The Nightmare of Control
“Each day and every day, I AM getting better and better & BETTER”.
I could have. I wanted to. Oh boy I wanted to.
Who wanted to?
Not you Tabitha was it!?
No, it wasn’t and I actually knew this deep knowing within, the truth of the matter. Yes, ‘I’ chose the bravest action possible to not sink back into the nightmare of control. The absolute agony of control that is perceived happiness from my external circumstances. Circumstances that place value on my self-worth and have for so long. I really could not bear another day amongst the bundle of days within my human journey to endure another day to go back ten steps and deeper into a state of perceived happiness. A happiness that is in truth just painful turbulence within. I choose the latter in this moment. I choose to celebrate such a small moment, a small action, yet is huge to me. A victory. A moment to rejoice in letting go of a part of the nightmare. Placing another piece of the false self into a bubble to ascend the sky above and burst into the vast space of nothingness. Another victory upon my quest to freedom.
Here the story goes. Come with me awhile and tie those laces up wearing my shoes for this short while.
Yesterday felt like one the happiest days I have had all week. One the nourishing days I have experienced all week, until…
Bear with me as I run through the scenario here. Saturday, yoga early morning with a friend, yum. Indulging in my favourite homemade banana avocado chocolate recipe, yum. Morning sunrise glistening in my eyes, yum. Journalling and revisiting my eating disorder behaviours to change and reflect upon, yum. I wanted to stay in this moment an eternity. Wow, 2 hours, where did that go?
Letting go and relaxing into the moment, yet nature was calling if you know what I mean as my cacao treat always helps my pesky constipation issues, that’s another story. (Recipe shared for my breakfast treat below) Emerging into my day in the knowing I had one hair client to attend to before I had a friend over for lunch and my second ice bath, her first experience. As I finished my short stint at work, I felt the anxiety and control about having a friend over for lunch consume me. I felt the blood redirect from my core and go to muscles to flee. Meals that are usually only eaten alone with me, myself and I. Meals that I like to eat alone in silence and have the experience to myself. Because that makes it perfect right?
To make the perfect quantity. To make the perfect experience. To make sure all the combinations are perfect. To make it taste perfect. Heck, to even prepare the perfect place to sit undisturbed. Phew, that sounds like hard work even writing that. Always hyper focused on controlling my meal experiences as a means of how happy I can feel and how I should react. Now coming to terms with control does not bring you happiness the mind thinks it does. More on that later. So, how could I possible attain all this and eat with another?
Well, I did, and I will do it again! Was it as hard as what I thought?
No. As I engaged in conversation as I ate, I was releasing the power I was handing over to the food. Food has controlled me for so many years weather in the form of restriction or bingeing. I could feel the desire to grasp to perfectionism. Wanting to reweigh my portions and think it all over and question what I was all eating. To run the dialog scan over it all. NO, not today I said to myself. Not now. I took my power back over the situation. Engaging in conversation was safe as I ate. I enjoyed it actually. It felt supportive and I felt connected to life in more of way. It was so beautiful to have a friend to talk too about stuff other than food after I ate the food. Food, food, FOOD! Don’t get me wrong, I love food, gee for goodness’ sake I got my healthy desserts recipe book published as love birthing my creativity through food creation, but I would prefer not to also be in fear about food all at once. Baby steps, I got this. I must have my own back as in reality we are the only one who can really make ourselves change bit by bit. For too long has my power been hijacked by an imposter. An illusionary power that has been held so close to feel safe and small. It was all just too comfortable staying in that haze. Safer.
Lunch was perfect! Yet without being perfect, it was a perfect experience if perfect actually existed. It was soul nourishing, pleasurable, yummy and was my ultimate treat and eye opener of what life can be more about.
Done, finished, move on without even let that analytical mind have a chance to grasp onto the moment, just move to next. Presence.
After hours of conversation once lunch was over, we bravely done our ice bath. My second time and my friends first experience. Oh, look at us go. We are stronger than our mind perceives us to be. Feeling alive after our plunge while basking ourselves in the surroundings of our favourite music. Such a short-lived experience that can bring upmost joy to the body. Staying in this space a while longer with a few moments to sit outside and the let the sunshine hit our eyes, my day felt completely complete. I was filled up. I was thirsty for a day like this for so long and I took the full cup to drink from.
