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Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

I haven’t stuck to my word. I haven’t written more on this blog. I thought it was out of disinterest if I’m honest. I read other blogs and find them so brilliant and eye-opening, or I’m glad someone spoke out about an aspect of Eating Disorders or weight loss/gain or being overweight. But I haven’t felt inspired to write anything myself.

The truth is, I’ve just been plodding along. Plodding along so much so that I got myself into a bit of … how shall I put it, a pit of distress?

I feel like I was a warrior, fighting in an epic battle, wearing this silver plated armour that’s covered in scratches and scars, but I still keep fighting my way through to get to the other side. But instead, I’ve fought so hard that I never took my eyes off of the fight and I didn’t realise there was a cliff edge up ahead. So I kind of stumbled into it. For the last fortnight I’ve been scratching my head, wondering when it was that I was so blinded by the fight that I didn’t see the cliff edge.

How that’s going to protect her in battle… I really don’t know. Her Vajayjay is showing.

(Source)

Since 2013 started, I’ve been feeling the exhaustion of Depression, not wanting to do the simple things like brushing my teeth but forcing myself anyway. It’s my job that’s stressed me out the most, not the actual work but travelling, waiting around for buses and it taking literally hours to get to work and back. I kept thinking just get to Christmas, just wait until Christmas and then you can review the situation. But Christmas came and went so fast (as it always does) and I just kept going.

Until last week, when I felt so dizzy and nauseas that I just stopped. Even when I stopped, I kept going (Which doesn’t make any sense but stay with me for a moment). Even when I knew I had nothing left to give and I’d reached my limit, travelling so far to work and counselling, and having no time for being sociable, I still made it to work feeling like something was wrong. My mind was scattered, I felt like I was about to collapse and any movement made me feel dizzy.

And the moment I got home I felt better, and that’s when I knew it was stress. (I was thinking brain problems, like a tumour, because that’s what my mind likes to do to me: terrify me)

I’m so frightened of going back to how I was before employment and during the earlier stages of therapy, that I’m almost depressing myself thinking about it. I’m dreading being unemployed, I’m trying to find a job but because of counselling it means I can’t apply for what I’d normally apply for (cryptic I know) I want to maintain and progress with battling my Eating Disorder, but what if I put on the weight I’ve lost? And last but definitely not least, my grandparents have Alzheimer’s, and it’s … it’s bad.

Having said that, something changed a while ago, I’m … better. Not recovered, but on the way.

Have any of you guys unexpectedly hit a wall with weight struggles or Eating Disorders?

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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Since I’ve gotten a job I’ve noticed my social anxiety has significantly reduced. I’m going out usually 5 days a week, and leaving the house that often would have brought on a mild anxiety attack just from thinking about it.

Although going out and facing people, meeting colleagues, e.t.c have made a huge difference, I think having a job has boosted my confidence in so many ways. I now walk to and from work with more of an identity.

I am no longer unemployed, overweight and eating disordered, I am now … employed, overweight but working on it, and eating disordered but in therapy. I can now afford to join a gym, and although I have less time to go, I feel I have more of a reason to make an effort. And I’ve felt that with every aspect of my life.

For the past 3 weeks I haven’t been so focused on chocolate, or bingeing. I’ve gone to buy classic binge food almost without thinking about it, but as my therapist reminded me “you don’t have to buy it.” And I haven’t. Teamed with more exercise due to work and generally just getting out more, I’ve lost some weight. Nothing to write home about, but enough to remind myself that I can do this.

I can walk away from an impending binge, and I can lose weight, and I can have an Eating Disorder free existence. Or as ED free as possible for me.

Since unemployment is an international issue, how has being unemployed/employed helped or hindered your Eating problems?

Hayley Emma

P.s. I’m still adjusting to working and so please bear with me with infrequent posts 🙂

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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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My master plan was to take a break from blogging to write multiple  blog posts in advance and also write some fiction. I haven’t been able to write fiction at all this year, I think because I’ve been so distracted by my Eating Disorder. You know how some ‘artistes’ find they’re inspired by melancholy and heartache? Well, I don’t seem to work the same way.

When I’m depressed, brushing my teeth is a big task that I cannot be bothered with. If I forced myself to write a novel in that time – and I wouldn’t be able to, because chocolate and staying in bed would always win over typing – but if I did, it would be a steaming pile of poop.

