I have a plan. Quite a scary plan…but I have one in place. This is a plan regarding my exercise-more precisely, my daily walking. I have explained before about my daily walking regime-50 minutes of power walking that must be done no matter what. Not just for weight regulation and calorie burning, but also for a sense of control, to prove to myself that I still have discipline and determination. But this is not something I want to have to do for the rest of my life (well-the un-anorexic side of my head says this). I want to feel free with exercise- to do it if I chose to, not because I have to. Not because anorexia is making me too terrified to break away from it, to scared to dare to change.
I met with my old psychologist from The Priory last week. I paid for this privately and I have to say that it was money very well spent…although I don’t see why I should really have to pay for this because my local team doesn’t provide adequate services on the NHS. There is a psychologist in my local trust, who I have seen on numerous occasions but on most recent visits, I found myself getting quite frustrated, and she was as well, because she couldn’t understand where I was coming from and found the conflicting views in my head quite confusing. But she is not an eating disorder specialist so it is probably understandable that she finds it quite confusing. However, my old Priory psychologist is a specialist in eating disorders and she just ‘got it.’ She understood me completely and even when I couldn’t explain myself properly, she knew what I meant. She knows about living with eating disorders, recovery, treatment…everything. And it felt a huge relief to talk to someone who was understanding and realistic.
So after much discussion, we developed a plan…or more of a ‘test’ really, to start to address my exercise obsession. This test is for one day a week, to reduce my walking by five minutes. Now, my NHS psychologist had suggested reducing my walking by 5 minutes a day and to control my anxiety with reassuring thoughts such as ‘I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life so it is the right thing to do’, and to remind myself of this to stop me doing any compensatory behaviours, such as reducing my calorie intake. On coming away from this session, I wasn’t sure as I was capable of doing what she had asked, as I explained in a previous blog.
But this new plan with my Priory psychologist, this ‘test’- it felt do-able. So it was for a 5 minute reduction once a week, until the next time I see her on 27th July. She understood the struggles and anxiety that would come with it, but rather than just tell me to think in a certain way to stop and overcome this and any compensatory behaviours, she proposed that this is a ‘test’-to see how it makes me feel, how it makes me want to respond. And once we know this, we will have something to work on. With regards to the compensatory behaviours, she explained that it doesn’t matter if I do them. I am testing how this reduced walking makes me behave and think, whether it does make me want to introduce compensatory behaviours and whether or not I can control these or if I do respond to them. And if I do respond then that’s ok, because we are just testing and we can develop an appropriate plan according to my ‘test results’.
So I am going to give it a go. Because it is just a test to see what happens…and it doesn’t actually matter what does happen whereas before it did. Before I had to cut it down and get it right which just seemed impossible. This test is the first step on a very long journey on my battle with exercise. At the moment, I have to do my walking to the exact second-not a moment less. So this is going to be a huge challenge. I have no idea how it is going to go but I am going to take that first giant leap. I will keep you updated.