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Lockdown and Eating Disorders.

Change. Something I have dreaded for as long as I can remember. So when I found out we were going into lockdown and the whole world was going to change, I'll admit I panicked. I wanted to write a post about how I've found the past however many weeks (can anyone really remember). I wanted to share what I've found easier and harder, how I've coped and what's changed. I hope that this can give some comfort or advice to anyone who may be currently struggling or wondering if you're alone through all of this... You're not. 

I know we are beginning to head into the new 'normal' world with everything reopening but life has changed so to speak. The start of lockdown was terrifying when everyone was rushing around and panicking sent my mind into overload. I had a million and one thoughts rushing around my head. What if I can't get the food I need? What if I can't eat what I am comfortable with? How am I going to cope with being on my own? I fell back into a lot of old ways very quickly in a way to cope with what was going on around me. Luckily my boyfriend was a brilliant help and made sure I had the food I was comfortable with eating in the flat. Asking for help sometimes is the best thing you can do. 

I asked on Instagram how many people found it harder to deal with food and their ED since being in lockdown and 77% said they found it harder compared to the 23% which said it was easier. The main things which came up were routine, feeling out of control, falling into old habits, and the struggle of being alone with thoughts or yourself. 

Finding it hard.

For me, I've been very up and down. I think the first week I hardly ate and my mind was filled with too many things which it simply couldn't process. Everyone was rushing around stocking up on everything they could think of and Instagram became a place of endless home workouts. Guilt and fear became all my mind could feel. Routine is a HUGE aspect for me to ensure that I keep on track mentally and health-wise. It ensures I keep eating my meals without having to think too much about it because it's a habit almost. As much as I hate living this way sometimes, it keeps me alive and the eating disorder thoughts at bay. It works for me. Being out of routine along with being on my own was a hit to the system. This was another thing a lot of people said that they found difficult. Not being able to see friends and family was hard to adjust to. A lot of us turn to those who we love for support and I know for myself it comes as a good distraction or extra push on the hard days. I was lucky that I could travel back to my mums as I care for her however the times I was on my own and unable to see my boyfriend was incredibly challenging. I am a social being, I love human touch and connection having such little social interaction meant more time spent with myself. Being on my own meant I could also get away with old habits I know I shouldn't be falling back into. It was a vicious cycle that I could feel starting to arise. Through all of this, I tried as hard as I could to keep myself up with distractions, ringing loved ones, facetime Ste, be kinder to myself. 

Finding it better.

Weirdly enough as a few weeks went by, I was finding things easier than I thought. I've always hated food shopping really. I'd go into shops, they'd be busy and I'd spend ages picking things up and putting them down being extremely indecisive. The more routined structure around supermarkets was weirdly a help in actually food shopping. I also feel like I've had more time on my hands and a few other people messaged me about this. Having more time to cook nice meals or go for a long walk, has weirdly been refreshing for my brain. I've been loving my workouts at home and found a good balance between training and rest. I got into a new-ish routine. It was nice to be 'less busy'. The world had slowed down. I guess if anything I have learned it... You don't have to be in control all of the time. The world won't crumble around you. 

Feeling alone.

Like mentioned above, feeling alone is a big thing for me. I love being alone for about 5 minutes and then I hate it. As I've said in other blog posts, since meeting Ste he has been the biggest help with my eating disorder, so being apart from him was hard. This was something that came up quite a lot, people don't like to be alone when they're struggling, no matter how much they say they do. As crazy as it sounds, with eating disorders, being alone means you can get away with skipping that meal etc. So with less going on around you and not many people around, my head only went to one place on multiple occasions. Being able to see family, friends, and my boyfriend again has been a big help. Not only is it a sense of normality but Ste has been with me a lot the past month and his positive outlook towards food really helps me with my mentality towards it. If you are struggling, maybe try surrounding yourself with people who have a positive outlook and mindset towards food and can help you with that too. 

Getting used to the new normal now. 

Even though we are experiencing some normality back into the world with everything reopening. The world has changed whether for good or bad yet, I am not sure. I guess what's left with me right now is the unknown and that scares me. I've found that thinking too far ahead and letting my mind spiral out of control is a trigger for my eating disorder. So, I am trying to take one day at a time because what else can we do at the moment? 

What have a learned? 

You don't have to be productive 24/7. I don't know if this stems from my need to be active and busy or my perfectionist side. Probably both. But seeing the rest of the world slow down made me slow down. Through this period, I've tried not to beat myself up if I didn't tick everything off the 'to-do' list or if I missed a workout. Life still goes on. 

Asking for help is OKAY. There have been multiple occasions through the past few months where I've struggled, I've asked for help and guess what? it didn't kill anyone. Those who love you WANT to help you. They don't want to see you struggle, so let them. 

And lastly, like I said previously. You DO NOT always have to be in control. I think the way the whole lockdown panned out made me realise this. At the start I wasn't in control or a lot and I was struggling but as time went on I became used to it and I felt okay. Tomorrow could pan out the exact same as today but I could feel awful. That is NOT determined by the amount of control I have. 

Weirdly, I am glad this lockdown happened. It's made me sit with myself and realise a lot of different things. It's filled me with more gratitude and realisation of my actual eating disorder. Although it's been hard, everything is a learning curve in life. And this is just another hurdle we've got through. Whoever you are reading this. I am endlessly proud of you. 

All my love, 

Holli Jessi x


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