K just replied to my Friday ‘check in’ email. Our Friday email is not for therapy work, just to check she is still there and for parts and grown up me to share anything pressing we can’t hold all weekend. I love the safety of that contact. I never have to doubt and wonder if she will reply – she ALWAYS replies, every week without fail for nearly 2 years now. And it so nice to click ‘send’ on an email I know I am allowed to send and to experience what it is like to contact someone and not be flooded with shame and fears of being too much.
So I shared in the email a bit more about the food stuff, and asked her to read my post from Monday which I wrote after our session. Ordinarily I would wait till Monday and share it with her in person, but we are cycling for our session on Monday (have I mentioned before that my therapist is awesome?!) and I wanted her to have read it so we can talk about it as we cycle. It works out well timing-wise as the bike rides are meant for adolescent parts in particular to talk, as they find it easier to share stuff out in nature and without sitting opposite someone feeling interrogated lol. And oh my does everyone have a lot to say on Monday!!
I’ve been thinking more about the eating this week and have realised what a huge impact the orthorexia is having on my life. I’ve realised I avoid going out so I won’t have to eat ‘bad’ food, and I am rarely spontaneous because I can’t just buy a few bits from the supermarket on the way somewhere, everything is meticulously planned and prepared. It’s not always like this, but divergence from my ideals causes me horrendous guilt and I will then redouble my efforts. And the difficulty is that no foods are genuinely safe. Even things deemed healthy like nuts, seeds and pulses (so peanut butter and hummus and wholegrains for example), are bad unless they are soaked first to break down the phytic acid which acts as an anti-nutrient. There is some truth in the dangers of phytic acid with regards nutrient absorption, but where the line lies between ‘okay’ and ‘too much’ I have no idea. All I know is I desperately wish I could go back to a time before I knew much about toxins and estrogen imitators and phytic acid because it is ruining my life. I don’t even know why I am doing it, it’s not like I want to live an especially long life. And disease is not something I can control. I get all this but parts of me just don’t care, just want to be clean and perfect and free from contamination. And whilst the binging feels distinctly ‘not me’, and is primarily done by a 21 year old part, the orthorexia feels a lot like me, even though it is driven by particularly obsessive parts. I think grown up me keeps it in moderation, understanding the emotional and physical toll constant food prep has taken on our health in the past, but grown up me still sees no middle ground with any of it, and would, ideally, adhere to all the rules. And the binging and over-eating reinforces the obsessiveness because some parts clearly can’t be trusted with even a little bit of sweet food.
In her email K said the fact I am going for dinner with friends next week for my birthday is a good step, that social eating will be important in this work and ARGH NO I DON’T WANT TO EAT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!!! This thought makes me want to hide in a dark corner forever.
Last night I got parts to write down all their fears about food – there is a lot! Ranging from being fed up at being denied nice foods (young parts) to a desire to avoid all contamination to shame over binging and not being able to stop once we’ve started – there was a whole brightly-coloured cacophony of anxieties over food. And I suddenly get why I dissociate SO BADLY and can barely see properly in the supermarket every week!!! It was overwhelming seeing it all written down and how much competing angst there is, but it will be a good piece to use on Monday as a starting point for trying to get to a better place with this.