Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Changes On The Horizon

Everything suddenly seems to be happening so fast. Too fast. I have been offered a place at college to do a course I am really interested in. I applied, thinking that 1) I wouldn't get in, and 2) that it didn't start for another month.

I got a place.

It starts in less than two weeks.

No problem with this, except that it is 500 miles away.

Suddenly it seems a little daunting.

I want to move. I NEED to move (which was partly why I applied), but suddenly have run out of time and there is just so.much.to.do.

I know me, and I know it will all come together in a manic organising frenzy. I'll sort out accommodation, packing, train fares. I'll do the paperwork, buy the textbooks- fly through the first month on adrenaline, then it will hit me that I really didn't think this through at all.


Then I'll be 500 miles away from "home"- my family, my treatment team, all that is familiar. I'll be waiting for an intake with my new treatment team, the stress of my course will be kicking in, everything will be overwhelming and without the adrenaline, I'll crumble.

I need to stop this spiral before it starts.

Breathe. Relax. Remind myself that this course isn't the be-all and end-all. It's only a year. I don't have to do it forever if I decide it's not right. I can always come back here. I have more friends and support in London than I have up here- hell, the only reason I moved here in the first place was to live with my dad, and he moved 1000 miles away a year ago. I WANT this. I want to move, and at least with college starting, I'll have structure and deadlines and momentum to get me through the stress of moving (I thrive under pressure, then crumble when the initial stress is lifted).

This has the potential to be a disaster. It also has the potential to be amazing. I'm going to focus on the "amazing" aspect for now...

Friday, 22 August 2008

There's No Method To This Madness

I feel so divided right now between what I am doing, and what I should be doing. I know better than this. Years of treatment have forever entrenched into my head that I do indeed need to eat. And yet, deep down, at my core, I don't believe that it's necessary. I don't see why it's so essential. I know the science, the facts, the physiological reasons behind nourishing the body, and yet on an emotional level, it seems so unnecessary, so absurd, so self-indulgent.

I feel like I should be taking better care of myself, and then find myself questioning, "why?". What have I done to deserve to eat? What have I done to deserve to feel strong and healthy? What is the point in taking on energy when I don't particularly want to face whatever challenge tomorrow brings?

Then of course, there is the basic survival mechanism that kicks in. I'm sleeping a maximum of 3-4 hours a night. My feet feel numb and tingly, my body shivering, my thoughts racing, my nights haunted by images of food leaving me stumbling around the house at 3am, weighing myself, just to 'make sure' that it was, indeed, nothing more than a dream.

It hit me today that I am back in the UK- yes, it's taken a while. It also hit me what I have left behind. I feel like a piece of ME was left behind. I started crying as I was waiting for the bus...on my way "home", and yet feeling like "home" doesn't exist anymore. I am so incredibly lonely here. I miss my friends, I miss my regular therapy appointments, I miss having reasons to get up each day, a purpose. I miss what could have been, rather than what *was*. I am still clinging to this fantasy that I have in my head about how life in New York COULD have been. And yet wasn't. It wasn't until today that I started to miss it, romanticise it, want to try again.

But I can't.

I am left trying to pick up the pieces or the horrible mess I am left with, and falling apart in the process.

I have no sense of what I want to do right now. Until today, I have been completely shut off from feeling anything, and now the heartache has set in. The numbness that initial restriction brings is starting to wear off, and there is an aching longing, yearning, wanting...for something that I don't know if I can ever have back again.

Pick myself up, dust myself off, start all over again, right? No. It doesn't work like that. Radical acceptance? Perhaps. Or maybe more of a begrudging acceptance. This is what happened, this is where I am now. How do I deal with it? I don't know the answer to that. All I know is that it hurts like hell, more than I will ever be able to put into words, and that I am dealing with it the only way I can right now.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Waiting For The Peak, Waiting For The Fall

I'm sitting here, trying to focus on something other than food. My thoughts are racing, my heart is pounding through my chest and it's all I can do to just SIT and not grab my bag and start walking (where I would go at this time of night, I have no idea). I feel like the walls are closing in on me, the floor is tilting at funny angles, it's hard to catch my breath, to think, to read, to write. Where is this coming from? Today has been, in my book, a pretty good day. I'm not fighting urges to purge or exercise, not having intense thoughts of self-hatred/self-destruction, I'm just anxious.

Just anxious? Really? That sounds so undermining. This feeling is REAL, dammit. I am anxious as hell, my brain feels like it's about to explode. I want to scream, throw things, run, but am almost paralysed by the intensity of this fear.

I'm okay.

I am overtired, stressed, coming down from far too much caffeine earlier today and probably (definitely) haven't eaten enough. All factors which, according to DBT, increase vulnerability to negative emotions (don't ya love the lingo? "you know you've been in therapy too long when...")

I need to step back. Regroup. Remind myself that as bad as this feels right now, it will pass. Anxiety cannot rise forever. It will peak, and fall, and meanwhile...yeah, I'll feel crappy. But I don't need to do anything now that is going to make it worse in the long-run.

Focus on the things I achieved today (I was pretty productive for a change!), focus on the task at hand (unwinding for the night- I've been up since 4am) and accept this anxiety without judging it, and let it pass...

