Saturday, September 14, 2013

New View Recovery

I am so sorry I have been MIA from the blog…I was gonna come up with some excuse to tell you all…school, work, etc…but the truth’s because I (since Tues) had slipped back into my disorder. It came from a lot of things…GI issues, a doctor telling me some triggering info and literally giving me permission to lose weight, and just my own anxiety seeming to be too much. All of these (especially the GI issues) made it seem like a perfect time to relapse. ED painted it out to be perfect…it would just be a nice little break and I would come out of it feeling stronger and more at ease with recovery…I even wrote a new stricter contract I would agree to.

Well…let me just tell you that’s a freaking HUGE lie. If ED ever tells you relapse will make things easier if you set a certain time length you will take a the other way because he is so freaking lying. I am going to write about that in a later post…but for now just know that. Onto my super long post for today..I broke it into parts, but I really, really hope (and would love to hear through e-mail or comments) it brings healing to others. 

Instead of looking at my relapse today I want to look at the decision I made today to come out of the lapse…to add back the snack I took off and to not exercise like I had planned. Also, I have decided to come out of this relapse with a more positive spin that I really hope will help me in sticking to recovery.

So this morning I just had enough. I was tired of feeling miserable, tired of all the health complications that had come back up since Tues…and tired of the relapse. I also had a terrifying weigh-in that showed me just how quick relapse can take away any progress you made…in that moment…filled with fear..I realized I didn’t want this ED anymore…I just wanted to get better. So I decided, on my own, to add back the snack I had taken out and even gotten approval to take out just for this week while GI issues subsided.

But then came the fact that I had told myself I would do a walking video….looking back I see that the fact I was doing walking video was what made adding the bagel back so easy. Ed creeped in: “It’s only walking it’s not that big of a deal. You can just wean yourself off…you are only doing yoga tomorrow. And if you add back this snack…you will just get scared and balloon..unless of course you do this walking video. I am just looking out for you.”

I knew in my heart this was a lie…but just couldn’t bring myself around to making the commitment not to do the video…so I reached out to the person I knew would guide me in the right direction…my good friend (and 2nd mom) Allison. She told me what I didn’t want to hear…that I shouldn’t do video and that it was ED. But I was so scared. I spent an hour texting her back and forth, freaking out, crying….but texting instead of doing the video…and in the end…the results were suprising.

ED Masks our Needs

I ended up realizing I didn’t want to do the walking video. The desperation I felt to do it was a mask for a deeper, more emotional need. What I wanted was someone to hold me and to tell me everything would be okay. That I had slipped…yes…but it didn’t mean I couldn’t pull myself out and keep moving forward. That I felt like I was in a tailspin, but I had the strength through God to get back on track. That I could trust my N and move on…that this slip didn’t define me. That is what I wanted..but it’s much easier to think that you just want to walk than to realize you are scared and need comfort.

That little 6 year old did the same thing when she thought she needed the tub of icing…when what she wanted was the embrace of her parents…for the yelling to end…for her family to be one of love. It’s the same thing that drove the 14 year old me to run non stop…to push her body to its breaking point…all because she felt stressed and wanted someone to tell her it was okay to not be perfect. And today…I felt the drive and need to do this video…when what I really wanted was the comfort of someone telling me it would be okay…and today…today I chose to ask for that comfort and not to walk.

I am hoping in the future days and weeks to come…when these desperate drives to act out in ED come I can take a step back and ask myself what I really want…is it love, peace from stress, a conversation with a friend, time with family, comfort, a break from school…what deep need is ED trying to distract me from and what can I do to treat that real need. I know walking would have never given me peace, because it would be an ED sized block trying to fill a heart shaped hole. But getting the comfort and love from a friend…that was the heart shape block that filled that hole and gave me peace. Giving into what ED is telling me I desire will never give me peace, because its not the true want. Only by finding the true want can the right piece fit into the hole.

New Spin on Things

Another important discovery I had is my view of recovery and its challenges. My therapist actually confronted me on this yesterday. Instead of enjoying recovery I hold my breathe and white-knuckle my way through it and its not sustainable. I am never going to want to give up my ED for something that seems horrible. Of course ED will look like a better choice if recovery is miserable.

Today I saw this because I kept telling my friend that if I added back bagel and didn’t workout then what if ED was proven right and I ballooned and then felt hopeless and worthless. Thankfully she doesn’t let me run down those rabbit holes and in the end I reframed it. ONLY by eating the bagel (snack I took out) and NOT exercising could I prove my nutritionist right and give myself a chance at recovery. If I were to add back the bagel but work out…then ED would just be proven right..that I had to earn my snack. But by resisting the urge ED could be proven wrong..but even more important, the truth my N speaks into me could be proven right.

Instead of looking at my food challenges as ways to prove ED wrong (and thus keeping the focus on the lies and leaving an open door for ED to come in and scare me into focusing on him being right)…I want to see what aspects of freedom they can bring. What truth my nutritionist has been trying to teach me that they would help validate. Looking at the positives they could bring, not the negatives they help avoid. Even though looking at how ED could be proven wrong is a good thing…I’ve noticed its much easier for ED to come in and try and bring up the insecurity of him being right. But if my focus is on the truths that my N tells me…that I need food, should trust her intake, can eat freely without exercise…then the focus isn’t on ED and its hard for him to refute what a professional says.