And so my blogging break was  filled with anxiety, depression and chocolate coated tears. Yeah I just wrote that. It just came to me. I really must be an artiste.

Unfortunately it took me a while to realise I was more depressed than I’d been in months and  I wasn’t going to snap out of it like I always hope I will. As much as I try to shake it off, it’s impossible.

I tell myself I need to go for a walk, it’ll make me feel better and I’ll get exercise. Exercise usually focuses me. But as Annie said in Bridesmaids “I can’t get off the couch.”

To go for a walk stops being just a walk and becomes a monumental effort. First of all, I’d have to stand up, and my limbs do not want that. They gravitate towards the sofa, the bed, I’ve even had a pit stop sat on the stairs because doing nothing is so much easier than doing something.

That pit stop becomes a 10 minute stare at the wall, thinking of nothing. I’m not particularly sad, I’m not crying of even looking at my thighs and silently wishing I could stick a needle in there and just suck all the fat out. When I snap out of this trance-like state, and realise 10 minutes has passed…

10 minutes?! Wow, you only sat here to … why did you sit here again? Oh yeah, you were on your way upstairs to get ready for a walk. Go on.

…you gasp and look at the time and wonder what you were doing, and you know you should be moving, but for some reason – that you don’t understand – you sit there for another 5 minutes.

When I finally do move, the thought of getting in the shower, brushing my teeth, drying and straightening my hair, putting on a face of make-up and then stepping outside is exhausting.

I get ready at a snail’s pace, finding any excuse to just sit, or when there is no excuse because I’m running late, I just sit anyway. The straighteners weigh my arm down, I mess up the streak of liquid eyeliner on my top eyelid, do I really have to brush my teeth? Any excuse not to face the world.

I didn’t want to write this blog post because ‘lazy’ is a trigger word for me. How lazy is it when I don’t even want to clean my teeth because that would mean 2 extra minutes of work? That’s lazy. And unhygienic. And it is not me.

That’s why I’m writing this post, because when I’m not depressed, I’m a little obsessive about cleaning my teeth at least twice a day, and after every binge, even if I just feel like it. I’ll scrub, floss, feel the burn of the mouthwash. I won’t step out the door without mints so I can keep the freshness as fresh as possible. That is me.

I am not depression, just like I am not my Eating Disorder. I am lazy when I’m depressed, yes, but I work hard to pull myself out of depression. And I binge (although I haven’t for months now) but I am going to therapy and working on not bingeing.

So if someone makes a snap judgement about me, that I’m lazy or I eat too much, then that’s ok. I am, and I do, sometimes, but that’s not all I am.

I am a superhero.

Oh, you didn’t know?

Hayley Emma.

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Last week was my friend’s wedding, and it was beautiful. She looked stunning in her dress, the groom looked handsome in his suit and it was a gorgeous summers day.

I’ll ask permission from the bride when she gets back from her honeymoon about whether I can post a picture of the day on here because apart from the fact that she’s such a brilliant friend, her wedding was so pretty!

I bared my upper arms. I thought I’d be nervous in the run up to the big day but the anxiety only kicked in the night before. I was more worried that everything was going to go according to plan, as my friend had worked hard to get every little detail perfect.

Not being well with IBS the night before the wedding (I won’t go into any more detail, don’t worry) It started to sink in that in a matter of hours I’d be walking out before the bride in front of her friends and family. Then I reminded myself what everyone does at weddings when the bridesmaids walk out – they try to look around them to see the blushing bride. With that in mind, I just kept reminding myself that although showing my arms was a big deal for me, it wasn’t a big deal for anyone else. People were there to see two wonderful people get married, and finally, finally I stopped obsessing about my arms and focused on the task ahead.

With the possibility of IBS occurring on the day, I took my tablets and tried to eat a little bit regularly. I took myself away to a separate hotel room before the other bridesmaids arrived to start the process of getting ready and did a ‘grounding’. A grounding is a form of meditation, as when a person because stressed about something, their thoughts can become muddled. Doing a grounding, becoming aware of myself and my surroundings has really helped when my anxiety has become overwhelming. The thought of being centre of attention before the bride appeared had me freaking out, so I led on the hotel bed with Katy Perry’s Wide Awake (I’m loving that song at the moment) in the background and became aware of my body. Then I started to pick apart the day into more manageable chunks – first, hair. Second, make-up. Third, dress.

