How do you deal with a bully? You tell people about it and don’t suffer in silence. Anorexia is my bully right now. After being diagnosed with small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) I’ve been on a restricted diet for the past four weeks. This level of restriction is set to continue for another two weeks before I start to be able to reintroduce some foods. Whilst my energy and muscle pain has been improving, I have had days when I’ve been doubled over with pain in my stomach or finding my throat burning or my skin really itchy. Looking at the diet information it acknowledges the potential of food intolerances within the foods that are allowed on the diet that contatin histamine, oxylates and salicytes. These foods can cause the symptoms mentioned above. I’m already struggling mentally with the weight I’ve lost on the diet and its restrictions as well as the fact it makes me eat a lot of meat and fish which I dislike doing. Now I feel like I need to restrict more to stop these horrible symptoms. However I don’t know if this is some I really need to do and is advisable to do, or if it’s Ana playing her tricks again. She’s already got me doubting whether I should eat the white rice the nutritionist has allowed me to have because having no carbohydrates was proving a real struggle.
I don’t want to be as thin as I am now and I’m missing my favourite foods and hating feeling hungry but I’m also starting to feel afraid of food and really negative towards it. My friends will talk about all the foods we’re going to enjoy together once I’ve finished the diet and whilst I started out feeling excited about that, now I feel afraid of how those foods will make me feel and whether it’ll ruin the work I’ve done. The thought of it makes me feel out of control. Again I think that’s Ana trying to get to me. I want to make plans with my friends but I know I’ll struggle to find things I’m ‘allowed’ to eat when we’re out and we can’t share food as they’re mostly vegan and vegetarian and I’ve got to eat all this meat. This makes me worry about social occasions, including whether people will think I’m being difficult or weird.
Yesterday I realised I’d been getting part of the diet wrong by eating too many of the restricted vegetables at once and I cried from frustration and fear that this was going to make the anorexic thoughts in my head worse. Just before writing this blog I cried as I read the foods that might be causing me these extra symptoms as I could feel Ana rubbing her hands in glee about further restriction and ways to make me feel psychologically awful. Right now I feel very confused and conflicted about what to do next and how to deal with all the psychological and physical symptoms I’m having. Spending three months like this is a worry. Hopefully I can get through the next two weeks of the really restrictive diet and then phase two will be easier to cope with.
The intrusive thoughts that come with many mental health conditions are exhausting and confusing to deal with. They make us withdraw, become irritable and struggle to make decisions. Please spare a thought for people dealing with mental health conditions and their silent struggles you can’t see.