Some positive stuff

It’s just about 2am as I write this. I’m drinking coffee and eating a nice chicken mayo sandwich, and I’m catching a train at 7am to take me to a PhD conference in Glasgow. Obviously the coffee helps, but I doubt I’d be able to sleep anyway so I’ve taken this opportunity to write about some positive stuff.

Some positive stuff

I’ve had 3 days worth of spontaneous eating, drinking, socialising, and general deviation from the standard routine, and it’s only when I stop and properly think about it that I realise how much that means to me.

I’ve not spent the whole time thinking “ah, I can’t have that, I need to save calories for later” or “I can’t have a drink, I need to go back to work this evening” or “it’s time for dinner, must make an excuse to leave“. At the same time, I’ve not been consciously patting myself on the back for doing these things like they’re no big deal to me.

…Because they really are no big deal to me.

Friday

 

Friday, I went for a drink and a Nando’s with a couple of good friends. I love Nando’s, but honestly, it was never my love of their chicken that had me attempt to steer eating occasions there. It was because they publicised all their nutritional info so I could calculate exactly what I’d be eating before I arrived. “Hm…quarter chicken plus macho peas + coleslaw is…ooh, bit much, what about chicken butterfly plus corn plus…” you get the idea.
But that evening, I decided to wing it (pun not intended but kept because I can’t actually think of any good ones tonight, what’s wrong with me!?!?), and had their Churrasco Thigh Burger! I took a picture but due to their insistence on using Poundland lightbulbs (it’s not ambient, it’s 20 watts of shoddy glassware), it came out looking quite horrific. Luckily I found a promotional photo which captures the majesty of this combination:

o-THIGH-BURGER-570

Even in good light mine didn’t look nearly as photogenic, but it tasted good and that’s what matters.

Saturday

Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending the day with Ian and his family. Ian is a friend and fellow blogger (whom I’ve linked to in My Favourite Blogs) and I hope he won’t mind me mentioning this.
I had a great time and was made so welcome by them all. I really don’t want to sound like I’m trying to flatter, but they’re a genuinely wonderful family, and I hope to see more of in the future *subtle hint to invite me round again*.

Today

Today my old flatmates came to visit me. We had beer, lunch, and watched Euro 2016 at the pub. Luckily this all happened at once so I was able to shove food in my mouth rather than attempt to join in cryptic football patter.
I could’ve had Diet Coke, but I wanted beer. I could’ve had their superfood salad, but I wanted their brisket ciabatta. I could’ve spent the second half glued to my phone, plugging things into MyFitnessPal, but I wanted to actually watch the game like everyone else. Turns out football is quite good, who knew?

I even hazarded a comment on the game: “Ooh, that was a nasty challenge” and was not met with scorn and ridicule. I’m not quite Jeff Stelling, but I’ll get there.13495107_10208789486348023_6828420809382527551_n (1)

Tomorrow

And of course tomorrow (and by tomorrow I mean approx. 3 hours), I’ll be off to Glasgow for this conference. I’ll be eating, drinking, sleeping, socialising, at different times, in different places, and with different people.

…To clarify, I won’t be sleeping with different people. Nor will I be eating different people or drinking them. I’ve been to this conference before and it was a far cry from your standard cannibalistic orgy.

13516583_10208789610111117_9118288324299571883_nAnyway, the point is that it’s fine. I’m looking forward to it! I’m not dreading the disruption, the changes, or even the wide variations in edibility of conference sandwiches. Yes, there will be stressful times ahead, it’s natural to be stressed, but I genuinely feel I can cope with them.

So that’s it in a nutshell. A really big nutshell. Thank you for taking the time to read, or at least look at the pictures.  x

Write here, write now!

Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself! Time also flies when you’ve got a 5000-word essay to knock up in an evening, or when you’re in a coma. Occasionally I throw my watch across the room and say “ooh, doesn’t time fly!” I have a sad little chuckle to myself and hunt for the cooking sherry.

Anyway, we had a SACHI group meeting the other day. I admit, in days of old I’ve been somewhat disengaged from these, using them as an excuse to check on Facebook messages that didn’t exist because I didn’t send any because I was an irritable antisocial tit. Now I genuinely enjoy them, I care about my research, and I like to hear about others.  In our last meeting, we were asked to come up with a challenge we’d faced in our research, and a lesson we’d learned.

