The new therapist, J, asked me if I would like to do some writing activities to help me get my thoughts out - which I thought was probably a good starting point given my general reluctance to talk too much during sessions. So when we last met J brought along some writing prompts, one of which was to do with discussing how I use armour to protect myself in daily life - how this helps and how this restricts me.
At first I interpreted this to mean how does ED act as my armour - which I thought was interesting since I had never thought of ED as protecting me. But try as I might I couldn't make this model fit. The best I could come up with was 'tissue paper' armour that dissolved at the first sign of rain.
In actuality ED is more that frenemy we all had in high school that would talk us into doing something stupid or dangerous and promise they'd be 'right behind you'. But of course as soon as there was trouble they were not there to back you up.
But as I re-read the writing prompt it didn't actually mention ED at all. It simply says talk about 'your armour'. Which is really more the front I put on for others. Which I definitely do - all the time. K (the old therapist) once commented that I had turned 'fake it 'till you make it' into some sort of olympic sport. But I suspect I'm not the only one who does this??
So who am I protecting with all this armour? Me? My reputation? My kids? My husband? Take your pick. ED will tell me that all of these are in terrible danger if the truth were to get out. I think my biggest fears would be losing my job and my kids getting bullied for having a 'mental mum'.
But I'm starting to let go of this. Firstly I think there are worse things in life that your mum having an eating disorder. And since I'm planning on beating this thing I hope I will raise them to be proud of me. And secondly I'm not really sure I care if I lose my job. Yes I love love love my job - but if anyone thinks I'm any different once they know about my eating disorder than I was 10 secs before they knew, well I'm not sure I want to know them.
But I guess my armour does restrict me. It stops me from finding out who my true friends really are for a start. And that is something I have decided needs to go pretty high on my list of priorities. I am not going to bother socialising with anyone who doesn't support me (in any sense of that word). Life is too short for fair-weather friends.
Have you ever thought about your armour? Does it really protect you?
Do you think you will always wear it?