underweight and my body wants to reach a natural weight for me, I know I need to gain weight for health benefits and my periods need to start again. It’s not like I’m bingeing whilst being overweight. I’m trying to believe that my appetite will reach an equilibrium when I am eating enough calories regularly and when my weight reaches the ‘normal’ range for me.

My eating disorders unit assessment is on Monday. My social worker says it is good that I have tried to change things myself and that I am eating even though it feels out of control, because that is all more information for them to work with and it will give them a fuller picture of my issues with food. I really want them to help me to develop a totally new, healthy relationship with food – something I feel that I’ve never had.

The WANTING feeling that I’m feeling all the time is what is driving my eating problems and my spending problems. I’ve left my debit card at home today! The wanting feeling is grabby. I have judgemental thoughts that I am greedy. The wanting feeling is agitated and impatient. Part of it might be appeased with craft projects and keeping myself busy in ways that are productive, that give me something at the end of it. I have been baking a lot and trying to give away most of the results so as not to exacerbate the bingeing situation.

What is the jittery, impatient feeling that makes me want so much so constantly? Impatience. I want to create. I want things for myself. Agitation. Anxiety of what happens next. Impatience to get onto the next step. I think planning my time and activities could help. Keeping busy with activities that are fulfilling. Giving myself things including things that aren’t food or shopping. But trying to accept and enjoy one thing at a time and take my days one bit at a time. Lots of deep breaths and reassuring myself i have everything I need right now. I have everything I need right now in this moment. It’s OK.

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.