Posts Tagged ‘self discovery’

One door closes – and another one opens

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I have nearly finished packing up my flat now.

There’s maybe a few more boxes and then it’s good to go.

I was asked, on one of my posts, if I knew the reasons for my current relapse. This separation is one of them. I am bad at goodbyes at the best of time but this farewell feels particularly challenging. It is entangled with my eating disorder and my recovery; and, even though the move is something I desperately wanted, I am still experiencing the wrench.
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The next adventure

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Last week I read an article on the top 10 most common dreams and their meanings. It reminded me of a recurring dream that I used to have, particularly as I was starting my recovery. It went something like this –

I am in my flat. I find a door that I haven’t noticed before and discover three or four unexplored new rooms. At first, the rooms are dated and unwelcoming, and two of them are kitchens, often filthy and filled with food. The dreams are deeply unsettling and I wake up feeling displaced and like something has tarnished my home. Eventually (over a few years) the rooms change and become full of amazing things– like a piano or a spectacular view or a fireplace – and I wake up a bit disappointed that they don’t really exist.

I was telling a friend about this dream when it was visiting me, nightly, and she interpreted it as symbolic of self discovery. As mirroring the process that I was going through of uncovering new parts of my self –

They are there, waiting: it’s just a question of seeing what’s behind the doors.

I have been struck, recently, by this notion of the self. That we might only know the areas that we have already opened, and there are therefore parts of ourselves waiting to be unlocked. It suggests that there is a step beyond self awareness or consciousness which, when I have let go of the knee-jerk fear, is kind of exciting…

I have had three half written posts on my desktop for a while now. This was one of them. The second was a link. I think they are connected. The link goes to this quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us”. (Marianne Williamson).

The quote holds me hostage. It is so exactly how I feel – and have felt – that I was too overwhelmed to mention it, at the time. It captures the moment just before I went into self sabotage; and, possibly, is uncomfortably close to what I am feeling now…
The third post was about last weekend. I went dancing, last weekend, on the spur of the moment. It was a sparkling night when I was unusually spontaneous and, for a short time, deliciously carefree. It struck me, as I woke up the next morning, that all the rules and limitations that I have been living by are self imposed. That it might be okay, just for a little while, to wander with no direction and learn what it feels like to relax and have fun….

I think I am on the edge of letting go.

Not there yet, but nearly.

I think I have been trying to stamp out any potential or, at least, iron cage it – and I am curious, now, about what would happen if I stepped out of the constraints. The possibility makes me slightly shaky and might explain why the struggle has stepped up a notch over the past few months…

I can stamp it out, again, as I did however many years ago. Or I can take a deep breath and adventure on.

Over Analysis

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I was sitting in the pub the other night complaining that I didn’t understand how people “did” relationships and met their other halves and found that one connection when there are so many people in the world and also no fish left in the sea – when my friend stopped me, and said that the problem wasn’t me, it was practice.

Practice.
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And So This Is Me

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Once upon a time, there was a girl who spent every minute of her life thinking about food –

I am not sure where I am anymore.

From the moment she woke up, to the moment she went to sleep, it either dominated her thoughts or tugged at the edge of them so that, in returning to the thought, she realised she’d been thinking about it all along.

It has only been two years since I actively moved towards recovery, and the length of time before this is obscene.
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Alright with being okay (the bit I forgot to mention)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

When I was 17, I nearly got well. After the initial plummet and once I’d got over the shock of treatment, I started, gradually, to build myself up again. I gained a bit of weight. I experimented with clothes. I had moments when life seemed a lot brighter. I flirted and giggled and did normal teenagery type things. The eating disorder remained – just not as much as before.

I’m not sure why and I can’t work out what happened; but, at some point, I got scared about being okay. I worried that I’d be nothing if I was ‘normal”, that I was letting myself go because I was letting myself enjoy life.

And so, I put the brakes down. Hard. I re-erected the walls and re-instated the rules. It was not okay to be okay.

We know what happened.

I ended my last post before I reached the end. The moment of insight that had been eluding me has finally clicked into place. This re-animation is the same as I felt at 17 – only this time I’m not afraid of it. It is alright to be okay.

