*Trigger Warning* This post has some details that could be triggering. If you are easily triggered, please stop here. There is nothing I say in here that is more important to me than your recovery.
I debated for a while over whether or not I wanted to post this. It’s a little more graphic than I typically like to be but recovery is not all sunshine and rainbows, and that’s what I’m trying to remember. Sometimes it’s a shitty process, but it’s my process so acceptance is a part of that. I know my posts recently have been some downers, but this is where I am authentically. Hopefully I’ll have some happier posts soon. 🙂
So this past week has been my hardest one since I’ve gotten home from treatment, by far. Because I’m such a perfectionist, since coming home I haven’t really struggled with behaviors, because gosh darn it, if I couldn’t be perfect at the eating disorder thing then I was going to be perfect with recovery. (Thanks, ED.) So my thoughts have been my main problems. I know that slip ups are okay, and expected.
I’m sure everyone has heard that recovery is not a straight line upwards, it’s full of loops and slips and twists, but what matters is that you are still moving up. Yes, you can slip back, but you’re still further than you had been. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to accept that. Of course I’ve had slips and struggles with behaviors but I’ve been proud (even though I hate saying that about myself) that after I slipped I was able to move on and get back on track, which makes my current situation even more frustrating and annoying.
I went home this past weekend for Father’s Day. I love my family, they’re great but I don’t really enjoy going home. Until I came to college, I had never moved so there is so much, just, “stuff” attached with my house, more good than bad luckily, but now that I’m in recovery all I can feel are the disordered things The corner in my room where I would work out endlessly or where I would secretly purge because I couldn’t go to the bathroom and it was the furthest one away from my parents room. The drawer in my dresser where I kept all of ED journals to hold my counts and weights and measurements. The back corner of my closet where I still have some clothes that I’m “saving for when I get skinnier.” Just the fact that so much of my eating disorder developed and progressed and lived in that room, and it was all a secret. That’s the hardest part right now is that even though my family knows about my eating disorder, it’s hard to explain to them how much I associate my ED with home because I kept it a secret for so long that I don’t really know how to bring it up and explain it, and I don’t really know if I want to bring it up and have to explain it, at least not right now. Going home is just a lot and it’s where I’ve found that my urges and thoughts are definitely the highest. I find myself wanting to go back to how things were before my family knew so that I can be more comfortable.
The few times I’ve gone home before, they were all surprisingly nice. ED was loud, but I was more open and my family was receptive and we didn’t really spend a lot of time actually at home, but this time was not as successful. I don’t know if I got over-confident or if I just didn’t care but this weekend was rough. I did the best I could, and probably did a lot better than I’m giving myself credit for, but I fell right back into my complacent, people pleasing role, and whenever this happens I restrict, which then results in me eating something completely against ED’s rules and then heightens the cycle of self-hatred. I knew if I kept focusing on that I would be done. I’m really tired, my meds are all out of whack so I’ve been a lot more anxious and more depressed than normal and my motivation for recovery is pretty low. So against every fiber in my being I texted one of my best friends and told her what had happened. I told her I didn’t want to talk about it, I just wanted to try and remove the shame from it by not keeping it a secret. And it helped a little bit I guess, but ED was far too happy to actually have this “huge slip up” to focus on so I still focused on it the rest of the night.
Typically, I have a shitty day, I go to sleep, and I wake up to a brand new day that isn’t influenced by whatever happened the day before. Not the case this morning. I’m still focusing on the weekend. I’m still trying to figure out how to compensate for what happened. Convinced that I had gained at least 10 pounds over the weekend I’ve been weighing myself consistently. Turns out, I didn’t gain any weight, but I still messed up so I still have to compensate. My summer class began this morning, so I “didn’t have time” to make a complete breakfast. I decided to go on a walk after class. My “mindful” 30-minute walk turned into one in which I intentionally got really lost so it would take me a long time to get back to my apartment. My stomach growling didn’t alarm me like it usually does now a days. I didn’t think, “Oh crap, I should probably eat”, but instead my mind went back to the feeling of strength that it gives me: the feeling of knowing what it’s like to function on an empty stomach. All of these behaviors that motivated ED before treatment are slowly coming back. I’m still following my meal plan and I’m not purging and things, but I can see myself starting to slide down the slippery slope that probably leads to a relapse, and if I’m being honest, I don’t know how quickly I want to stop myself.
I want to recover. I know that my authentic self believes this and I believe that one day I will get there, but right now, I don’t really care when that day comes. If it’s decades away, so be it. It’s coming though. It is somewhere down my path in life but it’s not now. Oh well. I think the point I’m at right now is that I’ve been doing so well in recovery since coming home that I deserve this. I deserve to slip up and not care. I’ve worked really hard and I’ve earned it. Totally and completely disordered, I know. But honestly, I feel a little…excited. I feel like I’m rebelling, like life has been so monotonous that doing something even just a little different is making me feel alive again.
Even as I’m typing this there’s a battle going on in my head. One side, my authentic side, is telling me what a bad idea this is and how slippery the slope is and how I’ve worked so hard and that I deserve to recover and all of those things and then my disordered side is just like, come on in and take a break. You can chill here for a little bit, relax, and then go back out and fight the good fight and after some long, long months, I feel like I couldn’t resist any longer. It looked so comforting and inviting that I needed to sit down. I had earned the right to sit down.
So that’s where I am. Stuck in this awkward place between, knowing that this is not good for me or my recovery, not really caring about how it could affect me in the long run, and then watching the fight between the two not having any idea who is going to win the next round.
I’ve been singing John Mayer’s “Stop this Train” in my head the whole time I’ve been writing this. I just want to stop and go back. Back to when I was excited and hopeful about recovery (which was like 2 weeks ago which is pitiful). So my hope is to wake up and get back on the recovery track. Actually no, this isn’t just my hope. It’s going to happen. Deep deep down inside I can feel a tiny sliver of myself saying, “No, this is not how you’re story will end.” So I’m going to try and listen to that tiny voice in the sea of disordered thoughts that consumes my head right now.
Remember that you deserve this. You do.
On a more positive note, I just remembered this, I got hired at Target last Friday so that’s a fun thing! A fun but also potentially dangerous thing as I tend to spend way too much money at Target…my paychecks may be going right back into Target’s pockets. Let’s hope not. 😂