Now I wouldn’t call myself a fearful person on the whole. Yes, I’m plagued with anxiety (more than the healthy dose of ‘do I look ok’, ‘did I say something wrong’ or ‘I’ll just stay at home in bed’ moments) however, I still don’t identify with the adjective ‘fearful.’
Interestingly, that has changed over the past couple of days as the realisation of what is coming my way in terms of recovery is sloooowly sinking in…
Awaiting referral is like being suspended, mid-air, legs dangling while you both desperately want to crawl back to your safe space as well as be whisked away to recovery. The problem is, the longer this period goes on the more welcoming that safe space of control appears and the prospect of looming intervention becomes riddled with dread.
So here they are. My worst fears:
- Scales: I fucking hate scales. So much so that they induce fear. I’ve never been someone of an obsessive nature, but I’ve come to realise the human brain has weaknesses. I guess a biological system wired on neurotransmitters and radio signals will inevitably become satisfied by numerical value. Especially if this behaviour is reinforced every single damn day. Science, right? So place an unsuspecting human on a pair of scales, show them a number, and allow them to fuse that number with their worth, identity and purpose and abracadabra…..you’ve created the birth of anorexia. (The crowd goes wild!! Or not.)
- Blood tests: I know what you’re thinking. Fearing blood tests is perfectly understandable – the majority of the population wouldn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to be stabbed in the arm by an incoming needle to have their DNA extracted (mmm sounds inviting). However, my personal fear of blood tests has arisen as a direct result of awaiting referral. I know my blood is going to be taken and, in consequence, I know I am going to have to face the results. I also am aware (although rarely acknowledge) that I haven’t been treating my body kindly lately…*cue internal organs screaming ‘yeah wtf Amy!?’* and so anticipating these results now fills me with dread.
- Boys: You read that right. You may understand this one a little more if you’ve read my previous post ‘my love life’, but the once exciting world of dating has taken a turn in the past few months thanks to good ol’ anorexia. Questions of ‘will we kiss?’ and ‘what should I wear?’ have glamorously been replaced by ‘will he notice my bum is nonexistent?’ and ‘what if he realises I have zero plans because I’m actually awaiting referral to an eating disorder clinic!?” Sexy am I right?
- Change: If I had to single out one fear that encompassed recent months it would be this one. I think every eating disordered brain can identify with the fear of change as (no matter how damaging) rigid routine becomes a comfort blanket when thrown into the world of anorexia. We become so accustomed to the strict discipline we enact upon ourselves that the thought of someone taking charge of our own unspoken rules and regulations is enough to provoke an internal (and oftentimes external) breakdown..sorry again for the broken plates mum.
- Relapse: I find this one so damn fear-inducing it’s hard to even write about. Interestingly, it goes against my last bullet point as to fear relapse is to fear undoing any positive change. But that’s the confusing reality of living with a condition that will never be explained through a desperate google or any far-too-expensive therapy session. I guess the word ‘relapse’ is so scary as I am aware that to reach a point of recovery is going to be hard. Really hard. So the thought of returning to this current hell after (fingers crossed) overcoming it, seems beyond endurable.
I guess one has to take comfort in the fact that fears are merely based on possible outcomes. We fear what we cannot know, predict or determine and so in an attempt to control the outcome, our brains fret over the worst possible scenarios. You would think my acknowledgement of this would help then, right? If I understand most of what I fear is irrational and the eventual outcome will bring more good than otherwise I should be able to brush them aside and happily skip into the clinic bright-eyed and ready to go! Yeaaaahh…I wish.
Let me know if any of you identify with these fears and how you experienced their outcomes! It is blummin amazing to know that there are others around the world reading my words. Perhaps they do have wings in a sense after all.
Yours sincerely, the fearful (and still currently flightless) bird.