27th July-2nd August ~ Twenty-Twenty.

Monday – Rain. Lots of rain! It was definitely an inside day. I had therapy this morning. I’d been struggling a bit mentally with a date. I feel the subject is a bit of a taboo subject, but also a necessary one because it’s a conversation that people feel awkward discussing. I also know that I find it quite a challenging & sometimes painful thing to talk about, but again..that’s also why it’s important. I will just put a trigger warning here though, because I don’t want to trigger any negative thoughts if anybody is feeling low. ⚠️ The date is basically difficult because it was the anniversary of a suicide attempt. I’ve come a long way since that time, but I experience some of the memories & emotions again when I think of that day. I’m also going to write something about this topic because it’s something that needs more care in the way it’s written. The short of it is… it does get better. You won’t think it at the time.. I know I certainly didn’t & also not for quite a long time, but I promise it can get better & I don’t say that lightly.. I say it because it’s true. It’s not really about wanting your life to end.. it’s about wanting the pain to end. You will eventually find another way. Give yourself a chance. Try a different way. Reach out for the help, because you’ll never know unless you try. Bad days still happen, but I’m learning that they do pass. Sometimes you have to sit with it & tolerate it even if it’s painful. One of my pieces of work for therapy was writing a list of 10 reasons to live & at first I thought it’d be difficult. I knew I’d find a few to begin with & yeah.. I did, but I did have to think a bit more to continue the list, but I managed to. I don’t like the number 10 (I’m still figuring out how much that’s to do with ASD & how much OCD 🤔) so I came up with 9 for now. I’ve attached a photo of my reasons below. Although it’s good to have a few things on your list .. it doesn’t really matter how long or short it is. You might only have one reason, but it is still a reason & so it’s reason enough. I know I wouldn’t have found as many reasons (if any) if I wrote this list 3 years ago, but I’m able to think of more now that things have turned a corner. I also tried a thought challenge again surrounding the date & I find that exercise really helpful as well & you can do it with various thoughts.

Tuesday – Migraine. When I say migraine..it means the day is usually a complete lost day. I’ve written a separate blog post explaining what they’re like for me personally (they vary between individuals quite a lot). It’s probably not of interest to anyone, but I’m nerdy like that, so I’ve written about it anyway. I basically don’t have much to say about the 28th, because I was just in bed all day. 🙄 Waking up because my body’s boiling hot & about to vomit, 🤢 so I went as far as the bathroom & back. Also woke up to apply ‘4head’ stick to my forehead (funnily enough) & put a ‘cool & soothe’ patch on (that my mum likes to laugh at if I venture out of my room, as it apparently looks as though I have a ‘panty liner’ on my head – I’m too ill to care what state I look in though when I have a migraine 🙊 so when I do come out of hiding… I look like a complete & utter mess consisting of ghost white skin, messier hair than usual, the dopiest looking expression on my face, wrapped in a dressing gown & cradling the vom bowl that’s ready for cleaning). I also apply ice packs to my head when I have a migraine, so there’s usual several of those flung around my room too. The only proper relief I get is from darkness, ice & sleep. I try to take a Triptan tablet (acute migraine med), but I’m usually ill too soon after taking it for it to have time to provide any benefit, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday. I do have a preventative med that helps a lot, but they were out of stock when I collected my meds 💊 yesterday.. hence the migraine following a day without them. 🤦‍♀️ Thankfully my mum managed to go out & get them for me whilst I was asleep.

Wednesday – I walked with my mum to where she works this morning. Before the pandemic we did this more regularly & went for coffee on the way, but obviously that hasn’t happened in the past few months. We didn’t have coffee today either, because we just don’t really think it’s worth the risk for the sake of a brief 15min drink, so we just did our usual walk whilst chatting. I came home by myself, which I find quite nice most of the time, sometimes I use it as an opportunity to think about things & straighten things out in my head a bit & other times (depending on where I’m walking) I try to do a bit of mindfulness & either take in the surroundings or properly listen to the music I’m listening to & sometimes I just try to focus on my breathing – today was nice because the weather was okay & I did a lil bit of thinking & a lil bit of mindfulness. I don’t actually do quite as much walking at the minute because I’ve tried to use the past few months as a reason to lower my activity levels. I think I (anorexia) always find an excuse in day-to-day life, but because there hasn’t really been anywhere to go.. there hasn’t been an excuse for my ED to cling to. I can assure you… nothing bad has happened as a result of reducing exercise. I’m not saying that I don’t have the desire or drive to exercise excessively, but I have gotten more ‘used to’ fighting it & built up more evidence that nothing terrible suddenly happens by cutting down. I could still do better, but I’ve come a long way & am still working to make it less of a dominating aspect of my life. My sister rang in the afternoon & we were on the phone for an hour.. conversations consisting of seriousness as well as absolute nonsense! We did also sort out between us what presents to get 2 of our nephew’s for their birthdays – they did a list, so it’s been quite straight forward, bless them! I also planted something else for the garden.. I like to seed things in the house for a few days or weeks depending on the speed of germination, otherwise it can be a bit of a pain as the birdies come & eat the seeds, so it tends to be counterproductive seeding things outside.

