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Archive for the ‘Therapy’ Category

Yeah so… I am still alive.

I’ve tried to write a blog post numerous times, but I can’t seem to sum up what is happening at the moment.

Because… I’m doing really well.

After resisting binges left right and centre, being able to remind myself that I don’t need extra food, having that little voice in my head instead of just this screaming for me to binge… I haven’t felt the urge to binge as much.

I haven’t had to talk myself out of a binge so often, it’s as if the voice persuading me to binge is interrupted by a resounding NO. No, actually it’s not. I think saying NO to myself for over a decade and then sabotaging myself is a key pattern to my Eating Disorder. Being able to reason with myself has been something I’d never tried before.

I can binge if I choose, but it is a choice. If I eat this chocolate bar/3 bowls of cereal/huge bag of popcorn, then I have to take full responsibility for it, whether it leads to weight gain, or sinking into depression. But as well as this, it means I can take responsibility for if I don’t binge, it means I’ve done something to be proud of.

My therapist explained when I first came to her I was in a child ego state. I’d left Uni and moved back home with my parents, I was unemployed, had no money and so no independence, I wasn’t being very sociable, I was gaining weight… it was all going downhill, and I couldn’t stop it.

I didn’t want to save myself, I wanted someone to save me. I wanted it all to go away, and I didn’t want to have to work for it, because why should I have to? Not everyone has an Eating Disorder and Depression. Why did I have to deal with it when other people my age were getting on with their lives, and I was sliding backwards?

But now I’m thinking as an in control adult. I have a job (for now), my eating and weight is my responsibility, so now I can control that as well. I have an income, and I do things I stopped doing, like cleaning, things that I don’t want to do but I do because that’s what being an adult is all about. I don’t want to talk myself out of a binge when I feel the urge, I just want to grab the food and go. But I do talk myself out of it, because otherwise I’m choosing to binge, choosing weight gain. And I don’t want weight gain. I want to lose weight, and become fitter and healthier.

So that’s where I am right now.

How has your Eating Disorder progressed?

Hayley Emma

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In this song, ‘Pretty Girl Rock’ Hilson sings about her beauty and how girls can be jealous of her.

First of all, I think it’s great when someone has self-confidence and can believe that they are beautiful, whether they’re fat, thin, whatever. So although the British part of me is saying “how conceited!” the body image obsessed part of me is yelling “hooray!”

Secondly, I don’t take this song seriously.

But thirdly, it draws a parallel to Samantha Brick. Keri Hilson, however, got there first.

It’s the idea that if I woman says she’s pretty, and another woman either doesn’t like her, treats her differently or disagrees, then she is jealous. There’s no other explanation. Because, obviously, Keri is pretty, there is no denying that, so jealousy must be the reason that people disagree, right?

Even though I don’t hate anybody because they’re beautiful, I’m sure pretty girls don’t always get positive attention. I’m sure some women are jealous, but then with lyrics such as : ‘Pretty as a picture / Sweeter than a swisher / Mad ’cause I’m cuter than the girl that’s with you’ and ‘Girls think I’m conceited ’cause I know I’m attractive / Don’t worry about what I think, why don’t you ask him?’ I’m not surprised you’re getting negative attention, Keri, because you come off a little rude.

(source)

Beauty is subjective. Keri Hilson is very beautiful in my opinion, but someone else might only find her mildly attractive, and another person will find her ugly. I think she’s got a nice figure, someone else may say it’s amazing and others may hate it. Nothing is going to change the definition of beauty, because it can’t be defined. It depends on your personal opinion. So why do we put so much of our self worth on whether we look beautiful to other people?

I don’t hate Keri Hilson because she’s beautiful. I think this song is about self-confidence and superficiality, and as I said, I’m not going to take it too seriously. What I completely agree with is that no one should be judged purely on their looks, and we shouldn’t judge ourselves on our looks either.

In my first CBT session I was asked to draw a pie chart of how important things in my life are. Needless to say, weight took up a good 90%, leaving little room for anything else. So all of my achievements, the Uni course I was on, my family and friends, my hobbies only got a share of 10%. Ever since I’ve been working on trying to lower my fixation on weight so I can spend more time appreciating my other attributes. Weight is still a huge part of the pie. But as long as I continue to place all of my self-worth on my weight, I won’t be happy. I will never be perfect, and I’m learning to embrace that.

It’s natural to make snap decisions about people based on their looks, we all do it to some extent. I’d love to be able to change it though, by encouraging people to question why they assumed the guy with dreadlocks is a hippie, or the girl covered in tattoos is aggressive. And to note just how many times their pre-conceived judgement was wrong. Just like if I was jealous of Keri Hilson, I’d ask myself is it my own insecurities that are making me jealous? Why does her beauty matter to me?