A typical SACHI meeting. People removed to preserve anonymity.

A typical SACHI meeting. People removed to preserve anonymity.

I hadn’t come up with anything. In fact I dare say nobody had. It wasn’t hard though; sitting back down at my desk and saying to myself “now, where was I?”, trying to answer that question was a major challenge. Returning to my old code and hastily scrawled notes after 6 months, a large part of my time since has been spent staring at my screen and mumbling cryptic curses, like my Dad does when Windows politely asks him to install critical updates.

Admittedly, the lesson I learned was not learned in that week. It’s a lesson that’s taken me these 6 months to see the true value of: write. Write what you’ve done. Write what you want to do. Write notes on papers. Write notes on spontaneous thoughts that occur. Because thoughts are ephemeral, they disappear, never to be seen again. Words, written down, recorded, they stick. 

There, that’s your take-home message. We’ve finished early today! I need more words. You can read the rest or not, it’s up to you. I’d like it if you did, though x

It’s ridiculous, I’ve been away for 6 months, a significant chunk of anyone’s time in university. Less than a fortnight in, and here I am, back at my desk as if nothing has changed. Some old faces have sadly left in my absence, and I was happy to meet some new ones. I guess I’ve changed too. I’m happy, I’m focused, and I no longer need belts to hold my socks up. Looking back at the picture on the left when I’d not long gone off on leave, it wasn’t me. I’m still a bit underweight, I’m still inherently irritable and I still feel sick when I smell Domino’s, but there’s an improvement for sure.

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What hasn’t changed *soppiness alert, grab those buckets y’all* is the kindness and supportiveness of my friends here. I don’t really say it because opportunities to hug people and tell them how much I appreciate them seldom come up in the day-to-day routine, at least while I’m sober.

People ask me how I’m settling in, or compliment me on looking healthier, or tell me that they enjoy this blog. Every time, I guarantee, I’ve responded along the lines of “I really appreciate you saying that” and/or “That means a lot to me“. I worry that these sound shallow or flippant. They’re not. I can’t stress enough how deeply I mean them. I don’t know how, beyond actually throwing my arms around you and squeezing you until your ribcage implodes.

Every kind comment, every friendly gesture, warms me inside like a double Glenlivet, and makes me feel just as happy, if not more so.

Now that I’m actually in full-time PhD mode again, there’s less time for blog writing in my day now. I’m not complaining, being busy is my life and soul.

Work-is-not-mans-punishment.-It-is-his-reward-and-his-strength-and-his-pleasure I’m working, I’m cooking, I’m socialising, I’m driving, and amongst all that I’m just sitting on my laptop, buying unnecessary things on eBay, not feeling obliged to be doing anything more.

But this evening, I do feel obliged to write to you, to say thanks for checking up on me, and giving me reason to write here, right now. x

The Return of the King(dom of Fife)

Guess who’s back? Back again? Daniel’s back, tell a friend…etc, then something about trailer park girls going round the outside of something. I really don’t understand that song at all.

Anyway, things have started off well, having successfully driven Gladys from Rothiemay to St Andrews with minimal stress, apart from trying and failing to find the Forfar McDonalds. Turns out the Forfar McDonalds isn’t actually in Forfar, and I’ll be having stern words with my parents for calling it the Forfar McDonalds when really it’s the ‘dual carriageway near the turnoff to Forfar McDonalds’.

The Forfar McDonalds, I think. I wouldn't know.

The Forfar McDonalds, I think. I wouldn’t know.

This may sound like I’m going off-topic, but really the fact that I considered McDonalds to be a conceivable lunch option after 2 hours in the car says quite a lot about how far my recovery has come. I don’t need to have a “healthy” lunch, and I don’t need to have earned it with any sort of exercise. Seriously, a double bacon cheeseburger is infinitely healthier than my old attitude.

I quite like the fact that Google will eventually send this post up to anyone that searches “Forfar McDonalds”. If this is you, welcome, and sorry for misleading you.

As I was saying…I’m back for the foreseeable future, or at least until I finish my PhD, presumably. Although I’ve had flying visits with doctor’s appointments, I’ve not properly stopped to appreciate the town, and more importantly, my friends both in and out of computer science, who make the worst times bearable and the best times better. And I was happy to see that not much  has changed in the office, to the point that I hardly felt like I’d been away! It was only seeing my Secret Santa present sitting on my desk that it hit home just how long it had really been.

