Category: Mindfulness


The other day I woke up with the word ‘VIM’ in my head.

Quite why this was the case, I have no idea, but there it was, pinging round as I showered, dressed and ate my customary bowl of Branflakes.

It’s not really a word that you hear nowadays: vim. Like the Lemon Syllabub, once the darling of the dinner party, it has fallen from fashion and is possibly only really used in a strike of linguistic sadism by an evil cruciverbalist (to most of us, that’s ‘Crossword Complier’)  I had to look it up. Learn something new everyday.

Image

Anyway. Point is, this ‘vim’ is exactly what I’m lacking at the moment, hence the long gaps between posts here.

I lack the energy that writing demands, let alone the immense effort needed for continued recovery. How can I possibly encourage others when I myself am failing to practice what I preach.

Recovery takes VIM. It takes a robust energy, something I believe that comes from within, which is a good thing because Eating Disorders very often result in a weak or fragile body.

When we lack the spirit required to spur us on, instead of just stumbling on with our eyes shut and our fingers in our ears, we need to take time to CONSCIOUSLY (some say ‘mindfully’) focus our efforts, remember our goals and recall the reasons why life without an ED or addiction is worth aiming for, suffering for.

If you have experienced anything like this, please take a moment to share your thoughts here.

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Okay.

So I believe in the things I say. I believe in recovery. I believe in the possibility of turning things around. I believe that love triumphs over all. I believe that hope is the key to recovering and conquering our enemy. I believe in miracles, occasionally. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that mindfulness is important and can help relieve the agony we can go through as sufferers of addiction and mental illness.

ImageHowever, that doesn’t mean that I’m in the best place to be dishing out advice.

Anorexia Nervosa has ruled my life for the past seven years and continues to do so.

I have relapsed. I am waiting to go back into treatment. This is imminent and will involve the indescribable mental torture of refeeding in a day unit setting.

I feel that I need to be honest in order to keep writing this blog.

I want to offer hope to others through my own determination to recover. I know that there will be times when I waver, stumble and fall. I know I will cry out in pain. I have been here before.

This time I want it to be the last.

I consider myself blessed to have the chance to recover as I recall those who have not survived the harsh and abusive regime of denial that leads to this extreme of malnutrition. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental illness and those of us who battle this illness, and so often give in to its cruel demands, forget just how easily our bodies could fail to keep running on empty.

If you’re thinking about recovery, I encourage you to take the scariest step and go for it,

Your body is not an inexhaustible resource.

This illness will make you dice with death in ways your rational self will not react to until it is allowed to surface.

In my last post, I borrowed the words from an old hymn to use in a metaphor for ‘the will to recover’.

I wanted to highlight(no pun intended) the importance of keeping that will alive, making it flare up and then harnessing it to use as a source of power and light as we progress on the dark journey towards recovery.

Not easy when the illness or addiction is playing King in your mind and all will and all incentive is laid prostrate before it, bent and unable to muster so much as a whisper of it’s own volition.

GasGaugeEmpty

Anyway, as I thought about my last post, I was nagged by the thought that it’s all well and good writing about keeping our oil topped up; keeping our willpower alive; maintaining the hope for recovery and keeping that spark that drives us clear and strong…

but

what IS the oil…  and WHERE do we GET it from?

I started to question how I fuel the drive towards recovery, and wondered what I needed to use more of.

And I came up with these:

  • Prayer

  • Mindfulness exercises I was taught in hospitallight-tunnel-01-220x130

  • my family

  • friends who are ahead of me on the journey back to a future that looks something near normal

  • allowing myself to risk dreaming of what ‘could’ be…

  • Music – Particularly songs with lyrics which inspire me

It might (or might not) be useful to think of things to turn to as sources of power when you feel like your will to make it is running dry…

I wondered, if it’s not too personal,  if anyone had any that they would share?

You never know, your oil could help to fuel someone else.

We Will Be Okay  - *but please read small print.

Delinquents defacing ugly walls may sometimes be the unheard prophets and poets of our time.
I snapped this in a quiet alleyway whilst walking a backstreet of ever-so-respectable Cheltenham town.

I needed to re-visit this picture today and know that this wall speaks a truth that only I can bring into being.

I’m not a fatalist. (Apologies to all those who I’ve disappointed) but I think it’s too easy to sit back and say that I have no control over what happens to me.

Truth is, fatalists make fatalism true. (No… I’ve not had a glass of wine, honest!)
What I mean is, if I don’t take the wheel, things will ‘just happen’; whereas if I choose to sit up, grab the tangled reigns and pull with all my might, I CAN change direction.
I’m not saying that I have the ultimate power… and I understand that those fighting addiction must admit that they can’t go it alone… BUT, as far as recovery is concerned, I must CHOOSE to turn around and fight the sickness that so cruelly creeps and seeps through my mind, rather than let it coat me in its treacle blanket until I melt away.

We WILL be okay. We WILL.
(small print below)
But we have to show some mettle. We have to CHOOSE to fight. We have to believe we will be okay because we’ll make damn sure of it.

Recovery doesn’t come to those in the passenger seat.

It’s a driving position.

So This Is Beauty...

The sense of wonder that we can tap into as we observe nature is so powerful it can stun us into moments that stand far from the ache of our life’s problems.
Today, let’s just try to take one moment out of our complex minds to carefully observe something in the outside world.
Start by looking closer than you’ve ever looked before. Take the camera on your phone and zoom in on something, carefully showing tiny details. If you don’t have that, just pretend your eyes have a ‘zoom’ and focus on something new.
As we move outside of ourselves, we are freed from all that hinders us.
Just for a moment.
Natural beauty is healing. I swear to it.

…Maybe there IS. Maybe there isn’t.Allowing for Possibility

Either way, if we don’t allow ourselves to entertain the possibility that there COULD be a different way of living life, and there MIGHT be a different way of thinking about things, we will never know.

I’m not the hippy type. I promise.

I don’t hug trees, I don’t take herbal hayfever tablets, I ‘m not a vegetarian, I’m not a member of Greenpeace, I don’t do yoga, I don’t wear clothing woven in South America and I’ve never tried Arnica.

But (there had to be, right?) BUT, I do believe that we get into certain patterns of thinking. Even scientists report that there are certain ‘neural pathways’ in the brain, which is a technical way of saying that our thoughts get used to travelling along particular alleyways, leading to familiar places, default settings, if you like. Humans are creatures of habit, brains follow suit.

What are the implications of all this for those of us in recovery?

A friend recently told me that, although they’d like to believe in something bigger, they just COULDN’T and I sympathised because I, of all people, understand doubt, unbelief and wanting something more than myself. Later, I returned to our conversation in my mind and came to the realisation that the word ‘couldn’t’ would probably act as a barrier in her mind.

To be truly open to something, like the possibility of recovery, is to allow it to rattle round our minds without any thing as concrete as ‘words’ attached to it. Just as if you are rolling a ball round a clean floor; no mud, no dust, nothing to stick to it…

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s in this act of ‘allowing’, that hope filters in… unseen… unheard and then… suddenly:  there.

Opening up old wardrobe doors. No thoughts. No can’ts, cans, couldn’t, wouldn’t, must, should or shouldn’ts.  Just opening something up.

It has to be worth a try.

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