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Sitting on top of the world….

on August 19, 2012

For an hour last night, the terrorist let me out of captivity. We were driven high into the mountains to a viewing point to watch the sunset for our body and soul group. We were asked to write about what we felt at that moment in time. This is what enter my mind…

I am a million miles away from the squeaking London buses that roar outside my room each night, from the thousands of people I pass on the underground each day, and I am light years away from the chaos that muddles my thinking. I am here, in the most beautiful canyon watching the sunset and feeling the warm breeze whistle pass me. Sitting here, just sitting, taking time to appreciate just how remarkable this world is, I feel happy and sad. Happy that for this moment I am free of the terrorist, but sad that I am often so caught up in my own head I fail to notice the small pleasures right before my eyes.
When I am surrounded by nature, I feel at peace. I spend a lot of time, feeling disconnected from my space, but here, right now I am A OK.
I hear the birds, look around and realise that everything in this world has a reason for being here. Every tiny animal, plant, micronisim all work in harmony. It makes me question how I got to the point where I fight the natural stasis, that my body is built upon. I try to force my body into something nature never intended – ultimately I will always lose.
I hear a distant neigh of horses and something ignites in me. I close my eyes and imagine I am galloping through the fields. The sense of freedom, peace and adrenalin combined all at once. I miss the smell of the stables so much. The reality of my eating disorder becomes evident – it has robbed me of the one thing that makes me most happy. 
Looking around at the other girls scribbling away… we are all here in this same moment, but experiencing something different. We are all unique and special in our own ways, yet somewhere along the line our souls have been broken. I feel reflective being up here – I want to be well, so I can experience everything this world has to offer. I feel motivated to plough on this bumpy road. Although my physical self feels heavy and uncomfortable, my mind and spirit feel lighter.
We drive back home, but take a detour. One of the girls suggested we stop to see the horses over the road from the clinic. I get out and meet Brody. A beautiful chestnut who smells absolutely delicious! Anyone who loves horses as much as me will appreciate ‘that’. smell…he nuzzled me, and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I miss being around them so much. 
As I got back in the car, I thought two things. The first was…I need to get strong and healthy so that I can get back in the saddle and the stables. The second was… Brody??? Carolyn who founded this clinic has a dog called Brody!
“It’s the small behaviours that will come and bite you on the ass”!
In group we talked about recovery and how we stay recovered. Through my many years of indulging my eating disorder, I have gone up and down more times than the Blackpool’s Big Dipper – getting better, getting worse, staying the same, getting worse, getting slightly better, getting a lot worse. But I have never been able to get off the ride, stuck on a continuing cycle of thrills and spills. The thrill first experienced when I am controlling and restricting tempts me back on, but no sooner have have I got back on the ride, I feel the dips get bigger and bigger, and despite wanting to get off, I still cling on.
Our therapist reminded us that it is the little things, that lead to the big dips. When I think about all the small behaviours I hold onto, they are the ones that ultimately keep me stuck in my eating disorder. 
I thought about some of them and wrote them down.
  • Eating vegetables/salad first and then waiting half an hour before eating the rest of the meal.
  • Eating food either really hot, so it burns my mouth or really cold.
  • Leaving the gaps between eating as long as possible, so that I either get to the point where I have managed to miss a snack.
  • Label checking and calorie counting everything – this decides whether I will eat something or not.
  • Weighing my food out and then usually serving myself slightly less than I originally had planned.
  • Compensating for food I have eaten out in a restaurant or off my food plan by exercising or skipping something later.
  • Eating meals on an even number on the clock.
I expect I will discover more as I continue to explore the craziness of my eating disorder, but for now these are just some of the ways that I can feel safe and in control. These behaviours can be utilised at a healthy weight, which is often where ignorance around eating disorders arises. I could be in the normal weight range, yet still practicing any or all of the above – keeping me stuck in my disorder. 
These “small behaviours are the ones that will come and bite me on the ass”. I need to break these rituals to be truly free. I know that I get annoyed and frustrated when I can’t have the control – that’s what happened yesterday at lunchtime when I wanted to change something on my plan. I wasn’t allowed and I felt enraged! In the scheme of things when there are wars happening all over the world, it didn’t matter in the slightest, but that’s how insular this illness can be at times. 
I was grateful to be reminded of the insanity of my eating disorder. In the past, holding onto these rituals/behaviours/habits have lead me on a slippery slope right back to square one. It’s like being on the ride…holding on for dear life, because I am too scared to let go. Well I am sick and tired of being paralysed by fear, so I am going to loosen the grip bit by bit, so I can finally let go and be free.

2 responses to “Sitting on top of the world….

  1. Muriel says:

    Another amazing insight to your illness. What a journey you are taking Laura. Thank you for sharing it with us. At last on the road to recovery. Lots of love x

  2. Claire Daly says:

    So glad to hear that you beat the terrorist for a few minutes at least. You’re doing so well Laura. Stick with it – you so deserve to have a full life. The terrorist has robbed you of so much – it’s time it let you

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