Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Taking more care of myself

I have put on over twenty pounds since last July. I am really fed up with it; I had been on a healthy diet and exercise regime since January 2005 and it was going great, I felt and looked better than I had done in years. I had a great new job, we had bought our first flat and I was very happy, I really felt that my life was back on track at last and I had everything to look forward to. Then - well, everything changed. I stopped being bothered about what I ate, I still taught dance from September once my wrist had healed enough but I did no other exercise. I smoked a lot more and stopped looking after myself. I couldn't be bothered to get my hair cut or paint my toe nails or wear pretty clothes and I felt old and unattractive and frumpy most of the time. I had no energy for myself, all my energy was focused on just getting through the day, on writing and trying to understand the bombs and what they had done to me and other people. It became very hard to concentrate on anything else. Finances, housework, friendships, chores, looking after myself in every way became way down on the priority list and there were times when I felt really down. It was a huge struggle. Eating salad didn't even register.

Well, I am back on the wagon now. With the wedding to look forward to, there's my incentive to get fit and slim and in any case, I am sick of feeling heavy - emotionally, physically feeling that I am dragging myself about rather than walking with a spring in my step. It's hard to be on a healthy diet when everyone wants to go out for congratulations drinks all the time, but I am going to try and be as healthy as possible and when I don't have a social thing planned, go and swim or run in the gym. Unfortunately I have something planned every night of the week and every weekend until mid-March, but still, I am sure I can fit it in. I can swim before I meet people in the pub, for example.

Tonight I am going to see a play with some KCU pals. Based on the events of July 7th, I remember the author Mimi wanted me to let her use my blog for it when she was writing it but at the time I was sick of people asking me to reproduce the blog and I said no. I'm glad I said no, because she went and talked to lots of other survivors and I am pleased, I don't want me to be the only survivor voice that comes up again and again. Another KCU person, Bumblebee has started blogging and I think it is great that people are being heard.. Welcome to blogland Bumblebee!


Blogger Holly Finch said...

rach...come join me on my laps of clissold park!....seems to have done the trick for me.
Looking forward to seeing the rock tonight

February 15, 2006 10:01 am  
Blogger Bumble Bee said...

Hey Hun,
Thanks for the welcome to blogging. You and Holly have been my true inspiration.
I also know the feeling of not caring and feeling like you are dragging yourself through the day. I am feeling better but yet to get to the gym and start getting on track again. Reading your blog has now given me the inspiration to go and do it this weekend and stop putting it off. No excuse!! :-)
Look forward to seeing you tonight.

February 15, 2006 11:28 am  
Blogger Spark said...

hi there

Rachel - no need to apologise for the rant, it's good to get the feelings out

added a couple of comments to said post, would be grateful for a quick reply

enjoy the play


February 15, 2006 11:57 am  
Blogger MuppetLord said...

Slight problem...your link to Bumblebee has your address on it.

February 16, 2006 12:06 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

oops - thanks - sorted

February 16, 2006 12:16 am  
Anonymous jessica said...

"mmm.. doughnuts!" :p

Good luck with the new fitness regime!

Oh and a bit premature I hope we'll get to see pictures of the wedding dress! :)

February 16, 2006 2:32 am  
Blogger fjl said...

Hi Rach, I read this comment with interest. I went through some traumatic shock after something 'devastating' and had the result you talk about for a while, appearance/health wise.(First of all I got very skinny- then the weight piled on. And on.)
I think something deep down thinks 'why me', and self rejects.In agreement with that thing called 'life, nature or God' that must have hated one for giving one such an unusual and hurtful blow. It's as if life's given you such a whack, you want to somehow agree, and you give yourself no TLC whatsoever. You self neglect.
You're also suffering from survivor guilt.
Food is probably the only consistent pleasure in life that comforts.
Along with the inevitable insommnia-depression brought about by automatic anxieties, many of them irrational ( but inevitable after an extremely rare and painful occurence) you've probably been suffering metabolism fluctuations which simply clutter up any diet efforts.
See yourself as a victim of the process rather than telling yourself off.
This is what I did :-) .
While slimming ( I went on a very healthy diet) I got myself all kinds of rare treats and made sure I had an influx of constant TLC that wasn't food: Monsoon clothes, all kinds. I made sure I had daily treats. It was okay as I had money, but even if you don't, you can still organise regular non food related TLC. Make sure you're really pampering yourself, make sure it's consistent ( but not food) and your psyche will adjust its concept of the odds against you. It's also good to proactively stop punishing yourself.
Because you'll be getting lost of regular pleasure ( new outfits, etc.) dieting won't be such a strain, since you won't be passing up your only consistent comfort-pleasure. You'll have other pleasures that are reliable and regular. ( No point relying on sex/romance as a consistent source of pleasure as the whole point including when it's good is that it isn't 'consistent'.)
I would buy myself a nice outfit every other day. :-)
I lost loads of weight, stopped fretting, and got all my beauty back.

February 16, 2006 2:56 pm  
Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 16, 2006 3:16 pm  
Blogger Mike said...

hey FJL

Influx of TLC through daily treats is the secret of happiness - whether realted to trauma or not.

I'm reminded about the old Steve Martin joke.

The secret of happiness is to set yourself small, achievable goals every day.

Today I'm going to start by becoming God Emporer of the Entire Universe..

