Having an eating disorder is a living nightmare in normal circumstances, but during these times of self-isolation, it has the potential to be totally devastating.
I have been reflecting on my own eating disorder, and the parallels that I have found in the last two weeks.
My anorexia felt like a I was in solitary confinement most of the time. I was totally disconnected from the world and my loved ones. I often locked myself away, which caused untold worry for those around me. So, it feels kind of ironic, that now I am in a place where I don’t want to disconnect, but I am being forced to.
I was thinking back as to how I would have been feeling at this time when I was in the midst of my anorexia. I tried to remember some of the thoughts I had even, when I wasn’t being forced to self-isolate. Below are some of the thoughts you may have or find yourself struggling with…
- I am going to put on so much weight, because I am not doing anything
- I can’t get my usual food – I am feeling panicky
- I have too much food in my house and I am all alone with it…I want to binge
- If there is a shortage of food in the shops, then I don’t deserve to eat it
- I can’t exercise, so I don’t need to eat
- I am going to become fat if I eat and not move
- If the gym is closed and I can’t do my normal work-out then I haven’t earnt the right to eat so I can’t.
- Having someone at home means I can’t skip my meals.
- I feel trapped because everyone is around me now, watching what I am eating
- I feel like a pig…but I can’t stop binging and purging and feel so ashamed
- I feel like I am getting more and more angry with those around me
- My thoughts are becoming more chaotic
- I can see my body getting bigger and bigger
- I feel out of control
These are just some of the thoughts you might be battling right now, and believe me, I know how bloody strong they can be. This period is testing the most resilient of us, so please, please don’t beat yourself up for struggling right now.
There will be a whole heap of other thoughts I am sure…but this is where I want to put some of this into perspective for you to counteract these thoughts.
- You are not going to put on a whole heap of weight – your body needs to eat regardless!
- You deserve to eat regardless of who you are or where you live
- You don’t earn your food
- This is an opportunity to try different foods
- Don’t be one of those people who get sucked into the social media shit, that is trying to monetise your anxieties
- Use this an opportunity to do a different type of movement
- Journal your thoughts – and interrupt them
- This is a great opportunity to tune into your recovery
- Our bodies are designed to fluctuate for all sorts of reasons, throughout our lives for all sorts of reasons – that is OK!
- You are in control – it is YOU that is in control, not your eating disorder
- Focus on YOU – not everyone else
- Don’t engage in the disordered body-shaming world
- You are more than your eating disorder – say it again – you are NOT your ED.
- Do not watch ‘what I eat in a day videos’!
- Keep a routine, so that you are not spending your days thinking about food…set yourself a project, write a story, schedule virtual meetings in with friends and family.
- Write a gratitude list – I do this every day…many people are fighting to survive right now
- You have permission to not only eat, but enjoy your food without needing to compensate
- Speak to yourself as if you would speak to a loved one
- Keep yourself healthy, so that when this is over you can go out and grab life with all you got!
Please don’t allow this period of time to sabotage your recovery. Don’t allow yourself to slip backwards. With more time on your hands, you have more time to figure out all the reasons why fighting your eating disorder is worth it.
I have been where you are…the battle is not with yourself, but is with your ED.
If you are struggling financially right now, then there are lots of resources out there for free…and lots of books that I would recommend.
If there is anything else you are struggling with right now, please get in touch and I will do my best to help.