My personality is that of a control freak. I like to think I can control myself, others, the weather, who becomes president. I know this is ridiculous, but it’s also a seemingly instinctual response I have. I am aware that my eating disorder was an attempt to control the uncontrollable. To distract myself from what I wished I could control, with what I knew (or thought) I could: my body.
I have been recovered for long enough that I feel pretty confident that my eating disorder is totally in my past. However, this last year has brought all kinds of unusual and frankly quite upsetting and unsettling changes in my life. In general, I have a really great life and I have no complaints. However, several things have changed in a pretty surprising, confusing and fundamental way, and guess what? I noticed I had a return of some of the thoughts I used to have when my eating disorder was running the show. It’s interesting, because I don’t intend to take actions on these thoughts, but they are there. I am noticing the thoughts with little to no desire to act–but they are there nonetheless.
The other interesting thing is I have shied away from other escapism-type things, like drinking alcohol. It’s like I want to stay present in my feelings 100%, something I would never have wanted when my eating disorder was at its worst. In the first few years of my recovery, I basically forced myself to consume what amounts to a ‘basic’ meal plan because I did not trust myself to eat a healthful, adequate diet. I even measured how much water I took in. Now, I am allowing myself to listen to my body much more than before, but this can be scary because I am not sure if I am drifting toward undereating because of the numbing effect that can have for me.
I have never had as much apathy toward food as I do at this moment—even at the worst of my anorexia, I was obsessed with food and wanted to eat as much as I could within the parameters I allowed myself.
This is a bit of a ramble. I just want you to know something that took me a good bit to figure out–that recovery is a winding path and it changes. I really think recovery is all about being in touch with what you want and need. I truly feel that I am there at this moment. Uncertainty is there in my life, and I’m not trying to fix it or understand it any more than is possible at this time.
I am accepting things as they are, enjoying each day to the fullest no matter what my circumstances, and embracing change. I am feeling instead of running. I am sitting instead of escaping. When all else fails, I lift up others rather than wallow in my struggles. When I need support, I surround myself with the people who will offer that to me, and ignore those who try to hurt me, all the while forgiving them as they, too, must be battling uncertainty and trouble that they do not know how to cope with. I realize that I learn so much more through challenges than I ever do through successes. I embrace uncertainty because it teaches me how to trust. And not trusting myself is the whole reason I developed my eating disorder in the first place.
Artwork by ©2016 defectivebarbie