What do you think, are we ever going to stop judging people on their looks? Or are we, as a society, set in our ways?

Hayley Emma

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I’ve thought of quite a few blog posts in the past fortnight, but every time I’ve sat down to write them I’ve stared at a blank page.

Although I’ve had a few ideas, I’ve felt like I’ve been carrying what I think might be the key to fully understanding my Eating Disorder. I’ve been carrying it round with me for a week, unsure of whether I should write about this without having had a proper discussion with my therapist.

Last week I was 20 minutes late for therapy. At the time I was upset about a difficult situation which I’m pretty powerless in, and I was tired from work. I found it difficult to drag myself out of bed and so was late, and then there was traffic, so my Dad took pity on me and after battling through the traffic, took me to therapy.

I said it was my fault and I should have gotten up earlier, but I didn’t realise how annoyed she was going to be, since most weeks I’m on time. It was no big deal, right? She said everything happens for a reason, but I thought maybe it was just really busy traffic and then she said:

“I’m not offended, but I know if you were going somewhere you were really excited about, you’d be on time.”

I nodded, but I thought “No, I wouldn’t.”

The discussion led to whether I thought this, as in therapy, was working for me. I left the office having to seriously think about what I wanted.

I considered leaving. Maybe therapy wasn’t for me? I felt like I’d been covering the same thing for a couple of weeks not really keeping up with the progress I’d made but not regressing either. Maybe having a job had lifted some of the Depression and I was in a better place, financially and emotionally?

But then I thought about how I’d have to really change my eating for good, and most importantly, how I’d lose weight. And what if I lost my job, or had a rough time at my job? In the current climate it’s very possible I’ll be unemployed again as soon as next year. It’s just so uncertain. What if I’m then plunged back into this swamp of Depression, jobless, struggling to leave the house and avoiding all of my problems until I’m even more overweight than right now?

As much as I want to sort it out myself or just get over it, I haven’t managed to do that before. If I’m hoping things will be different just because  I want them to be, then I have learnt nothing over the past couple of years. Lighterlife is a very attractive option which I might have gone back to, had I not gained this awareness into Binge Eating and Eating Disorders.

And then it hit me, I wouldn’t be on time to an event I was excited about. I cancel on my friends all the time because I get so anxious about what could happen whilst we’re outside, mingling with people who can see my body. It’s horrendous, and I never feel comfortable even though I want to see my friends. If I carry on the way I’m going, no one is going to want to meet me anymore, because I’d probably cancel and waste their day.

And honestly, the mess I’ve made of my house. I have been so messy and, there’s no other name for it, a total slob when it comes to cleaning that mess. It’s awful, i leave wrappers lying around, don’t put my clothes in my wardrobe but chuck them on the floor. I’m disgusted with myself. I am not this person. I’m not a clean freak by any means but I like things tidy, I like to be organised, I like to get to places early. And yet I’m not like that.

I kind of, sort of, hate myself… a little bit.

And it dawned on me, that giving up therapy now, following the same route I’ve taken before isn’t just going to suddenly change because I hope it will.

I have to make the change.

I missed therapy last week because I was in bed. I struggled to get out of bed, but who hasn’t when it’s still dark outside, and cold? But people get up, because they have to. Otherwise they’ll be late, or they’ll miss work etc, and there are repercussions to these actions.

Today I sat in front of my therapist and explained all of this. I’m scared, because moving forward on a different path means the unknown, and for whatever reason, I’ve wanted to avoid that for years. But on the other hand, somewhere new has got to be better than where I’ve already been.

Hayley Emma

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I had a difficult session yesterday, it was the first time I contemplated walking out of the therapist’s office.

I’m not that great with anger. It takes me a lot to get riled up properly, mostly because of the ultimate pet hate, which is:

1)      When someone talks in the 3rd person.

Hayley gets very annoyed by this. Hayley feels that people should stop talk do you know what? I can’t even do it. I can’t even write in the 3rd person because it pisses me off so much. It just screams delusions of grandeur.

This irritates me so much that my none of my family members would ever talk in the 3rd person because my rage would overflow and I would have to leave the room.

I’m exaggerating (I’m not) but this is how the majority of my anger is dealt with. It’s jokey anger, I’ll laugh as I cringe and go to my room to be alone if I’m frustrated. But I’ve realised that people not understanding me is a real source of anger for me. I find shouting and slamming doors futile: why shout at people who don’t understand? It’s not usually their fault.

I thought that my therapist understood me – I think she does now, now that I cried for almost all of the last session with frustration because it makes perfect sense to me that taking part in a documentary is easier than going for a walk for 30 minutes everyday.

