Okay, for real… it’s been a loooooong time.
By now we are all well into the COVID pandemic and still trying to understand it. This pandemic has been the perfect storm for almost everything. What happens when you take a person and isolate them, while making everything hard to access…. and probably take money from them as well….? Chaos… chaos is what happens.
So, I’m not terribly different from many others who struggled to stay safe while balancing sanity.
I had a weak moment in therapy and started to spiral down. I think we all have seen the spiral, especially if we look back. We see what happened and how bad it got, but we don’t know how we got there. I noticed a few things as my spiral happened, and maybe some of it will help you see yours, or be able to articulate that it is happening.
First — what do I mean by spiral? I mean those times when you get irrational, drop everything and cling to the ED. For me, I try to cancel all treatment appointments and do everything possible to use my eating disorder to “help” me. Panic sets in and you don’t know what else to do to make it go away. Let’s be honest, the ONLY thing that works fast is the eating disorder. If we are honest, we also know that isn’t sustainable.
Is this you? Have you done the same thing?
This week I had to reflect on my spiral and how it happened. What were my red flags that said it was going to happen? Have you ever thought about what your red flags might be?
I figured out a few things that were my red flags. I’ll list mine here and hopefully it can jog your memory for possible red flags of your own.
- Panic. I realized that I felt a lot of new panic in many situations. I would panic about something and the ED thoughts got louder.
- Therapy was too hard. I said this several times a session for a few weeks leading into the spiral. I was making progress, but it was progress on hard things I had to deal with. I probably said “this is too hard” at least 5 times in each session with my therapist and dietician.
- I hated food. I didn’t just dislike food… now I HATED it. I looked at it and only felt anger for it.
- A rational moment. I had a short rational moment where I knew this was bad. I knew it was going nowhere good and that it was a struggle. I knew I should reach out, but I didn’t.
- I canceled it all. I didn’t just cancel the appointments for the week. I cancelled them all! I tried to fire my treatment team and just dive into the eating disorder.
So, what did I learn coming out on the other side of that spiral? To reach out. It’s incredibly hard to ask for help and to be vulnerable enough to say something. I KNOW the eating disorder will fight me on it, but I also know what recovery looks like. In that small rational moment, I will now ask for help. I will text, call, email or say aloud …. “I need help. This got too big.” I have made a promise to myself that I will fight for ME in that moment.
Think about what fighting for “ME” sounds like for you.