Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Buttons

I just happened to come across some of my old writings from when I was ill.  It was very weird indeed reading back through, not because I found them triggering, but because I could only vaguely remember writing them and questioned whether it was me who wrote them at all.  I know it must have been, but it was like remembering something from another life, or something that a best friend might have gone through, not me.  My style of writing has changed somewhat too; I used to be much more conversational than I am now, perhaps because I didn't really think anyone would ever read what I wrote.  Now I feel pressurised to be interesting and to have impeccable punctuation and grammar.

There are lists of what I had eaten that day, calories and excises.  Accounts of my troubles at college, and how I would skive off to work out at the gym, or to drive to Tesco to buy food for a binge.  I don't miss that life one bit.  As much as I long to be skinny still, I now know that my self worth should not be measured in calories and the number on a set of scales.  I'm healthy now, and I sure as hell look better.  I looked tired back then, almost as if everything was too much for me.  Everything was too much for me.

One of the most interesting things I found was an account of one of my eating disorder counselling sessions:

"I had my counselling session today.  It was a bit different to normal because usually we just sit and talk about how I am feeling and whatnot, but today we played with buttons.  Well, not "played"  but she had a big box of hundreds of buttons and she told me to choose a button to represent all the people in my life.  Here's what I chose:

Me - A rather dingy dull button that might once have been silver were it not so tarnished.  It had little flowers engraved into it and Maria said that it could be pretty and shiny again if someone were to show it some love.  It was really light as well, which was weird because it I thought it was made out of metal.  It had a whole in the back from something or another which worked it's way into the main body of the button.  Take from that what you will.

The ex boyfriend - Massive and black.  (Not that he was black but I felt the colour was representative of his personality and how he thinks of others.)  It was round, as buttons generally are but it was like a really shallow bowl.  It had four holes for the thread to go through.  It was like it was pretending to be this perfect shiny big round button... but really it wasn't all that great because it went inwards and it was shallow.  And I could see through the holes.
My mum - I can't think of the word of the top of my head, but it was that kinda texture you get on the inside of a shell.  It was pink but there was this layer underneath that was white.  It was really smooth to touch and I liked it.  But there was another layer underneath you could only see in certain lights.

My brother - A medium round brown button.  I said I chose it because of the colour and because it was boring and wouldn't add anything to the outfit it was on.  It would just sit there.

My dad - A tiny metal button with a pattern etched into it, which I didn't even notice at first because it was that small.  A tiny metal button which would do no good on any coat or item of clothing; it could only be there for decoration, pretending to be doing something useful.  Maria pointed out that it was metal like my button and that it had a similar pattern... I don't know what that means but she said it was interesting.

My gran - I didn't realise but it was actually a pink sequin like jewel I picked up.  It was multi-faceted (if that's the right word?) and sparkled.  My gran sparkled before she got ill.

Maria pointed out that when I picked them I placed them in a line so that they were all separate.  Not all bunched together in a pile.  When she was explaining she gathered them into a little pile, and I had a mad urge to get the ex boyfriend button and throw it as far away as possible from my other buttons."
That was from the 18th January 2010, five days before my 19th birthday.  I had forgotten that time my counsellor had made me choose buttons to represent everyone.  It might have been a load of old shit, but it also might have given her some great insight.

I remember how I thought about myself back then.  I felt worthless.  That ex boyfriend had done a good job on me.  Two months later I would have finally decided I was ready for recovery.  My heart was in it, which it never had been before, and then just a few days after I made that momentous decision I found myself with a new boyfriend.  Someone who made everything seem just that little bit brighter just by being there, and I knew that someone did want me.
I'm glad I found this because it reminds me how far I've come, there is still a way to go, but I'm eating a regular 1200 kcals per day now, maintaining my weight and eating those things which I never would have allowed myself before.  It's great, it really is.  I feel sorry for all those pro-ana girls; I bet they would kill to have cake and chocolate and BREAD.  I know I would have.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Videos and tangents

I'm a lover of organisation.  It's necessary, I think, to have a space in which everything has it's own place. I love clean lines and simplicity.  White is probably my favourite colour, but only when it is offset with pink or possibly a bright blue.

