Friday, 10 April 2009

A Brain, Obsessed

I have mentioned a few times about how my eating is fairly repetitive- part of why I don't post pictures more frequently is because my lunches and dinners tend to be the same every day. I haven't been in this habit for a really long time (several years)- sure, I have gone through phases where certain foods make a more regular appearance, but since I was 19 (worst stage of my ED- basically was eating exactly the same foods every day which gradually got cut back as I ran out/stores weren't stocking the *exact* size/shape/brand I 'needed') I have made a VERY concerted effort to have some variety in there...

This has taken different forms over the years- from times where I would rotate the same two dinners, to times in New York when I ate out almost every meal and tried several new things every single day. For the most part, it's been somewhere in between- having food/meals that I eat a few times a week, but trying new things a few times a week.

Since moving into my apartment almost 6 weeks ago, I have pretty much stuck to a "weekly schedule". I have a few breakfasts I rotate, flexibility around snacks (within certain limits/criteria) but my lunches and dinners have been exactly the same. Aside from 1 allotted meal a week that I have something "new", though the past 3 weeks this "new" meal has just been repeated.

Obviously this is problematic. I can't go over to my mom's house for dinner, can't even contemplate the notion of a trip to NY right now...am bored to tears at the thought of eating this same thing one.more.time.

I decided on Wednesday night that I was going to switch things up and reintroduce some of my old fall-back meals into my diet. I ended up spending almost 3 hours writing lists, doing calculations, racking my brains for combinations that met criteria for meals in a healthy sense whilst being "safe" in an ED sense (note to self: the 2 aren't compatible). I sat, curled up on my sofa with 3 notepads, a calculator, old food diaries. Eventually I planned a week's worth of meals that I felt okay with. It was a rather awesome moment- a true "EUREKA", as if I had found the answer to world peace. I went to bed happy and relaxed- only to wake up a couple of hours later FREAKING out because I suddenly realised there were major flaws in my plan. Because god forbid I should be so daring as to get my protein from cottage cheese rather than yogurt, or tofu rather than tuna. I honestly feel like my world is held together by the exact breakdown of my nutritional intake- obviously I know that's not true, but that's how it feels.

So, I curled up on the sofa once again- notepads, calculator, etc, and got back to work.

I must have done this at least 10 times since Wednesday night. Suddenly nothing feels safe, nothing seems to make sense. Laws of science and nutrition, never mind LOGIC don't apply. The foods I DO eat were selected for a very particular reason (coincidentally, one of my meals happens to be the exact same meal I ate when i was 19), and to change it feels so incredibly overwhelming and threatening. So much information conflicting in my brain- everything I have ever read about nutrition/diet (eat soy/don't eat soy, eat dairy/don't eat dairy. eat healthy fats/avoid any fat, vegetarian? vegan? raw? nooooooooo!)

I'm trying to fight these thoughts with just plain common sense. I was eating different foods for 7 years with no major trauma. It's not physically possible to gain 10lbs overnight just by eating a different dinner. It's OKAY if some meals are a little lower in protein or a little higher in fat- in time, it balances out. I KNOW this on an intellectual level, but as soon as I talk myself round and feel okay with the idea of change, my brain starts throwing up roadblocks and "worst case scenarios" which I can't seem to shake off.

Every time I try to distract myself by reading/watching TV/cleaning, all of a sudden a thought will come into my head (more "EUREKA" moments!) and I have to stop, write it down, analyze it, tear it up, give up, go back to reading/TV/cleaning until 5 minutes later it happens again.

I don't know why I am writing this. I feel ridiculous. My mom and my therapist know I obsess about this stuff, but I've never quite shared the extent to which I worry about it. Or quite to what extent things have gotten to with both my intake and thought processes lately.

I feel like the last few weeks have been such a whirlwind- the horrible depression, followed by 2 days of BLISS, followed by this incapacitating thinking. I'm also wondering if due to the depression/psychotic reaction, I really let my guard down on the ED front and focused on the immediate problem- meanwhile, ED has crept in and oh-so-kindly taken care of the food front.

One part of me thinks I can't continue. The other part is saying, "eh- why not? what does it even matter at this point?" I guess depression is still lurking there too. The part of me lacking the motivation to do anything about this is, admittedly, the part that just wants to say "screw it". The part of me that I can't tell whether is depressed of sensible- the part of me that knows that all the goals I had about moving back to New York, work, etc...just aren't going to happen. So why bother trying to fight through barriers when I don't care if I make it to the other side?

Why?

Well the other part of me thinks that 1) of COURSE New York/work/all that "life" stuff isn't going to be an option in the current situation, but 2) I HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS SITUATION.

I'm just not sure HOW. I am beyond exhausted right now. I've had such good intentions to change my meals over the coming days/weeks and the obsessing over it so much is draining beyond words.

This has been long and jumbled and probably not making much sense so I'll end now. I just wanted to try and put into words where I am at right now.

Hope all of you are enjoying Passover or Easter or whatever you are celebrating this weekend.

Aaaand...HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAIME!

6 comments:

ElleMigliore said...

I'm sorry that you're having so much anxiety over foods and meals.. but that's all apart of breaking out of your safe routine and trying something new.. so congrats on that aspect for wanting something different! you are absolutely right that in time, everything balances out.. just a matter of trusting it. Maybe try to let the whole meal plan thing just "be" in the same fashion that you did the other day when you were feeling at peace. Hopefully by letting it process for a few days, it will become more clear.

Goodluck love! This storm will pass :)

Pammy said...

I am sorry about all the anxiety. I know how planning meals and such can be so frustrating and anxiety provoking. I know you can do this darling. Stay strong

Sam said...

Ellie,
I can completelly understand what you mean about having the same things day in and day out. Many days, I have the same thing for lunch and dinner!
Maybe you can try changing one item per day?
Your relatiy checks with common sense are great!
There is a grey area, one between saying why bother and the other that says oh fuck it. It's hard to find, but I think it's so much bigger than you may think it is.
Keep fighting, let NY be a motivation.
You deserve and can make it to the other side. Im here for you.
Take care.

Katie said...

Gah, I have had the same problem at various times over the years. Especially with the meal plans which end up getting written out dozens of times over. I feel like my eating disorder may have been responsible for the destruction of a whole rainforest :P
I agree with Sam, could you try changing one thing at a time - maybe one meal every other day instead of one a week? I wish I had some good advice on this, but I don't think there's any way to lessen the anxiety long term other than to keep challenging it, and that's definitely easier said than done. It is possible though.
I hope you have a good saturday :)

Lexi said...

Don't feel ridiculous for writing about your feelings. We're here for you. Anytime you need to vent - go right ahead.
Love,
Lexi

burpandslurp said...

wow. I understand what you're saying. I used to be the same way, eating the EXACT same things and freaking out about the "correct" amount of calories, fat, protein, carbs, etc.
It's gottn easier for me as I forced myself to branch out. the thing is at first I tried to alleviate my anxieties by planning way before hand. Like, plan a few days before hand what NEW thing you want to try...keep on repeating that image in your mind through those days and when you do it, it's not that scary anymore.
good luck. I know it's a tough battle, but constantly challenging yourself will only make you stronger.