You may have to be there..but I certainly live by the rule of doing something special everyday..because you deserve it for - cheese warning - being you...

February 16, 2006 3:16 pm  
Blogger fjl said...

I agree. It kind of sets your psyche in the I'm glad to be me mode.

February 16, 2006 3:35 pm  
Blogger Aidan said...

Didn't he also say something like: "I always like to start my act by doing something impossible, so I will now suck this chair into my mouth with his straw... Oh, darn."
Good luck with the health tip - and, more importantly, the feeling-happy-with-your-health endeavour...
Hope you found the play if not, well, 'enjoyable', then worthwhile...

February 16, 2006 4:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fjl - i'm a fatty arbuckle too but a poor working class one and can't afford a nice new monsoon outfit every other day. what do you suggest i reward myself with instead?

ps: cakes don't seem to be the answer.

February 16, 2006 4:39 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. I am feeling horrible today so it really helped.

Have just gone and had a back massage in my lunch hour which helped too, but basically today is one of the worst days I have had for ages and I cannot stop crying. I wish I could go home but my family are having an engagement meal for me tonight and I have to attend and work late until it is time to go and have dinner with them all. It is very kind of them but it is the past thing I feel like doing at the moment and if I din't have it I would leave work now and go home sick. I have cancelled tomorrow's celebration drinks and dancing with other friends because I feel too sad.

The play was awful and we all walked out; it was a caricature of all the people involved, like a lot of impressions of people - the actors had listened to people's recorded testimonies and then mimcked their speech word for word and it didn't work, it was an exercise in parrotting and mimicry. It made me very angry indeed. There was no soul, no feeling just a lot of people doing impressions of witnesses. We waited until the end and then spoke to the co-author, who was devastated that we hated it so much. I felt sorry for him, but gald we spoke as it dissipated some of my anger and hurt.

Then I came home to find trolling comments on the blog ( deleted) and a major slagging off of me on a conspiracy theorist message board: how I dislike these spiteful bullying paranoid people. They don't have to live with this, but they obsess over every tiny detail in order to bolster their own egos as they style themselves ' truth investigators ' - how sad. I am completely fed up with them. I expect they will all turn up to watch us give witness at the London Assembly like a lot of bloody trainspotting vultures, caring only for finding anomalies to back up their twisted versions of reality, ignoring the harrowing stories and focussing only on the insignificant details that give them all a thrill as they slap themselves on their backs for their 'cleverness' in finding out things that they mistakenly think proves some sort of global conspiracy, They are mentally ill, I think, seeking perfect truth and answers where there is only humans struggling to live through, work after, witness and report on the events of July 7th and afterwards. I have never felt anger to the bombers - they are dead - but I have such anger towards these sick fantasists and their callous internet attitude to those who lived though the carnage. To them, we are just 'material' to support their paranoid imaginings. Even when I confront them, all they do is turn upon me and call me deluded, ill, a liar, an M15 agent, not a real person at all. They are just vile.

I wish they didn't upset me so much but there you go: I am so angry with them. I expect that is what they want. I expect nothing gives them more of a thrill than reducing a survivor to tears of frustration and anger. So many decent people were mentally and physically injured on that day and can never escape the hell of July 7th, and here are these perverted sickoes feeding off the pain and fear and whispering ''conspiracy'' even as they are told what fools they are. Ugh.

February 16, 2006 4:44 pm  
Blogger fjl said...

I completely agree Rach. They aren't truth seekers, they're self styled authors with a handle on a sceptical market. Vile is the word. Please, please ignore them, What I've learned; they're jealous of you = they start on you. Please, ignore the idiots.

February 16, 2006 5:06 pm  
Blogger Joseph said...

I have just starting reading your blog. I am so very happy to read that you are coming through the other side of the ugly tunnel that you have been in. There is no way that you could have just acted like everything is normal. You needed to go through all the emotions before you moved on. There are many out here who support you and wish you much success in your weight and life. Think about the wedding and the life that you are about to have. You have a life to live.

February 16, 2006 5:50 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank Joseph!

I share your appreciation of rugby by the way!

And the healthy eating thing is going well, though I am ill at the moment, ( mostly caused by lack of sleep and recent very disturbing nightmares, I think, but I have started taking melatonin to help with sleeping and it seems to be helping).

I'm not really overweight, just a bit heavier than I would like to be in wedding photos and I am looking forward to a more normal life resuming and having time to look after myself more and go to the gym and stuff; there was so much going on over the summer that I stopped bothering and ate badly because I felt rubbish. Survivor guilt someone said, and I think that is true.

February 17, 2006 11:34 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Am at home today and have tried once more to engage with the conspiracists on their boards, we shall see if they listen. I'd rather try, and if one person browsing their site reads what I say and thinks, hmm, maybe these people are talking nonsense it will be worth it, I think it is important that survivor testimony and an alternative viewpoint is up there with all the theorising and internet conjecture.

February 17, 2006 12:44 pm  
Blogger Ceridwen Devi said...

Keep taking the Barbara Ellen. She cures all bullshit known to man. Weight is a femminist issue. Never mind the Illuminati. Who says a woman has to be skinny? Advertising executives. What do they know about life? I resent the equation thin=rich fat=poor. Tell that to a sub-Saharan African. You are as fat as you feel. And as sexy as the twinkle in your eye!

February 17, 2006 1:18 pm  

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