I’m not generally one who sits in bed at 11:30 at night with a row of chocolate sitting on my bedside table and a nice strong cup of tea right next to it, serving as the perfect accompaniment. I’m also generally not one who has a shower at 11pm at night when I’m not feeling in a good frame of mind to wind down for sleep. All of the aforementioned things however, are perfectly accurate of me this evening and I’ve decided this: what the heck, I may as well blog about it.
The purpose of my blog is to educate individuals about eating disorders. It also is to (God willing!) give those who may be in the midst of eating disorder recovery a glimpse of hope that it’s something that’s achievable. So again, generally speaking, I tend to avoid writing about all the mundane stuff, the ‘Me Stuff’, the ‘How I Really Am Stuff’. Really, most of the time – I’m A-OK. But if I’m going to be honest here, half the time I shy back from saying things because I know a lot of you who read my blog rather personally – so being “too” honest here could get a little awkward, right?
This month has been the worst month of all since beginning to recover. Being sick and losing my voice, taking antibiotics and as a result, throwing up for a few days, missing an exam and doing one whilst not being 100%, 2 conferences and the loveliest oldie I’ve ever known, Cyril dying within the week of getting home from the grief conference I went to and really actually not having a break from college at all has led me right up to where we are now: sitting in bed with heat-wheats and a Dr. Seuss book beside me, drinking tea and feeling sad that all my chocolate has been consumed. I’ve not had the time or the brain capacity to even contemplate blogging, let alone writing something that’s useful for people and worthwhile.
Perhaps though, this is useful. It’s something that’s real and genuine and says “yeah, I’ve been eating disorder free for a while now but life still sucks sometimes”. Sometimes I resort back to eating disordered thoughts because it’s something that’s comfortable, something that is familiar. The difference between now and 6 months ago is that I’m able to observe that happening … and thus stop myself from getting sucked into the thoughts. Sometimes I go for an extra walk out of sheer guilt for eating half a scone and a friand in the same day (oh the horror!) and some days I look in the mirror and second guess myself – has my weight changed in the last few months? The reality is no, of course … but it’s interesting to observe how the eating disorder tries to rope someone back in. The best part is that I’m in a position where I won’t fall victim to its lies anymore.
We employ all these strategies to avoid emotion that we think we can’t tolerate, but eventually we’re going to have to confront the emotion anyway. Sitting through something instead of sidestepping it … it’s one of the hardest things we’ll ever do. But it’s manageable. Our feelings are not bigger or stronger than we are – they may seem overwhelming, even … but employing eating disordered behaviour, self-harming, drinking excessively, taking drugs, overdosing … these are just behaviours that will help us to stay stuck in the cycle. Change only comes when we decide to do something differently.
So, point is: being “recovered” doesn’t mean I’ve made it, that I don’t have anything else to deal with. Because I haven’t made it and there’s still loads to work through. The thing is that now I’m actively seeking to make those necessary changes.
Be brave and seek to make that change too.