Giving up compulsive movement in ED recovery is HARD!
For those with compulsive movement/ exercise tendencies, stopping could be compared to an addict coming off heroin & that is not an exaggeration!
I’ve found attempts to reduce activity levels to minimal amounts, while not reducing food intake, the hardest thing I’ve done in my life..
It’s messy, emotional, chaotic & feels wrong.
It doesn’t give you a moment of peace.
But if this is what it takes for a future of ED free living, is there really a choice?
If you are contemplating stopping exercise/movement in your recovery though, be prepared & warn your loved ones!
This is what it has involved for me:
– Huge levels of anxiety- it comes in waves of intensity but never completely dies away.
When anxiety is high I want to climb out my skin, run to escape it or curl up in a ball & scream.
It’s terrible when it lasts & it feels like it will not end but it does -the waves pass the more you practice not responding to the urges.
– Crying, screaming, anger, irritability, immense sadness, frustration… a whole mix of negative emotions can strike at any time & without warning. I’ve been terrible to live with but my family try to understand that any outbursts are anxiety responses & not to take them personally!
– No concentration.
Even when anxiety is not peaking my concentration levels can be poor. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on a conversation. The TV can be on but I’ve no idea what is happening. I read a chapter of a book & couldn’t tell you what I’ve read.
– Feelings of being overwhelmed at TINY things.
I have often been hit by a sensation of being overwhelmed at just having to carry out the most basic of tasks.
In the illness I could work 40 hr weeks in professional jobs -at the moment there are times when just having to clean my teeth feels too much!
I am not perfect, nobody is… there are times the anxiety overwhelmed me & I’ve stormed out the house & tried to out walk it -used old habits to ease it.
When this happens I try & avoid berating myself afterwards – all is not lost -recovery is not lost… it’s continuing to learn & push wherever possible!
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