On that note, I don’t know who got me my Secret Santa (I realise that this is the point, the whole idea of being told “this person, chosen at random, has been allocated the responsibility of buying you a Christmas present” is a bit creepy to say the least) but they went straight for my heart (and my stomach). A big thank you to my randomly allocated gift giver. I hope that when I come to make something out of here that you’re around to have a slice. 🙂

Whoever you are, you're a star.

Whoever you are, you’re a star.

So after 6 months of no real responsibility beyond hoovering the living room and walking the dog, how do I adjust to going back to a PhD?
…On reflection, the dog never really wanted to come a walk with me unless I gave her biscuits every 50 yards or so (the vet has informed us that this is not a sustainable strategy).
And as for hoovering I always manage to knock the fan belt off or dent the skirting boards. I don’t really know how other people manage it, when I’m rich and famous I’ll presumably have a robot vacuum cleaner that will do this menial task for me.

Anyway, how do I adjust to going back to a PhD? Well, I’m not hitting the ground running as such. I’ve sort of hit the ground, had a bit of a look round, done some shopping, buggered about on Instagram for a while, and set off at a leisurely pace. I’m still finding my bearings, trying to figure out where I was the last time I sat in front of this large monitor. (I have a large monitor, yes. 27 inches, in fact!)

It's all a bit Inceptiony isn't it?

It’s all a bit Inceptiony isn’t it?

That’s not a euphemism. In fact if you even thought it was a euphemism then you have a shocking knowledge of anatomy, or maths.

7 months on, I’m no further with research, but more important than anything I’m light years further in terms of health. Now hopefully I can get both going simultaneously. 🙂

Back to blog, back to Bubble

Oh wow, it’s been quite a while since I sat down to write on this blog. Maybe you’ve missed me! Maybe you’ve not noticed. Maybe you thought ‘Rough Recovery’ was going to be about golfing strategies and are now busy writing a complaint.

I’ve been off the blog for many weeks now, which I know a few people have noticed, and very kindly voiced their concern. In the past, when things haven’t been going well, I’ve gone into “hermit mode”, gone off the grid to some extent and shut myself out from the world. I’m pleased to say that’s not the case this time.

Over the past few months, since going on my leave of absence in December, this blog has been a nice outlet for my trials, tribulations, successes and frustrations (ooh look that rhymes lovely).

It’s kept me busy when I’ve been restless and drawn to harmful thoughts. It’s let me get problems and dilemmas out in writing, from which I was often able to make more sense of them and reach a positive conclusion. It also served as a way for anyone remotely interested (and I really appreciate it if you are) to see how I’m getting on up here, about 10 miles down the road from nowhere. Although saying that in my research I’ve found we have a website. Amazing!

Rothiemay. A thriving hostpot of nightlife and excitement.

Rothiemay. A thriving hostpot of nightlife and excitement.

What’s changed?

Since I last posted mid-April, quite a few things. Each of them would have probably warranted its own post but ain’t nobody got time for dat.  So, here they are in a little list.

I’ve gained weight! Not a huge amount, but enough to push me almost to the lower end of ‘normal’ for my height. I know you have to take these BMI calculations with a pinch of salt, but I’m heading in the right direction fo sho. I look healthier (mam assures me of this so it must be true), and I feel healthier, like…
– I can climb stairs without having to set up a base camp.
– I can pick up the family Westie without getting into a clean-and-jerk stance.
– I can walk down the street, confident that if a 7 year old girl attacks me, I can probably defend myself long enough for a passer-by to help me.

Deceptively heavy

Deceptively heavy

I passed my driving test! Unbelievable, I barely scraped by my Cycling Proficiency, and during my short stint with my motorbike managed to plough into a taxi on the mini-roundabout. (In my defence, The Whey Pat is too big and blocks the view completely).

 

Yet someone has seen fit to give me a little pink piece of plastic that grants me the liberty of piloting a hunk of metal at 70mph while trying to unwrap a Werther’s Original with one hand and my teeth.

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I’ve upped my baking game. Like seriously. Croissants,  cheesecake, custard slices, Battenburg cake, sachertorte, Yorkshire puddings, even butteries. The family have been kind and eaten them all with minimal wincing.