I’m Okay

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

I got home last night and scrawled three words on the back of an envelope. They said: “I am okay”.

The inspiration that I have been waiting for has stalled and is yet to catch up with me. Any insights that might prompt a blog post are suspended, somewhere, far above me; so, for the moment, all I can say is, “I am okay”.

I think this is enough.
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Stretching the Horizon

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

I went to a body stretch class this morning. The teacher started by explaining that muscles grow if they are stretched; and the more stretchy they are, the better they work.

This isn’t a post about flexibility, though there’s an analogy in there about that. This is a post about life, because it grows, like a muscle, when it is stretched.

I did not realise this until recently. I viewed life and all the things it offered as finite and within eyeshot. I didn’t get that the horizon keeps expanding if you push beyond it; and that, though each experience and thing may be unique, there is an ocean of experiences and things to explore.

This opens everything up for me.

It means I don’t have to cling on to the particulars; and that the more I participate in life, the bigger it gets.

The muscle story caught my imagination because muscles seem to operate in a similar way: an initial twinge of discomfort when you stretch out of that comfort zone – and then the gradual extension and the wider reach that the action brings.

The past few months have been full of stretches. I have been pulling myself into new experiences and testing out how far I can go with life. When I started, I assumed that there would be a list to tick off as I passed through every first and each new activity. I also assumed that firsts and new activities were in short supply, so each came accompanied with a twist of loss. About half way through, something shifted, and I realised that there are always more firsts and they appear the further you go. Or grow.

It is like love. Find a little and tap into a mine.

Not rocket science, maybe, but something I didn’t appreciate until my life muscle became unstuck.

The Flipside of Fear

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

This is a blurt post.

There’s stuff going on in my head that I can’t quite seem to work out. Passing snippets that have paired themselves off without quite explaining the pairing, and insights that still remain partially hidden. There is one common thread. It is the word fear.

Fear.

I’m scared.

Belly scared. Paralysed scared. Scared silly….yet not quite sure of the source (there’s so many); nor, if I’m honest, of the emotion (it’s just what I always feel).
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Ups, Downs, Rainbows and Black Clouds

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

My friend has recommended tea drinking, retail therapy, and bubble baths. I have opted for crying and crashing on the sofa instead. The excitement of the past month appears to have caught up with me. I feel like I have been running running running and then

WHAM

Like a cartoon character with the tweeting birds and my head twisted 90 degrees, I have fallen flat on my face.

Ouch.

I am waiting for the birds to stop tweeting and the dust to settle before moving to vertical.

I think this is the downside to my up. The highs are electric and energising, and the lows leave me gasping and stunned. I have not mastered the art of walking the middle ground yet, nor fully acknowledged that life is yang and yin: a little bit of good and a little bit of bad with the beauty lying in the contrast. Nope, the centre still needs a bit of bolstering and I keep ricocheting between the two.

This is, I think, probably inevitable. Up until this point, my strategy has been to neutralise, negate or control. To remove myself from opportunities of excitement, and pleasure, and enjoyment, because their loss is almost unbearable; and to plaster over the downs with eating – or not eating – or thinking thinking thinking it all out. For many years, I opted out of life all together; then, I created my own see-saw in a daily routine of bingeing and purging: high, followed by low, but with the knowledge that tomorrow it would be the same again.

Round and round we go but at least we know the end….

Life does not work like this.

There are glorious rainbow-coloured ups where everything seems wonderful and connected and full of potential, and then moments when it’s really rather black. The difficulty, for me, is keeping my feet on the ground when I’m exploring the magic and also when the grey clouds start moving in. It’s about accepting that sometimes it is neither stormy nor golden, but somewhere, cloud speckled or slightly overcast, in between.

It is harder than I anticipated.

You have to be exposed to the storm, maybe, in order to appreciate the rainbows; but then, you also need to remain standing, come rain or shine. At the moment, I am still at the mercy of the weather, and haven’t quite adjusted to life’s ups and downs.

