i read the news today, oh boy

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another blogger who i follow posted ‘a day in the life of anorexic me‘ yesterday as part of #edaw2018 and i found it incredibly helpful to read of someone else’s day-to-day experience of living with anorexia so decided to do the same for today. i should caveat this with the fact that i am not really doing anything more than flirting with recovery at the moment therefore this post might contain examples of disordered behaviour. as ever, i’ll try not to get into any real specifics but please don’t think this is how anyone else should or does behave. eating disorders are different for everyone. 

7am – my alarm goes off. normally i get up at 6am, do a yoga workout and then aim to leave for work by about 7.30am. today, however, i’m working from home as i have an appointment with my psychiatrist later so i take advantage of the opportunity to have a lie in. i’m so tired all the time at the moment although the combination of my evening medication (diazepam and olanzapine) means that i sleep really heavily.

i lie in bed for a while trying to put off the moment when i have to get up because then i’ll have to weigh myself and, based on my weight before i went to bed last night, i’m expecting to have gained from yesterday. my first weight is always my ‘official’ weight and the weight that gets logged in my fitness pal. it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

eventually i get up, take my daily dose of sertraline and, most importantly, go to the loo. i can’t get on the scale until after i’ve been to the loo. i weigh myself in stones and lbs with my pyjamas on and am relieved to actually see a small drop from the previous day. my doctor will be less happy but it makes me feel safer and more secure to know that i have ultimate control over that number. my routine is then to take my pyjamas off and weigh myself in kgs which, unsurprisingly, also shows a drop from the day before. i have no idea why i do this, it makes absolutely no sense.

9am – yesterday was a bad day and i didn’t manage to eat either breakfast or lunch. february was a bad month really. i’m supposed to be aiming for three meals a day and i am just finding it too hard at the moment. but today is the 1st of march and i’m determined this will be a better month.

because i’ve seen a small drop in the scales this morning and i know that i’m seeing my psychiatrist later, i know force myself to have breakfast. the only way i can do this is to have a set routine. so i take my usual bowl out of the cupboard and weigh out exactly the right number of grams of plain yoghurt. i debate having some fruit with it but decide in the end that anything sweet will set me off on a binge so just eat it plain and as quickly as humanly possible. which is pretty quick as it’s still a relatively small portion.

i email my psychiatrist with my weight for the day. his reply is fairly terse but that’s to be expected; i know that he thinks that i’m not fighting very hard at the moment and i’m terrified as to what he’s going to say when i see him later. before i settle down to work, i do a 30 minute yoga with adriene video. my doctor is happy for me to keep up with the yoga for the moment but i’ve been banned from anything more strenuous (not that it matters hugely to me as i’m fundamentally lazy).

12pm – i’ve been relegated to the third bedroom/study as our cleaner is here. it’s the only room in our flat without a radiator and i’m swathed in blankets to try and keep warm. it’s a battle i’m currently losing. i have a long to do list but all i can think about is what i’m going to eat for lunch or, more accurately, if i’m going to eat lunch.

1pm – once the cleaner has gone, i can come out of hiding and can curl up on the sofa with my laptop. i default to my standard meal when i can’t think of anything else to have; roasted cherry tomatoes on a slice of homemade rosemary soda bread from the freezer. this time, i manage to sprinkle some feta on top which is a step forward. i eat quickly again, trying to distract myself by flicking through pinterest so that i don’t really have time to think about the fact that i’m eating lunch. the food weighs heavily in my stomach which registers its surprise at having to digest something at this time of the day with some painful and uncomfortable cramping.

i dutifully log the details of my lunch into the app that my psychiatrist uses to track my progress and i notice that i’ve missed a message from him saying that i need to eat a proper lunch before my appointment with him this afternoon (my brain automatically adds ‘otherwise don’t bother to show up’ to this although i know that’s not what he means). i don’t know if what i ate counts as a proper lunch but i can’t contemplate eating any more right now.

2pm – i have a deadline of 4pm to get something finished for my boss but i’m consumed by the thoughts of what i’ve just eaten, whether my psychiatrist will consider it sufficient and what else i am going to eat today. i was supposed to be meeting a friend after my appointment tonight but i’ve just cancelled as i can’t face being somewhere surrounded by people eating and drinking, even if i’m not doing either of these things. but cancelling tonight also means that i haven’t planned out what i’m going to have for dinner and i can feel my levels of anxiety rising at the prospect of having to make (yet another) food-based decision. in an attempt to focus on something else, i decide to hop back on the yoga mat for a quick 20 minute workout (my second of the day). i’m starting to worry that i’m using yoga as a compensatory behaviour for when i feel like i’ve eaten too much (or just eaten full stop) but i’m trying to balance that against the good that i feel it does both my physical and mental health.