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So now the end is near

Of course, now that things have been going so well, it means that it’s time to go back. It almost seems wrong when I’m getting on so well with my family, really enjoying my time at home, eating well, feeling good, that it’s time to shake things up.

But for the past 6 months, I’ve effectively hit the ‘Pause’ button on my life. It’s been about nothing but recovery, getting into a better physical and mental state. I’ve not been really living, instead I’ve been suspended in Limbo,

Now it’s time to hit “Resume”, or “Play”, or whatever they have on DVD players these days. As of June 1st I’m officially a PhD student again, and I’ll be coming back to St Andrews next week, to pick up where I left off.

Am I nervous? A bit. It’s going to be quite a radical change to my life. Am I happy? Yes. Because it’s a change for the better, a change that I’m ready for, a change that lets me live my life again, for better or for worse.

Dear Mam

I love my blog, I don’t want to say I’m “proud” of it. That would be blowing my own horn, and since I’ve been single I do that quite enough as it is. (Ooh, matron!) Really though, I feel that when reading my posts, I can see some progress in recovery.

But, of course, this is an OPEN blog, and  rubbish jokes and food p0rn aside, I’m trying not to paint a rosy picture of anorexia recovery. I have struggles, bad habits, anxieties, and I write about them all.danchart

So when my mam read my blog the other night, which I’ve always said she could do, she naturally got upset. Why hadn’t I told her about the struggles that I’ve been having? It was like I’d put up my rosy picture in the living room, to hid the excrement that I’d smeared all over the wall. (This is a figure of speech, if you smell anything, it was the dog…)

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It took me many attempts over many days to get this photo. Don’t be fooled, she’s an ill-mannered arsehole.

Of course I wanted to tell her straight out…but I couldn’t. Some things are just too hard to be open about face-to-face. So I wrote her this instead to explain things. She’s given me permission to write this, so here we are.

Hi Mam,

I hope this is a good idea, and not another complete bloody cock-up the likes of which I keep making on a regular basis. Well, I guess we’ll find out! Maybe get a glass of wine first. Maybe a bottle. Maybe gin. Yes, get a bottle of gin. You don’t smoke, right? You might want to start.

Like we discussed today, there are a lot of things that I simply couldn’t talk to you about in person. That I couldn’t talk to ANYONE about in person. Not to the GP, not even to the psychiatrist. To look someone in the eye and talk about my innermost guilty feelings is just too painful.

Not only that, but I can’t actually articulate it properly. I have so much crap swimming round in my head (and my stomach, please use the upstairs bathroom this evening) that to actually say what I want to say is near impossible. It’s only by writing it out, then reading it over, that I can actually make sense of things myself.

And that’s why I write my blog. I write things out for myself, but at the same time it’s a creative outlet, a way to be open and honest to my friends and fellow sufferers in a way that’s a bit more light-hearted and pleasant than The Jeremy Kyle Show.

It was NEVER a way to hide anything from you, I’ve never made it a secret that this blog is open for everyone. Our close family, extended family, friends, neighbours, workmates, all at least know about it. If they read it, that’s great! I wonder if Steve at the shop knows? He might start giving me a discount on butter. Just a thought.

Of course, you’ve read about some of my recent struggles, and I can understand that you feel I’ve been pulling the wool over your eyes, so to speak. That I’ve been saying I’m fine when I’m not. That I’ve only been saying what you want to hear.

And, to some extent, yeah, I’m not completely open about some things. I still try to fight some of my own battles. I’m sure you can understand that I don’t want to upset you unnecessarily. You have enough to deal with without me discussing every little issue I have.

But I want you to know I AM fighting, I AM getting better! It’s not a linear process, and I still have shitty days, but they’re mostly good.

I don’t want to ask any more of you, you’ve been fantastic. All I ask now is that you trust me to tell you when I need help, to tell you when I’m struggling and need that shoulder to cry on. Thank you. xxx

And there we have it.

And now I ask of thee a favour.

If you see my mam, please smile and say hello. It would mean a lot to her. She puts up with a lot of crap from me that she shouldn’t have to So whether I’m 8 stone of skin and bone, or 18 stone of muscle and testosterone, she’s infinitely stronger than I’ll ever be.

I feel a bit bad for cropping everyone else out.

I feel a bit bad for cropping everyone else out.