I know some people don’t understand Eating Disorders. When I studied PTSD for my dissertation I didn’t understand how someone could be transported back to when the trauma happened and relive it as if they were there. I can read about it and empathise, but I’ll never understand it like someone who has experienced it.

And still, some people with Eating Disorders hold down full time jobs and wear shorts in summer and can go to the beach without too much distress – this isn’t my experience, I can’t fully understand that.

Going for a half hour walk everyday is… indescribably difficult. I think I finally put the joking aside and was able to show my therapist just how excruciating it is for me to leave the house. I have to pick what to wear, what I’ll feel comfortable in, regarding weather – I don’t want to be too hot but I also don’t want to show any skin. Do I take my mp3 player? It could help block out the outside world but what if I get out of breath and I’m breathing really loudly and I can’t hear myself but others can and they know I’m unfit and overweight and they’ll think I just overeat because I like food? And where do I go? If I go to the shops will I be able to not buy chocolate, and if I do how much do I buy, and will there be popcorn? And what will the sales assistants think of me? What if they say anything? And if I don’t go to the shop where do I go? And what if I get tired or panic or what if I don’t walk anywhere?

The thoughts that remind me of anxiety cat just go on and on, so that I don’t go for a walk and then I’ve failed. And then I feel terrible. Misunderstood and a failure.

And I have failed at walking for 30 minutes everyday, because my therapist suggested we make it 15 minutes everyday, and now I feel like a head case, and so so far from being able to cope with food, and losing weight, and being happy.

I like to have a bit of clarity and a meaning behind my posts but on this one I’m kind of stumped. My therapist said it might be my behaviours are so ingrained (I’m been hiding my body and hiding away inside at every opportunity throughout the last decade) that it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work to finally change.

I’m sick of waiting though, of dealing with these problems. What if I can’t get better? What if I’m doomed to yo-yo in weight until I give up altogether and collect cats for every year of spinsterhood? I’ve succeeded in weight loss before and it was euphoric… but the gain was so horrible that I don’t want to go back there again.

Eurgh. There. I’ve had an unedited moan. Any words of wisdom would be very helpful right about now.

Hayley Emma

P.s. Does anyone know what happened to Eating Disorder Memes?

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I had the slightly irrational fear that my therapist would kind of, sort of… kick me out of treatment if I revealed to her that instead of having 3 healthy breakfasts like we’d discussed, I only had 2.

I was seriously anxious the night before, wondering if she’d get mad at me and tell me off. I hadn’t been for a walk 3 times either as I’d had a stomach bug. My other goal, though, was to get to therapy on time and independently – no lifts, just buses.

I completed the 3rd goal, but my failure of the other goals made me feel like I’d failed at life.

I didn’t have 3 healthy breakfasts even though I had 5 opportunities… I fail at life. There’s no way I’m going to get healthy and slim, I’m just going to stay disordered and A MILLION STONE from my goal weight.

This is how my brain works. I was on a downward spiral. But then, as I was on the 2nd bus to therapy, I realised that I got myself up on time, on both bus stops on time, and I’d get to therapy with a couple of minutes to spare.

I even had a wardrobe malfunction – the button above the zip of my jeans had come off – note: IT DID NOT PING OFF! It simply came off, I’d like to point that out. My tummy has not expanded since I bought them a couple of weeks ago, phew! – I’d forgotten. So my outfit I’d planned was a no-go. I improvised with a high-low maxi dress I hadn’t worn out before. It’s better to wear it with bare legs but I was too self-conscious so I teamed it with leggings.

I got there on time, and I’d had a text from the Bride saying it was fine for me to wear a cover up during the pictures and reception which means only about 20 minutes to 1 hour will I be showing my arms! I’m thrilled. In an ideal world I’d wear the cover-up the whole day but it isn’t my day, and I’ll take what covering up time I can get. I’m so pleased, I know I’ll be able to focus on the lovely couple rather than my bingo wings.

So despite not having completed all of my goals last week, I’m in a much better, happier place just knowing I completed 1 goal and can cover up my arms for my friend’s special day.

This week I have the task of having 4 healthy breakfasts – my chosen number, not my therapist’s – a half an hour walk everyday OUTSIDE (!!!) and getting to therapy on time and independently again.

These goals might seem a little bit pathetic to some, but my therapist was saying about setting realistic goals so that I can achieve them rather than skipping ahead and falling at the first hurdle.

What goals have you been set or set yourself that seem a tad trivial to others but mean a lot to you? Make me feel a bit better please, guys. My friends are trying to starting well-paid jobs and I’m just trying to leave the house everyday.

Emma

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Lately I’ve been avoiding, avoiding, avoiding.

