Last weekend I went to stay with my Nan for a few days and I never wanted to leave!!! I hadn’t seen any of my extended family for months and managed to spend time with aunties, cousins, second cousins and of course my Nan. I was pretty apprehensive before going. All sorts was running through my mind. My Nan being the caring, mumsy soul she is, is a feeder (can’t blame her though, her dinners are the best) and likes to make sure everyone is well looked after. I was worried she’d fuss over me or try and get me to eat, at times I may not have wanted. I couldn’t have been more wrong!! I hadn’t really spoken much to the rest of my family about the ins and outs of the ED and depression (other than what’s on here) so I was pretty anxious I’d be quizzed or judged or they wouldn’t “get it”. Once again, wrong!! If I can give one piece of advise to anyone suffering from anything… Be open and tell your loved ones (or write them a letter to say) what you’re feeling and how it’s affecting you, even if it isn’t the easiest thing to do. I feel a million times more understood and supported now than I ever have in the past. I got myself in a bit of a tizz before leaving, stressing about the if, buts and maybes. What if I feel the need to binge or purge? How am I going to know my weight? Etc. You get the gist. But nope all was well and good and it was a welcomed break from all the weighing and purging. Obviously there were times tougher than others but on the whole, I was worrying for no reason (nothing new there though).
I was trying to figure out what made things so much more relaxed and the ED easier to manage. The bulk of it was having some of the pressure taken off. I wasn’t responsible for running the house and everything else that comes along with that! The food shopping was done and dusted – I didn’t have to plan meals, decide what to buy, pick things up and put them back down in a supermarket. My Nan did all the cooking and plated meals up, which removed tonnes of pre meal anxiety and I didn’t have to panic over or make a decision on the portion size I was having, which scared me a bit but swings and roundabouts ay! She even did Harvey’s meals which was such a blessing, saved me from having to go through the cooking process, overwhelming food thoughts and internal battles twice over (we haven’t been eating the same things so I usually do his and skip mine so I don’t have to put myself through the process twice at 3 meal times). I actually managed to eat something at every single meal time, for 4 days on the trot!!! That hasn’t happened in a very long time. Being with others, mealtimes had some regularity and structure (an awful lot more than when I’m left to my own accord). I need that structure and routine, more than I realise at times!
Being around everyone was a biggie also. I didn’t realise quite how lonely I get being home alone, especially when I put my walls up and shut everyone out. I’ve felt so much happier being around family and have even managed some laughs and jokes! The air was nothing but positive and supportive. Another plus to having everyone around is Harvey’s reliance on me to amuse him hugely reduces. I’ve been able to sit back, rest, relax and watch him have an absolute blast whilst wearing everyone else out (sorry). Having people around me, especially at mealtimes has been a lot more beneficial than I ever thought it would be. Having family sat around, eating, at mealtimes almost validates me having a meal and makes it more acceptable without me having to justify it to myself as much as I normally would. It wasn’t quite all hunky dory, there was a time when I felt a bit overwhelmed. Having gone from no one but the 2 of us to a house full of adults and beautiful kids, all eating and having to eat in front of them was a bit much and sent me into a bit of an anxiety bubble. It was short lived though, a wander outside and escaping to the garden to have my lunch away from all the action, clear my mind and take a few minutes to level myself back out did the job.
Sleep has definitely helped the situation. Back at home, my sleeping pattern was a big shambles. I was waking up after a couple of hours then spending most of the night tossing and turning then falling back asleep for an hour before needing to get up. Being away, I’ve slept like a log! I don’t know if it’s being more relaxed or my Nan’s magical, Goldilocks beds but either way I’m definitely not complaining. Unbroken, long, deep sleep is a thing of dreams, quite literally. It’s amazing what a good nights sleep can do for your mood and motivation, I’m sure everyone can relate to that!!! I actually felt (and looked apparently) massively refreshed and more optimistic, I wasn’t as anxious and the negative thoughts were much less. I think I need to pay a visit at least once a week just for a good nights sleep. Look at this for sleep:
Coming home was a whole other challenge in its self. Going from being around other people 24/7, having support on hand and not having to fret about hardly anything to being alone again and having to run a household and sustain a child! The minute I walked through my front door my whole mood dropped. I went from happy, bubbly, relaxed Caitlin to stressed, panicked, ‘nobody-talk-to-me’ Caitlin in a matter of mere seconds!!! The thoughts of “what shall I do for tea?”, “I need to go food shopping!”, added to the realisation that the washing won’t do itself, the carpets need hoovering, floors need mopping, Harvey needs bathing and dishwasher needs emptying all mounted up. These little everyday things became massive, chores and the worry of having to cook and shop became very real and intense. Instantly I was wishing I was outta here again, minutes after getting home!
There’s a long road ahead, but, if anything, being away, with the love and support of my family around me, opened my eyes to the fact it is possible to have a string of good days and ultimately recover, as far off as it may seem right now!!
Thank you all for being so amazing, as always.