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Food For Thought

I wish I had something more to say than just, "I'm still around". I feel really empty at the moment and have little to say at all, not just in the world of blogging. Everything feels strangely quiet- an eerie kind of silence which usually means trouble is brewing.

I'm not doing well, but there isn't any thoughts/feelings behind it. I'm falling into the same old patterns, not because I am highly driven to do so, merely that I lack the drive NOT to do so. It's getting old, but it's a default mode that I revert back to when I have nothing else tangible to cling to.

I know that the people around me now have long since given up. It's hard to stay focused on a "recovery" that you are constantly told will never happen.

"...because you don't want it"
"...because if you DID want it, you would have done it by now"
"...because you have tried every kind of treatment and it hasn't helped"
"...because you are too wrapped up in anorexia"
"...because this has gone on too long"
"...because the sky is blue/it's a Thursday/I just painted my nails"

None of this really means anything. I know the statistics aren't in my favour. I know what treatment I've tried. I know that a lot of the "treatment" has done more harm than good, I know that there is more that I could be doing to move forwards. I know this is frustrating for you too. I know, I know, I know.

I also know that things could be worse. A lot worse. They have been before, and I figure that staying relatively sane is a balancing act that very few people seem to understand- people that knew me 10 years ago would not recognise the person I am today. People who know me now would not identify with the 15 year old me. Things HAVE changed. Things aren't all rays of sunshine right now, but they are a hell of a lot more stable and "livable" than the world I had created for myself back then. Maybe it's the natural process of maturing. Maybe something in the treatment I have had has sunk in. Maybe it's just all part of the healing process. Maybe I am looking too deep into things and should stop brushing off how the "here and now" is just because it could be worse. It could always be worse. I guess focusing on the "it COULD be worse" part shuns me of taking responsibility for the present situation.

Food for thought.

Ha ha.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

There's Always Tomorrow

I'm having a really hard time right now with relaxing. The concept is foreign to me- I don't know HOW to relax. I feel this overwhelming sense of urgency to be constantly productive, constantly achieving *something*, constantly doing something/anything that is going to get me somewhere in life. I don't know how to just kick back, relax and enjoy life for what it is. My mind is constantly whirring- where I should be, what I should be doing, how next to make some grand leap from where I am to where I want to be.

I feel like I am missing out.

I see people sitting in Starbucks, absorbed in a book, or just gazing out the window. I get my coffee "to go" and run through the streets as if I actually have to be somewhere oh-so-important, because to sit down and just relax in the moment terrifies me. What if I miss out on some golden opportunity? What if people think I am lazy? What if I run late on my self-imposed schedule?

SO WHAT? Does it really matter what other people think? Does it really matter if I get home at 4:15 instead of exactly 4:00pm? Does it really matter if I DON'T respond to that email as soon as it lands in my inbox?

I need to figure out a way to have more balance and relaxation time. I'm not working/studying at the moment and the guilt that comes with that is overwhelming. Truth is, I've been signed off sick. I SHOULD be resting more. I SHOULD be taking things slower and letting myself heal. Why is it so hard? Because I'm scared. I'm scared to stop because my thoughts start to consume me. I'm scared of what my family will think/say. I'm scared of letting people down. I'm scared of being perceived as lazy, self-indulgent, useless. I'm scared that if I 'stop', I'll never 'start' again. I'm scared to be by myself in case...in case of 'what' I don't know. Just scared to stop and think and feel and just let things wash over me...scared of the complacency that might bring, even if it isn't necessarily a bad thing to bring a little more apathy into my world.

Nothing is so important that it's worth getting sick over. Nothing (in my life, at this point) is so urgent that it can't wait an hour or two. The people that may or may not judge me have their own issues, and I need to figure out what's right for me. When it's okay to sit down and watch TV for an hour. When it's okay to skip my morning run because it's pouring or just because I don't feel like it. When it's okay to not go to 6 different grocery stores and just make do with what is available in the nearest one. When it's okay to close down my laptop for the day and relax knowing I'll deal with the rest of my emails tomorrow.

There's always tomorrow.

Most stuff can wait.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Home, and Homesick

I feel like I should update. Or rather, I feel like I should have something to say. Anything to say. The truth is that things feel pretty strange and foreign right now. I am back in the UK and struggling to adapt to the weather, my treatment team's polar opposite approach to what I had in the US, different foods, living with my mom again.

It's hard. It's tiring. I am homesick, and yet have no desire to return to New York right now. I am not unhappy *here* per se, just overwhelmed by the differences between my life here and my life there.

I thought I would miss it more than I have- maybe I am still a little jet-lagged, maybe it's a kind of "honeymoon" period, maybe I have just accepted that NY isn't an option for me right now, but I feel relieved to be back. I am sleeping a lot and grappling with ideas about where/when/how to move out of my mom's place. Not sure where I fit in, or what I want to be doing in 3/6/9 months. Wondering if things are going to get wildly out of control, or if my rather tenuous grip on reality will grow stronger.

I have been having the thoughts of "symptoms" the last few days, which I hadn't had for a while. First I was focused on getting/keeping a job, then life kind of took over, then it seemed pointless to ruin my last few weeks in New York. Now I have a huge blank future lying ahead of me and I want to sink into what's familiar and predictable. I am trying to ride out the urges, let the thoughts be little more than thoughts, and just take things day by day, minute by minute.