Easter with an eating disorder can be extremely difficult, just like Christmas if not harder. This year whilst I’m stuck in hospital being tube fed I won’t have to face any Easter eggs or family feasts which is a relief in a way but it also makes me feel sad. I wish I could join in with the world and celebrate. I wish I could be around my family and go for a nice Easter walk. I wish I could taste chocolate on my tongue. I wish I could tuck into a roast…but even when I’ve been home Easter has been a challenge.
Just like any other celebrations, birthday, Christmas and Easter became days I tried to give myself ‘off’ from my eating disorder but of course you can’t just have a day off from a mental illness. Generally suffering from anorexia means my diet is restrictive but on these days I would almost give myself permission to eat and with the mixture of excitement, fear, extreme hunger and excuse my language but ‘fuck it’ attitude I would end up binging. I would be scared of the Easter eggs I’d received and would want them out the way so I’d eat them all and then physically and mentally I’d end up feeling rubbish. But it wouldn’t just last one day, it’d last weeks. It’d trigger a splurge of binging and everyday I’d be cramming all the food I could find into my mouth. Easter would ‘ruin’ a restrictive intake and my weight would increase to a number and size I was uncomfortable with. One tiny day would make me spiral out of control for weeks to come. What was meant to be a happy celebration would become a nightmare.
I hope that next year I do get to have a happy Easter. I hope I’m home for it and that I can eat a cadburys creme egg and an Easter egg and have lunch with my family before going for a walk in the fresh Spring air.
I would like to wish all my followers a happy Easter and I truly hope it is a happy Easter. I send you all my best wishes and hope the day doesn’t bring trauma and fear to you.
Building a life worth living is a big part of DBT and it’s something I haven’t worked on much or even thought about until recently. I’ve been unwell for well over a decade and have been in hospital for a year and a half. I’ve never been a mentally well adult and have not been able to function at a normal level since school. For these reasons I have always found it very difficult to think of a life outside of my illness and in some ways that can hold me back in recovery. However just weeks before I’m due to go to a specialist unit which can help me I have an idea of how life will look when I come out of hospital.
I know I won’t come home fully recovered and jumping with the joys of spring but I imagine I’ll be able to function. I want to attend outpatient appointments with my mental health team but alongside that I want to work in a bakery, go to ballet classes, help out with the younger ballet classes and prepare and cook my own meals and snacks from scratch. I could then channel my obsession with food down a productive and enjoyable route whilst still enjoying dance and exercise at a sensible level.
If I can maintain that lifestyle for a while then the next step will be learning to drive and getting a place of my own even if that’s renting a studio flat. Then the next step, and the one I’m most excited about will be becoming a mother. I’ve already decided for very personal reasons that I want to be single so I will go to a clinic and use a sperm donor to conceive.
I think it is good to go to this new unit with an image of what I want my life to look like when I come home. So this is me thinking of building a life worth living.
When you have an eating disorder, it can be difficult to remember what ‘normal’ eating was. I think it’s even harder when we live in a society with magazines showing a celebrity’s intake which is clearly not ‘normal’ or healthy.
Normal eating is:
- Eating something at least 3 times a day.
- Eating both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. What I mean by this is eating a variety of foods without feeling guilty. There is no such thing as a bad food.
- Being aware that eating is not the most important thing in life, there are things to do and see. Life is amazing, but you have to eat in order to be well enough to do these things.
- Being able to eat in a flexible way so that it does not interfere with life. For example being able to go to the cinema for an 11:30 showing and not worrying about lunch having to be at 12:30.
- Eating socially and in a similar manner to others in the group.
- Eating ‘junk’ food occasionally.
- Eating more than you feel you need to sometimes.
- Eating less than you feel you need to sometimes.
- Eating food that you enjoy
- Not counting calories, weighing food or following a strict and rigid diet.
- Not eating the lowest calorie food of that type, for example the lowest calorie bread, diet biscuits and so on.
- Not having to constantly weigh yourself to reassure yourself.
- Not eating to lose weight.
- Not avoiding certain food types.
Remember that there is no food unhealthier than having an eating disorder.
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