I like to know exactly where everything is, and it must have a reason for being there.  My YouTube channel and this blog is annoyingly disorganised.  I wish, especially for YouTube, that I had one clear direction which I never deviated from.  I used to: in the old days I would make a vlog several times a week where I would speak about how I was getting on with eating, how college was going and how I felt about my counselling sessions.  Now, even though it is brilliant that I no longer have those worries, I find that as a result my videos have become more random.  I film what I feel like filming.  I don't even specifically talk about eating disorders anymore.

You don't seem to mind it, which is good.  I just wish I knew what my direction was... but then again maybe people enjoy my going off at a tangent.  I always try and film video requests if I possibly can.  Well, assuming they are eating disorder based.  Some requests I get a very niche, and clearly from people who are also regular viewers of the beauty community.  How many times have I been asked for a room tour, a make up tutorial or my skin care routine?  Of course I DO try to oblige, but seriously, a make up tutorial from me, whilst being comedy gold, would not be very helpful.  I think when I have my room at uni organised I might show you how I sort out my things, but that's as close as you'll ever get to a room tour.

I quite like the idea of doing the whole 'life-casting' thing.  You know, filming yourself as you go about your day to day life, and I have done some of that and received no complaints.  I also like the idea of doing more topic specific eating disorder videos, 'How to tell a parent you have an eating disorder' would be an example of one I have already filmed.  I think these videos might be the most helpful to the largest demographic.

I don't know.  Maybe I'll just go with it.  I'll just film whatever the hell I feel like... it's working so far.

Monday, 29 August 2011

5 letters

My official college certificates arrived earlier this week.  Thus far the only indication of my attainment had been the breakdown of results which were in that little white envelope on the day of my graduation.  But now I am the proud owner of a three page certificate, printed on lovely, thick paper.  A tangible record of my achievements this past year.  I did it against all the odds; whilst fighting to recover from a bastard of an eating disorder.

It may seem big headed of me, but I did sort of assume I was going to do well.  I've always been an over achiever, something which I am proud of, and whilst some YouTube people take offence to it, I shall never apologise for reaching my potential.  Nevertheless, the idea that I could get a straight distinction profile was one which I never really entertained.  The only thing I have ever failed at in my life was my Performing Arts BTEC... okay, so merit, (or B), grades might be okay for some, but for me it was a serious let down.  It knocked my confidence.  I didn't expect much more than that to be honest, and my tutors at the time did say I would have done so much better had it not been for an untimely relapse into my disordered ways, and the onset of the worst period of my anorexia thus far.  That was the time I was actually diagnosed - years before this had been happening, and yet never a diagnosis, just a disrupted education.  I suppose I must have been "sick enough" that time.

Anyway, I'm immensely happy with the first two pages of my certificate.  The first has the fancy writing, and a signature from someone official.  The second a breakdown of the modules and grades: distinction, distinction, distinction, distinction and so on.  Oh, but then the third page... I can't help it... it's the perfectionist within, but every time I see it:  distinction, distinction, distinction, distinction, MERIT, distinction, distinction ect. 

That one bloody merit.  5 letters have ruined it for me.  I must stress that am in no way belittling other people who achieve merits, if that's your target and you hit it then be proud of yourself!  But for me... I could have had straight distinctions, and that really kills.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Anorexic and miserable

Even though the overriding tone of this post is pro-recovery, I suppose this may trigger some.  As always I will point out that trigger warnings are pointless because everyone is triggered by different things.  However this post is in keeping with the general tone of my blog: pro-recovery. 

Yesterday I sort of half decided that I need to lose weight for uni in September.  Ridiculously I often come to this conclusion:  birthday party - must lose weight.  Holiday - must lose weight.  Bikini wax - must lose weight.

There it is again, that feeling of not being good enough, and somehow my self esteem and self worth has become intrinsically linked to my weight...or what I think is my weight.

In the past few weeks when my dad was home I lost some weight.  I don't know how much exactly, and truth be told I prefer not knowing.  Whilst keeping myself in the dark does stop me from being triggered into more weight loss, without the scales I never really notice my body changing until it becomes starkly obvious.  It seems I can lose weight without even trying for the simple reason that if I fail to hit my 1200kcal target I won't maintain.  Last November I got to around a size zero before I even noticed something was wrong.

