Words are a little short or difficult to find after psychotherapy today. I’m upside down and a mess. I have fallen down a rabbit hole like Alice, and i wish it were all a dream.
The session started with me reflecting on last week’s session and how my inner critic gets all its own way. How i’d like to find a mute button, or a volume down button. Dr Freud Dude then suggested maybe i would like this as it would leave with a body without a head. Rather than reflecting on this i ploughed-on through how life would be great without my heads rules. I’d be happy. Ray could offer me food without the inner machinations of whether it’s safe (with my head) to eat it, or will i get a profound beating up? How i’d be free to eat and not feel the need to be empty, or use laxatives. Life would be a breeze. All i had to do was ignore my head. Simples.
Dr Freud Dude suggested that my head’s need of my body empty comes at a price. That price is to my body. That with each time my stomach rumbles with hunger there is damage being done (darn it, i’d hoped he’d never heard my rumbling stomach over the 13 months we’ve been seeing each other). I agreed with him that intellectually i knew what this was doing to my body, but i can’t connect to that. Then, i felt mounting panic, fear, and nausea build up. I wanted to run from the room as a massive realisation came up – i’m terrified of my my body. I want to run away from it. When i’m numb from starvation i don’t have to think about it. When i step on the scales or look in the mirror i am reminded that i have a body. How did this happen??? Dr Freud Dude reflected that at the start of the session i was saying how much i hated my head and now i was also terrified of my body. How do you become terrified of your body?? What do you do now that you know this? He suggested i reflect on what my body signifies for me. Urgghh. This is too scary. I’m terrified of this. I looked for reassurance from Dr Freud Dude that if i tried looking at this scary shit that i’d get better. He refused to play this game as it’s one step away from not wanting to feel. Apparently i need to sit with these feelings.
Back in March in a session Dr Freud Dude pointed out something in “battle of my head and heart” that was really difficult to hear. I’ve always seen my battle with anorexia as my head that wants to destroy me, and my heart that wants me to be well. He picked up that my heart can be as bullying as my head. This realisation was one of the reasons i descended into this current pit. Now, i’m confused and i don’t know what’s what. What i do know, is that uncovering what my body signifies for me is the most terrifying feeling. Feeling very scared and alone.
Today i met with Jess, we found a new haunt – the coffee shop in a bookshop. It’s so tranquil. It’s good to be away from the house, but being out is tiring. Add to this the fear i’ll meet someone i know, and i’m almost worn out before being out.
I headed home on public transport. The lift had just gone, so rather than wait forever i took the stairs. I bumped into someone i know through work, urgh. I had at least showered today, and even washed my hair. I was however sans make up and the words of the pharmacy assistant running through my head. It was someone whom i have a lot of time for, and decided i’d be brave and answer her question “Are you okay?” truthfully. This nearly involved a panic attack in itself. I explained how the last few months have been, and it was good that i could be honest. She was heading in the same direction as me. We sat together and chatted. I wish this was something i could do with everyone. I’m dreading going back to work, my colleagues knowing of my illness, some being very judgmental. I wish i could be authentic and tell them what these months have been like, but even if i found the strength to do that, i’ll still be judged.
Today I’ve had a sliver of homemade bread and a green salad. I feel huge. The urge to down a handful of laxatives is massive. Yet, i’m still hungry. There is a gnawing hunger, I can’t reach it. If i could reach this spot i might be able to save myself. Hunger pangs have never meant so much.
Yesterday as Ray did a Park Run i had decided to buy razor blades. I wasn’t sure if these were for self harm or death. We’d agreed to meet in a nearby market town. I went whilst Ray was still running. I stood forever in the pharmacy looking at blades for the price of £3.99. I eventually got to “what the heck are you thinking??” I freaked myself out and then decided i was going to find something else in the store to spend £3.99 and chose a purple nail varnish. It scares me that these moments are so intense, and i don’t always see them coming.
Today i went to see Jess as her partner was working, we coloured, surfed the web, played with her cats, and looked at jobs. Over the last few weeks i’ve spent a lot of time in coffee shops, colouring or reading. One of the places i haunt is opposite the probation service. For awhile now i’ve thought about retraining. Today i decided i’d like to be a probation officer. I’m not romantic about this as a career, i know it will be as tough as what i currently do, but it’s something i believe in. I could quite easily ended up in trouble with the law due to my childhood, and i also think people can be rehabilitated. It’s going to be a long road though as they’re redesigning their training course…but finally i have a plan B. Something to give me hope.