I offered to help relax the bride as she was also anxious – obviously, it was her wedding day! – but she calmed down when the other bridesmaids arrived.

The wedding itself was beautiful, we walked outside to a gazebo and witnessed the marriage. It was the perfect place to get married, and the bride and the groom looked so happy.

After the pictures were taken and I sweated off my fake tan (no joke) I slipped on my bolero. I am so thankful that I could put a cover-up on for the reception.

The Flowers I Walked Down The Aisle With

In conclusion, I totally did it! I showed my upper arms to people for the first time in … I don’t know, maybe a decade? Probably longer. I’m really proud of myself, and I don’t think I’ve actually meant that before. I’m proud of myself because I did something that, to me, was difficult. Showing my arms means showing my weight, I wasn’t able to hide. It’s showing my problems, everything I despise about myself, and you know what? It didn’t feel as terrible as I thought it would. I was self-conscious, yes, but I was still able to enjoy my friend’s wedding as two people in love getting married.

So, I’m happy.

Emma

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This week I’m posting something positive everyday for operation well-I’m-beautiful-why-do-I-give-a-fuck? Because this week I’m exposing my upper arms in public (!!) and I need all the positivity I can get. The following post starts off negative but it gets happier, I promise.

This takes a lot to admit: I’ve gained 4 stone in the past year. Probably more, as I weighed myself months ago, but that weigh-in was followed by a binge, my last proper binge, and I’ve got too many social events planned to weigh myself again. By this I mean if I weigh more than I did a couple of months ago, I’ll be a hermit for at least a week.

I am ashamed at my weight gain, but it’s not surprising. I gained weight in my last year at Uni, my bingeing becoming more frequent, so did my overeating. I walked everywhere in Plymouth and it became more difficult, I stopped having the energy to walk places unless I was on a sugar high.

When I came home from Uni, having dealt with increasing Depression I stopped walking everywhere. Bristol is a much bigger city and buses and cars are necessary. Not only was I depressed about my weight, but I was disappointed in myself because the CBT I received and body image therapy hadn’t been enough, and in my eyes, this was my failure. I was going back to the place where all my issues with food started, where I didn’t have a job, and with the knowledge that I’d just been through Uni, supposedly the best years of my life, feeling like the frumpy oddball in the corner.

Basically, I had failed at life.

Depression increased as my activity levels headed in the opposite direction and bingeing and overeating became an everyday thing. I didn’t have a focus to take my mind off things, I couldn’t get a job and had no money plus huge student loans to pay off, and I was getting like, 18 views a day on my blog.

My Hair Had Gone Fluffy. The Less We Say About That The Better.

So I stopped going out, blaming myself for everything and wallowing in self-pity, with bouts of hoping for magic weight loss. Then, before I knew it, it was September andGraduation. I look back on Graduation as the worst weekend of my life. It was excruciating. My Dad filmed me walking on stage and shaking some woman’s hand as my name is called, and I walk down the steps and round the hall with my head down, avoiding eye contact. My parents said the sadness was written all over my face, that I looked as if I wanted the ground to swallow me up.

The night of Graduation I did not want to leave my hotel room, yet I knew I would regret it if I didn’t, and also get a lot of flak for missing the last night out.

A group of us went out to the student union and attempted to get drunk. It was freshers week, and for all of you students or ex-students, you’ll know freshers week is crazy busy full of first years getting ‘off their tits’.

I was stood at the bar in front of a group of lads, probably first years, 18 year olds wanting to get pissed and sleep with some equally drunken girl. One of the drunken guys at the bar got his drinks and started to turn back and sidle through the crowd to his mates. He held the drinks high enough to avoid bumping into someone, which happened to be above my head. I tried to shy away, some beer spilt on me. A bit went in my hair but most of it sloshed down my dress, the first dress I bought from a plus size shop for a night out. My Graduation night. Which I already felt was a complete disaster because at this point, I was 2 stone heavier than when I left Uni.

He didn’t apologise, but walked off, and one of his mates said “she looks better that way” or “It’s an improvement”. It wasn’t possible for me to be more embarrassed.