Being Beth

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

When I was a child, I wanted to be Beth from Little Women.  I had forgotten just how much I wanted to be Beth, from Little Women, until I was flicking through a quotation dictionary and stumbled over this quote:

“I am angry nearly every day of my life….but I have learned not to show it; and I still hope to learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so.”

(Chapter 8, Louisa Alcott)

For anyone who has not read Little Women, it’s the story of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, and written in the 19th century.  I can only remember the plot in fragments; but it is hung on the girls’ characters, and their presence, for me, persists. Meg is the eldest and most sensible; Jo, a hare-brained creative; Amy, blonde and pretty; and Beth, goodness incarnate.
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A Backbone of Steel

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I have a fractured tooth. It is a front one, which I’m finding quite hard. They have bonded it, for the moment, but it’s only a matter of time. The others are likely to go in the same direction.

It has been 23 months, almost to the day, since I last threw up; but the damage has been done. There is a little network of cracks spiderwebbing from my teeth to my ankle

But I do appear to have developed a backbone of steel.
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In which I learn about ‘Positive Disintegration’

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

My friend Maria tweeted me this article on personality; and for those not on twitter, I thought it might be helpful to bring it over here. There are lots of themes, in the content, that correspond scarily to what’s going on in my head.

The basic premise is that in the quest for a fixed sense of self, we’re chasing a red herring or creating the next trap; because personality is fluid, the emphasis better placed on experience, instead of trying to hone in on descriptions -and fixed points – and an exact, unwavering sense of exactly who I am:

“The irony is that the more you seek to identify who you are, the more likely that you feel fragile about yourself. There is an inverse correlation between this question and your comfort with experiencing your life. The emphasis shouldn’t be on discovering what is buried beneath, but on facilitating the emergence of what we’d like to become.”

Ouch. I can totally relate to that.

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Finding the Spark

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

I have been on a mission for the past few days. Been fired up and propelled forward on a burst of energy that has added a spark to my eyes and a new sense of purpose to my thoughts.

I think this is called ambition.

And I am trying not to be scared.
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The Illness or Identity Debate

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

A recent post title from one of my favourite blogs has been tugging on my thoughts this week, and I have realised that I need to unpick my reaction, though I’m a little scared of what I might find. The post was called ‘Anorexic vs having anorexia’; and it’s a distinction I’m finding hard to make.

This is difficult to admit.

I recognise that an eating disorder is an illness – and not an identity – but I appear to have accepted the label; and, now that it’s been ripped off, I’m finding the exposure hurts. It is strange that, although I would never introduce myself as an eating disorder and vehemently abhor the pain and damage it has caused, it seems preferable to being me.

Oh dear.

It is hard not to cast judgement on this statement and plaster it over with things I should say. There is, however, only one way of changing it: by finding out what’s underneath.
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Dwelling in Uncertainty

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I went to a School of Life Sunday Sermon, and heard a neuroscientist, called David Eagleman, speak. If I’d got round to any pre-event research, I would have gained a little insight into the stuff he’d be talking about; but I was, instead, hooked by a one word title.

“Uncertainty.”

Anything that might illuminate a concept I grapple with, on a daily basis, is guaranteed to grab my attention.
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“Am I Still the Same?”

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Last night, I bumped into someone from my past; and I shocked myself, when it came to saying goodbye, by nearly asking a question I’ve been grappling with for years: “am I still the same?

Am I still the same” is my “do I look fat in this?” question. The reassurance seeker that I continually seem to ask. “Do I look the same?”, and “Am I still the same”, or “How am I different?”. And please answer that I am not.

I have resisted, more recently, from externalising the discussion, but the variants have been tingling, slightly unpleasantly, on the tip of the tongue

Up until now, I haven’t bothered to unpick why this staying the same has been so important. What, exactly, I am staying the “same” as; and why it matters if I am “different”. There is a vague link to weight in there, and an outdated attempt at subtly asking the “do I look bigger?” question – but it is the underlying implication that has left me slightly more disturbed.

If it matters that I do not look different and is important to remain the same, then I am pretty much destined for failure; because if there’s one thing we can all be certain of, it’s change.
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Re Dis-covery

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I started to write an eloquent post about the semantics of the word “recovery”.

