Tonight was my first session of a 10 week eating disorder program.
I have a cold at the moment, and the thought of sitting at the computer for 3 hours seemed horrific. I’ve been napping today trying to get energy, I’ve been working off and on to keep things deadlines under control…and I feel awful. But I know how important this program is to me to be part of, and that the opportunity shouldn’t be taken for granted. I needed to be there.
I didn’t know what to expect from this, and to be honest, about halfway through I felt like it was a bit of a slow burn. I have high functioning anxiety, which means when I start something I want to sink my teeth in and go full speed. I’m not used to just easing in, getting comfortable with everything first and then starting the hard work.
It was uncomfortable for me to feel so comfortable. It wasn’t until the end of the session that I realised that was the magic ingredient.
Documenting my journey
I want to try and document my journey through this program as best as I can. I want to come back and re-live the memories, see what I learned and where I still have improvements to go. I expect I’ll need the reminders over and over through the rest of my life.
However this comes with some boundaries that I just want to covers so there’s no confusion or concerns. What happens during these sessions will absolutely not be covered here. The privacy of the group, and confidentiality of what is shared is paramount. It’s a huge no-go zone for me, and I refuse to breach anyone’s trust.
What I do want to document is how I feel. What I’ve learned about myself, and hopefully how I’m transforming.
Tonight was a lot of getting to know each other, and it surprised me how I felt at the end of it. In a single session it truly feels like a safe space, where you can talk about something and it’s OK.
There are two major things I’m working on since I was diagnosed with high functioning anxiety:
- Learning to slow down my talking (instead of word vomit)
- Not trying to justify what I’m saying for fear that someone has taken it the wrong way
Tonight I really focused on trying to slow down, and listen. I’m not good with silence, and there was a lot of it tonight when we had questions to answer, contributions asked of us. Normally I would jump in with the first thought off the top of my head just to fill the gaps. I caught myself starting to do that and I actively tried to slow…..down. I waited, contemplated my discussion point, really thought about it. I was so damn proud of myself for that.
Something I didn’t expect was how freaked out I felt by being on camera. I’ve been on zoom sessions before with peer support groups, or video calls with friends, and it didn’t bother me. So why tonight?
I thought about it for a bit, and I came to the conclusion that it was a fear of vulnerability. I expect to feel raw, true emotion during this program. I’ve been warned we’re going to be unpacking a lot of stuff, and I fear how much stuff there actually is. I push stuff down all the time, which is odd because I love to vent and analyse at the same time. But at the true core of myself there is a whole heap of emotion that I don’t even know that I feel until it comes exploding out. It’s odd to be so numb yet so expressive at the same time.
On the surface I cover my emotion with bad jokes, or rationalise it away.
“Oh, something upset you? Nah, you’re just being sensitive, or you took it the wrong way, or it didn’t happen like that at all. It’s all good, time to go back on your merry way”.
The camera tonight symbolised to me that I was going to be forced to confront my emotions and it scared me. What I realised at the end of it all was that I don’t need to hide. I’m in a place where I can let that out, I can feel how I feel, and I will be supported.
I’m safe, respected and cared for.
I have nothing to fear.
The camera stayed on.
I feel a cautious sense of optimism. I feel like I’m going to learn a lot, both about myself and others. Mentally I’m prepared to be challenged, and my view questioned.
I feel like I’m ready to be vulnerable.
It’s bizarre how in a single session that a lot of us truly felt like we had formed a family already. We’re all ready to take this journey together and come out stronger down the other side.
One quote came out of tonight during a discussion that really resonated with me. I need to turn this into a sticker for myself, and paste it everywhere. Stick it in my own damn face first thing in the morning.
Work on your worst so you can be your best.Anonymous
The explanation at the time was discussing sports, how to be the best you have to improve the worst aspects of your game.
That single sentence is why I’m doing this. I’m working on the absolute worst part of myself, 37 years of cultivation, so that I can be:
- My best self
- The best mother
- The best wife
- The best friend
- The best sister
- The best daughter
And finally, I want to thank you all for coming on this journey with me. I’m not sure what had caused such fear in returning to writing, but the encouragement from all of you to keep writing was amazing. I love that you love my flawed style and my raw truth. I always said I write for myself, but I’m not going to lie, knowing that you’re out there reading it, some of you getting strength to fight your own battles….it helps give me the push I need to keep going.
Tonight I posted this little number on twitter:
Share your battles. You don’t know who will be inspired by your vulnerability, share your pain, feel unity with you, and have the courage to take that first step.— kelsbells (@Kelsbells) June 8, 2021
All because you had the bravery to tell your truth.
Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing my battle, thanks for keeping me going.