Thursday – I had a dietetics appointment shortly followed by supported lunch on Thursday. Dietetics was helpful – I sometimes feel a bit anxious beforehand purely because I feel bad if things haven’t gone as smoothly as I’d have hoped (I get like this before any kind of appointments for similar reasons). You also have to remember though… recovery doesn’t go smoothly. It’s not okay to pretend as though it has because it doesn’t get you anywhere & I know that because I used to do that a lot a few years ago & it just sabotages your chances of making any real progress. I’m still brilliant at saying ‘I’m fine’ when I’m really not (I think most people in life are good at that..it’s our automatic response because we think it’s the most ‘polite’ response), but that’s at the immediate time.. apart from that.. I’m really honest about how things have been even if it feels uncomfortable – you have to be if you really want to recover because it’s the only way to let anyone help you find solutions. I was feeling bad this morning because I feel as though recovery has been going horribly wrong recently & I felt guilty for being off-track with dietetic goals. At the same time though… some things have been out of my control. We covered a lot & I have an amended plan. As usual… the pre-appointment anxiety was a bit OTT because the appointment was really helpful & there isn’t anybody I see who’s ‘scary’ anyway 😂 .. everyone’s approachable.. I think it’s just me, but I suppose I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t an anxiety ridden soul. 😆 I had supported lunch more or less straight afterwards – I prepped lunch beforehand though, so I didn’t have a 10min panic in the kitchen. It was the first appointment with my new support worker, so I was feeling slightly overwhelmed, but in the end.. I felt as though I got along with her quite well & felt comfortable, so I felt relieved & happy to continue – this also now means getting back on track with the scary goals… goals that I know I need to do, but still scary nonetheless. When you think about it though… when you think of phobias… you don’t usually hear people say… ‘I have a potato phobia’ 😂 … like, the food isn’t going to get up from the plate & start chasing you down the street threatening your life… it’s just food. And I’m not trying to simplify it by saying ‘it’s just food’…I have an ED, I know it isn’t that simple, but I find it helpful to try & see it from the perspective of a person without an eating disorder. Recognising that my ED thoughts actually sound rather ridiculous when I say them out-loud though… I find it helps – it at least helps to soften the blow when I realise how ridiculous some of the thoughts actually sound & then it gives me a lil bit of a reality check that I can also use at a later date to take the piss out of myself with. I feel like my goal-related headline for next week is going to be ‘Girl cries at custard cream’ – like, is this really my life? 🤷‍♀️ Anyway.. I went on a walk with my dad in the evening & it was nice to go walking on a ‘properly’ warm & sunny day again. 😌🌞

Friday – The weather today has been more moody than moi. 🙈 Glorious sunshine, rainbows, 🌈 wind & a thunderstorm. ⛈ I started the day with one of my exhausted mornings. Got out of bed at 7am & then my eyes felt too heavy to keep open, so I got back in bed 45mins later. 🙊 I think it’s okay to do that if you’re able to when your body’s telling you it needs a bit more rest, especially when recovering because there’s a healing process. When I first went into hospital… I wanted to sleep for the first few weeks – it was also partly due to beginning Quetiapine.. I was only given the lowest dose (still am), but for the first two weeks of that.. it makes you very sleepy! Even after those initial couple of weeks though.. I continued just wanting to nap.. my friend & I were renowned for falling to sleep on the sofas in the communal areas.. we also used to take one another’s photos when one of us was napping & if we were both napping.. someone else ‘kindly’ papped us instead. 😂 So yeah.. if your body is asking you to slow down.. listen to it! I had a brief video chat this afternoon – I’m a lived experience volunteer & one of my roles in the NHS is to offer med students on their psychiatric rotation, the chance to practice taking a history from a ‘real’ lived experience patient. Things have been a bit different for them all during lock-down & thankfully they’ve still been able to do this part of their rotation via video call. This afternoon I’ve been asked to be part of their teaching in a different way due to their psychiatric placements having to be delivered differently. It’s going to be slightly different to the usual role, but kind of similar to another voluntary role I do with an eating disorder charity when delivering training. It’s exciting to be part of something new & different & I’m really grateful for being asked. Later on my mum & I spent the evening baking & decorating a cake for a lady she works with. I baked the bottom half (choc orange 🍊 cake) & my mum baked the top half (vanilla sponge) & then we jointly decorated it. We’ve done a few recently & in the past. This one wasn’t quite as smooth as the others though, because the chocolate icing & buttercream in the centre just kept wanting to melt & slide due to how hot it was today, but it still turned out okay. We just enjoy doing them as favours for people. I usually bake a lot more often for family, but due to the pandemic.. we’ve not seen each other much or had gatherings, obviously, so it’s been nice to at least bake cakes for some people at my mum’s workplace. We’ve done a couple of retirement cakes & a couple of birthday cakes just recently. 😊

