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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Make your own kind of music…

The title of this blog post is also the title of Paloma Faith’s new song, I really like this song, and it speaks to me of what it’s like trying to recover.

“It may be rough going, just do your thing is the hardest thing to do.”

As I was singing along to this song in the car, I was thinking about how different this week has been to last week and wondering why. If I am completely honest, I’ve prayed and chanted less and I’ve felt more caught up in life, letting it be this thing that just happens to me rather than being an active participant in it and in return I have resorted to old coping mechanisms.

Why did this happen?.. Fear.

Fear will do whatever it takes to keep you stuck in pain and darkness and giving up a fear that we’ve grown to depend on is hard. After years of existing in a state of conflict and control imagining that this ingrained behaviour had been changed in a week was very naïve.

This week I know I have lied to myself that I have eaten properly and thus don’t have an eating disorder anymore when in reality I have still restricted, compensated for what I have eaten with exercise and still made plans to get to a new lower weight. I have got really angry over stupid things because I haven’t controlled thoughts and hurt people’s feelings who I care about, I have got myself anxious about the future and sad about the past which has led to me not sleeping properly and feeling tired, achy and depressed.

I started to feel really angry at myself, I am not trying hard enough and I am letting everyone down again but what if actually my mistake was my perception of recovery? I’d had this great experience where I found my higher power, started new practices and it was exciting, shiny, new and it felt like it all happened so explosively and quickly. I’ve realised though that this is not recovery, recovery is not a loud display of fireworks for all to see. Recovery is actually a very quiet, lonely affair so of course it is going to induce fear.

 Like many people, I struggled alone for many years before finally finding help. When you first reach out, admitting your struggles brings help, diagnosis, treatment plans… people. In contrast, committing to recovery only brings you into contact with yourself. Don’t get me wrong, life is better when you start trying, people seem to have more time for you, they are proud of you but this in turn feeds the fear, I will let them down, I won’t be able to sustain this and day to day I am alone in this recovery... I am the one who has to wake up and make the effort not to be grabbed by the fear which dwells below the surface I have to decide to remove the barriers, the resistance, break the old habits and practice the new ones and no matter how far I fell yesterday, only I have the power to choose to rise again today to trust in myself and the universe once again.

Recovery is not an event, it’s a life -long choice and there will be days when it goes really well and days when it doesn’t and days with elements of both! So if I reflect on the past week again, yes I did negative things but I also managed to eat a little bit of chocolate at Easter, I weighed myself at the gym and even though the number hadn’t gone down, I tried not to let the intrusive thoughts ruin the rest of my day. I upset someone but I owned my behaviour and apologised. I recognised that my thoughts were spiralling and made time to meditate, chant and pray, acknowledging that I have made less time this week for these practices and this is something I will try to change. I have spent precious moments learning to use a sewing machine with my Grandma, a hobby I will continue for my well- being, I did an Easter Egg hunt for my Nephew and I spent time alone rearranging my house, making my safe space comfortable.

And this is the wavy line that is recovery, the falling is part of the process, as long as you always have the courage and determination to rise again then it doesn’t matter. Stay in the day and “make your own kind of music even if nobody sings along”. (Paloma Faith “Make your own kind of Music” 2018)  

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New Leaf College are looking for students to write about their personal experiences with their own wellbeing and/or the college, to share it on the college's blog. If you're interested in blogging for us please send an email to newleaf.wellbeingcollege@hpft.nhs.uk.