Christmas Conundrums

Monday, 30 December 2013

It is an incredibly difficult place to be constantly at war with your own brain. Every moment of every day, whether spent awake or asleep my brain batters me with abuse and conflict. For a girl who cowers at the sound of an argument, it is torture. So, I am trying something new. I must see anorexia as a separate entity (bare with me guys, I'm not going to start shouting at myself-promise). Ive been asked before "what would you say to anorexia if it was doing this to your little niece?" Honestly- I would punch it's lights out, then rip it limb from limb. I need to start fighting this monster as I would if it were attacking Lola (my gorgeous niece). For me, this is a tricky prospect, and I am only now starting to truly understand why. I do not value myself as I value others. I do not feel I am of the same value as my friends, my family, the other patients here. For them I could kick scream and bite this bitch, but for myself, I just shout at everyone else and cry. People have constantly advised me to value myself as I do others and I think this is partly where I have struggled, for me, that is a big ask, so I must consider the effect anorexia has on all those around me to fight it and you know what? If I gain the weight and hate it, I think we all know I am pretty damn good at losing weight, so I always can. But I may as well give weight gain a chance and give it some time, so I can make a rational decision and choice, because being down here is shit. So, I'm going to do 2 activities to try and keep me going and push me through. The first, I would like to ask for some advice from anyone still out there who has a minute. What would you do to anorexia? Whether I am the only person you have seen it in, or if you have seen it in yourself, whether a loved one struggles with it, anything really, what would you do if you could get your hands on it and why? Even what you think it looks like? I am going to make a visual reminder of what I am fighting and how to attack it.

It's odd being in hospital at this time, it's 12 weeks now, which I quite honestly cannot believe. If anyone had told me I would still be here at this point, I probably would've gone ahead with my insane plan to leave the country (I am not joking). Sadly, I was convinced out of it by my mother telling me I would be stopped at the airport and the idea of such extreme humiliation was too much to bare. So, here I am. The situation is further exacerbated by the time of year. The run up to Christmas is a time I bask in, the day itself presents me with a lot of anxiety and concern, but the lights, the parties, all the preparation is exactly what I love. My favourite part is getting presents for my loved ones. Of course however, the run up has pretty much been non existent for me here. Yes, we did have a ward Christmas celebration, which was surprisingly enough quite a lot of fun, but it wasn't quite the same as the excitement I feel battling down Oxford Street to search out the ideal gift, getting home and wrapping them beautifully with my carefully selected wrapping paper (usually paper chase) and ribbon. Wandering around Selfridges, ear marking all the beautiful things. Getting to carefully select the most beautiful wrapping paper, ribbons and bows then pedantically wrapping each gift to my exquisite standard. As it was, Christmas this year was a bit of a mad rush. I only discovered that I would be allowed home a couple of days before, although this was incredibly exciting, the rushed nature of the trip caused a lot of anxiety. How the hell was I going to eat? I knew if things didn't go well I was pretty much scuppered for any leave for a while, but then equally, the guilt that comes with what feels like 'choosing' to eat is crippling. More than anything however, I was excited. The potential for an ounce of freedom was too exciting to believe. Only a few months ago I was leaving the house, returning, whizzing around London as I desired, the juxtaposition of the radical change in my circumstances is pretty much inconceivable.

So, the time came and I was free. I left the unit with one of the lovely girls whom is a constant source of support and kindness. The second we got out of the door we looked at each other, screamed and ran down the road laughing to each other "we're free, we're free". I'm sure no one around would've had any reason to guess we had just left the mental health building…So, we parted and off I went to try and sort some last minute shopping. Id been allowed 3 hours to shop the week before, however, had not managed to get all I needed. By the time I got home in the evening I was shattered. It was Christmas eve, though it didn't feel that way, and I spent a happy while reacquainting myself with my home, which had grown slightly less familiar to me. The emptiness of our lofty victorian house struck me, exacerbated by the Christmas tree mum had stoically wrestled into place and decorated herself. To me, the coming of the Christmas tree was synonymous with the house being full and slightly chaotic, but constantly buzzing, as my aunt and cousins joined us from australia for the festive season. Sadly, it was our year to go to them in Perth, an inconceivable idea with my current health. So Christmas would just be my mother, brother and I, for which I felt both guilty and sad. Last year was the same issue, and the year before that we went on a large family ski trip (I wasn't allowed to ski), which I made pretty difficult for everyone due to my anxieties around food and some of my medication giving me rather odd side effects. I was, as a result, anxious that I would NOT ruin this Christmas. I had pre-ordered some special ready meals, including a Christmas Dinner, from a high quality internet company, even before I was certain of my leave. This felt far more manageable as every meal was a known quantity, with no risk of me over/undereating on leave. It did feel rather peculiar, sitting at the dinner table with my mother's beautifully prepared Christmas dinner and a ready made dinner in front of me, but it was the most normal I felt I could manage, and it was reasonably close to the real thing. So we did it, had a super relaxed Christmas. And I returned to the unit with a sense of achievement, partnered with terror, waiting to see what would happen at my next weigh in…

Next to tackle, New Years Eve!

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