I know it isn’t Monday, but while I was getting ready for bed tonight and reflecting on the hopeful and exciting day tomorrow that is my 23rd birthday, I thought about how much I’ll have to loosen up on on my rigidity and “rules” I have set up for myself (thanks, anorexia! *rolls eyes*), including blogging. I felt like writing about rough patches in anorexia recovery tonight, so I will.
I feel bad for letting Mary, Hugh, and my other lovable characters from 1794 down another week, but I promise I will get to them. Maybe I’ll write many parts out and give you all a longer excerpt, or maybe my next post will be another short part, I’m not sure yet. I still would like to try and hit a deadline of June I made for myself, but we’ll see. I thought I should share what’s happening with me now, so you don’t wonder where I am or worry, or anything like that.
Remember that beginning of a relapse I told you about last time? Well, a culmination of a bunch of little things two weeks ago got together, snowballed into a big monster (aka An) and threw me off my recovery path. Not a lot, but some of those old thoughts came creeping back, I was restricting again, and I felt awful, depressed, teary, irritated, in other words, almost exactly like last year at this time.
I was thinking back to last year actually and I am still proud at the progress I’ve made. March 2016 was the time I finally told myself, my sister, parents, and a doctor about my anorexia. I really was at my lowest point but since then I’ve eaten more, felt okay with it, gained good weight, but I’ve just had a little bump recently, that’s all.
My fluctuating moods and intrusive thoughts were put on-hold when my sister Sophie was visiting for Easter. It was the most fun I’ve had in a while: she and Jack and I went to all our favourite places, made yummy meals, shopped, watched movies and Riverdale, and even had an egg hunt and ham last Sunday! I cried after I watched the bus take her to the airport and the rest of my week was pretty crummy.
A good thing was that I had an initial psychotherapeutic assessment in the middle of the week with a nice lady at the BACA Eating Disorder Clinic, just two and a half blocks from my apartment in Montreal. Again, I told her my life story and what was happening right now. She saw how I’ve been dutifully eating more foods and gaining weight, which was good, and she said that along with some meetings with a nutritionist and her, she’ll help me get to the underlying psychosocial aspects of my disorder and recovery – which is exactly what I need! I’ve come far in regards to eating my “fear foods,” more than I used to, and accepting my changing body – most of the time – but now I need to deal with how my healing and sensitive mind reacts to everything.
I just feel so relieved to have my worries set aside, or rather, given to my psychotherapist and future nutritionist, for just a while (well, as long as it takes I guess), until I’m ready to deal with it by myself again.
After that meeting, I felt lighter. I allowed myself to feel happy, excited for my birthday (because I absolutely dreaded getting older and growing up, another crappy symptom/feeling of an eating disorder), and grateful for the things happening around me. For one thing, I feel grateful for happy and enchanting music: I’ve been really happy with listening (on repeat, hehe) to new songs that came out this week from two of my favourite artists, and they’re Lady Gaga’s (well, she’s one of my idols) The Cure and Lana Del Rey’s Lust For Life. So relaxing…!
I allowed myself to feel stronger and a sort of “protector” for myself because for about the past two weeks, I told my mum in a text that when I feel sad, I cry so hard and my heart just hurts really bad, and I feel like an open, raw, and vulnerable wound that can’t heal or close up. But that meeting gave me courage again, at a time when I was kind of losing motivation and feeling bored of eating so much and gaining – even though I know it’s the right thing.
Here’s how I allowed myself to be stronger: this group of people at my work have started a collective diet. One of them is quite vocal and passionate about it, so we never hear the end of it. I didn’t even want to hear what app it’s on, but it’s one where they all have profiles, they’re in a group, and ugh, the absolute horror: they have a set amount of weight they want to lose by end of June, they have a certain number of calories to eat a day, they log everything they eat, all the water they drink, their daily exercise, everything! I quite literally almost lost it when they started on Monday. I was like “NO! They cannot possibly talk about this, pick at their lunches, congratulate themselves for eating freaking grass, and call Nutella bad UNTIL JUNE!?!?!?!?!!? I’ll burst!!” And I almost felt like telling them right off, but I was way too scared. I don’t talk much at all at the office, and if the words “recovery from anorexia” came out, well, I’m just afraid with how they will react and see me. Not that should care, but still. And I’m not ashamed… but still.
Because if you know anything about anorexia especially, diet talk and food monitoring can be a huge trigger. Of course, this would have ruined me last year: if I were still feeling the same way as last year at my lowest point right now, I would have secretly joined them and competed with them and myself (and An, but it would be no use because nothing would ever be enough for her, which is why she’s so deadly), and done real harm. But instead, I heard their diet talk, tolerated it, grated my teeth as their tips and tricks and comments on other people’s foods curled my blood, and decided to not let it affect me. I would read a book instead of taking part of their cult, and tell myself: “I’m so lucky to be at peace with my body and food, and love both of those things enough to not care at all about what I eat, how much, or how I look.” I mean, come on, it’s your body, a mere vessel to carry your MIND, creativity, imagination, knowledge, sass, sweetness, generosity, everything else that’s so wonderful about you! Right?! Right.
I will say something tactful one day because I know I cannot possibly survive listening to that until end of June without going crazy and harbouring ill feelings toward them, but not now.
Now, I’m looking forward to waking up 23, taking a weekend getaway with Jack to Burlington, VT, and celebrating my birthday and springtime.
I’ll see you again soon, with Mary and Hugh! In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to watch (if you don’t already!) Anne, the TV series made by CBC which will be all available on Netflix on May 12th. It’s not just another Anne of Green Gables, but it’s really amazing. It is well written, the landscape shots are beautiful of course, the acting is very convincing, and this feisty Anne, played by Amybeth McNulty, is so endearing and spunky in her acting. She’s just like little Anne in the books, overly talkative but you love it anyway, eager to please and prove herself, but not afraid to say or do as she pleases – all big things for early 1900s PEI! I always feel better and whole again after I watch it, and I feel revitalized almost, and feel a rejuvenation for life. Maybe it’s just because of how I’m feeling right now in recovery, but I like the happiness and comfort it brings me anyway. And when The Tragically Hip’s Ahead By A Century plays for the intro, I nestle further in my bed with excitement! Here are some beautiful sketches by one of the intro artists, Brad Kunkle, that are actually my phone’s screensaver and lock screen right now because Anne gives me more life and spark and imagination.
Until next time!