The Never Ending Game of Snakes and Ladders

Wow! What a shocking week so far. All I can liken the contrast from last week to this week to is a big old mean game of snakes and ladders! Last week I’d just moved a few spaces avoided a couple of snakes and climbed a little ladder. This week, you know the big snake that goes all the way from the top right down to the bottom, I feel like I’ve slid down that one.

I thought things had turned a corner and I was on the up. My eating and depression was far from ‘fixed’ but was sure as hell on the way towards. I’d made progress with breakfasts, I hadn’t felt as down in the dumps, I was eating slightly more regularly – things didn’t seem as bad and now all of a sudden its hit me like a tonne of bricks!!! I held off writing anything, I didn’t want to dampen anyones mood with my own sorrow, and I thought maybe its just a day or 2 but now we’re on Thursday – things are starting to slowly seem less painful but way too slow for my liking. The purpose of starting the blog was to recorded and share the good, the bad and the ugly and be able to look back and realise how far I’ve come and reflect on the kinks in the road, so I figured, why not? I could just write it off as ‘I will have ups and downs’, but that’s not me. I like to get to the bottom of things and figure out why – to my own detriment at times and maybe the reason I always managed to over think and get myself into a tizz about things, but, it’s the way I work!

I have no idea what has gotten into me this week, but, jeez someone please come and swoop me up, wrap me in bubble wrap and keep me safe until its all over?! If only, ay! I haven’t felt this down in the dumps and generally all over the place in a long time. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. My house is an absolute s*** tip, I have a load of washing in the machine that has now been washed twice (and about ready for a third) but worst of all I have 0 motivation to do anything about it! I have felt so utterly trapped in a big bubble of negativity, anxiety and depression this week, I haven’t been able to focus on anything at all really, let alone think straight. My mind is well and truly frazzled and my thoughts are flicking quicker from one thing to another, than my 6 year old flicks through the tv channels. I don’t know if that’s due to the fact my eating (or lack of) has been absolutely pants or because I have felt so low but either way, it is what it is. I sat and thought last night “When is this going to end? What am I actually doing with my life? How do I get out of this horrible mental state?” If I’m totally honest with you, I couldn’t find the answers but the more I’ve thought about it the more I wanted to splurge it all out and dig deep to find the drive to fix up and not only answer those questions but put the answers into action!!!

I find it really difficult to reach out and ask for help, I think it goes back to the point I made in a previous post about being so stubborn and hating to admit defeat. I like to be right and know best (but don’t we all though?!) and hate it when I’m not and I don’t! This week (in my own kind of discreet, frustrated, upset, angry, shut the world out way), I did reach out to friends and family in a cry for help. I told some friends I needed to completely shut offΒ  and was pretty blunt (sorry guys) – those closest to me know I’m a huge people person and saying this is really code for ‘it’s all too much and I can’t cope, please help bring me back to some kind of sanity’ and I’m lucky to have people around me that get that and can see through it. The one person who I always find I need most but find it the hardest to ask is my Mum but even she had a ‘cry for help’ this week because everything and nothing has been massively overwhelming. I’m a devil for overthinking, every, single, tiny, little detail of everything – even more so when I’m not feeling on top of my game to begin with. There have been evenings where I have sat and cried, for no real reason, I’ve felt angry at myself for feeling the way I do and not getting better quicker and at one point I even cursed a bowl of cereal just for being there and the thoughts it provoked in my head! I’ve felt like I’m rapidly sinking and don’t know which way is up. Things that are part of normal, everyday life (e.g. a tantruming 6 year old or creased tshirts) have seemed like catastrophic disasters. I’m now entirely aware of where the saying “crying over spilt milk” comes from. Although if I had spilt milk crying would have been the lightest option, I feel like it would have been more along the lines of a complete mental breakdown!