4pm – i’ve done what i needed to do work-wise so now i have to get ready to go to my psychiatrist appointment. which means have to get changed out of the only clothes i feel comfortable in – my yoga leggings and an oversized jumper. i have hardly any clothes that fit me any more and i’m full aware that i look ridiculous in most things, like a child playing dress up. plus it’s bloody freezing out, just in case you hadn’t noticed. i’m trying to decide whether to walk to my appointment or get the tube. tube obviously seems the most logical option and i know my psychiatrist will be cross if i tell him that i walked there (it’s about a 45 minute walk). but i really want to walk because i feel like i’ve eaten so much today.

7pm – my psychiatrist was probably a lot nicer to me than i deserve (especially as i walked there and back. i haven’t told him that part yet). he’s still referring to me as being in crisis but he seems marginally less worried than he did a couple of weeks ago. the rational part of me thinks that’s a good thing. the anorexic part of me is screaming that i’m just not sick enough (yet). every conversation, every thought is a battle. even him telling me that i’m doing well feels less like a victory and more like an abject failure.

we talked a bit about what my life was like before the ptsd, and then the eating disorder, took hold. i feel so sad and nostalgic for my former life. i used to live in colour, now it’s just black and white. we planned out what i was going to eat tonight. the cold and the unbearable ache for my past have led me down the route of spaghetti bolognese; not an authentic slow-cooked melting ragu but the quick sauce my mum used to make sometimes when she got home from work and that tastes like my childhood.

8pm – we tend to eat dinner around this time. as usual, it’s in front of the tv (masterchef tonight; it goes without saying that our television viewing is dominated by food). in order to manage my anxiety around eating (and in particular, how i feel after i’ve eaten), i take some diazepam with my meal. i’ve weighed out the exact quantity of pasta, sauce and salad that i’m going to eat and already calculated the calories. i also throw down a cocktail of pre-conception vitamins on the very off chance that this is the month we get lucky (26’s the charm and all that). two-thirds of my plate is taken up with salad (no dressing, of course). the remainder is what seems to me to be an excessively large portion of pasta. it is, though, no more than i would serve to a child and the entire meal comes in under 200 calories. i desperately want to stop eating halfway through – partly just to show that i can – but i have promised to eat it all so i manage to clear my plate

9.30pm – the diazepam has taken the edge off the usual post-dinner anxiety that i feel although i’m having to fight a strong urge to binge (or self harm) because i don’t know how else to deal both with the physical feeling of being full and the waves of sadness and regret that keep washing over me. i’m in my pyjamas now though and i’ve taken my olanzapine so i’m fully expecting to fall asleep in front of the tv within the next half hour. and so ends another day of anorexic me.

this post has turned into something of an epic. if nothing else, it’s been a very useful exercise for me. one thing that came up today with my psychiatrist was the extent to which i was in denial about the anorexia. i said it was about 50:50. ironically it’s the anorexic part of me that is most in denial. how can my therapist be talking about weight gain when i’m still so fat? i’m functioning perfectly normally – able to hold down a stressful job, have a good relationship with my husband, spend time with my family – so how can i be sick?

but i need to accept that whilst i can do all of those things and whilst i can appear from the outside to have my shit together, it doesn’t change the fact that anorexia is slowly consuming me, little by little. and the longer that it goes on, the less of me there will be left.

as a little ps, i also wrote a short blog for beat about being diagnosed with anorexia in my mid-thirties after a lifetime of disordered eating as part of their #whywait campaign.

{title quotation from a day in the life by the beatles}

4 thoughts on “i read the news today, oh boy”

  1. Wow. How powerful this is. You may not realize it, but your words were beautiful. As someone that doesn’t know much about eating disorders, I’m genuinely glad I decided to read this. Thank you for opening my eyes to the struggle. Mad props to you on your decision to attempt recovery. You will get there. Yoga is a good outlet. I do Yoga with Adrienne, too! She’s brilliant. Keep up the good work, friend. Awareness is key, and you have it.
    Xoxo- good luck on your journey!

    Like

  2. ditto to the first comment, I’m honored by your writing here, really mean that. the line about how life used to be in color — I’ll be thinking about that for a while. I don’t have the same condition, but I do know what that experience is like. so eloquently put.

    Liked by 1 person

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