WARNING – this post discusses weight loss and eating disorders
I saw the nurse today as I had to have an ECG. I’ve had a lot of chest pain lately which is thought to be costocondritis but the GP wanted to check my ECG again. I’ve also been potentially diagnosed with another condition but that’s a story for another time.
Whilst I was there, the nurse took my weight and height and we decided I’m going to try the exercise referral scheme again (to a different gym this time), to have support to try very gentle swimming or at least exercises in the water.
It is time for me to do something about the fact that I am really upset at how much weight I have gained in the last 2 years, through poor diet and through my medications and being very sedentary as I often can’t walk more than a very little way unaided. The weight is increasing my hate of myself and my body. Not succeeding in losing it by my familiar means over the last few months has increased this hate even more. I know this isn’t a healthy thought pattern and I know many of my “familiar means” are eating disorder behaviors. At the same time, I am now slightly overweight according to BMI recommendations, so I need to lose weight for my physical health; also I need to care for my body’s needs by eating healthful meals rather than oscillating between starving and junk food, as has become my habit through lack of money and depression. I need to try to do some kind of exercise to improve my physical strength to manage the pain from my chronic conditions better.
So I have to figure out how can I manage my situation now and the changes I need to make without plunging deeper into eating disorder thoughts? How do I start an exercise programme without using it to punish my body? How can I keep track of my weight and control my diet without returning to my totally addicted state and the ever-present revulsion at my body tipping back over into self-harm and purging?
Does anyone have any thoughts about how to lose weight and change your eating to get back to a healthy weight range, when you have a history of binge-eating and bulimia? Are there any particular resources on this topic? I know that somehow I need to address the pervasive disgust I feel towards my body and ideally I’d do that first, but it has been present most of my life and I can’t allow my weight to grow to an even more unhealthy level. Most of my life since age 3 when my abuser started to use weighing me and controlling my food as one way of punishing and shaming me, I’ve been overweight, severely underweight or plummeting or ballooning between the two. I have lost all concept of normal food intake and normal appetite.
Yesterday I put on makeup for the first time for a long time. It was an ordinary day. I used to always wear a lot of makeup and coordinate some of the colours to my outfit. Then I stopped. I was exhausted and down and couldn’t find any will to take care what I looked like. The emotions that would surface when I looked at myself in a mirror for any length of time were unbearable. I felt revulsion. I’d start scratching at my skin, the emotion seeming to creep there and take hold like a rotten, evil force that I wanted to cut away.
Yesterday I was motivated to begin to take better care of myself. I got out the mirror and for the first time in as long as I can remember, the hatred and revulsion didn’t come overwhelmingly to the fore. I started to put on makeup and actually once I’d got through starting, I enjoyed it. Somehow, I began to feel a bit better, more prepared and lifted from the pervading exhaustion.
I carried on. Later in the day I painted my nails red. I used some nice moisturiser. I began to try to think caring thoughts towards my body and come up with caring replies to counteract the shouting voice in my head telling me I’m disgusting.
It’s a tiny couple of steps but it’s a start and each time I can do something caring to myself, it reminds me and strengthens my resolve to come up with new images of myself and new answers to the voices.
Officially, my last day of work at the department store was yesterday, although as I am currently signed off sick, I was not actually in work. Last week I had my exit meeting with my manager (handing back my ID and keys etc) and said goodbye to my closest colleagues. I’ll be popping in again this week to say bye in person to a few people I was not able to see, and deliver some notes of thanks. They gave me a reed diffuser in a summery freesia scent, which is already providing a perfect calming aroma in my lounge, as well as a card wishing me well. I hope that I keep in touch, in particular with a few people from the department where I worked. We found a lot in common in the months I was there.
So it’s all change again now. I’m sad to leave. I’ll miss people – colleagues and some customers. I’ll miss the creativity. I’ll miss some aspects of the routine and order. I feel bad for having to go after I’d got to grips with things, received training and my colleagues and manager had put time in to show me what to do and support me into my role. They are all incredibly understanding and caring over my situation that has led me to need to leave and that helped me a lot; I still feel bad for leaving the team and leaving more work back on other people. I guess the good side of that is I must have had some confidence, in the end, that whilst I was there I did manage to do some good. Before I started this job I felt utterly useless, unable to trust that I could do any good because my previous employer seemed to find me so deficient. I see now that at the store I gained a tiny bit of confidence, as well as knowledge.
I’m amazingly anxious and I’m not quite sure why. I’m feeling it physically and feeling shaken and near crumbling and crying and really wishing someone could hold me and tell me it would be alright. I don’t know exactly what is causing this. I’m teetering on the edge of dissociating but I’m staying on this fragile edge instead of slipping over. On the edge are raw and exhausting emotions and I’m spinning and spiralling rather than falling into the safety in the hidden mist of dissociating. It’s painful. I’m trying to use my grounding techniques and self soothing and trying, if only in tiny moments, to avoid falling over that edge. Dissociating may be a relief but the pain it causes me afterwards, and others during, is even worse.
I’m trying to find the way through the next steps now that I will not be working for a while (on my GP’ s and support worker’s and others’ advice). I’m confused about all the forms I have to complete and assessments I have to go through. I’m scared of how they’ll judge me. Scared of whether I’ll manage financially. Scared of so many things that are making me feel trapped, not believed, going into the unknown…. I’m so thankful I have my support worker guiding me through, otherwise I’d implode and go back to shutting down and hurting myself out of fear and pain and flashbacks. I’m so thankful I’m not alone. I’m trying to find ways that this instance of having to leave work – because I’ve lost or head to leave more jobs than I can cope with counting, for the same reasons every time – is not yet another repeat of this cycle and is not only another failure, loss, or let down to those who have tried to help me. I’m trying to find ways I can make this different. I have therapy now. I have my doctors and support worker. I have a home. God willing I am soon going to have some more social interaction and a place to contribute something, in a mental health charity I’ve been referred to. These all count for a lot in stopping me going so deep over the edge and now I pray I can build something good from this place.
I’m thankful for the visit of a special friend tonight. She came for tea and a catch up and we exchanged much belated little Christmas gifts. We’re going to meet again in a couple of weeks.
It always amazes me that she wants to be my friend. It amazes me she wants to meet up again soon. I’m not good enough to have friends – I’m not any good to be around – that’s what’s in my head.
I’m very thankful that she has kept in touch and continues to want to meet up, when I’m well and when I’m struggling and when I’m very sick. Very few people stay around in all those times.
I feel wound up like a spring about to explode, really really anxious and really angry with myself.
I start my new job tomorrow. I’m so scared. I have no confidence. I feel like rubbish. I know it could be good. I’m thankful for it and for having something to go to that will fill the day, be constructive, ease financial problems, let me try to contribute something. But I have no confidence at all that I can do it, after everything that went wrong.
I’ve just had no end of technical problems too with the internal website and had to phone up for tech support, who were very unhelpful, and after I had insisted for about 40 minutes that I needed assistance as I could not do essential things I needed to before starting work tomorrow, was basically told by a tech manager that I am rubbish and will not be a good employee and do not fit in with the firm’s ethos!! It was a completely bizarre conversation and a horrible start. Now I’m even more terrified and sure they hate me before I’ve even started. And still haven’t been able to get onto the website to do what I needed to before starting, so it feels like a mess.
Eeeeek….. Dear Lord, help me please….
The only good thing is that I will be seeing a very good friend later this afternoon and I will be very thankful to share in her company.