Before writing this I thought to myself why?, why has this week been like this? Why has my mood plummeted and eating gone so off piste? After procrastinating for a while and actually restoring a tiny bit of order in my house (silver lining and all that), washing up (for the first time this week), tidying my living room (aka putting all the junk into neat-ish piles), I stopped ignoring and skirting round the “why’s” and realised a few things:

  • I haven’t been taking my medication consistently – I was last week! So, I usually take antidepressants, in the morning along with my morning coffee, which this week has been hit and miss, so my meds have been hit and miss and then I’ve been even more out of a usual routine and then it’s a big vicious cycle of not taking meds and then not eating/drinking when I usually would – this cycle is probably the easiest one to break though – so as of today I am determined to get back on top of this. Doctors often ask if I feel the medication has an impact and I always say the same thing: “I don’t notice so much when I am taking them and it’s all hunky dory, however as soon as I stop or miss a few days, I definitely know about it.”
  • I haven’t been sleeping well (2am is probably my most productive time of day), therefore have been shattered which has a massive negative impact on mood and eating and thoughts etc (I’m sure we’ve all experienced how sleep depravation can completely change us as a person and why is it our minds seem to think the early hours of the morning are an appropriate time to be thinking about insignificant tasks we need to do in 3 months time?!). It’s a chicken and egg scenario – I don’t know which came first – whether I wasn’t sleeping because my eating has been horrific and I’ve felt like poop or whether my eating has been horrific and I’ve felt like poop because I haven’t been sleeping. Either way they all feed each other and it is so frustrating!
  • I am actually running on very little. Our mood is controlled by our brain, which, like any other part of our bodies needs fuel to function. If it’s not supplied with the nutrients and ‘fuel’ then it’s only understandable that things are going to falter! Which leads me on to the next point of the physical pain. I have ached head to toe this week (you know when you have the flu and you’re whole body just aches – that’s what its been like), it doesn’t feel great and has, for obvious reasons made me feel a bit fed up!
  • I really hate the physical (and psychological) feelings associated with the actually ED and food – bloating, tummy aches, heart burn, all due to a messed up digestive system, which comes hand in hand with the binge-purge and restriction or a slight weight gain due to the fact something has actually stayed in my tummy or there’s a bit of fluid retention. I know the only way to get rid of these feelings, long term is to get better and ride them out but as with any part of recovery, it’s easier said than done. It can be really disheartening, when you’ve had a really ‘good’ day of meals and eating and then bam! the bloat hits or inevitably weight will rise slightly. It almost feels like being punished for trying to get better, despite the fact it is only temporary its so tough, when the thoughts and frustration are present, to step back and plough on and not let them completely take over.
  • Finally, I have officially finished work, i.e. I am now jobless. I know I have been off since early in the year, however, up until now, I have always had a job there to go back to, to try and get better for. I loved my job, the people I worked with, the patients, and believe it or not just being in the hospital, doing something for and helping others. The reality has really set in this week that I’m not well and I can’t be that happy, bubbly dietitian that I once was and that has been really tough to accept. Having said that though, I know in order to be able to do the job and give the patients the best care I need to be in a good place myself first, which I am in the process of coming to accept.

I’m sure there’s a load of other (little) contributors but those are the biggies that I think have really had an impact. Food wise, meals (what meals….?!) have been non existent. In a post last week I raved about how well the food diary was helping – yeah, well, thats gone out the window, for now! I’ve stopped recording because I have either; not eaten, spent the day grazing on little bits here and there or, been stuck in the binge-purge cycle and honestly felt too embarrassed to write it down or just wanted to bury my head in the sand and not think about it. I think its safe to say, over the past few days, recovery hasn’t been at the fore front of my priorities and I am disappointed, in myself, for this especially given how well things were going. Everything has been a bit all over and I have beaten myself up about it (rightly or wrongly – it’s debatable). Meal plans were pointless, breakfast progress – well that’s back at square one and I haven’t eaten and kept down any of a ‘proper’ meal at all! So far today, were at 14:23, I have been up since 7am and my intake has consisted of an iced latte and a few grapes! Writing it now, I’m thinking “come on Caitlin, really? What a state” and before getting stuck into this post I was planning on just laying the cards on the table, writing how I felt, what has been going on and getting back to my day. Actually though, writing it all out has made me think twice and I NEED to get myself back on some sort of track. So this is me now, saying enough is enough and I’m off to get myself sorted, starting with lifting that load of washing out of the machine before it needs that third wash and making (and eating) a snack!

Wish me luck πŸ™‚


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