I am not a llama

It’s been a bumpy few days on the recovery rollercoaster. I haven’t posted for a while, partly because I’ve been too busy doing other stuff, partly because I’ve been too fuzzy-headed and  demotivated to vomit my words of woe, and partly because I don’t feel right writing about what I’m about to write about, right about now. Highs and lows, ups and downs, c’est la vie.

Hey. Look here. Bold text. If you don’t want to read about what is actually some quite nasty stuff, skip to the end where I’ll have a nice picture of a llama.

Guilt. Eat. Spit. Repeat.

I sometimes talk about my ‘restrictive behaviours’ or ‘bad habits’ without being too direct about what these are. Frankly, they’re degrading, embarrassing, and disgusting. But, hey, while we’re all sharing here…

Sometimes, I’ve put some food in my mouth, and something inside me screams “SPIT IT OUT”. You know, like that Slipknot song? Maybe you don’t. Oooh I just remembered I can embed videos, how exciting! Here it is for your viewing/listening pleasure.

Lovely, a real family favourite. Sorry, I’m postponing the inevitable.
So yeah, an internal voice that screams “Spit it out”, like I don’t deserve it. Like swallowing whatever morsel I have in my mouth would be greedy, too many calories, weak. And so I do. I spit it out, open the bin, in it goes. Do I feel better? Do I feel stronger, healthier, better about myself? No, I feel pathetic, disgusting, ashamed.

Sometimes it’s worse, I’ve put food in my mouth with the full intention of spitting it out, because I’m craving something but don’t want the guilt of the calories that come with it.

In some really bad days of my anorexia, in my 3rd year at uni specifically, I remember going out to Morrison’s in the evening, picking up food that my starving, emaciated body craved, knowing full well that I’d just chew it all up and into the bin. Sitting in my room in halls, I’d go through loaves of bread, boxes of cereal, doughnuts, sandwiches, you name it. Could I have ever brought myself to actually eat any of it? God no, that would’ve been terrible, but somehow sitting, mindlessly watching Youtube videos while regurgitating lumps of chewed up discount Tiger Loaf was a perfectly acceptable way to round off my night.

There’s no way of sugar-coating this. It’s almost like the ‘purging’ associated with bulimia, but without having to make myself sick. I satisfy a craving, with none of the calorie guilt. Yeah, great.

Except I’m hanging with my head over the bin, removing the traces of masticated Jaffa Cakes from my molars, feeling completely crap. The guilt of giving into my disordered thinking, the pain of letting my family down, (what would they think if they saw me?), the complete disgust with myself.

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I was writing this downstairs, but I’ve had to move up to my room to finish it. I can’t even write about it while sitting in the same room as my mam and dad. The thought of them ever reading this saddens me. Hell, the thought of you reading this is painful, so why post it in the first place?

Sean BattyBecause…my recovery is NOT sunshine, rainbows and lollipops. I can’t always throw in a pun to lighten a grim situation. I can’t just report the nice bits. Can you imagine the weather forecast? “And it’s a beautiful day in Azerbaijan today, with highs of up to 35C”. Okay…that’s nice Sean. What about Scotland? “THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY HERE’S TYRONE WITH THE SPORT”. Um…okay.

 

And, to reiterate. I am NOT a llama…from now on. (In case you’re wondering about this, llamas spit a lot. I just realised that this might not be clear and you’ll be sitting there all confused.) It’s an accountability post, more than anything. I’m done with it.

It does no one any favours to hide the less cosy parts of recovery, least of all fellow recoverers. So if you’re reading this, and you’re a llama too, let’s not be llamas. Let’s be human.

Not me. Not any more.

Not me. Not any more.

 

Fear foods and good routines

Well, it’s been an interesting few days. Actually very good in many ways, to the point that I’m almost struggling to write a post that shouldn’t be titled “Ooh, look how well I’ve done, everyone!” That’s not the kind of writer I am. I’m more the self-deprecating “Ooh, what am I like?” type that tries to make you feel better about not being such an epic fuck-up as me.

So, here are some good bits of the week:

Wait…weight? Waaaaaaay(t)! 

Not so much weight gain as weight recovery. I found the pounds that I lost last week! No scale selfies this time, though, I might save that for my next stone. We can’t have you getting fed up of my face. All the same, I was really chuffed at this. 😀

Good habits

In the space of a week I’ve adjusted my routine so that I’m now up 3 hours earlier than before! Yup, I’m becoming a morning person and it turns out daylight is actually quite nice.

