I went into treatment 3 1/2 years ago because I needed to learn balance.
3 1/2 years later, I found myself in a place where I needed to find balance… yet again.
But did I actually achieve balance when I was at treatment?
The answer is a hard no.
What I did there was learn to let go of unrealistic and harmful fears of food and eating. Balance was not in the equation for me in treatment. I was there to learn how to live again, and that required a shift from one extreme to another.
I went from eating hardly anything, to eating any and all things.
I went from running more miles than I like to admit to doing no physical activity at all.
I went from whole food/clean food to all foods fit.
And you know what? It. Helped. Me. Learn. To. Live.
Are you ready to have support in balancing out your life? The School of Recovery can help.
Recently, I have been feeling, again, out of balance. I went from one extreme to the other: from over movement to no movement, from under eating to no limits… And it served me well until it didn’t.
So what now? What do I do? How do I navigate this new stage of recovery that I have not experienced yet? The answer is not simple, but I can tell you what I did:
I Opened Up To My Support System
When the LAST thing I want to do is talk about how I am feeling, it is the very moment I need to open up. I am always hesitant to talk to my people about my struggles with ED because I don’t want them to over-react. Or maybe I am afraid that there is a reason for them TO over-react. Either way, it is hard. But after I talk out my feelings with a trusted loved one or friend, I always have more clarity of how I am feeling or what steps I need to take next.
2. I sought Out My Doctor
Listen, I for one KNOW how hard it is to find a doctor that understand eating disorders, but I have been blessed to find kind doctors that listen to me. As I sat in my doctor’s office hysterically crying about my lack of balance and fear of ED slipping back in to compensate, she did the BEST thing she could for me… she said I needed to be re-evaluated to check my meds and receive more support than she could give.
3. I Saw A Psychiatrist
I cannot tell you how scared I was to go back to the psychiatrist. The last time I was evaluated, I ended up in treatment for 8 months, but deep down I knew this time was different.
I was seeking help to NOT slip back into old habits, not to learn how to stop them.
When I cried in his office and he listened intently, we both agreed that I needed some guidance in balancing my food choices and habits. I was using wine to numb out, and I was using ED as an excuse to not listen to my body’s actual needs…
4. I called my dietitian
I left Regina Saxton a message- “Um, hey, Regina, I am not sure if you remember me, but I think I need your help again.” Her phone call minutes later was almost alarming. I think I secretly wanted her NOT to call back so I didn’t have to make changes that I was afraid to make AGAIN, but there she was.
5. We Made A Game Plan
Now, in my disorder, I loved to “plan” out meals and snacks, but this time was different. Before, I was planning to fall short of my goal. Then in my early recovery, plans were thrown out the window so I could find freedom. This time, I was planning to find a balance that could live completely in that freedom while feeling best in my body.
The plan was this: look what was going on inside my brain and my body.
Simple But Not Easy
Neither were easy to face, but the alternative was to slip back into a bad place, and i’ll be damned if I was going to start from square one again after how far I had come.
So, I went back to a meal plan. It actually was a lot more comforting than I thought. It had nothing to do with calories, weight, or good verses bad, and it had everything to do with how I felt.
After a month of having support of Regina, I felt confident, balanced, and whole.
I was no longer scared to make choices of balance in fear of slipping back to restriction. I was no longer bound to make a choice simply to say “F-You” to my ED. I was making choices for me. The healed me. The longevity me. The recovered me.
Glad I Asked
I am SO glad I asked for guidance in a point of recovery that I had not faced yet. I can imagine how many of us have slipped slowly back into patterns of unhealthy eating habits and thought processes because when we should have asked for help, we allowed ED to come back and take the call.
Fight At Every Stage
I believe in full recovery. But I also believe that to achieve full recovery, you have to fight and adapt at every stage for that freedom. Recovery is not a gift or a blessing, it is a fight that you keep your fists up until the bell rings at the end of each round.
Fight on, warrior. My gloves are on, too.