I recently joined Noom because I’m four stone overweight. Last time I needed to lose weight I did it mostly by myself and via willpower. This time around I’m allergic to raw fruit and vegetables (technically I was last time I just didn’t know it…) and have chronic pain and fatigue. My willpower is more than sapped, I need some extra help.

One of Noom’s things is psychological tricks and talking about why you do things. Given that I comfort eat I thought it was worth taking a punt. It was how I realised I don’t ‘comfort’ eat.

Let me explain, last year I had a really trying time with my eczema. To be quite honest it was my own fault, my routine with my cream had become so erratic as to be non-existent. It took a skin infection the GP needed to send me to a consultant for as well as going to a therapist for something between CBT (what the course was supposed to be) and Talk Therapy (what she said I needed) for me to understand something.

I’ve always had issues with suicide ideation, in roleplaying games I do a lot of cathartic scenes and a lot of wish-fulfilment. Which means I kill myself and get myself killed a reasonable amount. Out here in real life I have been managing my Depression/Anxiety most of my life and even though I pride myself on the strength of my will there’s only so much it will stretch. Add in the rest of the illnesses and it’s stretched pretty thin. Anyway, back to my realisation, this is context.

It’s easy to guard against suicide, that’s nice and obvious, same with active self-harm. But when you’re managing treatments and medications it’s really easy to self-harm in less subtle ways, not taking your meds won’t kill you (or not immediately anyway) but it’ll really screw your already over-taxed body up. I discovered last year that my mismanaging my eczema and asthma was really just my self-harm instincts manifesting in new and unpleasant ways. And after I got on top of that I started gaining weight.

I ordered more takeout than at all reasonable and ate A LOT. And I’ve been calling it comfort eating, but it isn’t, because it makes me feel better in very much the same way as pouring boiling water over my skin used to. At least this time my self-harm is more socially acceptable and there are whole support groups dedicated to ending it but good gods I had bought into the idea that I had grown up and out of my Anxiety. That somehow I had got past the self-harm , that it was purely a part of my teenage self.

Turns out that that was just my Swamp finding new and exciting ways to hide.

Not giving myself time to write, whether it’s this blog or my poetry or stories is another form of self-harm even less obvious than deleting everything in sight.

Maybe I’ve turned a corner, though I suspect it’s all part of the labyrinthine mess leading me around and around the Slough.

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