Struggling with an eating disorder in lockdown.

I’ve been reflecting a lot over the last couple of weeks, as I’m sure we all have.

I’ve never worked harder for my service and for the people we help and for my staff, to keep them safe and in work wherever that might be. It took 15 hours a day, 7 days a week to get us where we are and I am really proud of all we have achieved.

However, I reached the home-straight and crashed, physically and mentally. I had a couple of days of unmanageable pain and unwellness. Bed bound. For those who know me, they know how unusual it is for me to surrender to unwellness but my body didn’t give me much of a choice.

I’m not in the best of health. I haven’t gained any weight nor managed to conquer my battles with food but for all intents and purposes, I function ok with what I have.

Like many of us, the stress and strain that comes with the Coronavirus is causing a disturbance to my usual way of being. I’m far from being alone with that.

Whether we’re worried about those we love, or we’re facing lack of income or secure employment or you’re missing the usual contact with people with whom you share you’re life, it would be impossible to not be impacted in some way.

What I’ve realised over the last week is how much of a life-line the simple pattern of my routine means to me – how much I value human contact and the ease of working flexibly with my colleagues, how much I need a routine and purpose for my own state of wellness.

I’m in a privileged position in so many ways. I have five children, a wonderful home and a massive garden where I can get the green and air that I need.

But I am not in control, in so many ways. I can’t go to work like I would do normally, nor access support in my usual ways, or benefit just from knowing I can get shopping when I need it.

Struggles with eating often come from a sense of needing control- of exerting an external control on an internal struggle. I note that external control tightening from the lockdown and my kickback is to restrain my diet; to try and take back that which I know I can’t, by controlling my food intake exacerbated with limited access to those which constitute safe foods.

For anyone that hasn’t struggled with an eating disorder it may seem counterintuitive but it dysfunctionally enables a balance of control to be striven for. The payback is that of weakness, illhealth and exhaustion alongside susceptibility to illness. That which sets out to attain control ultimately weakens my resolve, but it still feels compulsive.

So, while we are coming to terms with this new normal without knowing what will come next, or the rate at which things will change, we must each do what we need to get through. I’ve realised in myself how much sadness there is for all of our losses and for those for whom, because of the situation, are left even more alone than normal.

And, for those of us who are key workers and who continue to support others through this very difficult time, may we each ride out the storm we face individually and get the support that we need.

I also see hope and opportunities but for now I wanted to share the impact in order to hopefully enable someone, somewhere, to also find their voice.

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