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I’m also eating breakfast regularly again, which is kind of exciting! Now the second thing I say I wake up is “Ooh, what am I going to have for breakfast?” The first is “Ah bugger. OK Google, search for: bedwetting normal mid-twenties“.

Overcoming fears

I say ‘fears’ and you’ll perhaps think of snakes, spiders, axe-wielding murderers, Anne Hegerty off The Chase, biting the inside of your mouth so that it’s raised a bit so you keep biting it again and again, normal things to be scared of. You probably don’t think…fish and chips. Or unexpectedly large portions of cheese.

She's lovely, really.

She’s lovely, really.

Dansabitofaweirdophobia: The fear of unexpectedly large portions of cheese.

Um…yes, bit weird. And yet true! The anorexic me screams “Aagh, too much grease, too much fat, how many calories are in that!?

(The anorexic me likes poetry).

And so…here was lunch and dinner on Saturday!

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Mam and I were in town shopping, and we decided to stop at Subway for lunch. This is no biggie, I quite like Subway and obviously can make it healthy as I like. I don’t usually go for cheese for this reason, but I was feeling brave! 

This turned on me a bit as, rather than the usual strip of cheese triangles, the guy picked up a handful of grated cheese and liberally dumped it onto my sandwich. I was like “shitshitshit that’s too much do I tell him that’s too much?” but of course mam was there and I couldn’t disappoint her, so the trap stayed shut.

But I managed to finish it! At one point I opened it up and was greeted by a wall of melted cheese which freaked me a bit, but because I was distracted by enjoying time with mam, I was okay!
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The family and I went for a walk along Cullen beach and finished off with a trip to the chipper. Mam was really great before we went, asking me “do you want to just cook something when we get back?” and “are you going to be okay with this?” making sure I wasn’t gonna be freaking out.

And yeah, I was thinking about doing a nice stir-fry when I got back, but somehow I decided I wanted fish and chips. Sure, they taste fine, but I think it was just being able to share the experience with mam and dad again, just like old times. And that’s just what happened. Granted, I didn’t eat all the batter, it wasn’t a clean victory! But a small victory nonetheless. 🙂

Anything bad to report?

I can’t explain it, but for whatever reason I got really demotivated and anxious last night. Like I had loads of things I could be doing, but didn’t have the drive to do any of them, and with no distraction my thoughts turn to anorexic behaviours and habits.

And I admit, I let it get the better of me yesterday. Despite the fact that my day had gone really well, I managed to ruin it a bit by letting ana take over again. Still, this evening’s been better and I’ve been able to keep myself busy and still eat properly.

Do you have anything that makes you nervous to eat, so-called ‘fear foods’? Or fears in general? If you’ve overcame them, how did you do it? Would love your feedback. 🙂

Denial

People who misspell my name never want to admit they’re wrong. I guess Denial is the first stage…

I thought it’d be nice to start off with a wee joke! If you didn’t get it, my name is Daniel and denial is a misspelling of Daniel.
If you got it but didn’t like it, I don’t blame you. It’s not my best work.
If you got it and liked it but feel that I ruined it by explaining it, you’re right. I’m sorry.

Anyway, the reason I start with a joke is because there won’t be many more. I’ve been on board the struggle bus the past week and the driver wouldn’t let me off.

Dis easter is a disaster!

Throwback to my last post, the clocks went forward and screwed up my bad routine even further. Did I start trying to go to bed a bit earlier? Nope. Did I try getting up a bit earlier? Nah. Did I stick stubbornly to my bad routine despite it throwing my eating patterns completely off and causing conflict with my family? Yes, that’s what I did. Bollocks. 4am, should be sleeping, instead I’m chilling with Walt and Jesse.

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Weight, there’s more

Or rather…less. I dropped a pound. Ugh, weight loss!? Really!? Granted, it’s not a huge loss, but I should not be losing weight full stop. I’m still in a state where I can ill afford to stay at my current size, let alone get thinner!

On a positive note, at least I’m pissed off that I lost weight. It’s no longer an achievement. Weight gain good. Weight loss bad.

Nah, I’m fine

And this is where denial comes into play. I was denying that my routine was unsustainable for a start. “I’m still getting enough sleep”, “I’m eating dinner at the same time as the family”, “I don’t like mornings, I much prefer time to myself in the evenings”, “I like this routine, it works for me”

bull

What Willy said.