I doubt in the last two weeks I've had to regain my usual eating pattern that I've even gained up to the point where I was a month ago, but even so I feel a bit tubby.  There have been binges of course.  It's to be expected after 3 weeks of a totally disrupted eating schedule, and I did go a bit crazy.

I feel that people at university might like me more if I'm skinnier.  Fuck, that's mental isn't it?  I can't even explain why I feel this need to lose.  It just seems natural to me, and fighting it seems so wrong.

I will fight it though.  I have enough clarity in my own mind these days to see that I don't need to lose weight, and people are not going to endear themselves to the girl rocking the skeletor look as readily as they would a happy, healthy girl after all.

Healthy and happy is definitely better than anorexic and miserable.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Haribo

I told my mum I hadn't eaten yet, so she went out to buy me one of the ham sandwiches I like from Tesco.  Whilst she's been gone I ate 7 pieces of Haribo and now I feel guilty as hell.


Bloody hell eating disorder.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Pathetic fallacy

When I first started making videos on YouTube I told myself that I would not allow my channel to become mordlin.  I suppose it makes sense then that this blog should never become drowned in self pity.  I persevere; trying to write about the good, and when I must write about that bad, try and tinge it with some sort of optimism.

Optimism.  It's hard to come by some days.  Occasionally I feel really lonely, not often as I used to, but it's that same feeling, and it's truly terrifying.  I'm not sure what it is or what triggers it.  This morning I felt relatively upbeat: aside from having to wake up early to get to Tesco before the mid-morning rush, everything seemed lovely.  It was sunny and I put on a pink summery dress to celebrate, sunglasses too.  This evening, however, that cerulean expanse has clouded over rendering my summer attire superflous.

Pathetic fallacy is what you would call it.

I felt empty like this before 40 minutes ago, but at 8 o'clock I called a friend, and they didn't answer.  Even though I am sure they must have their phone on silent or just be busy doing something it makes me feel so rejected, stupid for trying and bothering them.  I just wanted to talk to someone.  Not to bring them down into this stupor with me, but to talk, ask about their day and as a result have mine miraculously brightened.  I know I have many offers of a simple chat from my subscribers, but I know very few of them well enough to open up like that, and none of them know the real me at all.  They don't know how to trigger a smile from me when seconds before I had been in waves of tears.

I need that now.  I can't call again though.

I'll go to bed; if I'm asleep I can't feel.  It's one of my old tactics, one which I should not revisit, but I don't know what else I could do...except call.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Being braver...

Back when I was restricting my food intake to 300 calories per day I use to make lists.  They would consist of all the food I wished I could eat, the food I would eat if I was allowed.  The thing about restricting is that EVERYTHING suddenly becomes a huge temptation.  I suppose if your body is crying out for nutrients, energy and love you will naturally gravitate towards cake and such like. 

This is a precursor to a video which I am planning.  I've had so many requests for a 'What I eat after anorexia' video that I think I must get my arse into gear and film it.  I plan to do this later on in the summer.

When I had a LiveJournal, millenniums ago, I made such a list.  It was very long, full of cakes and biscuits and crisps, stuff which I'm not actually all that fond of. 

A list of my favourite foods now shows that my eating habits are much healthier, and more reflective of my actual food preferences, rather than what my starved body was crying out for.
  • I love toast: White bread, always.  I buy a low calorie brand, but I'm working on that.
  • Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia Frozen Yoghurt:  This is love in a tub. 
  • Ham sandwiches:  My sandwich of choice.  I'm quite picky really, although I avoid buying the low calorie versions nowadays because I realised they taste like wank.  Usually I make my own with proper ham bought from the butcher - I'm so not down with the mass produced cheap rubbish. 
  • Smoothie and juice:  They make me happy, especially juice from a juice bar.
 I do realise of course that my diet is still quite restricted, (not that I only eat the above of course), but I'm trying to get new foods into my diet.  They are lots of things I would like to try, but unfortunately one bad experience with food tends to put me off for life.  Prawns for example: I had some in London on Wednesday and they were really yummy until I noticed one of them hadn't had the little black vein bit taken out properly.  It made me feel rather queasy so I didn't eat anymore, and I don't think I will ever again. 

I just need to be braver.  I'm going to try and take advantage of any opportunities to try new foods.


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