The Art of Struggling

Yeah it’s Christmas and New Year again. Not going to lie, I don’t find it easy.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve had a rubbish Christmas. I really haven’t. I love feeling like I’m a part of my family and visiting Chatsworth with Granny and going to see A Christmas Carol at the RSC.

However, it’s been Christmas and Christmas is about food and spending large amounts of time in rooms with other people. Socialising – although something I’ve got much better at recently – is still really difficult, especially when it’s with people who I don’t see often, and food is food.

I suppose, for me, the struggle is no greater at this time of year, it’s just magnified. Having thought about this, it might be because the pressure to have a good time is greater, more than anything. Anyone who’s ever had any sort of Eating Disorder treatment will know that there’s not that much more food at Christmas, and it’s easy to make a plan (less easy to stick to it, but that’s another story). However, there is more pressure to eat a certain type of food, and to partake in certain traditions, and it’s those constraints that I struggle with. And also those constraints that I crave.

I’m not – at this point – saying that my family force me to join in with anything I don’t feel comfortable with. More, the pressure comes from me. I remember Christmases without the bitch in my head, and I remember times when Christmas did mean roast potatoes coming out of my ears and chocolate for breakfast. I’m not going to lie: I miss those things, and they seem so unreachable at the moment, although I try to keep the mindset and belief that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

This, however, is another bone of contention, and one that probably makes me sound exceptionally spoilt. For once and, at times of celebration (holidays, birthdays, Christmas etc.) I would love not to have to work hard to get there. I would love to have just one day that wasn’t constant mental negotiation and casting around for appropriate coping strategies.

But, then, maybe that is the product of hard work. So I will continue, because going backwards is not an option. Neither is standing still.

And so to New Year. I’ve posted before that I don’t really do New Year. It’s not my favourite time and I don’t especially like watching everyone diet and complain about their waistline because it messes with my head. However, recovering from Anorexia is not about expecting others to change, but learning how to live in the real world. On I go.

I have, this year, made some changes. Not because I’m into the whole resolutions thing, because I’m really not, but because actually, now feels like the right time.

First and, perhaps, foremost, I have given up alcohol. Or rather, I’ve given up drinking at home or just because I’m going out for a drink or a meal. Alcohol, I think, needs to be reserved for special occasions. It’s not the right choice for everyone – it might not even be the right choice for me – but it seems to make sense at the moment and that’s enough.

I’ve bought new pyjamas.

This sounds crazy (what’s new?!) but pyjamas are a really big thing in my life. I love them. They are what I would wear all the time if I could. I have a large collection. Or, at least, I had a large collection. I bought myself three new sets (pairs, sets…?) over the Christmas holiday and I’ve thrown out all the old tatty ones.

Somehow, my pyjama minimalism is making me feel very sophisticated and somewhat of clearer mind.

I’ve also started writing in Fern Cotton’s Journal. I’ll wait whilst you snigger. I got it free as part of my goodie bag from the Mind Awards (did I mention..?) and I’ve been somewhat intrigued by the art of journalling and diary-writing forever but (apart from when I was in hospital), I’ve never really had anything to write about. Fern’s book suggests a topic and gives a really short space to write in every day. It takes me ten minutes, tops, but it’s something to do every day. It’s gives me a place to think about myself for a while.

As selfish as it makes me feel, I can’t imagine that that’s a completely awful thing.

The last change I’ve made is a change I’ve not actually made yet. I’ve been thinking about exercise for rather a long time. It’s not encouraged when one is underweight, for obvious reasons, and it’s also not something I’m massively enamoured by in normal terms. However, someone I am Facebook friends with started yoga this year and she really, really loves it (or at least gives that impression on Facebook – sorry if I’m wrong, Harriet). I want to do it too. I want to know if it’ll give me the peace and the inner quiet that it seems to have given her.

I’m going to end this post, thus, by saying that I’m potentially looking for a yoga buddy.

Welcome to 2019.



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