I have started on my journey to recovery from bulimia, and I’m determined to conquer this dreadful disorder. I talk about it in more depth in the post I have an Eating Disorder. It has taken over my life and that is the hard part; what do I do to fill my time when I would otherwise have been thinking about food or bingeing/purging?
The first thing I did was to write out some distraction techniques and stick them on my fridge. I wrote them out on cute, donut post it notes, because I need to laugh at myself and the situation I’m in or I’d just cry! Dreaming up ideas to distract from the constant urges was easy enough. They are simple everyday activities I can do that won’t cost me anything, and I can do from home:
- Have a bath – My go to reaction. I feel safe in the warm water and surrounded by bubbles.
- Sketch/Colour – I can lose myself in a drawing of my own design, or in an adult colouring book.
- Listen to music -Singing along to an album that suits my current mood lifts me and can fill me with confidence and willpower.
- Play with the cat – A self explanatory endorphin releasing activity!
- Phone a friend – Not necessarily to talk about why I called in the first place, but to hear their voice and have a catch up.
- Write a blog post – This blog is my therapy right now. Writing down how I’m feeling in the moment can feel like a great release.
- Clean the house – I always feel more positive when the house is clean and tidy. Cleaning all the things that have been niggling at me will distract me.
- Read a book – Snuggling up on the sofa under a blanket with a good book is comforting and pleasurable for me.
- Go for a walk – Fresh air and natural light always lifts my mood and gets me away from temptation in the house.
- Go on a support forum – I find the beat message boards very helpful. I can anonymously lay out my emotions without judgement.
I see these distraction techniques as Step 1. They are for when I’m first beginning to think about bingeing, but have no concrete plans to do so. If I can catch these thoughts early on, maybe I can stop them manifesting into action.
I’ve realised that when these fail, I need a backup plan. At the moment I don’t trust myself when I’m alone. I’m much more likely to binge and purge during the day when no-one is around. I currently work from home, so I find myself alone often. The is not ideal, but I have found a solution. On days when I don’t need to go out anywhere, I will give my debit and credit card to my husband, so I physically can’t go to the shops and buy food to binge on. On days when I want to work elsewhere, or spend the day in town, I can have my cards. This may sound extreme, but it’s necessary in my current mind set. This won’t be forever, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can trust myself again.
I have decided to plan my meals in my daily planner. Having my meals written down will make me accountable. If I binge on food I have to add that, and if I purge, I will add that to. Along side this, I’m writing down my schedule for the day and the moods I’m experiencing. I’m hoping this will keep me on track and make me more aware of when and why I am bingeing and purging. If I can highlight these times, I can make changes to my routine to combat it.
As a final tool to recovery, I’m taking the plunge and asking my psychiatrist to refer me for therapy. I know that my eating disorder is more than just about food, and that I have some deep rooted beliefs about my body image and my self worth. The beginnings of my eating disorder If I can work on these, hopefully I will have the strength to begin to love my body and believe in myself.