I am a massive control freak. Anyone who knows me in real life will be able to confirm that. That combined with being a perfectionist, but being a perfectionist to the extent that I don’t feel like I’m perfect enough to be a perfectionist, is ugly.
A few days ago, I returned back to England after a short break in Denmark with my mum. I’ve wanted to go to Denmark (specifically Copenhagen) for years and I wasn’t disappointed. It is such a beautiful city and Danish people are lovely. Denmark is quite an important country with regards to my own family history so actually being able to see things which have been talked about so often was great. I was determined to enjoy it.
The only thing that threatened to get in the way of my enjoyment of Denmark was my health, both physical and mental. I learnt a hard lesson last year, when I went to Portugal, that mental illnesses don’t take a break when you’re on holiday. So in that respect, I was more prepared and knew that I couldn’t expect myself to feel 100% a-okay. But I was naive in thinking that being on holiday would mean that suddenly all my eating disorder behaviours would vanish and there wouldn’t be any issues with food.
I wanted that, so surely that would be enough? If only. I really struggled. Part of that struggle was down to my control freak streak. I find ordering food of an unknown menu impossibly hard and stressful. Obviously I then had to sit back and wait for someone else to cook the food for me, without me being involved. Well dur, you’re probably thinking, that is what normally happens in restaurants. I don’t have a background in psychology but I’ve been in The System long enough and know enough people to suspect that my eating difficulties are a way of exerting control when I feel so out of control in other aspects of my life. And I’m not too sure what to do about that because as I found out, it isn’t as simple as wanting recovery enough to be able to succeed. Yes, of course I want to recover, get better etc etc etc but I’m so stuck in this messed up rut.
But it’s not just a case of mind over matter. You can’t just forget the rules and fears you have surrounding food and to suddenly be able to totally go against the lists of safe and non-safe foods.
I miss being able to enjoy food. I miss being able to look through a menu and to be able to look forward to trying new foods and not be automatically trying to work out calorie content.
Now that I’m home, I’m left with feelings of angry towards myself for not being able to get a grip and just eat a fucking meal like a normal person, without sky high levels of anxiety. Yet again, a holiday has been defined by mental illness. I’m left with the post-holiday feeling of overindulgence.
I’m not going to pin my hopes on being 110% cured by summer 2017, but I recognise that feeling like this is miserable. No one can change things except me. Here goes.