I hope you had a wonderful bank holiday weekend! I certainly was grateful for the R&R it allowed for and caught up on a nice amount of life admin!
Here we go again with another blog post I dont feel comfortable writing. BUT, equally, here I go again sticking to my vow of promising where possible to be honest in this blog of mine, to kick stigma where it hurts. Every message I receive from strangers or followers of how my honesty and sharing has helped them reassures me that I know this is right for me to do. Not just for my own therapy, but for others.
So, off we go.
By the time I post this blog I will be on my merry little way to the final session of a 13 week CBT intensive course for eating problems. I still shy away from the word ‘disorder’ because for some reason I don’t want to use it. Almost like I don’t feel ‘ill’ enough with it to claim it’s part of me. We’re often guilty of this us mental health problem sufferers. Especially those with eating problems as doctors have such strict diagnostic tools for it. I didn’t feel as worthy of help until I became desperate. I didn’t feel as worthy like I did with depression and anxiety. Pehaps that’s also why there are so many alternates and abbreviations for eating disorders such as EDNOS (eating disorders none otherwise specified) or why people say ‘Disordered Eating’ instead. I’m more comfortable with that. It doesn’t mean it’s less important. A mental issue is an issue. If it controls your mind and you struggle to control it, help can be necceary to lead the life you want to live. That’s how it got for me. That’s when I asked for help.
It’s common for people to have issues with food. It’s almost incomprehendably trendy, or stereotypically present among the young trying to establish identity and that’s where it can often start. It’s not all about our physical appearance. It can be about control. It can be about coping.
If you haven’t done so already and you fancy a read, you can see my (condensed and sensored!) history of it all on this blog I wrote for B-eat Charity (which I highly recommend) here – https://www.b-eat.co.uk/latest/6317 https://www.b-eat.co.uk/latest/6317
I must say, this post, (the one thy you’re reading right now!) is positive. Because I’m going to tell you that this course really helped me. It took me a while to seek the right sort of help because I’d always been more concerned about my A&D (anxiety and depression) but ED can be an unhealthy way (it was for me) to cope with A&D. Some use drugs, some abuse alcohol, some engage in criminal behaviour. Just because we need food to survive doesn’t mean it’s a less scary coping method to be hitched on!
The group was a bit daunting at the beginning. You don’t know people’s stories and you don’t want to judge but fear your own judgement too or of being judged. Sooner or later we clubbed together to offer to be there for one another and even now we have a whatsapp support group as a result.
If you have a mental health issue, don’t trivialise it in your mind. You are WORTHY of support. And hey, you better start looking now, because the rate our mental health services are being cut and how long the lists are to get help are just not ideal!
I’m going to leave you with a letter writing exercise as part of the course I did – we had to write to our ‘problem’ as a friend and as an enemy.
Lots of well wishes always, I’m on the mend with this.
Abs x 💚
Dear Disordered Eating ,
You are ‘my friend’ in the way that you offer comfort. You’re there when I don’t know what else to do. You’re there most the time with immediate effect or within easy reach if not. I can always walk 10-15 minutes to get to you if you can’t come to me. Day or night. You’ll always open your door as I open my jaw.
When I feel empty inside even when my life is full, you fill a void like no other I’ve identified so far. You’re fulfilling in a way like no other. You heighten my senses, you make me feel less lonely. You’re accessible and there for me in times of need. Thank you for offering that to me.
Dear Disordered Eating,
My arch enemy. My rival. You’re competitive. You have an evil streak. You’re 2 faced. You’re a bad influence. You seem fun at first but then I soon realise you’re dangerous. Like nicotine or alcohol you have the potential to be addictive and you do your best to make me addicted to you. It’s like falling in with the wrong crowd at school. Befriending a bully. You like my vulnerability. You feed off my sensitivity. You’re manipulative. You’re sneaky and you’re sly. You leave me alone in dark places after taking me there. You may fill my emotional voids in the short term but you then leave me in a ditch in the dark every time after, taking away my confidence with you, to leave me to struggle my way back out, then back to you and your addictive self. Please leave me. Please leave anyone. I don’t deserve you. You don’t deserve anyone.