You know what? I don’t think I’ve eaten a restaurant meal in almost a decade because of my eating disorder and in this last week I have eaten a proper meal in a restaurant without huge anxiety and without compensating and with being able to be present with the company I was with on more than one occasion, having different meals and in different restaurants!
I am not saying this to boast but I’m telling you this to show you what is possible if we commit to recovery.
Over the past few weeks, I was worried I was becoming complacent and that my recovery progress was slipping back. I had not been pushing the challenges in the same way and I was plodding through with what I had become comfortable with, but with the weight gain and recovery honeymoon having ended a couple of months ago, I was exhausted and it was harder to keep pushing forwards.
But this week I was getting more frustrated with myself and felt the illness was growing stronger again…. And quite frankly I was bored of still being too routine driven, rigid and a bit too conservative really!
A few nights ago I decided I needed to become frenzied, manic and really just to go a bit f**king crazy in recovery and it wasn’t an easy thing to do and I haven’t yet gone completely crazy but I knew it was time to start shaking things up in a bit more of a groovy way and telling my eating disordered rigid self who I really want to be in life!
I wanted to start living a life to it’s fullest in all senses of the word!!
And so this is what I’ve slowly started doing. I got mad and I’m getting bad and decided I have lived a restricted and starved life in every sense of the word for 12 years and I’ve had enough so it was time to GO mad!!
But despite this decision, the illness still tries to take back the upper hand and yesterday, it nearly beat me back in the morning.
It was looking like yesterday would turn into another groundhog recovery day of autopilot but I was then forced to face some ‘ED Bashing’ challenges by my mum who decided that this war was not one I can afford to lose….!
So we faced the day head on and I accepted any challenges thrown down!
In doing so I took on new challenging situations, broke routines, faced fear foods and generally gave a bit more of a battering to the eating disorder, rewired more of my very messy brain and dare I say it, even had a bit of fun in the process!
As I did so, there were points in the day that my anxiety started to rise and the good old future tripping set in (rarely helpful!).
We went out for lunch in a restaurant and as I was about to eat my meal or later as I faced a big piece of cake, suddenly my brain would pipe up with,
“You will pay for this later. There will be fall out. Eat that now and do you really think you can eat tonight? Yeah right!!”.
Of course this future tripping is frightening as it does have past experience to pull up as evidence that what it says is right.
The day before, I had had much less of a challenging day and the eating disorder was a bitch that night, so having had a full on scary day yesterday, the thought that I’d be rocking in the corner last night, tormented by thoughts of not being ‘allowed’ to eat were convincing!
But I pushed on and actually last night, I was not rocking in the corner. And I resisted all urges to start unnecessary movement and I felt empowered and victorious and hungry and I just kept eating!
I felt calmer and happier and more positive. AND it was bloody amazing!
I felt like I could eat unrestrictedly and show the illness who was boss and it was a feeling that I wanted to bottle up and keep – a feeling of real hope and empowerment!
So you know – facing down the demons, accepting challenges and bashing the eating disorder, despite a bad start to the day really does help at times.
I feel I am getting myself further out of negative energy that might have slipped back in and I am rewiring the brain a bit more and I will be proud…!!
The hard days are so hard in recovery and it’s so easy to want to give up, but we can’t and it is the moments like this week of feeling human and victories like eating in a restaurant for the first time in a decade that make it worthwhile and it feels that maybe recovery is still out there waiting!
This is just the start but this is about living the life I want to live and not living the life that was cold and sad and routine driven, in an illness that nearly killed me.
Getting to this point of recovery has been the most painful experience I have ever been through and I hope I never go through anything like this again and now I really just want to have fun!!!
And I know life isn’t going to be fun filled every waking moment of every waking day but I know that life is going to be better and if I keep pushing through the hard recovery days that lie ahead, the fun times can grow and grow!!
And then I want a life that is just a little bit crazy!!!