A friend mentioned that the eating disorder is back in my eyes. She didn’t need to tell me. I can feel the glazing over, even if I can’t see it.
I am stopping today.
I decided, a few weeks ago, that I needed a date because that was how I did it last time. I know that it doesn’t work like that for everyone; but for me, bulimia has always been all or nothing. I need clear rules and high boundaries or I spiral quickly out of control.
And so, I am writing this to mark the moment and capture the learning. There has been some, even though the lesson was hard.
I have learnt that…
I need to be prepared. However recovered I am, the eating disorder may always be the default coping mechanism, and I need to practice other ways of working things through.
It is physical, I think, the addiction. It does not take long for me to get hooked on sugar, and it confuses how I eat. This gives the cycle momentum: it creates a hunger for bingeing and a fear of food that is harder to extricate myself – or my emotions – from.
I need to stop it quickly. It is very easy for once to become twice to become normal and then I have to start all over again.
I become someone else, when I’m under the eating disorder. It consumes my thoughts and my time, and erodes the things about me that I am beginning to discover and starting to respect. This reinforces the cycle: it starts with a niggle of inadequacy, then the eating disorder quickly removes any doubt.
It is lonely. Horribly lonely. Even when you’re as open as I am, there are still things you can’t say, particularly to people that you see on a daily basis. Walls appear. There are secrets. Lies. Shame. Excuses for why you can’t go out. Skimming over of what you are doing. Questions motivated by the eating disorder’s search for the next opportunity…
I liked where my life was going. Stepping backwards emphasised the progress and showed me just how far I have come. How I have, in fact, created a life which no longer revolves around food and where I am not identified by my illness, but by all the other things that I have become.
There’s some self esteem stuff I need to figure out still, otherwise I will keep flipping back into self destruct.
I am not my eating disorder. This was a thorny issue for me, for a long time. A person can not be an eating disorder but their identity can hinge on it, or mine did anyway. That’s not true anymore. It took going back to see how much I have grown.
I am heading in the right direction. This seems a paradox given how far I have crashed; but the ferocity with which I have responded to suggestions of moving a little slower or maybe trying something else, suggests that I really want the changes that the eating disorder is resisting. I really want them.
There are some pretty special people out there. Okay, I didn’t need a relapse to realise this; but I have been touched, amazed, inspired, overwhelmed by the amount of support and love I have received. It has been a lifeline and given me the motivation to turn this around.
Tags: Bulimia, letting Go, recovery, relapse