And of course, dodgy waking/sleeping routine meant dodgy eating routine, which inevitably meant not getting enough food in.

Again, I was in denial here, insisting to myself that I was getting enough, despite all evidence to the contrary. Not only was I sleeping through any possibility of breakfast, it was getting to the point that I wasn’t even having proper lunch. I had a couple of days where I wasn’t able to have lunch at my preferred time, and it knocked me all wrong, resulting in not having anything.

Even though I had concrete evidence that it wasn’t working! Look at the scales you mucking fuppet, you’re clearly not eating enough! My dogged insistence that I stick to routine cost me a whole week where I could’ve been making positive gains.

But there’s a happy ending…

I can change!

Yes I can, I can change, I will change, and actually, as of today, I have changed! I got up 2 hours earlier (I won’t tell you when, let’s just say I still won’t be getting a job as a cockerel any time soon).

…Why can’t I think of a stereotypical job where you get up early? Is there one? Like “he was up as early as a…”. You can’t be employed as a cockerel, that doesn’t even make sense…

Anyway…for the first time in a few weeks now, I had an official ‘breakfast’!

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Okay, it’s hardly a full English. It’s barely a full Ethiopian, but it was still something. I really want to get breakfast back into the daily routine and this is a proper start.

I’ve also been eating better in general. Slowly trying to increase the size of the meals I’m having so that I don’t end up binging on peanut butter to meet calorie goals. Man, do I love peanut butter though…

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Possibly as a result, maybe as a coincidence, maybe the anti-anxiety meds kicking in, but I’ve been in a better mood today. I feel like I’m back on the right track, and there’s no denying that.

Bad day? That’s okay

A short and not-overly-sweet update on the past couple of days. As the title suggests, it’s been a bad day in eating disorder recovery. As the title also suggests, I’m accepting that this is okay and not a complete catastrophe.

So here’s why my day went ‘arse over tits’, a phrase gifted by my sister that seems to fit perfectly.

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!

First, the clocks went forward! So one minute I’m sitting there minding my own business, then suddenly I’m Marty McFly coasting through time. Now, much as I love my family, I like having the living room to myself for a while. Honestly? I like to watch Breaking Bad in my pants in front of the fire. Thou shalt not judge.

Me and dad, taken at 2am last night

Me and dad, taken at 2am last night

Anyway, Dad was up late because he had today off. It’s his damn house, he works hard, and he should be able to chill where and when he likes. Unfortunately this doesn’t fit with my compulsive need for routine, and I couldn’t relax until he went to bed, which ended up being 3am. Following that, my standard routine had me in bed at almost 6am.

The next day (today)

Fast forward to 11.40am where I managed to prise myself from my coffin in search of blood, or strong coffee and a Berocca, whichever came first. The sun was shining, and dad had gone a walk to himself because I’d squandered the entire morning in my pit. Ah great, nothing like guilt for breakfast.

Breakfast (guilt not pictured)

Breakfast (guilt not pictured)

And guilt was all I had for breakfast…or lunch, for that matter. I felt guilty and determined to fill my day with productivity (sound familiar?), so I bustled about and didn’t stop until about 2.15, at which point I was going to have lunch until we had unexpected visitors that stayed for an hour.

And because we were having another visitor later, Dad insisted we have dinner at 5.30. At this point it was 3.15 and I wanted to be hungry for dinner so I ended up not having anything. Aaaagh no no no bad bad bad Daniel! You know that’s not right! Why do you do this to yourself!? Shitty, shitty excuse mate.

Ana talks

For most people, this would be no biggie. You can just eat more later on, right? Right…no…see I don’t roll like that. I had a usual-sized (although delicious!) dinner, and despite attempts to eat more through this evening, anorexia’s got the better of me. Anything extra that I considered eating to make up for my lack of calories, it talked me out of it. It mocked me: “You don’t need it, it’s just greed”, “You’ll just feel full and disgusting later”, “You’ve got all these calories to eat and you’re having THAT!? Well, go ahead, waste them if you want..”. SHUT UP SHUT UP NO ONE ASKED YOU GET OUT OF MY FRIDGE WHY ARE YOU EVEN IN MY FRIDGE THAT’S WEIRD AND UNHYGIENIC.