It has stuttered and spluttered, for the past few weeks, and I have made myself feel misunderstood. I do not want to write about it nicely, at the moment. I don’t want to phrase how I’m feeling in pleasantries or flowery terms.

To be honest, I’d rather just sit and cry.
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The Capacity for Compassion

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Since starting Finding Melissa and beginning, finally, to join in, I have discovered a capacity that I never thought that I had. It is warm, and gooey, and the fuzzy-haired end of soft; and I think it is called compassion. It is like an unexpected ray of sunshine and the first kiss of warm air after you’ve been shivering, without an umbrella, in the rain.

I had always considered myself to be a rather brittle and cold person.

I am not, by nature, particularly tolerant and tend to lose patience pretty damn quick. I can rarely be bothered with explaining; am only just learning to listen; and, had become accustomed to life as them – and me. Compassion is not a quality I have associated myself with, nor something I thought I’d ever get –

It turns out I might have been wrong.
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One Life

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Last week, I was asked what the key turning points in my recovery were.

There were quite a few – my teeth, another close call, the isolation, the increasing social disconnection, my brother, despair – but one powerful motivation which seems so obvious (now) that I rarely reflect on it, and seldom give it much space –

We have – that I know of – only one life.
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Originality

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Last night I went to a lecture, by Ian McEwan, on Originality.

I wasn’t sure what pearls of wisdom I had taken away, at first; but overnight, the ideas seem to have been infusing and fusing so that, this morning, I woke up with an understanding of what is encapsulated in originality – and a strange sense of reassurance that, in this field (and by default), we have already won.

Which is an interesting conclusion to reach from a lecture that pointed out how important it is to be first past the post (and not just in parliamentary terms); and how intrinsically human it is to want to stand out.

We are – and have been for generations – the same; and yet we are also – and each – fundamentally different.
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Permission To Fail

Monday, May 10th, 2010

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

There is a theme emerging in the quotes I keep bookmarking. They are about focusing on the process, rather than the outcome; and, enjoying the experience, rather than only celebrating success.

Making mistakes – so the message seems to go – is part of the learning, and broadens the opportunities for the great things that come next.

Lately, I have become more and more aware that I only do what I know I can do, and only try that which it is safe for me to try. That I am stifled, daily, by over-precaution, and paralysed by the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ –

Which is getting quite frustrating.

So, in the interest of science, and because there’s a convergance of opinion, I am going to give myself (at least temporarily), full permission to fail.

This involves shifting a few of the things that stop me from passing go.

1. The Fear of Reprisal
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Caring, Connecting and Parliamentary Reform

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Yesterday, I went on a rally for Parliamentary Reform. On a grey and drizzly afternoon, we joined a group of people in Trafalgar Square who were pushing to change the system, in the hope of ensuring that all voices could be heard.

This is something that matters a lot to me.

Spurred into action by an indignant anger – and propelled through my discomfort of changing the day’s agenda by a sense that I should put my feet where my mouth was, I am still tingling from the excitement – and have learnt as much about myself as I have about Parliamentary Reform.

This is what I mean about recovery taking place in context.

This is why it’s important for me, every now and again, to take a deep breath and say, “yes, I’ll come, I’d like to do that” – even if it means that my lunch will have to shift back a time-slot, or I do something that I wouldn’t normally do –

Because I am richer for the experience, I think; and I have learnt some things about myself – and other people – that I didn’t previously know.
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Walking on the Bright Side…

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Because things are changing at the moment, and so I’m tired – and panicky – and a little bit afraid, I have lost sight of the bigger picture – and ended up just focusing on what’s going wrong. It’s okay to recognise when you’re struggling; but it’s important to also keep the not-so-bad bits in mind –

I have become so entangled with the negative, recently, that I have stopped appreciating the things that are good. Have been so busy making comparisons and coveting other people’s treasures – that my own have become neglected and dull.

This is the kind of thinking that keeps my dissatisfaction high and kept my eating disorder thriving…

So I am going to step around the fear of acknowledging that which is precious to me (and therefore might be lost); and move beyond the guilt that often accompanies the good things (because having comes with the question of what I deserve); and get over my resistance to “things could be worse” type commentary…

Because, really, Melissa, things could be far far worse.

Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and allow the bigger picture in…

1. I am here
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Stop

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

My brain has slowed down today. It feels like each thought is an effort to push through and every word, too hard to write. There is a simpering panic, underneath the cotton-wool thinking; and I am grasping, desperately, at straws, frantically trying to make the chaos into sense.

I haven’t slept properly for weeks now. I end up on the sofa, at 2 am, because my head doesn’t stop whirring, even if my body is begging for rest. There are questions thundering around in there, with no answers; and the desperate need to achieve achieve achieve -

Only I have lost sight of what I am hoping to gain.
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“I am an engineer and an artist”

Friday, April 30th, 2010

“i am an engineer and an artist. #iamnotmyweight” (@thisisMEssy)

I have favourited this tweet. It couldn’t be a more timely reminder, as I am struggling to figure out how life without an eating disorder works, that the words we use to define ourselves might help to change the positioning.

Given the name of my blog and the reason I started it (“this is the story of finding an identity and giving an eating disorder up”), you’d have thought I already appreciated this; but I have focussed so hard on what I’m giving up that I have neglected what I am finding. (more…)

Who’d Have Thought?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Who’d have thought, a few years ago, that I’d be doing the things that I’m doing now.

It is important, every now and then, to stop and reflect on the progress, even if the process remains hard.

We forget, sometimes, just how far we’ve come, because we’re worrying so much about how far’s left to go.

It is limitless.

So, I’m taking a pit stop and coming up for air –

Because, who’d have thought, a few years ago, when it felt like I was “all talk”, that I’d be sitting here writing stuff down for people to read? And who’d have guessed, if they saw me frantically dashing between food shops, swollen cheeked and skeletal handed, that it was the same person calmly sitting here today.
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Things I Like About Being Me

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Yesterday, I stumbled across a link on twitter to an article listing “30 Things I Love About Myself”, and was immediately struck by the concept.

Listing things we love about ourselves is not something we are often encouraged to do, particularly in the UK. Modesty is seen as an attribute; and pride tends to come before a fall – or so I have always believed.

Accepting that an outfit looks nice takes places after some painful to-ing and fro-ing (“do you really think so?” – “yes really” – “but doesn’t it look out of place?” – “no, not at all”); and is, more often than not, accompanied by a mental twist (“she didn’t mean that”). Whilst blowing your own trumpet typically comes with an apology (“I don’t mean to brag but…”) or a quick justification (“well, that’s what so-and-so thought”) – so that it’s acceptably said.

Liking yourself might be mistaken for arrogance – or is halted, subconsciously, before the charge can be laid; and why wait for other people to point out your weaknesses if you can get there first…

You can not, I am beginning to learn, expect others to like you if you don’t even like yourself.
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The Frontiers

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Blogging has been a step out of my comfort zone for me. Not all the time, I hasten to add; but sometimes, when I’ve hit on something critical, or written a piece that’s a bit more open to contention, I can feel myself pushing a little – and then waiting for the backlash. It is something like putting your finger near an electric fence and seeing how close you get before the shock burns.

I was describing this to a friend last week, when she was trying to help me make sense of how I move forwards now, and she had a slightly different take on the experience. For her, the shock was electrifying, not an electrocution. It was about energy and finding my frontiers and sparky positive things.
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Back to the Beginning

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I am having a bit of a hard time.

The stuff that I thought I’d sorted out years ago has made a reappearance; and, without the crutch of an eating disorder, I have been caught off guard.

This was not part of the deal and I am beginning to feel a little cheated. “If you lose weight then it’ll all be okay” has turned out to be a mixture of illusion, and blatant lie.
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The Yes Once Rule

Friday, March 12th, 2010

I have just said yes to something that I would normally say no to.

You have to do this rather a lot in recovery; otherwise things just stay the same.

You have to start saying “yes”, even if your head is saying “no”; because you don’t find out what you’re capable of unless you take a little risk and give something new a go.

It has taken me a while to realise this. In the absence of a Jim Carey film which manages to make the point in about 90 minutes, I didn’t automatically see the connection between my constricting life and the frequency with which I said no…

I just started feeling a little trapped.