As well as avoiding this blog and my therapy tasks I’ve been avoiding people and going out. I know, so sad. I’ve been watching True Blood from start to finish, that’s 4 series. I feel like I know Eric, which is why I’m glad that I’ve finally realised what I was doing.

I went to therapy last week and was late yet again. I couldn’t be bothered with it, and I was disrespectful both to my therapist and myself by a) being late again, for probably the 4th time in a row and b) for not putting any effort in.

I didn’t want to be there and I said this to her, but at the time I didn’t know why. Therapy has meant so much to me, I was waiting for it for months and yet I wanted to stop. Some things are too much to take and I’ve been overwhelmed by the problems that I need to sort, the work I’ve got to do, the amount of problems that have arisen as well as the odd emotions that have been popping up and, the main reason I feel so overwhelmed; I have 8 stone to lose.

My goal weight is a healthy one and I would not lie about this. My goal isn’t to get skinny now, it’s to get healthy in the long run. I could slim down now; I’m like, a crash diet guru. I could go on LighterLife once more and lose the weight, sure, but I’d put it all back on again. I’ve done Atkins, I could cut out carbs and lose half a stone in a week or just not eat anything outside of 3 meals a day, all of which I’ve done in the past. My issues are still in me and I instinctively know that in order to move forward out of control of the ED I need to deal with them.

I’ve lost some weight – I don’t know how much because if I get on the scales and it turns out I weigh more than I expected I’ll be devastated – but I can feel that I’ve lost some. I’ve been eating better than I’ve done in years. I haven’t had chocolate in a couple of days, mainly because when ever I get the familiar overeating craving I have fruit. Or a drink, or gum or I distract myself. I’ve not had the urge to binge yet, so we’ll see how that goes, but I feel stronger now.

I feel like my ED is in a cage, clawing to get out.

I’m aware that these last couple of blog posts have been about me me me so startin g from tomorrow Its coherent blog posts that have a point to them and non-avoidance.

Just to remind everyone of the super awesome survey that I’d really appreciate everyone doing, especially as it takes about 3 minutes and is awesome. It closes Saturday (2nd June) and I’ll publish the results Monday.

Cheers guys.

Emma

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Alright, I’m going to admit something that I never usually admit.

I’m actually kind of … scared.

I had an attack of the heebie jeebies last night, something that’s been happening more frequently. I couldn’t sleep either and all in all managed 4 hours of half-asleep-enough-to-stay-in bed but -awake-enough-to-jump-out-of-my-skin-when-the-cat-decides-to-jump-on-my-pillow.

Not the best start. I also overate a lot yesterday and so had a stomach ache and along with the panic attack thought I would have food poisoning and die.

In therapy we’ve been covering some sensitive issues. I thought we might have gotten to the bottom of it during the last session but apparently we’ve just scratched the surface. There goes my wishful thinking.

The awkwardness that comes with dealing with issues is crying in front of someone whilst they wait patiently for you to stop crying. The natural response is to try to stop and I manage to do this successfully, but my therapist – who is truly brilliant, by the way – tells me to ‘sit with it’.

I’ve cried uncontrollably, sure. In the usual circumstances and frequently before I started antidepressants, but I’ve never cried fully in front of someone who isn’t my mum or a friend who was unfortunate to be at the wrong bar at the wrong time. I was depressed but didn’t really acknowledge it and ended up crying outside of the bar, in the taxi queue, in the taxi, in the kitchen (some toast to cure the drunkenness) and all the way through Dodgeball. I mean the film Dodgeball, we didn’t just randomly start throwing balls at each other.

The point is that these moments of despair are best kept private, in my opinion (says the girl who has an ED blog) and I don’t ‘just sit with it’ unless I have no option but to ‘sit with it’.

She explained that she felt like I was pushing it down, holding the tears back. She asked me why and I replied “Because if I let myself cry, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop.”

Every time she tells me to ‘sit with it’ I can’t stop myself crying. I didn’t know how hard it would be to just experience the sadness and let myself react to it. It’s horrible, like nothing will help; you’ll just sink deeper and deeper into a pool of depression and never re-surface.

And then I realised … this is why I binge. I don’t want to feel that emotion. Especially because I don’t know why I’ve got this sadness about me. I’m usually happy and smiling but behind closed doors I’m an emotional wreck. And I think that’s how I’ve managed to keep a façade for so long. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a ray of sunshine, I don’t walk around with a smile plastered to my face, but I don’t walk into a coffee shop about to tell everyone who’ll listen about my feud with the biscuit tin.

I suppose in order to stop bingeing and overeating compulsively I’m going to have to do a lot of ‘sitting with it’. Which is going to be tough, but I guess that’s why I need to sort out my issues; so every time I ‘sit with it’ it’ll get easier.

Do you sit with your emotion?

Emma

🙂

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