I noticed today that ED has got me in another new trap of sorts. One of my friends in a text to me after I told her I just wish I could go on trays for a week again was “…you think you are powerless to ED (which you are not)…” it was in that moment I realized I really do believe that. I preach that anyone can recover, that we are all strong, that God is bigger, that it doesn’t matter how long you have had ED….but I don’t believe that for myself. ED has trapped me into this idea that for me full recovery is not possible. That my “good enough” is no full recovery. I stopped trying to get portions because my N stopped pushing the issue, so I figured she lost hope I would ever get big enough portions. So I clung onto the lie that I would never be able to get full portions and thus my own skimped portions were the right portions for me…that I could never do better.
But that’s just another trap. Another lie to keep me beat down. Some people have more common ED lies…ones that to me would be obvious ED like you are fat, carbs are bad, you need to only eat 100 calories a day, etc…but to an experienced relapser and treatment center patient these are clear ED voice. So my ED has gotten tricky and infused himself into my recovery…inventing lies to keep me beaten down away from full recovery. He says portions don’t really matter, meal timing doesn't matter, facing fear foods isn’t important, eating the same thing every day is fine…because I am meeting a meal plan and exercise reccommendations and that’s all that matters. But I realized today that’s not true.
The longing and desire of my heart is for full recovery. To be able to eat portions without measuring…full portions, but first I have to know what those look like, which means getting right portions. I want to be able to eat when I am hungry and stop when full, which means feeding my body at regular intervals so it can learn to provide these signals again. I want to be able to go out with friends and not be scared if “safe” foods will be there….or to go to a restaurant and eat what I want…this means conquering fear foods. But ED has told me I am “too severe a case” that full recovery just isn’t possible for me. He has had me stop fighting for all I want…hiding behind the excuse that I have had an ED since I was 6 and thus don’t know how to eat normally. But what I just described…it seems like normal eating to me….and its more normal than I eat now..so really I do know..I just haven’t practiced it. I haven’t given it a chance..so I feel stuck and confused just like I did when I was six.
But, you see, that isn’t because I don’t know what normal eating is. Or because I am too severe of a case. Or because I can’t fully recover. It’s because I have gotten so bound up and tied down by these lies that I stopped even trying to eat the way I want to eat. I have stopped striving for the future I wanted and settled for what seems good enough. But I am frankly tired of it. I am tired of mediocre recovery, of good enough, of compliancy (and even this isn’t full). I want to push myself to start now eating the way I want to eat the rest of my life….at least in the ways I can (aka not try intuitive eating just yet). I don’t just want to comply, I want to strive to be better. I want to eliminate ED completely from my food, not just to the levels I think I am capable of limiting him too. I want full portions, the portions I had in treatment, the portions I know in my heart I can get. The portion thing is what always holds me back in recovery. It usually comes once I start to limit myself to only “safe foods” because those foods become scary so I limit portions. But I don’t want that to be my reality. I want more from my life than just mediocre recovery…I want full freedom from food limitations and fears. I want food to just be a part of my life, not my whole life. I want self-worth tied to more than intake, weight, calories, exercise. I want to live in the fullness of the life God has for me.
And I realized it’s not my incapability to recover holding me back, but these fears. These lies I have convinced myself are true. They are just as bad, if not worse, than my lies about calories, food groups, and my body. And they are based off things a select few people have spoken over me. That I am too severe of a case and won’t recover, should be put in hospice, have been to treatment too many times, that nothing will be different, that I just have to get to point where I can eat…full freedom is too much for me to strive for. But why am I spending my time proving those people right instead of proving them wrong? Will go into more deatail in a later post, because I want to get to the positive.
Using methods some people may not agree with (aka lowering my meal plan from what N had it as since today was our last session) I brought my plan down to something I think should be enough for me. It will at least be doable enough that I can work on these other things. Plus a recent drastic and sudden weight increase has me scared to keep with this plan. But anyway…I lowered plan (still eating more than before and eating more than started on in residential) and committed to full portions. I have determined if I can’t get full portions everything….like real portions…not the settle for less portions I have been accepting as full for me…I need to go somewhere…even if just for a week…that forces me to do full portions. Well…so far…I’ve done it. I’ve done what my mind said was impossible. I even included fear foods. So I have been meeting a meal plan with full portions….and it feels really uncomfortable. It seems like something that should be a lot harder than it actually has been. But I have a motivation in mind. I have my future in mind. I am scared about scale..yes. But that occurs tomorrow…why worry about it now? Instead I am sitting here with a smile on my face…because in this moment…weight on a scale doesn’t matter…but the weight of the decisions I am making do.
I am getting full portions and breaking the chains from EDs lies that have prevented me from holding onto full recovery. I am learning ED constantly holds me back from my potential. Not just in recovery, but in life. It even happened in a less-so-serious case when I ran cross country. I could have amazing practices, but at races…ED would creep in and tell me I would never finish the race…and guess what…for a whole season I never finished a race (well not running at least). I either had panic attack, got injured, or broke down and started walking. Why? Because I took the lie as truth and thus only strived to prove it right. The quote I have heard a ton: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right” made sense to me then. Whatever you believe you are going to prove right….it’s just like any opinion. You find the facts that support your opinion. Well in life your opinion of yourself or potentials you will make facts to support through your actions and interpretations of events. But I realized by just accepting the possibility that maybe these are a lie…that there is something better out there for me, that I am strong enough….all the things I have been saying without believing….then you can push yourself farther.
So I am choosing today to open up to the possibility I can recover…fully, completely. I don’t want to get bogged down in how it will happen or the fears holding me back. That I can process in therapy....right now I just want to sit in my openness to hold onto that. I want to be open to the possibility of different future…right now that means getting full portions and trying to conquer that. And I am opening up to the possibility that is possible and sustainable for me. ED says it won’t last, I am opening to the possibility that is a lie and the truth is it will be hard, but doable. Like I said…so far it is far easier than ED has made it out to be…and proving him wrong so far…it’s already making my future seem brighter. I am hoping my openness to a possibility will become a belief in everything I though was impossible being possible. Who knows….maybe when I am strong enough I can apply this to running too…and finish my 5K running in the freedom of knowing I am capable of more than I can ever imagine…I just have to believe I can…and I will be right.