GTFO

GTFO

It’s a war, not a battle

So that’s the bad day part, and it’s really brought me down to be honest. Just a wee reminder that “nope, you’re still not ready”. It was a backwards day to round off what has been, frankly, a backwards week. I’ve had a wee indulgence in some of my old behaviours and anorexic coping strategies – a dabble in the dark side.

BUT, the hunger I’m feeling just now is no longer a feeling of triumph, of strength, of victory. It’s a feeling of worthlessness, of weakness, of guilt. I’ve failed. I’m supposed to be recovering and gaining weight but I didn’t. I let myself and everyone down.

Now, obviously feeling crap and weak isn’t wonderful, but it means something very important – I want to recover. I’m still motivated. Not eating no longer equals strength and happiness!

So I lost the battle today, but I’ll be damned if I’m giving up the war. Rematch tomorrow, byatch. I’m gonna chew you up, and I’m not gonna spit you out. I’m gonna swallow you and say “MMM DELICIOUS” then go and have dessert because I’m a fucking badass recovery machine.

Oh, and here’s dinner – chicken stuffed with full-fat Philedelphia, wrapped in bacon, with cabbage fried in butter. I claim a small victory there.

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Control, Halt, Still Eat!

The need for control in anorexia recovery can be both cripplingly unhealthy, and at the same time beneficial. Take now for example, I’ve sat here for a while desperately struggling to come up with a decent pun for the title and I’m still not happy with it. I have quite an obsessive nature, so even starting to write this paragraph has taken the best part of half an hour, and even now I’m still glancing up at it every 5 seconds and frowning.

No, this won’t do. I’m the pun guy. I write puns. I can do better than this.
Can’t you just leave the title for now and come…
NOICAN’TTHETITLEHASTOBEPERFECT
It’s not that bad, I can tell what you were trying to –
SHUTUPITDOESN’TEVENF**KINGMAKESENSE

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And sure, having a ‘bugger it, that’ll do‘ attitude doesn’t get you very far in the race of life, but when you’re stuck at the starting gate because your ‘shoelaces aren’t tied quite right’ then that’s just as bad.

Pics perfect

And now I’ve got a recovery Instagram! http://instagram.com/rough_recovery. While this has been great so far, it’s also brought its own problems. So I’ve been upping my food p0rn game, really putting an effort into my meals because I take pleasure in sharing them with fellow recoverers. Here’s a sneaky peek 😛  din4din2din

So the newfound desire to make my food look tasty has been helpful, but at the same time, I’ve started spending way too much time faffing around trying to make things look pretty, then reheating in the microwave because they’ve gone cold while I find the perfect angle. Sure, I got dat toasty cheese close-up, but I would’ve preferred it before it congealed. :S

Counting carbs

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a MyFitnessPal user, and a serial calorie counter. This does have its benefits. For example, last night I was taking a porcelain cruise on choppy seas* and as such I wasn’t hungry at all. But my stubborn rigidity kept me going!

My evening ritual is to have a protein bar and a cup of coffee while watching Breaking Bad, then a bowl of porridge before I go to bed. Without that habitual routine, I’d have probably gotten anxious and not eaten at all, but instead I ate and got my calories in, despite not really feeling like I needed them. Great success!

On the other hand, when I’m unable to know how many calories I’m eating, that still makes me anxious. Not nearly as much as it did, I’m now able to go out to restaurants and guesstimate the calories. I don’t have to monitor everything that goes in my mouth (don’t be filthy, you know what I mean). For example, Mammy Rough made lentil soup with a gammon joint yesterday, and I was able to eat it without worrying too much at all!

din3

(I added the broccoli myself, she’s not weird like that.) But letting other people cook for me has been quite a hurdle, and even now if I suspect something’s been cooked with too much oil, or cream, or anything that could add hidden calories, I’d be very uneasy about it…

Still gotta eat

So what I’m getting at with the title is that I still need to be able to eat even when I don’t have full control of a situation, when things aren’t perfect. I talked about how food doesn’t have to be perfect the other day, but this need for control extends to my life in general.  Izzy, one of my favourite bloggers, wrote a post about this today which inspired me to write this one.

I think I’ll only really recover when I’m able to let go of the control altogether. Sure, having a routine, a plan, a schedule, that’s healthy! But when it becomes a ritual, that’s when it’s gotta stop.

*My new euphemism for stomach-induced toilet visits

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