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on August 29, 2012

Today has been a challenge, and the challenge is only just beginning. Tuesdays are lunch outing days – my anxiety raises as soon as I wake. It’s the unknown, lack of control and guilt that I associate with eating out that gets the terrorist raging. I knew this week I needed to push myself a bit more. Dessert is always optional. Either dessert in the restaurant or a cereal bar back at the ranch. I told myself I would push the boundaries with the lunch but skip dessert and have the bar later. I got through the lunch in a bit of a panic, but it was an improvement on last week where I drowned the salad in tears. Main done and dusted and it was onto pudding. It was a unanimous vote to go and get a scoop of ice-cream from the shop and sit on the grass. My head was now in a total spin. What to do?  I watched in panic as the others got their ice-cream’s, why is everything over here super-sized?! Fear took over and I declined. As we walked to the grass, I was the only one not to have a colourful cone in there sweaty palm. I felt like I always do. On my own, isolated, disengaged, punished. I made a snap decision to go back and get one. As soon as I opened my mouth and told Anna, I felt regret, panic, rage – but it was too late. I thought of my nephews, and how the last time we went to the pond to feed the ducks. Everyone had an ice-cream except me…as usual. “Auntie Laura never has an ice-cream.” I felt sad, so as I sat on the grass, I thought of them – lick by lick. With some rat-pack type music playing from a speaker nearby, I thought of Michael too. It seemed fitting. 

The car-journey home was hellish. The terrorist was attacking me for giving in – for betraying it’s orders to not have the ice-cream. Why can’t it just F*** off and leave me alone. Little did it know that it was about to be dealt an even bigger blow. We arrived back at the house and I was taken into a room to be told that my meal plan was now going to hit the 100% mark. I had already seen the dietician this morning and agreed an increase, but apparently in staff meeting they all agreed I had to go the whole hog – and no exercise. I had a melt-down and my head went crazy, trying to negotiate. It went something like this.
  • I really think you are pushing me too far.
  • Why do I need so much, so soon. I already agreed an increase.
  • I can barely cope with what I am eating now.
  • I am not that ill and my weight will jump up.
  • The other girl here, is not on 100% – I feel as though you are punishing me. I am not as ill as she is.
  • Please can I go for the walks.
And so on. I wasn’t even hearing what they were saying, but once I realised that this was not optional, I opened up my ears and listened. Apparently I don’t actually know how much I need to eat – funny that. Apparently my body and my mind needs this amount. Apparently they are loving me by allowing me to eat this much. They do not want to fuel my eating disorder, that only wants me to eat tiny amounts. Apparently they have been doing this for years and know what they are doing – 15 to be precise.
I guess I don’t know better. If I did I wouldn’t be here. Despite my trembling fear I need to let go, surrender and trust them. In our food and feelings group tonight I realised that the relationships in my life have been a source of strength to me over the last few days. At the nail spar on Sunday, I almost threw my snack away. I fooled myself into thinking I could hide it in a magazine and no-one would notice. Just as I was about to sneak it inside ‘Homes and Gardens’, I thought of Lindsey my therapist and my peers. This process is hard for everyone – and I am a terrible liar (except when I am in my eating disorder). I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t cheat everyone, myself and have it on my conscience. The same happened today. I thought of my nephews when I was eating the ice-cream, and the cute old couple who walked hand in hand on their way to also get one. This evening when I wanted to quit half-way through my dinner, I thought of my mum and sister. We had salmon. Mum loves salmon. Lizzie hates it! 
This next phase is going to be hard. There is no let up, no time to put your slippers on and get comfy. Eight hours later and the terrorist is still attacking me for the ice-cream and raging about the increase. Lindsay says she has an army of soldiers and is ready to take on the fight with me. We will be entering battle together. The only small comfort is that ‘the other girl’ is now also on 100% food. She is allowed to go for walks (this enraged me even more, as I am not – I am sure she is thinner than me)! I must stop comparing myself to the other patients, trust the team and let them do their job. It’s hard – this illness thrives on competition and comparisons. Being with other sufferers can be tricky, but it can also be motivating. I have gained strength through my other team mates. We are all paddling the same boat up stream, trying to stay afloat. I realise that to those of you without an eating disorder, all of the above must sound crazy, self-indulgent and self-obsessed. You would be right. That is exactly what this illness is, and is exactly why I am fighting to beat it.
The increase starts tomorrow. As my youngest nephew would say. 100% here I come. ROCK ON!

11 responses to “100%

  1. Muriel says:

    Well done Laura.another step forward. You are stronger than you think. Still in my thoughts. X

  2. Scott says:

    Stay strong Laura and you WILL WIN this battle. Lots of love Scott

  3. Peta says:

    Reminded me so much of my fight in Lifeworks. Each day a new challenge will come, but each time you fight, you get stronger and that terrorist will gets weaker and smaller. I know you can do this – we’re all behind you. All my love xxx

  4. Claire Daly says:

    Thank you Laura for being so honest with your posts and giving an insight into the pain and the workings of anorexia. It really helps me to understand a little of what Sophie is going through and that is so important. It’s so interesting when you talk of the feeling of isolation – I know that feeling is strong for Sophie too. Your time in America and your strength and generosity in sharing that with us is making such a positive difference to Sophie and to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Lots of love,

  5. linda marchant says:

    Dear Laura, what an incredibly brave person you are. Not only trying to face your terrorist head on but then to share these awfully difficult times in such an honest way. Its such a rollercoaster for you but I feel sure you will win. You are stronger than you think. Lots of love, thinking of you, Linda xx
    PS: it seems I can only respond on my work computer so will send you a message whenever I can xx

  6. Robert Rea says:

    Laura – I’ve only just found out about this. Can’t believe I’ve worked with you for so long and never noticed. Bowled over by your bravery and honesty. Listen, sweetie – if you can cope with me giving you four impossible stories to do at the morning meeting and come up smiling, you can beat this too. Looking forward to seeing you back at work, happy and healthy and as lovely as ever.

  7. ladyem83 says:

    I’m considering whether to be admitted to a specialist unit for help. I’m swamped by a million thoughts and counter thoughts. Arguments for and against. Reasons to change and reasons to stay as I am.

    Laura, you’re a strong strong woman. You’re willing to listen, you’re willing to take the steps you so badly fear taking. It doesn’t matter how many times you wobble on this path to recovery because you find a way to climb over each hurdle. Keep going, keep believing in your true voice and thank you for sharing it with us.

    • swimbat says:

      i am lauras mother Lynda, and my heart goes out to you and all fellow sufferers. Please please think about taking the next step, it will be hard but with love and support you could find the peace that you richly deserve. i would be really happy to speak with you if i could be of any comfort to you on your journey. Do get in touch if i can help.

  8. Jacqui howells says:

    Hey lovely..
    Well done your doing amazing and taking huge steps..
    Now “just keep on swimming..” as Dory would say in Finding Nemo and swim that huge ocean of emotions you are facing to reach the otherwise and walk free of your terrorist..
    Love you heaps Xxx

  9. Tessa Ettinger says:

    Flick my darling, I sooo know what that is like, but just keep trusting and letting go exactly as you are and the rewards and liberation will be immense. This I can absolutely promise. Love you xxx

  10. Jane says:

    Hello Laura – we are 100% behind you over here in Robertsbridge and you are in my thoughts. Keep strong and as you say, let them look after you. xxx

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