Listen, hear and walk.

Imagining ANA
I’ve thought a great deal about listening to the anorexic voice, hearing her arguments and disdain against what’s going into my mouth or the food choices I’m making. And I’ve thought about how frequently we are told to listen and then to fight- which is so right, we absolutely should not listen, but doesn’t fighting sound like a whole load of hard work? It sounds painful?
This morning it was particularly strong and I knew that right up until the food went into my mouth I would be deafened by it.
This was one of the first mornings on my own and it was for me to make and have my breakfast on my own.
Omelette… 2 eggs
Porridge… with normal milk…
Now in the past I have always had omelette… with egg whites only and always had porridge… made with water.
So this was me making two changes that would significantly increase the fat content, nutritional content, vitamin and mineral content, calcium content and if course the overall taste!

I heard her as I cracked one egg and then 2. But unlike previous occasions, where this voice has been so loud that succumbing feels easier than fighting, this time I really listened and I remained intune with it. I visualised me on a beach, a painting by Mia Cameron of figures on sandy plains coming to the forefront of my imagination. In my mind i started to walk away, I’m imagining myself as one of the figures in the painting. I walk strongly and boldly towards the shore line of omelette and milky porridge. Away from the voice. Simply walking away.
When you first step into the sea, the water gushes through your toes, it envelopes your feet and sends shivers up your whole body. It’s a sensation that cools and calms, there’s truly nothing else like it.
There I stood in my dingy little kitchen, imagining that shore line, remembering the humiliation of recent failures but walking away from the anorexia.
I ate the omelette and I ate the porridge.
The meal is done. My body’s healing process is well underway.
This morning I listened, I heard and I walked away.
I trusted my descison and didn’t try to change it or Alter the quantities.
I committed, I cracked the eggs and poured the milk. This wasn’t another plan or intention I was actually going to do it and it’s at this point that the anxiety and fears started to engulf me.
But then I imagined, and I visualised and I used the tools that I know work for me. I held the image of that beach strong and steady.
Before I knew it I had done it. The execution. The munching. The happy food time! Nourishment, health and goodness.
How lucky is my body?!?
So listen to that screaming voice, let her fight for you and deafen you. But then boldly, calmly and with utter peace walk away.
It’s not easy, and I’m never going to pretend that it is but surrendering to the peace of recovery sounds more comforting than fighting for your existence, doesn’t it?
Because we, you and I… we deserve this

A little bit all over the place and very kind of lost- sound familiar?

And what the fuck.

It’s common isn’t it, to read a passage and finish thinking…”eh!?!” Or perhaps to listen to a lecture and having no idea what the concluding had to do with the opening sentence.
It’s common too, to get that utter bewildered feeling in the face of advise. Which piece of advise on Europe is correct? Which school of psychology best explains the theory of learning? Or today which is better for me, low fat yoghurt or full fat… It can almost be soul destroying to think you’re doing something right, to think that you’ve got your nutritional balance just spot on to best promote your acute hormonal function- to then be told that you’re completely wrong, the advise is flawed or that’s there is another study to prove the opposite.
All of this “should do, must do and ought to” should, in theory guide our des ion making and encourage us to make the right choices in life whether that be social, economic or personal. But instead- I’m just confused. And I question what this abundance of advise means got eating disorder sufferers like myself searching for that holy grail of recovery- if that even exists… I’ve recently read… ( see there it is again, another price of advise which contradicts everything else I’ve previously read!)
Even health professionals treat eating disorders and in my case, anorexia differently. My time in one hospital removed all my freedom and responsibility, it was invasive and utter hell where as my experience in a Cambridge unit very much pushed patients to make there own descisions, portion their own breakfasts and yes even cut their own sandwiches! It sounds silly but these things made a massive difference to me, I wasn’t just a weight but my recovery was dictated by what I felt I was able to achieve. Sessions were dynamic and the goal was life not weight gain. It worked for me- was it right? I have no idea, it didn’t work for others so dues that mean it’s wrong?
I’ve exercised thoughout my recovery. It has been absolutely paramount to me and while I have no doubt that I over rely on it, I know that I would never have recovered to the extent that I have without it. Yes I feel guilty anxious even if I don’t go and I know that needs work, I know that my exercise can be largely calorie focused but through employing a PT I’m coming round to understanding the importance of strength training. Is this wrong? Should I be cold turkey on exercise for the rest of my life or can I instead learn what a healthy balance is all about?
We instinctly want to do the right thing. I hope, that it is an inherent trait of most to make good choices. The problem is that too often we think we’ve made the right choice and then find something to conflict it. This then, depending on the strength of the individual, imposes a whole new question. Have I done something wrong? Should I change what I’m doing? Are they right and therefore better than me?
These questions threaten so many of our choices- take the referendum for example. I think it’ll be good for our country to achieve independence and sovreignity, to reign supreme in our own right and to be given that autonomy. And then I’m hit with no!- that line of thinking is wrong, I should be scared of what a future outside of the EU might entail. Unemployment, lack of support, restriction on trade. Am I wrong then? What happens if I vote to leave and it all go tits up, will I feel overcome with guilt that I didn’t listen to the right people?

Everybody is different. It’s a cliched fact ( I don’t think they’ll be any contradiction on that one!) and so everyone’s needs are completely individual. Anorexia recovery plans should be bespok and tailored to our needs.

And that dear reader is why An Ear to Hear has been formulated.
So that whilst you are stuck on a generic waiting list or being treated like any other ED suffered, we can listen. Actually talk about what you need, want and of course deserve.
Recovery is for everyone but it’s not a one way journey, it’s no simple point a point b. There’s a whole of X Y Z in between!

started to right this piece whilst at home but now my situation is totally different. My new life consists of working on a cruise ship, possibly the most amazing opportunity and job I’ve ever had. I love it- truly ever part of this experience takes my breath away. But recently I’ve struggled like I cannot tell you. I’ve lost more weight than I’ve ever done, living a mind boggling and decieptful life.
Once again my weakness both mentally and physically is overwhelming and my health is seriously compromised.
I look vile. There is no polite way to put his- no way to sugar coat it, it’s utterly horrendous and painful. I’m not happy looking like this, I’m embarrassed and heartbroken that I’ve let my weight plummet like this.
Once again I want to commit to pushing myself- but for how long this time, I’m totally on my own- I don’t have to do it. There is no threat big enough for me, no push hard enough to make me do this only my own quite frankly weak strength of mind. So I’ve made another plan to try and stick to, I’ve made another set of commitments that I’m going to attempt to stick to and probably another set of empty words. But how many times am I going to do this? How many times am I going to let myself be consumed by the illness?
I’m saying it again and I really hope that I mean it but 2300… it’s not that scary is it? I mean the minimum is 2500 with no exercise and I’m still very active
But besides from all of this I WANT TK RECOVER- don’t I? I want to get the life back that I’m simply staring at- don’t I? I shouldn’t question the hunger or the weakness but embrace it, listen to it and answer it.
If I’m hungry that’s a sign, eat!
If that means going over my calorie allowance than so be it, if my body wants it- craves it even then let it happen! My weight will stop when all bodily functions have resumed; when I’m not freezing every minute of the day or so hungry I cannot focus on anything else.
Where I listen to what I want to do first rather than what anorexia wants me to do or where I choose what to eat instead of anorexia deciding for me.
I know that I don’t want this life for me anymore. I know that I want to be free from it, have relationships, enjoy all things that I currently fear.
And that means starting the plan- following it to the letter. Fighting the urges and the voices that scream constantly at me. I’m in the carribean, this is paradise… I am living every dream ever possible now is surely the time to start being part of it and stop letting it wash over me.