Given that my eating disorder had a zillion rules and assumed the majority of my time, this was probably unsurprising, only –
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From a Female Perspective-

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Let me set the scene. I am a thirty-something female. Educated, employed, relatively attractive, slightly neurotic – and recovering from a chronic eating disorder.

To help me along this bumpy journey, I started to try and understand myself and my relationship to the world; to gain some insight into what had happened and why it had happened. The pen was my probe and my head, the subject. Or so I thought. Somewhere along the way, my psychological exercise stumbled into a sociological debate and took on a life of its own – particularly in relation to being a woman.
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How to make friends…

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

….is a question that I have been asking myself rather a lot recently.

Now that I’ve realised that people are preferable to an eating disorder, I’m eager to make up for lost ground and appreciating just how much we’ve got to offer each other –

Only, it’s a little harder now that I’m nearing 30 and most people seem to be settled; and, I’ve hit a few unanticipated questions – like where do I go, and what do I say? – and some overlooked assumptions – like what do I have to offer? – that have put a few barriers in my way.

Making friends is far more complicated then I remember.

Given that the last time I tried to make friends, the other 30 people in the classroom shared my sentiments, this is, perhaps, unsurprising. However, after doing lots of things that I thought I couldn’t do, and as I’ve already come this far, there’s no points in shying away from a challenge – and this is what I’ve started to learn:

1. Being my own friend
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Filling in the Blanks

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

After hiding behind an eating disorder for so long, explaining my absence from the world is proving slightly problematic.

There are gaps, where there shouldn’t be gaps; and, holes, left, right and centre. Questions that should be obvious, are unanswerable; and small talk raises some pretty major issues –

My favourite food? Not sure. I’ve just got to grips with eating, full stop, and normally describe things as safe – or unsafe.
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The Carpet Critic

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

After last year’s bathroom tile debacle, I thought I’d got to the bottom of my indecision; but choosing carpets would suggest that I haven’t got there quite yet.

After a week of yo yo-ing between ivory and almond, and learning the shift patterns of the various Carpet Right staff, I’m clearly still struggling; but, this time, I don’t think the problem is knowing what I want – it’s living with the consequence that’s holding me back.

My head doesn’t do mistakes and it’s certainly not into forgiving.
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Mis-Understandings

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

On those rare occasions when the barriers are down and it feels okay to move beyond what is normally said, then it suddenly emerges that we’re all just working with half versions of the truth; and, most of the time, we’re making up what goes in the gaps.

And, when we pause, unexpectedly, to find out whether what we’re thinking they’re thinking, is even close to what’s really going through their minds; and find ourselves, so often, on entirely different pages, then it’s immediately clear that we’re all just trying to make sense of a fragmented assortment of feelings and experiences and thoughts, reflected and refracted in a thousand different ways –
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Shoulds, Buts, and the Need To Get it “Right”

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

For some time now, I have become a little anxious about the frequency with which the word “but” is creeping into my vocabulary.

“Should” has always been bit of a problem for me, but I’d kind of prided myself on my ability to problem solve and think creatively and take the initiative …

The realisation that I automatically see objections – rather than possibilities – is a little sore.
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The ‘Where do I fit in?’ Question

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I have been going round and round in circles for the past month; and, regardless of the starting point, I still seem to end up with the same, unanswerable question –

Where do I fit in?

I am beginning to find the constant side-tracking a little frustrating now. It is rather tiring to keep reaching the concluding paragraph, only to find myself again writing the same four little words. Again.

So, I am changing tact, and moving the ending – to the opening – because throwing ideas around has always helped me to reach my epiphanies; and, hey, I’m going to find myself asking the same question anyway, so I might as well get straight to the point –

And then go back to the beginnings.
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Hello body, meet Melissa..

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Since putting on weight, I seem to have separated me, from my body. It sits, over there; whilst I stay, over here; and, never the twain shall meet.

We weren’t this disconnected when I was hideously underweight. We may not have been friends but we were, at least, on speaking terms. Now we don’t acknowledge each other.
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Clouds Clearing

Friday, January 1st, 2010

After going to hell – and back, a strange thing seems to have happened; and, like a lens that has been unexpectedly clicked into focus, things suddenly look a lot brighter.

