I feel like I’ve been formulating this post in my head for the past two months. Each week its focus and mood shifts. If I were to have written this a couple of months ago when the ideas were first stirring, I think you would have felt a greater sense of confidence and abandon. I probably would have titled it, “Why I’m Ready.” I really want to try and bring back the feelings I had at this time, though they are now getting all twisted and challenged with the addition of unease and nerves. Whether I am ready or not, I am heading into what may be an interesting summer.
I’ve been keeping pretty quiet about any sort of summer plans – only because I knew I’d be writing this post when the time came closer. So… here’s whats happening.
Whether or not it was noticeable (I do a great job at hiding – and when I have a computer screen to help me it is that much easier), I haven’t been doing very well. I’m not sure exactly when it began – perhaps it was after my breakup, or after one of my really large performances ended and I found myself with a lot more free time – but my mood severely plummeted in and around February. I had many returning bouts of depression, and with this, my eating disorder began to gain strength. Side note – I still don’t know what comes first. I get depressed and so I don’t want to nourish myself. But the less I nourish myself the more I am depressed. The two work in tandem and feed off each other.
It acts so fast. Obviously with the break up and extra free time, the ED was jazzed with the new found “freedom.” After even one day of not eating enough, suddenly I had a new calorie limit. I’ve been getting by – hell I still did my best work at the conservatory this winter than ever before – but how I managed to succeed in all I did with all the rules and guilt that I’ve been living with truly astounds me. Makes me think what I would have been able to achieve if I was doing well…
I’ve continued blogging and posting my WIAW posts, even though each recent week I questioned doing so more and more. Obviously you see that I eat – and somewhat normally. So its hard not to feel like I’m being really hypocritical here and making things up. But a) just because one still “eats” doesn’t mean they don’t struggle b) depression and eating disorders aren’t always read on the outside c) I don’t show you my eats every day d) I don’t talk about exercise and e) my eating simply hasn’t been enough.
Interestingly enough, the same thing happened last winter. Each year I have relapsed at around the same time – losing whatever “progress” I achieved through the year and returning right back to a, well, pretty scary place. Last year when this happened, I made my own outpatient program here in Toronto and saw a nutritionist and psychologist on a weekly basis. I made progress mentally and got rid of many food fears, but the scale hardly budged. Honestly? As much as I wanted help, I didn’t want to gain weight. I held so much hidden resistance to do what I actually had to do, so obviously I didn’t make the progress I naively thought I would. I only started blogging at the very end of the summer, so this was all before this place of mine existed. Still, I was at a much better place when I started this blog, talked more encouragingly about recovery and used this place to support my higher level of “fear food” intake. I haven’t been able to be that advocate lately.
So. What is my plan now?
I am moving back home for the summer – to live with my parents. There are other elements that helped with this decision, such as needing to save money and a few trips and weddings at home, but the main reason is to get help and support. To get support with my mood, to get myself out of this terrorizing routine and rigidness I’ve fallen into, and to gain weight. See last summer, I was on my own – as I have been, proudly, for many years. But as much as I said I could do it, it became clear that I really couldn’t. Being on my own opens way too many doors for hiding or lying or tricking myself. Supporting myself financially while continuing to pay rent (mixed with my money anxiety and guilt complex) makes it harder to take myself out for food or buy meals etc.
I haven’t been home for more than a week or two at a time in 5 years. Remember this post about not wanting to “waste” another summer? Well, lets just say half of me feels like I’m once again wasting a summer away from my career and life to try – once again – to regain my health. However, the other side of me knows that if I don’t do this this summer, I will only continue wasting time. More time. And therefore I actually see this as the opposite of wasting time. I see this as “your going to f***in beat this thing NOW so you can move on and get to your dream. Maybe its only now you are truly ready. So we’re going to bloody do it. Now.”
I have a nutritionist and therapist set up back home in which I will see weekly. I have the support of my parents and a very close friend to lean on and use as a strategy to hopefully stick to my calorie goals. I have a job (maybe two) already lined up, and am subletting my apartment in Toronto so I will be both making and saving money. Oh, and that beloved trip to San Francisco I excitedly boasted about? That won’t be happening, unfortunately. Once my mood started getting low a couple of months back, I knew what I needed most was to get home and get myself feeling more stable before anything else. I thought maybe I would just go later in the summer, but I think I will have to hold off until next year. That’s okay. SF will always be there.
So I have things set up. But what else do I have? I have a new sense of awareness. Looking back, I know that what has kept me from making weight gain progress in the past has been my unwillingness to ask for support. Sure I would see specialists, but would I ever truly talk about my feelings? No. I never let myself go over that line of discomfort that would risk me actually feeling really difficult emotions. And this is because I was not ready to ask for support when this happened. I was not ready to get upset or cry because I was not willing to show this part of myself to anyone. I know this has been my block.
I’m not scared to gain weight…. I’m scared to feel the feelings.
Now I know that in order to make this happen, I am going to have to let myself get upset and ask for support to help me through it. I need to let go of any shame or embarrassment for feeling whatever it is I will. I need to have a conversation with my mother about the validation I need to hear when I am feeling something which – to the outside world – is irrational (my super feeler post was very much linked to getting ready for this). If I continue to hide or diminish what I’m feeling, those blocks will continue to grow and I will never be able to heal the fear that I do not understand. That ED voice that says “don’t worry – this is only temporary” will stay rooted and devious.
I fear setting too many concrete goals, but regardless of that fear I am still going to say I hope to gain 10 pounds. I need to gain more, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure. This amount would get me to a much better baseline come the fall. I will be working to increase my calories each week to reach, I’m sure, 2500+(+) kcal. Can I do it? I don’t know. I’m trying not to ask myself that question. I know logistically how hard weight gain is, especially on your own.
But I have to do it this time guys.
I think that’s where I’ll leave it for today. This post ended up being really long, so I’ve split it into two and will simply post the last bit tomorrow. I think you’ll be glad to hear the last bit of my thoughts have more of the “pom pom” vibes. I hope splitting it up will make it all a little easier to “digest”……. baha.
It’s all going to be okay.
See you tomorrow.