Urgh, today i had to leave home at 7am for my weekly psychotherapy appointment (it’s at 9am, but we live in the middle of nowhere and travel by bus), then hang around in town as i had psychiatrist appointment at 3pm. With Dr Freud Dude today we explored Sundays as a child. They were horrible; particularly traditional Sunday lunch. I joke that i was born vegetarian as i’ve never liked meat. Dr Freud Dude suggested this might be due to what was done to me as a child, which i’d never thought about before. I’ve always wanted to try and find the moment that i stopped eating as a child. I feel that if i could pinpoint that moment i could undo it. We explored how my parents found out. I’m lactose intolerant, so my breakfast cereal was always dry (this being the 1980s). I started to “eat” my cereal in my bedroom. It went in the bin untouched. My parents eventually found out. Did they take me to the doctor, no. My mother chose to taunt me instead, fill my plate more than anyone else’s, and follow me to the toilet after i’d eaten. Eventually school noticed. I was summoned from a class to see the head of year. On the way to her office i thought of all the things i might have done wrong, and the resulting telling off at home. When she uttered the words that people were concerned about how much weight i’d lost, i felt found out (this was my private thing) and taken aback. I hadn’t realised anyone took notice of me, so this was a shock. I was to make an appointment with my family doctor, urgently. I then went weekly (by myself, of course) to be weighed. I learnt that i needed to fool the doctor into thinking i was doing better than i was, so i used to put coins, lots of coins in my pockets so that i could cheat the scale. Dr Freud Dude went back to my milk intolerance. Had i considered that maybe, as a baby i found breast milk difficult. I’d not thought about that. Googling this possibility provides some interesting things to think about. I’m starting to understand that my problems might have started with not bonding with my mother.
Today also involved seeing my psychiatrist (yay, double bill) and being weighed. I spent a lot of the day on the toilet due to the anxiety of that. I’d rather have a filling at the dentist than be weighed. I’m such a coward that for the last 5 years i’ve not even known what my weight is. I know i’ve lost a lot of weight recently due to my eating disorder, so this was never going to be fun. Dr Shaggy was as amazing as ever (except for being weighed). He really understands how crap i feel, and the torment in my head. He noticed i’m more communicative about where i’m at. I think this is partly due to the home treatment team, and partly as now i’ve voiced how shit i feel, there is no point holding back. I’ve said the worst i can say. We discussed my sleeping (lack of). I still have the prescription from two visits ago on our coffee table for an additional sleeping tablet. I was uneasy accepting it then. Dr Shaggy asked if this was because i felt i deserved to be punished with lack of sleep and lack of food. I admitted this was the case. That i’m good at self punishment. He thinks i need to fill the prescription…and that i should have a few doses each month to help my mind and body (they’re addictive, so only a few a month would be safe). I don’t feel worthy of this. He asked if there was anything else he could do, and i suggested a new head. He said that would be sad, as the world would lose me and all that i give to the world. Ouch.
I arrived home, finally at 4.30pm, exhausted, mentally and physically. On the doormat, post. A letter that looked like an appointment from the hospital. No. It’s a letter from work summoning me to a meeting about my sickness on the 29th of May. At my office – so all my colleagues will see how shit i look. Last week when i collected my weekly meds from the pharmacy (humiliating in itself that i can’t be safe with more than a week’s worth), the assistant told me how ill i looked. Which is amusing on one level – why would i be in a pharmacy if i were well?? However, it reinforced what i already knew.
Over the years i’ve found writing a journal helpful to get thoughts out and to stop festering. Re-reading a journal can be difficult. As i’m still struggling in this nasty pit i decided to re-read a journal from the last time i was in this pit. I was struck by a conversation i had written about. Ray (my amazing husband) was hugging me and telling me “don’t let your family kill you”. What he meant was, don’t let what the did to me before i escaped be the reason i choose suicide. Woah! So now, i’m choosing to say to the urges to harm myself, “no, then they (my family) win”. I’m being well supported by a mental health team too. Now i need to learn to accept my past.