It has been a WILD RIDE the last six weeks. My husband accepted a new job that took him to Orlando, Fla. for almost two months. Everything was normal for the first week or so he was away, then that sneaky eating disorder voice started trying to creep in because there was no one to keep me accountable, so what are a few behaviors going to hurt? WRONG. I REFUSE.
Relapses start so slow, don’t they? You have to be so aware of that little voice trying to creep in. If you’re not, all of the sudden you’re back in treatment, going, “Wait, how did I get here again??”
I work from home and I live in Birmingham, Ala. (not really a walkable place). With my husband not here, my evenings were wide open, with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company. As the time I was alone went on, I felt my standards for exercise and nutrition getting more stringent again, like my brain was trying to find ways to fill the time. Normally, I preach reasonable health and wellness goals for everyone I talk to, but gradually my goals for myself became INSANE. Let me tell you all right now, just because you hear celebrities talking about how they work out every day, doesn’t mean you have to. For the average person, and especially the recovered person, this is just way too much.
Strangely, this time in my life that I’m just getting over feels a lot like when I was first out of treatment. I had to be super conscious about scheduling my time with people who had my best interests at heart, so that I wasn’t left alone to my own devices. I went to a sober puzzle night on a Saturday at my friend’s apartment, I went to restorative yoga, I had dinner at my aunt’s house. I needed to occupy my time for my recovery, for myself, for my husband. My lowest lows have never been a part of my relationship with him, and I will do anything to keep it that way. I have always been grateful that he never knew me when I was in and out of treatment. It’s just this toxic part of my history that I want to remain in the past.
If you feel that eating disorder voice start to creep in, and you avoid it and succeed at maintaining your recovery, congratulate yourself! Really pat yourself on the back, recognize that success and reward yourself. That said, examine why those feelings crept back in. I spent therapy sessions during these past few weeks exploring where those feelings came from. After a lot of conversations, I concluded that a lot of it is coming off anti-depressants (NOT THE RIGHT DECISION FOR EVERYONE – CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR), but also feeling like my surroundings were out of control with my husband leaving. That damn eating disorder likes to do that, doesn’t it? When my life gets crazy, it’s like my brain and my body automatically gravitate towards ED to make the whole situation make sense. That has happened to me with life changes, grief, moving – anything that rocks the boat.
YOU HAVE THE POWER to say “NO” to those eating disorder urges when life gets crazy. You really, really do. I’ll be honest, I am not happy at all with my body or my weight after going through some major hormonal issues in 2016, so when the urges first came on I was like, “Perfect! This will solve my problems!” Well, I’m here to tell you, ED won’t solve your problems, it will make them worse. It will leave you exhausted, friendless, desperate and crying. It is everything you don’t need, even though ED tries to convince you otherwise.
Happy to talk to any of you via e-mail, about setting reasonable health and wellness goals and avoiding triggers. I am not a doctor (so please consult your doctor), but I can share my experience and what worked for me.
Tonight, I am working and watching TV, NOT worrying about how little I exercised or how “good” or “bad” I was today with food. I know that I will go for a few hikes and hit a few yoga classes this week, and I feel good about that. No rules, just what makes me feel good. I feel like I have succeeded so far in January, and I am proud of myself.