Current daily routine:
Think “what’s the point…”
Go back to sleep
Have a series of vivid real-life/dreamworld warped dreams
Wake up and get up to get away from the dreams
Look at to-do list and think “but if I do that stuff, then what will there be to do when it’s done?”
And back to bed.
*not necessarily everyday, but usually most days
It’s not a routine. It is set out exactly in order. Sometimes I’ll change up the to-do list part and actually commit to running through a couple of things on it. And the thing is, the more I do, the better I feel. Well, until I cross the line into doing too much and end up in a foul mood, with my husband having to tell me to stop…
We all know I live with anxiety, depression, emetophobia, agoraphobia, panic disorder, inflammatory arthritis, IBS and fibromyalgia. It’s not an excuse. I take medication to manage some of the conditions, but I’ve changed what I take hugely in the past 4 months. I’ve eliminated the steroids, eliminated the morphine-level pain relief, added back in an anti-depressant, started taking supplements. There’s still a lot I’d like to change, but I have to give my body time to adjust to the major changes I’ve already implemented.
Note my change in wording though when I listed my conditions. I used to state that I *have* XYZ, that I *suffer from* XYZ. I realise now that I’ve moved on from that, that for me it was becoming a scapegoat, as it were. To some degree, it still is. Maybe always will be. One thing my experience with pain taught me: you have to learn to live with your experiences. However happy or shit they might be, you have no choice. Sure, wallow in self-pity and extract as much sympathy as you can from the rest of the world, but sooner or later, everyone will get tired of it. They will learn to live with you, whatever version of you that may be, but they have their own lives to live. If accommodating your conditions means leaving you behind sometimes, that’s what will happen. Sometimes you really can’t do anything to change that; part of living with your conditions means accepting this. In many cases though, a simple change in attitude can prevent a lot of heartache. Which is why I picked my act up and decided to learn to live life with the pain, rather than suffer from it. I think I’m doing pretty well as far as going on despite pain goes.
It’s exponentially harder to live life with the anxiety, agoraphobia, emetophobia. They require intensive attention in order to manage. Sometimes it just isn’t possible and I can’t live with it. I can only survive with it. Those times are the worst. However, I do still believe there is hope and I remain optimistic that it is possible to live a healthier, happier life than the one I choose to live at the moment (see daily routine).
One thing I’ve come to realise through all of this as well is that I do have an eating disorder. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon because people I know live with disordered eating, and I’m not trivialising EDs either. Note that at the moment, I use the terminology of “having” an ED. That’s because I’ve not learned how to effectively and healthily live with it. You might wonder what ED I think I have. It isn’t anorexia, it isn’t bulimia (obviously!), it isn’t bingeing. I control my eating – by that, I mean I halt my food intake depending on what else I want to do. I impose restrictions not on the type of food, but on when I will let myself eat. It isn’t weight or body-image related. It is intrinsically connected to my emetophobia and agoraphobia. It is a logical thought process that led me to this behaviour, but just because it’s logical doesn’t mean it is healthy. I arrange my eating entirely around my day’s activities and have done, to varying degrees, for many years. If I’m planning on going out, I refuse to eat until I either feel hungry while I’m out and I feel ‘safe’ eating, or I’ll wait to eat when I get home. Even on weekdays when I don’t go out anywhere, I rarely eat until after C is home from work. Despite getting out more, my body has over the last 6 months adjusted to not eating during the day, so I have no appetite or hunger for food at all until after 3-5pm. I was in the habit at first of at least having a meal-replacement soy-milk shake, but my appetite for those went a couple of months ago, so at the moment I’m working on introducing those back in during the day if I really, really can’t face food. My evening meal is entirely normal and there are no issues around it…unless I’m eating out!
I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing all of this. I know I have missed writing. The catharsis of it…it was an essential therapy for so long, but I lost the spark to write several years ago, and I’ve not known how to get it back. Motivation is bloody hard to come by. I’ve felt it lurking recently and decided to take the plunge today and have ended up with this…hopefully it will lead onto more as there is so much in my head that I can put to rights by writing about it.
I’ll end on the note that recovery isn’t linear, doesn’t have a time limit, and is ongoing for life. As humans we are always recovering from something. A bereavement, a hard day at work, a sleepless night with a baby, a cold, an evening run. It’s a good idea when recovering from the bigger things, anything that affects you psychologically and emotionally, to remember the above. Accepting that recovery actually means living with consequences until such a time as something else requires your attention, or until you learn how to live with the difficulties. Recovery isn’t about survival and getting over something. It’s about learning to manage and cope, and figuring out how to live the life you want whilst you carry the pain (physical or mental) with you. Sometimes it might pass entirely, but even if it does, remember that it changes you in some way. What you do with it is up to you.