Here comes the next part. The part of the day that tried to pull me off my high horse.
Feeling so brave after the day’s experiences, I decided to have a fear food combination meal for dinner to end the day on a higher note. I decided to and acted.
Oh my, am I really doing this today?
Is it worth the risk of causing a reaction?
All these thoughts swirling around in my mind. Don’t think so much Tabitha, just do it, I hear a voice that’s been drowned out for too long. (I won’t be sharing my food choices or what I foods I fear here as this only leads to comparison and potentially triggering other people with disordered eating patterns) So I ate it and boy was it delicious too. Done and dusted. Another notch under my belt. Yum. Then come the swirling anxiety or was it the overwhelming feeling of excitement from feeling so accomplished. It felt like both. Ok, lets pop a movie on, wind down I tell myself. Calm yourself girl. Healthy distractions are sometimes great, aren’t they?! Get that movie on quick! Feeling so fidgety, which could have been the meal or the day’s events that did have me quite elevated, I get the desire to get and move, flee, but instead I just laid there with my feet up and breathed. Within a couple hours after dinner, I started to feel a pain arising deep within the cavity under my right rib. Must have been the food, my mind reminds me of about ten times. Now you done it, I hear again. Now you have stuffed up a perfectly good day. I wanted to reverse time so badly. Choose all over again.
I get off the lounge and look through my supplement boxes to find anything that can accelerate a bowel movement as I tell myself I need to remove it as soon as possible. Everything was perfect until this moment, the mind chimes in again. You’re a joke, the mind takes another stab.
As I laid there in pain, without any supplement I took helping a single bit, the mind wouldn’t back down. Tomorrow will come soon enough, and you can make up it, its ok. All will be better in the morning as you can restrict and avoid all this pain. You can do an extra bit of exercise to mask the pain felt of shame. All will be well in our world tomorrow. Just promise me you will never take risks with foods again and stick to that strict routine, ok?! Its safer!
As I just lay there and observe all the mind chatter, I hear another voice, begging for me not to sign that contract. A contract that will lead to more future feelings of guilt, shame, and fear. Don’t sign it.
My blood now feeling hot, I don’t sleep more than 2 hours all night, knotted and hunched in pain.
Is this the treasured moment within the chaos?
The pain of letting go.
As I pull my body that felt like it went to the battlefields overnight out of bed, I choose to indulge in self-loving actions, despite my desires not to. I felt so sleep deprived and hormonally unstable, yet still so connected at the same time. Feeling raw and so vulnerable. I just listened and learned some more.
Here is where I would exercise more, as that always melts the shame and guilt right?
But I haven’t done anything wrong. Why do you think you need to punish yourself when you’re already hurting. My body was not wrong for acting this way. The only thing that I could label as what was wrong, if there truly was a right and wrong is, the mind judgement that I was lesser than because of this experience. The thoughts that are I should be now more restrictive due to my experiences.
So, did I wake up and choose to restrict?
The big question.
NO, I didn’t. I couldn’t bear the pain of defeat again and further turn my back on myself to delve into a pattern that always leads me back to long term pain. It makes it all the harder to get back up again.
So, I proceeded through the nightmare of controlling thoughts with my candles burning as bright as they could.
And here with you, I celebrate that win. I celebrate finding a treasured moment in the chaos that could have resulted in a day to choose to turn my back on myself. I worked through the pain.
I am here still. I survived it and yet again here I am with another story to share with you.
Another moment to treasure.
I will not let my experiences defeat me.
Oh, as promised above, the recipe.
Silky Cacao Banana ice-cream.
1 extra-large overripe frozen banana (approximately 150g)
½ avocado (approximately 80-100g flesh)
1 heaped Tablespoon cacao powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup coconut cream (Ayam works the best)
Handful crushed ice
Place all ingredients into a vitamix, thermomix, or a blender that is powerful enough to create a silky-smooth texture. A nutri-bullet is not powerful enough. Blend on high speed until smooth and serve immediately.
I like to add an extra sprinkle of cacao powder or nibs on the top to make extra chocolately.
You can add other flavours to create different sensations, like food grade peppermint or orange oils. For a more natural option you could just blend in fresh mint leaves or orange rind. Even melted creamed coconut on top sets like ice magic.