We all have choices to make. Sometimes they are great choices – like where to go on vacation – and other times they aren’t so great – no example needed! Either way, we are in control of those choices even though we feel like our hands are tied.
For a long time with this eating disorder you are controlled and you feel like you don’t have a choice. Essentially, you aren’t strong enough to make the decision to change your ways. It’s not until you seek treatment that you can become strong enough. At this point last year I was not in control of my decisions, and I did not have choices – I had to follow what the eating disorder said and that was that! After many, many terrible months of treatment (yes, terrible because it was hard as hell), I can say that I do have a choice.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there were times when I got out of skinny camp that I chose to leave Recovery Rd. and head straight for Restriction Rd. …. was it the smart choice? No…. but it felt like the right choice, and the only choice at the time. I learned quickly that it wasn’t the right choice when my treatment team got me back on track. So, if I make the wrong choice, the good thing is, they are there to kindly (although at times it should be rudely) push me back to the right choice.
I think so often we get bogged down in recovery because we see how far we have to go…. and we never look back to see how far we’ve come: (thanks for the picture Val). I forget to do this often. I think I need to remember where I was and how sick I was and how far I’ve traveled! I have noticed that when I do turn down Restriction Rd everyone freaks out on me….. but let me paint this picture…. (and an argument why people should not freak out!)…. The first time I went back down that road, it lasted for 1.5 months! That’s a long time! I finally figured some things out, got back on track and started with recovery again. The next time I went toward Ed again, it was about a month long, but I came back to recovery. The next time after that, going to Ed, it was about 2-3 weeks long (are we seeing a trend here????). Needless to say from September (1.5 month long restriction) to now…. My restriction is not even a DAY!!! Truthfully, it may only be a side item to a meal! That, my friends, is progress! 🙂
I am faced with a choice…. To restrict or not to restrict, that is the question…. [that’s the English nerd in me who can find any Shakespeare reference]. 🙂 So, the furlough happened. I have been furloughed from CD East. When my principal came in to tell me, my heart sank. I love it at that school and it just doesn’t seem fair. Rationally, I know there is NOTHING I can do about this furlough! In the teaching world, how good you are as a teacher means NOTHING – it’s all based on seniority and when you were hired. I am young and one of the last hired, so I go first…. That is that! The fact that I’m told I’m one of the better teachers means NOTHING to the union (I won’t even get started on that). So, here I stand, doing everything right…. Amazing lesson plans, activities, observations, rapports with students etc… and I’m being let go… talk about NO CONTROL!!! I could dwell on the fact that my union could have taken a pay freeze to save our jobs, but they didn’t, and that they really don’t care about their younger members, but where will that get me? Further into the fact that I have NO CONTROL over the fact that they voted my job away. So, this is the perfect time for ED to rear his ugly head AGAIN! Yesterday was terrible! My principal wanted to tell me personally, so I didn’t hear it through the HR person who had to read me the same sheet she is reading 73 other people.
I’m lucky enough to have supportive friends (thanks York City crew! Holla to my Bearcats!). They immediately gave me a reminder that I had to follow my meal plan and that restricting would not solve anything and they are right! I have a choice here. I don’t like the choice. It’s so easy to stuff away my frustration and sadness for what has happened and not think about it because it sucks! Who wants to deal with sucky stuff anyway?? So, where is Ed right now? In my ear whispering (this and many other things – you get the censored version):
Ed: great job, Rachel. It happened again! You lost the job at York City, and you couldn’t keep it at CD East! You couldn’t do enough there to make them want you enough to keep you. They could have tried and tried to find a way to keep you, but they didn’t — because you’re worthless and not good enough. You think you’re a great teacher, but this just shows that you’re not. Maybe if everything wasn’t chaotic, you would still have a job. You lost control of it all. You let them put so much weight on you and now this is the aftermath of it. All of this will just keep happening unless you listen to me and skip your lunch. I can help you get things back together.
Little does he know, I am aware that he is a liar! Ed is good… really good…. But there are times when I’m smarter. I’m smarter because I know if I hold myself accountable, there is no choice that I have. So, no matter what is going on, when my rational mind pops up and I can quickly make the right choice, there is no turning back! I do this by annoying my dietitian with an email quickly by saying, “I will do this and I’m pushing send right now so there is no turning back.” It works because I won’t make a liar out of myself.
So, what is the right choice? To follow the meal plan. It’s not fun. I don’t want to do it. I hate it. I want to scream….. but I have to do it. So, when I know I don’t want to, and I have to, what do I do? Go back to baby steps and treat each meal as a separate event… I don’t care what any other meal will bring, right now, lunch is all I’m worried about. I sent Beth an email saying “I’ll eat breakfast and this is what it is”…. and I did it. And, I sent one saying “I’ll eat lunch and this is what it is” …. and I’m doing it. Annoying? Yes. Necessary? Yes.
At this point in recovery, I have the ability to make a choice. I didn’t before, but I do now. I can choose to do the right thing because I am strong enough to do that (although it doesn’t feel that way at times). It’s hard as hell, and it sucks, but it’s possible. Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do.
How does one handle making choices they don’t like??? Well… we make the choice to follow our meal plan ….. and then we go shoe shopping! 🙂 Time to get out the door before Mike reads this post! 🙂
So, looking at your life: Have you had to make a choice that was the hardest you’ve ever had to make? Did you not want to do it, wait for so long to make it and avoid making it because of how scared you were of what would happen? I hope you made the right choice, and looking back now …. Are you glad you made the choice the way you did….(still In progress or not)?