I was about to leave after that. If I was slimmer, my initial reaction would have been to turn around and make some comment which contained the words ‘fuck’ and ‘off’ but I couldn’t be feisty, because they had verbalised what I’d been feeling. In my mind they were completely right. They hadn’t even said anything about my weight, but any comment at that moment was enough. My only option was to go to the bathroom, sit in shock (whilst having a wee, I’d had a couple of drinks by then, you can’t blame me) and leave without telling anybody. I could go back to my hotel room and have a major cry, the cry that had been building up in me since I’d woken up that morning and realised that I’d had 4 months to lose weight and I hadn’t done it. Again. 

As I was waiting for the acceptable time to walk away from the bar so that the guys didn’t know they’d gotten to me, I stopped myself.

At the time I didn’t think too much about it.

Fuck it, it’s my graduation night, I’m not going to let some piece of shit first year’s comment make me leave the SU. I’ve been getting pissed in this place before he was even born! Ok, that was an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

I hadn’t seen my friends for months, so I got my drinks and left, and I did something I would never have done before – I told my friend what the guy had said. She was sympathetic, and then we went and sat down.

And that moment, my friends, is exactly how I know that I’m going to make it.

My Graduation, a day where I was supposed to feel proud of my achievements, was full of self-hate. The evening, which was meant to be a special night of celebrations, was full of self-hate. But I stayed. I stuck it out. Self-hatred and all.

And that’s the point.

Every fibre in my being didn’t want to go to Graduation. I lied about being excited about it, I smiled falsely at every opportunity. I let people take pictures of me, knowing very well that my double chin would make an appearance despite the turtle neck thing I do to hide it. But I still did it.

At the time I didn’t think I had a choice. If I didn’t go to graduation I would get so much shit from friends and family, so I thought I had no choice. But I did – I could have said I wasn’t well. Or that I was on holiday or something. It would have saved money, and I know that my immediate family would have understood. I had the choice, and I went. I faced my fears head on. Yes I suffered for it, I felt awful for weeks. I cried to my mum a lot and I didn’t leave the house for a while. But I wasn’t the girl who cried and ran out in embarrassment. I was the girl who feigned disinterest and got drunk.

I’ve started to realise (I know, 22 years and I’m only realising I have a choice in stuff?) that I do have a choice.

I’ve noticed an old friend who’s a bit of a dick has lost weight and gotten a girlfriend. Everytime I saw something new on facebook I felt terrible. He’d lost weight (something I’ve failed at) and despite being a dick, he’d got himself a girlfriend?!

So I deleted him.

I don’t need that shit. I don’t need to feel bad about myself because someone I used to be friends with is outwardly doing better than me.

Bam! Deleted. I’ve taken control of my life, one less negative on my list.

My friend’s getting married this week and I’m bridesmaid. I’m terrified of showing my arms and being in front of so many people and having to go out for a hen night when I’m accustomed to staying at home all day every day. I could have made an excuse before we got fitted for our dresses, or even dropped out later. I could have accepted that my friend would think less of me for not making an effort for her big day. I could have chosen to drop out, but I didn’t. Her friendship means more to me than continuing to let people down last minute because my anxiety gets the better of me.

I chose to push through the issues for her wedding day, and to be as good a bridesmaid as I can possibly be under the circumstances. I am not perfect, but I’ll be there.

Bam! Decision made. I will not continue to run from situations that scare the shit out of me.

A couple of weeks ago me and my Mum signed up for Race For Life (which was postponed by the way due to the weather. Everything you’ve heard about England and weather is true). I wanted to do Race For Life to raise money for cancer research, but also to have a reason to be proud of myself. I struggle with low self-esteem, but walking 5km is undeniably a good thing, as is raising money for a disease that affects so many.

Bam! I signed up to do it, and I’m keeping to my word… whenever it’s rescheduled for.

I’m not an angel, none of these decisions were easy – it took me months to delete the old friend, i’ve asked to wear a bolero for the majority of my friend’s wedding day, and it took me weeks to build up the courage to sign up for sign up for Race For Life.

The point I’m making is now I know I have a choice. If I’m asked for a night out but don’t feel comfortable doing this, I have a choice whether I want to push myself and go out with the possibility that it might be good or it might be bad, or I can choose to stay in my comfort zone.

This is my choice.

And that’s why personalised recovery (what ‘recovery means to me might not be what ‘recovery’ means to you) is possible. I am making choices which will determine my future, only I can stay with my disorder and only I can kick its ass.

Emma

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