Plus it helps me to see the positives of recovery. Where it is taking me instead of the fact it is keeping me from ED. Again…keeping me from ED is a good thing, but it’s easy for ED to come in and try and show me it’s a bad thing. But when I think about the fact that it would be nice if I could see I can eat bagel and not exercise..then I can think of how that would mean going out to bagels with friends in Denver. Or being able to just eat a bagel in dining hall instead of in my room.

So I want to take a new spin on recovery. Instead of looking at it from proving ED wrong or keeping me from ED or keeping me from going back to treatment I want to look at what it brings me. And not just generally but with every step. Every goal I set with my N I want to see how that gets me closer to the life I want and what truth it is meant to support. That way I am looking at where recovery is taking me,not what it is keeping me from. You can’t move forward if you are always looking back.

Plus…heck…its what ED does. ED has never framed my view to be what my ED keeps me from…its always been what my ED seems to bring…and I want my ED more than recovery most days…so why not frame recovery this same way…that way maybe I can at least want recovery as much as my ED.

Worth the risk

The other thing I realized my fear of ED being right gets me to do is to avoid pushing myself too much. I get so scared he will be proven right…that the lies spoken into me (that I have been told are lies) will be proven true…that I get paralyzed in fear. But now…with this new positive spin…and looking at challenges as a CHANCE to have truths proven true and to trust my N more and to claim the future I want….I am seeing that its worth risking the small possibility ED will be right.

Sadly right now I base my right vs wrong on weight…on how much it increases (since I am on weight gain). I will work on my therapist with this because I probably need a different measure. But for where I am now, that is what I use. But I think the risk of one scary weigh-in is worth the chance to see I don’t ballon and that I can eat freely. The chance to claim the future I want is worth the slight possibility that I do balloon that all my worst fears come true.

I will come to an analogy that reveals an emberassing fear I used to have…I used to be deathly afraid of escalators. I am not sure where the fear came from…but all the sudden, one day..I woke up petrified that I would fall down an escalator and die. So instead of facing escalators I avodided them time and time again. It’s just like after this lapse…I feel I woke up with all these food fears again…but I just keep avoiding them. I was just so scared what if I rode the escalator and all the sudden I fell…then I would have to live the rest of my life KNOWING I should be afraid of escalators. So instead I just lived out the fear of escalators and avoided any possibility of finding out they weren’t to fear out of the fear of finding out they were.

But then one day I was with a group of friends and we were at the mall and about to get on an escalator. I
was flipping out, but in that moment…the possibility of being normal, of riding an escalator and seeing it was okay…it was worth the risk of finding out they were to fear. So with silent fear (none of my friends knew)…I rode the escalator…and guess what…I didn’t fall. Nope. Instead the fear I had lived in for years (literally I took stairs/elevators for probably 5 years because of this fear) was proven wrong. And now…now I ride escalators without fear. But it was only because I decided it was worth the risk.

So that is the new thing for me this go-round. I want to reframe my view of challenges and see they are worth the risk of one scary weigh in. The possibility of getting to be normal of eating normally….of seeing that food isn’t so scary just like I saw with the escalator…it’s worth the risk of falling on my face…of seeing the fear I am already living out as truth is true. Because heck…if the fear is proven true…doesn’t change what I am doing…but if it is proven false..opens up a new pathway to freedom.

And as slight as the chance was that I would fall to my death on the escalator and see I should fear them…that is just as slight as the possibility ED is right…that my N (with a degree and education) is somehow less knowledgeable on food than a disorder driven and formed out of lies spoken into me. That is maintained by the effects of a starved brain. So really…the risk isn’t even that great…there is more opportunity present than risk J

Wrapping it Up

I hope this isn’t confusing and actually makes sense but basically here are my take aways from all this. I want to look beyond the surface desires ED brings up and look deeper…into what need that is masking. Instead of acting in my ED behavior…to meet that true underlying need…as scary as that may be.

And I want to reframe my food challenges and recovery choices to look at where they are taking me and the truths they are highlighting. I know recovery is something I will have to fight for…and in order to maintain the fight..even on the hard days…I need to WANT to fight.

And I want to see it’s worth the risk by reminding myself of that every time ED tries to creep in with the fact he may be right. I want to , in those moments, say: “So what. I already live out that you are right…and this is the only way to possibly live free…and I will take the risk.”
 So here it is in action today:
  •   Deeper needs: I felt the desire to walk…real thing I needed was the comfort to know everything was going to be okay even though I felt so out of control. To hear that I deserve to eat and am worthy. To feel loved and comforted…instead of the anger I was throwing at myself. I met this need by talking to a friend.
  • Positive Recovery: Today I am going to be eating bagel and not do any exercise. This helps align with the truth my nutritionist told me that my body needs the bagel and that I don’t have to exercise to be able to eat. It aligns with the truth I can trust my nutritionist and her choices for my food and should give those choices to her. It also helps so I can get a bagel with friends in the dining hall no matter the day, that I can trust my nutritionist meal plans, and that In Denver I could meet up with people at coffee shop and be able to have a bagel with them.
  •  Eating the bagel and avoiding exercise is worth the risk of possibly seeing that ED is right and that I should fear bagel. I already live my life afraid of bagels…so I’m not risking anything by testing the point…just giving myself possibility of freedom. 

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome change in perspective! I love the idea of reframing the thought to say "I'm already afraid of this, so the worst that can happen is I stay afraid of it. But if I'm wrong, I get freedom from that fear."