There really isn’t anything profound to say here – this is going to be more of an honest and true post. What do you do when you take a blow to the gut in recovery? This blow can be anything!!!! A slip on the meal plan, knowing information you shouldn’t, a change in treatment, drop of insurance…. You name it…
I took a blow yesterday. I’m human – I make mistakes and as I was meeting with my dietitian I found that I scanned the papers and was able to glance and see my weight in kg. We all know that we just need to multiply that by 2.2 to get our exact weight and I tried really hard to avoid doing that. Sometimes the eating disorder is just quite powerful at times.
This is one of those examples where I let my guard down. I thought I didn’t have to actively force my brain to go against things – for example – I have to actively work hard to NOT look at calories. I have to position packages so I can’t see the amounts in order to protect myself from the eating disorder. When I go to places like Panera Bread, I have to look away from the board and only focus on the names of the sandwiches so I can avoid seeing the calories across from them. It works all the time, but not this time. When I let my guard down, I let my eyes scan and see because the eating disorder wants to know.
I have found that actively working hard to protect yourself from the eating disorder is necessary because it can become destructive – much like it is doing right now. Glancing and seeing the number was one of the worst things I could have done. I will say I tried to step in and stop the calculating of the number, but sadly it didn’t work.
So, where do you go from here? Where do you go when you’ve taken a hit, you’re down on the ground, you feel like you can’t get up and you don’t know what to do. What do you do when you feel like the world has just caved in on you and everything is spinning and it’s spiraling out of control? Where do you turn when you aren’t sure how to find the strength to dust yourself off and do it again – when you’ve done it so many times, you aren’t sure you can do it anymore?
I wish I had the answers… but I don’t… you dig into those coping skills you’ve been given and you try everything you can think of. You take a breath and try to step back and look at things after the immense anxiety has passed. You hope that you can hold on long enough for the moments of anxiety to pass and that you’ll come out on top. I think we all know we will come out on top after each of these moments, but it really doesn’t feel that way as the time comes. It feels like these times just won’t pass, which is why we need the eating disorder focus – we want the hurting to stop. I know it will pass, but when that will happen is unclear.
These are the points when it’s so hard to keep the focus on health and healing. These are the points when it’s hard to say, “I’m doing this to be healthy and I will be happier” because this process doesn’t feel “happy” at all!!! In fact, it’s the opposite of happy. Keeping the reminder of trying to accept us, love ourselves, be healthy and ignore body image seems to just fade away in these long moments that seem everlasting. They aren’t gone, they are just very forgotten about for now. It’s amazing how that happens.
This road to recovery is long and hard. One small slip like this has opened a door of all number importance. I now know my weight and it doesn’t stop spinning in my mind. To follow that, being numbers focused, I now will notice the calories on an item that is in front of me. So, my work of forcing away seems like it has been all lost. I really don’t think it’s all lost, I just think it is being over-powered by the eating disorder. The eating disorder has become very strong right now. We go through periods when we have to fight harder than other times, and this is truly one of those times. The ED thoughts are working faster and harder than the healthy ones, so it will take some work to get the healthy ones back. How exactly I will do that? I’m not sure…. The only thing I know is that this is a journey that has to be walked, and it’s not an easy one. I know the focus is to try to get back on the meal plan and to do what has to be done. I also know this is not an easy task and I want to scream doing this, but I don’t want to be where I was before.
You think you are prepared for each step in recovery…. but really, in life, are you prepared for anything? You’re never ready to be a parent or buy a house etc…. you just jump in the deep end because you know you’ll swim. The shock of the freezing water will end and you’ll regain all senses…..
The shock of these moments will pass and the waters will calm…. Do I feel like this is true right now? NO…. but I also know that we can run our lives based on feelings. We have to run our lives based on facts and what we have learned to be true. We have to know who/what to trust and walk toward that.
So, onward with constant reminders that “this too shall pass” …..