You don’t take anything for granted when you have come so close to losing it all.

As the shadows shift and the clouds begin to drift away, even the ordinary seems tinged with gold; and the mundane, something to be treasured.

They said that this would happen when I got better. That it would be like soaring above a shiny new world; like the clearing of the clouds. They predicted that, one day, things would be different, and I’d look back and wonder how I could have turned my back on life so completely –
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Out of Sync

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

I have got my ages out of sync.

In this stopping – and starting – of life, I seem to have mixed up the pivotal phases and got all confused. I didn’t realise that we operated on so many planes: part of me has stalled in 1993 whilst other bits have zoomed off ahead, and we’re not yet on the same page.

I had assumed that time was a constant. I’m not so sure anymore.

The drawn out eating disordered days were disguising the passing of months and years and life events that I have missed out on – irretrievably – because there are certain stages, for certain things; and it’s harder when you’re going against the flow –
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A little social re-positionning

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I am having to undertake a little social re-positioning now that I am emerging as a person – and not an illness.

The parameters have shifted somewhat; and, there has been a little lag in the transition – which is only to be expected after 17 years of living within the clearly defined cage of an eating disorder.

So, I am having to re-navigate relationships and re-set the expectations. I am learning to show that the things that weren’t possible before are now okay; that the concerns that were so palpable are no longer overwhelming; and, that the hope that was previously cloaked behind self protection and past disappointment, can finally be enjoyed –

After a lot of pain, the best way to do this is by example.
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Discharged

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Today, I was discharged from mental health services.

It is a little scary. They have been looking after me for rather a long time.

This is the first time we’ve done it properly. No fizzling out or abrupt terminations or running from the radar. We have, instead, reached a nice ending and said goodbye as people.

I will be looking after myself from this point on -

Which is a little scary (after being looked after for so long) and feels a little vulnerable (although it’s cause for celebration) and has been a tad unsettling (even though I’ve been on track for a while now) –

- and strangely quiet because I am on my own again –
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Life – and Death

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

I stopped believing in an afterlife around the time I realised I was far more likely to end up in hell – than in heaven.

We’ve got an eye on death from the moment we start developing a consciousness.

It’s bound up in how we behave, and what we believe and how we live our lives –

There’s no escaping the subject – it’s just how we approach it that determines where the emphasis is.

Thinking about death can either ruin your life – or make it- and, after an evening contemplating the subject with Mark Vernon at the School of Life(!), I’ve decided that I’m going for the latter
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Weight Gains

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I seem to have stopped being invisible now that I’ve put on a little weight.

People are no longer looking through me or averting their eyes.

I didn’t realise that they were doing this until I had a comparison – but now that there’s a little more skin on my bones, the reaction is a whole lot more positive…

I actually feel quite good.
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Self Management

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

I am currently in the self management phase: I am managing myself, by my self.

It’s a good place to be, although it sounds quite serious.

It means that I am keeping a vigilant eye out for potential pitfalls and I am avoiding any routes that will end up leading backwards. That I am being a little cautious with myself and am on the alert while I make sure that I’ve regained my balance –

I don’t know whether an eating disorder ever disappears totally – but I’m making damn sure that it doesn’t come back.
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Laughter Therapy

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

An eating disorder is not very funny. I kind of lost my sense of humour for a while; I sort of forgot how to laugh.

It’s not surprising really – it likes to assume control and dominate the head space – but now that I’ve reclaimed the territory a little, laughter therapy’s just what I need.

I started small and simple. Things that brought a smile to my face, or provoked a slight titter. It felt a little alien, I was a tad self conscious – but then anything that you haven’t done for years feels slightly strange.
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Thai Restaurants and Bathroom Tiles

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Every now and then, my indecision gets the better of me. It drives me round and round in circles…that are all identically the same.

Today’s focus? Bathroom tiles – and which Thai restaurant to go to tonight.

We are overwhelmed with choice.

Making the right one has never been harder –and it all depends on which version of ‘right’ you’re hoping to hit.

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