Saturday – The first day of August & yet it still feels like this weird year where we all got put on pause in March & despite all this lock-down malarkey.. time seems to have gone slowly & quickly at the same time & somehow we’re already in August! 🤷‍♀️ Today was a family garden party for Harry & Charlie (2 of my nephew’s). Their birthday’s are both on the 2nd, but they’re having a family day & going to Liverpool on their actual birthday tomorrow & then having a 2nd party next week for their friends so that it isn’t too chaotic or busy. So yeah..the family party was Saturday afternoon/evening! It was so good to see all the family for the first time in a while… also felt anxious beforehand purely because I haven’t been around loads of people for months. I felt better about being outside, but I think it will take me a while to get used to being inside with a group of people again. I’m fine being in closer proximity to my family outside & I’m okay with gradual steps now shielding is paused, but yeah… I’m scared , because I know I find illness triggering & fear contaminating others as well. Anyway.. I have to admit.. it was just really nice to have cuddles with my niece & nephews again after all these months! I think it’s helped with the news of the research showing that children also don’t seem to be as contagious with the virus either. Forgive me for sounding so clinical about it, because I love the kids a heck of a lot, but I also can’t ignore my fears & it’s been a serious thing we’ve all been faced with & I just really want everyone to be safe & well. Just seeing all of the kiddos playing in the garden was wonderful! I really hope this virus shows signs of retreating because I don’t want to go back to the point of being so isolated again. (It’s also not ideal having to remain outside when you’re freezing cold, because of the increased risk being inside brings.) It was funny being with my nephews…they’re so eccentric, they’re amazing! They honestly aren’t your ‘typical’ little boys! Harry’s currently into Karate Kid & Charlie’s current obsession is Elton John (and we have no idea why!) 😂 The presents these kids asked for! 😂 I’ve captured many videos of the pair of them being very dramatic & ‘in character’. I love how they’re so original & proud to be unique! I hope they stay that way, because it makes me feel sad when kids start to feel the pressure to be a ‘certain way’. It was so good to play with Autumn & Oscar too! And oh my… my baby nephew, Mickson! – he’s at that chub stage & I just want to cry when I look at him because he’s such a little squidge & he’s adorable! We played ‘row your boat’ because he really loves the rocking motion at the minute. This is literally why this virus needs to disappear! I get major FOMO when it comes to the kids! They grow too quickly to be missing out on months of their lives & I don’t want that to happen again. Also why I really need to be doing better in recovery! Having anorexia has made it worse by having to be away from others for longer. It wouldn’t be as necessary if my diet was more varied & if I was just generally doing better & physically going in the ‘right’ direction, but my current situation means my immune system’s potentially not so good so I’ve had to be more careful. I didn’t really consider myself to be immuno-suppressed, but I’ve had it explained to me as to why exactly I am. To be honest…even when I’ve been doing better with recovery physically I still seem to take longer to get over things – like my month+ cold last September that I came down with on holiday… I was really congested for ages & I also had two open wounds on my feet (water-park injuries 🙊) that wouldn’t heal up, so I had to steri-strip them to encourage the skin to close. I’m probably just genetically bad at healing in general. 🤷‍♀️ It’s frustrating knowing that you can do something to improve your situation, but feeling totally out of control to do anything about it. Anorexia has a level of power that’s indescribable & it’s annoying AF to say the least to feel so powerless to it. I’ve gone off on a huge side tangent here, but I guess I kind of just feel the need to talk about it all. 🙈

Sunday – So Sunday was Harry & Charlie’s actual birthday! They’re both brothers, both born on the same date, both weighed the same at birth, but nope..not twins..brother’s born on the same day 3 years apart. Harry is 9 today & Charlie is 6 & I swear they’ve just grown up in the blink of an eye! They’re both tall for their ages too & I wish they’d stop growing! 😭 I made a fairy pond today! It’s taken all these months for me to have the realisation that 1, we have an outdoor plug socket on the garage & 2, a long extension lead that’s so long it could probably do more than a lap around the house, so after all these months of creating things inside during all of the nice weather… I could have been creating things outside in the sunshine. My meds make me burn easily though to be fair, so it’s probably not too bad to have only just made this discovery. I also did some ‘faffing’ in the garden…you know…the kind of details that nobody but me would notice, but hey…it’s a better distraction than being inside engaging in behaviours that aren’t so healthy, so faffing whilst getting my dose of vitamin D from the sun…that’s got to be the better option. My dad also went around to my grandparents house later in the afternoon, so I went too & had another half an hour pulling out some more weeds from the garden. I also had a little win, because the chance arose to go for a walk in the evening but I didn’t go. It’s weird considering it as a ‘win’ because the eating disorder really doesn’t make it feel that way when you’re faced with an evening being plagued with negative ED thoughts. It is positive though when you consider the other perspective… the helpful perspective… the non-eating disordered perspective & thus the correct perspective. The ED wants to keep you unwell for it’s own personal growth, so it’s opinion on exercise is therefore invalid really, because it’s obviously not in any way a recovery focused thought. I was tired & I’d been pottering around in the garden anyway & my back was also aching quite a bit (I have back probs too because I’m just that blessed!) so staying at home was definitely the right decision. I wasn’t motivated to go out walking anyway, so if I were to go it would have purely been from a compulsive exerciser point of view.

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