Second of all, my internet issues are ongoing which means that blogging/commenting is limited. I am trying to keep up with you all, but I can't look at picture heavy posts right now and commenting is causing problems. It was due to be fixed on Friday, but they got my address wrong so had to cancel the whole thing, start all over with a new order and are now coming next week. Crazy- I don't know why they couldn't just change the address! I've got some pictures for you guys though so will try to fit in a library trip this week. Thank you for continuing to read/offer support through all of this!
The topic of yesterday's therapy was about how preoccupied I am with food/numbers right now. She thought it might be anxiety related, another theory being that these thoughts have taken over the "head space" the depression was taking up. I am definitely far less depressed since the obsessional thinking has become such an issue which makes it hard to think about making much effort to stop it- I don't know what is worse!
We talked a lot about mindfulness and how this might help right now. Not obsessing and panicking about what I am going to eat for dinner next Tuesday- but staying in the present moment and taking each minute as it comes. Obviously not practical to do ALL the time (some planning is necessary!), but definitely worth remembering when my thoughts are going a hundred miles an hour about a snack or meal days/weeks away! She said that she often recommends to patients that they sit down one day and plan the week's meals, buy the ingredients then just follow their plan. I try to do this but end up either 1) making my plan in a "good" frame of mind then freaking out when it comes to eating it, or 2) making my plan in an ED'd frame of mind then realising mid-week that it's not what I should/want to be doing.
What works for you guys? Do you plan meals in advance? If so, how far?
Part of the difficulty I have in taking a relaxed approach to what I am eating is that I read so much information about nutrition that it's like fireworks in my brain when it comes to actually selecting food. I question a thousand times what the ingredients are, what effect they will have, every study I have read/heard about. I compare my intake to other people and wonder if my body has different needs, or what is true in a scientific sense and what is just my personal interpretation of the information I've read.
She also weighed me, which she hasn't done for a really long time. I didn't actually mind for once, but admittedly that's because I knew my weight had dropped since she last checked. I struggle with this a lot- she pointed out that I spend so much time constructing a "perfect" meal plan but if it really was "perfect", my body wouldn't be suffering the way it is right now. I can't get my head around the concept of weight loss. As crazy as this might sound, I don't believe in weight loss. In other people, YES, but not for me. My eating disorder has always been more about a fear of gaining weight rather than a desperate drive to lose weight- obviously I err on the side of caution and get caught in a weight loss spiral. But when it comes down to it, I see weight as capable of only two things: gaining or maintaining. By that logic, if I am not gaining, I am maintaining. No?.. This makes perfect sense to me so it was weird for her to talk about a weight loss I don't believe in. I did tell her this- it's only very recently that I've stopped worrying about how I'll be perceived in therapy and just say what I am thinking without fear of being judged/labelled. I tell it like it is now (or at least, how it is in MY head!). She wants me to really start questioning the beliefs I hold. I guess now that I am getting them all out in the open I am at least learning that they don't always match up to other people's- which means they may not be entirely accurate. Not that I think other people are always 100% spot-on, but I am starting to pay more attention to how the things I cling to in my brain actually fit into the real world.
I guess with any kind of eating disorder, perception is kind of skewy with certain things- NOT helped by the fact that I spend so much time by myself. I easily lose perspective on what is considered "normal"- I know that "normal" doesn't really exist and everybody is different, but I also know that the more time I spend in my head, 1) the crazier my own thoughts get and 2) the more distant I become from others because I am so far removed from how they function.
We also discussed how I find it hard to see any real purpose in not only changing/increasing my diet, but just life on the whole. Yes, my sessions can get pretty philosophical at times! She thought that life is just there to be lived- to be enjoyed, to find things you take pleasure from. I don't do nearly enough of that and currently my days have no real purpose (which no doubt fuels my depression/emotional state). She did point out that if I want to take photos of my food, that gives eating some purpose outside of my own body/health- my meals need to be picture worthy! I've told her about the blog and how much it is helping me to write/read other people's. It's NOT going to become a food blog at this point, but I do find that I put a different kind of effort and energy into my meals if I am planning on posting pictures. There is no way I would want to post anything that would represent a restrictive/repetitive/overtly disordered diet, or something overly repetitive. She thought having blog-worthy food, whether I choose so post it or not, was a good goal.
- go ahead with voluntary work application (to be with other people and have some kind of focus)
- ongoing meal plan issues (I don't see a dietitian so my meal plan is self-devised: I told her of my plan to change things gradually over the next couple of weeks and she is okay with that)
- be more aware of when I slip into "emotional mind" and work on mindfulness skills (DBT stuff from days gone by...)