Monday, May 14, 2012

Recovery Re-schmovery

One of the most difficult parts of recovery, for me, has been dealing with change and uncertainty. When I was at my lowest point--both physically and mentally--my relationship with food trumped all of the other relationships in my life. Even worse, I often lied for my eating disorder's sake. Family dinner at seven p.m. rather than my six o'clock usual time? Sorry, I can't--I'm vacuuming my couch. Meet for brunch? I can't--what will I do at noon when I'm supposed to eat my regular lunch?!!! Family vacations were especially challenging, because I woke up at six-thirty or seven a.m. and simply could.not.wait to eat breakfast until nine or ten when everyone else woke up.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that scenarios like this felt like torture to me. No, they were not actual physical torture, and yes, I am a spoiled little princess with virtually nonexistent problems. But at the time, these "problems" made my entire body tighten, with a corresponding tightness in my head. That's a weird way to describe anxiety, but it's the best I can do. I felt completely trapped: I wanted to see my friends and family, and yet I felt paralyzed to do anything besides what I was familiar with. I felt like I had traveled to the bottom of the ocean and an unbearable pressure was building up inside my head.

Whew. Even writing about it now makes me wonder why I didn't see that I needed help and that the way that I was feeling wasn't normal or my fault.

The reason I'm writing about it now, however, is that today I had an opportunity to reflect on my progress in this department. After a class at my local gym, I made plans to have lunch with my parents at one p.m. Unfortunately, I was grumbly hungry (that's really hungry for me!) right after my class and thus I had to decide whether I should eat a snack and then have lunch with my parents, or if I should just eat a lunch immediately and tell them I'd already eaten. I chose the former option, and had a crap-apple (yah, crap, not crab--why are most varieties of apples soft and barely sweet??!!) and a few bites of a muffin I bought from Whole Foods:

OK, I ate the top off of it, not just a few bites. 

(We should talk about the muffins at Whole Foods at a later time. I have many, many thoughts on them.)

Anyhow, the snack got me through to my lunch date just fine, and I had a slightly smaller lunch--salad and veggies with lots of hummus--at the restaurant. This sequence of events was not completely painless for me; I still felt worried that I'd overeat at my lunch date and then feel really stupid for eating some muffin earlier. I also worried that that muffin would overpower me and I'd be forced to smash it into my face. But that's okay, because that's still like two zazzilian boatloads better than the place I used to be, especially because now I can see that it is possible for me to rationally observe my hunger and calmly accommodate it rather than overhauling my life in order to suit the demands of my eating disorder.

Gizmo--our friends' dog who is staying with us--sayz "Wruff...arf...kibble...good." She is very supportive.

She also wants to know what happened to the other half of the muffin.

*Does your dog support your recovery? Does s/he only support it because it means that table scraps will be more than just lettuce bits and carrot nubs?

**Disclaimer: I will be a Ph.D soon, but that doesn't make me a "real" doctor. I'm only sharing my story and experiences. You should talk to your own physician about your condition and seek help if you are suffering from an eating disorder.

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