I don't really know what brought it all on. Perhaps trying to push myself to recover too fast got me scared...maybe it's because my recent weigh-in showed that I really was on track...maybe the stress of school or work...I'm not sure. All I know is everything seemed to be spinning out of control so I began to slowly cling back to my eating disorder. Pieces of food started being left behind, choices of food started to be made based on numbers not exchanges, things that had become so easy to eat were forbidden again, and then I started to sneak off to weigh myself. All this did was make the spiralling and loss of control seem more and more present. Then Wednesday I broke down to my pastor about my deep seated self-hatred.
I have never told anyone how deep my self-hatred is. All the horrid things I say to myself about myself. He said some amazing things to me. In fact while he was praying he said something I have never told him...he said, " I am hearing that you think you are undesirable. Jess, there is nothing undesirable about you. Coming from me as a father....you are brilliant. There is a light about you that just glows. Jessica you are beautiful." He also referred me back to a verse that hit home to me a year ago when I became a Christian. It's Isiah 43:4 "Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life." He said...."Jessica that is what you are. You aren't these things you say to yourself. You are precious. You are honored. You are loved."
I came home that night so revved up and ready to get back on board and fight this battle. Well...that only lasted the night. The next morning I was up with all the temptations of ED following me. Luckily I also had therapy and discipleship that day to knock some sense back into me. I shared at both meetings the fact that I realized I didn't want to be a vet anymore. That instead I felt called to service animal training. As I shared and as me and my disciple prayed God revealed even more what He wants to do with my life. I was filled with an eagerness to do everything to recover. I had something to fight for.
Then my therapist, as always, kept hitting roadblocks with me. He finally looked at me and said do you want to die or do you want to recover. Put that simply recovery was the only choice. He then said..."Then you are going to have to gain weight. That's what it comes down to." I realized it was my fear of doing that and the fact that it finally happened (after over a year of my docs trying to make it happen) that had me feeling out of control. So with new motivation and understanding I felt ready to get back on track.
Again, this lasted all of a night. The next morning I was back on the scale and back to freaking out. But towards the middle of the day I just stopped. I took the time to stop my mind and stop doing. To just try and be still. I took a step back and looked at the mess my week had become. Sure there wasn't restricting, but so much fear was driving my food decisions, so much self-hatred was swirling about, I felt like I was the on the edge of tipping straight back to restricting. But I had this new future ahead...I had things to fight for. So I stopped and set up the list of things I needed to do. I planned out the next few days of food and prioritized what I needed.
1. I needed rest. I had been pushing myself so hard and had gone back to not eating my snacks during the day because I wanted to feel hunger. all this did was cause me to be up till midnight or later eating. So I was desperately sleep deprived. 2. I needed to start making decisions based on what I wanted not off of rules. Thus I pre-planned some scary foods in for the next few days. No swaps could be made unless it was something safe for something challenging. 3. I also planned on eating every 2-3 hours as my nutritionist said to do....this I am still working on. 4. I made plans of things other than exercising and weighing myself to do. 5. I went back to God and prayer. Turning to Him when I felt overwhelmed.
So it's Sunday now. I caught up on much needed sleep and have done my scary foods. I have a weigh-in tomorrow and I refuse to let it freak me out and cause this spinning to happen again. The moment I start to feel too overwhelmed by the weigh-in I am going to take a step back. I am going to put the emergency breaks on and go back to the basics: pre-planning and scheduling meals and snacks, reaching out, and praying constantly.
It's hard and sometimes even scary to stop and take a step back. Especially when everything seems to be spinning out of control. But if you are in the middle of a tornado you aren't gonna try and drive forward to get away because it will follow. You are gonna go in the opposite direction of the path. You are gonna step back.
Just remember stepping back and looking at the situation isn't the same thing as moving backward. Instead it is taking a breather so you can keep moving forward. So next time life has you feeling out of control or your recovery seems to be blowing away just stop, reasess, figure out what you need, and then start going again.
To some it may seem that me going back to planning out meals is regressing, but right now I need that structure back so I can keep moving forward. In fact, right now I am not really trying to move forward, but just to keep my recovery going. I'm not pushing any limits or new boundaries right now or facing any new foods. I am just doing what I can to maintain this recovery I have. And sometimes when life seems out of control you need that part of recovery to feel sane. The understanding that it's okay to not keep pushing new limits but just to experience where you are....look for a blog post about that soon. Recovery is a journey, not a destination...so enjoy the ride.