12 May 2016
One Honest Reflection at a Time...
I am struggling. I am openly admitting to myself that I am struggling. The torturous, tantalising tentacles of my Anorexia have managed to gradually coil around my ankles; pulling me under the body of water that just a few weeks ago, I was buoyantly surfacing.
Visiting my dietician this afternoon, I knew that I needed to be honest with her, but more importantly, honest with myself about my current relationship with food and my body. For a few weeks now, I have felt the rocks crumbling under my feet as I continue to hike up the tentative slope of recovery. A few opportunities for restrictions here, a few moments of obsessive body checking there- the behaviours have crept back in, and I am ashamed to say that I let them. I have become complacent with my stage in recovery, thinking that I can take that step off the weight gain track. Truth is, I cannot. I still need to gain a substantial amount of weight to not only resolve my physical health, but crucially, my mental health. Once again, I have allowed myself to be convinced by my illness that I no longer need to confront my fears about food, my body and my emotions.
You may all be curious as to why I am writing this post, as I have been demonstrating a clear determination to fully recover and embracing my current situation. However, I have come to realise that I have been directing all of my efforts into my blog, my campaign and other ventures to distract myself from the issues that were resurfacing. I didn’t want to admit it for fear that I was clambering up that illusive slope with no stable surface to catch me. It petrifies me how real that fear could become, and I did not know how to deal with the prospect of it. I toyed with the idea of bottling it up again, but we all know how damaging that is; so instead, I found courage from my flourishing healthy mind, and acted upon the difficulties I was experiencing. For that, I am proud of myself.
The discussion with my wonderful dietician was incredibly motivating, but she also managed to help me visualise my challenges in a way that has made them appear tangible and achievable.
‘Imagine your mind is a forest. You are situated in the centre, surrounded by a mass of trees and shrubbery. In front of you is a path- a direct path leading you to the belief that a certain ‘fear food’ is bad. Every time you avoid that ‘fear food’ you are choosing to walk down that exact same path; some would say, sticking to what you know. However, when you challenge that ‘fear food’, you take a little detour from that path, and start trampling down a new one, reaching a new belief. It takes a lot of effort, hard work and it can be scary, but you have done it the once, and now you know that you can. Yet if you decide to avoid that food again, walking the original path, you let that new one overgrow. So what happens the next time you are faced with that food? You have to experience all of the anxiety, fear and distress all over, as you attempt to trample, once again, down a new path in the forest. But if you had just continued to challenge that food, then the new path will slowly become the only one, and the original path towards to damaging beliefs will be the one that will become overgrown.’
Now I am sorry if this makes no sense as you read it, but it has allowed me to put a realistic scenario to my problems. For myself, this is an effective form of treatment, as I like to be able to visualise myself tackling my illness in a situation that is so convincing.
I left my appointment feeling an unsurprising range of emotions. Disappointment in my weakness, pride in my decision to speak out and defy my illness, yet fear of knowing what I have to do to cut myself loose of those grasping chains. The difference this time round is, I know that I can do it. I have excelled in recovery before, and I will excel in recovery again. Support, self- motivation and a reevaluation of my situation now and where I want to be will see me through. Whether it takes me 10 months or 10 years, I will not give in.
I refuse to let this illness encapsulate me- unquestionably refuse.