Moving forward can seem like the scariest thing in the world. Change is hard and change is scary, but it’s not something that we can’t do. Looking at change over the past few days, I have noticed that change is what I want. I want to move forward and the only way to move forward is to start walking. It really doesn’t matter how fast you walk, it just matters that you walk.
In my last post I talked about ripping off the band aid. I want to just jump in and get it done. I want to be IN recovery completely and past these bumps, but what I have come to realize is that recovery is bumps and that we can only sustain recovery by hitting the bumps and making it through them. That is how recovery sticks. I’ve had my share of bumps and I’m not afraid to admit it. What I have found is that the bumps have made me stronger. In processing with my therapist I have found that the bumps have allowed me to see where I stand and how strong I can become.
So, where am I now? Well, I’m getting healthier! Before I used to just get through my meal plan! YES! I would follow it and sometimes cry, but I got it down! Great accomplishment! But I was spinning my wheels. I felt like I was making progress as slow as a turtle in molasses. I have had this disorder for so long, I want something to show for it!! So, I need to walk a little faster. Now, when I follow a meal plan, and I don’t want to eat I can recognize the eating disorder. I can see the moments when I don’t want to eat and say, “this isn’t just ME not wanting to eat, this is the eating disorder, so there is something more.” Following that, I can then explore:
- What is bothering me? It has to be something.
- Something is giving me negative feelings to make me not want to eat. I want something to go away and I assume I can push it down by forcing out food.
- Why don’t I want to eat? Am I upset about something right now? Earlier today?
- If I eat right now, how upset will I be? What will the eating disorder say? Why will it say that to me?
These are all starting point questions that I can ask myself because I have learned that this is a process and there is no correct answer that you can ask yourself to fix this all together. I would love for it to be that easy, but it’s not. Yesterday was one of the first times I was able to walk through this process without getting upset. It was the first time that I could rationally think about everything behind the meal and not allow the emotions to control what I did or what I wanted to do. It was one of the most rewarding moments in recovery. I actually felt like it was a moment of moving forward. Now, obviously EVERY moment won’t feel that way – and that’s okay – but there are some moments that will feel that way and that is all that matters.
On Sunday, after church, Mike asked me what I wanted for lunch and I realized that I didn’t want lunch. I couldn’t help but start to cry. I didn’t know right away why I didn’t want it, I just know that I didn’t want it. If this was before, I would have just skipped it to feel better and moved on about my day. If I wanted to work hard, I would have cried through the meal and moved on about my day, but instead, I felt like I wanted to move on and be stronger. When I got home I thought about it. I thought about it and asked myself several questions and I came to a few possible conclusions. I found that there were several negative feelings under the food and once I thought about them they were able to pass. I had my sandwich for lunch and, to be honest, the sandwich tasted so good! The bread was so good and so was the cheese!
After talking to my therapist about this, I have come to find that if I just sit and let the feelings pass, there it is much easier to deal with than the guilt of making a poor choice. If I let the feelings pass, they are gone… if I make a bad decision, I feel the guilt for so long… sometimes days after! It is less painful to just let the feelings pass (because they will) than to fall to them and make a poor choice. I know this seems like it is hard to do, and impossible…. and don’t get me wrong, it has been a tough road to this point, but it is possible. It’s hard to trust that this is true. It’s hard to trust that you won’t break and fall apart when you let those feelings pass. It’s hard to know that the feelings WILL, in fact, pass. They will. They will pass faster than it takes you to work through restricting and convincing yourself that restricting was the best choice. They will pass faster than it takes you to constantly remind yourself that “you’re okay because you skipped ____ meal.” When they finally pass, you forget those feelings were there…. but you don’t forget what you did when you chose to restrict or other things.
Over all, moving forward is the best feeling in the world. The feeling of hope from this trap is the best feeling in the world.
How do you keep moving forward?