Although I have been having a lot of success lately with my recovery, I think it is important that I blog about how there are still struggles in my life. I have hard parts about every one of my days even is the good parts outweigh the bad.
Body image is something that I have a really hard time with. I can’t really seem to accept that where my body is at right now is where it is supposed to be, where it is healthy for it to be. Every day I feel fat and humongous. Whenever I go anywhere, I compare myself with people who I walk by, even men. It’s so disconcerting. There are times when I long to have my skinny body back again. But then I just have to think about the things that I like about myself. I need to know that if my weight goes above my target weight that this is not a permanent condition and if it got to the point where it was something to be concerned about that my treatment team would let me know. I know that I am able to once again exercise, which I am hoping will help me to accept myself more. Exercising will help me to tone my body, which is always a good thing; I hope that I can be able to feel that my body is good for something again, that exercising for ten minutes won’t make me completely out of breath.
One of my least favorite parts of the day is when it’s time to get dressed. I hate that I bought really cute clothes when I was at my lowest weight. I want them to fit and I feel so guilty getting rid of jeans that cost over $100, but I know that they have to go. It’s not healthy for me to keep them, wishing that I would be able to fit in them again and wanting to do everything in my power to make it happen. Something that’s even worse is that I have a roommate. I dread putting on clothes when she is in the room because I want to avoid the embarrassment that I know would overcome me when whatever I’m putting on doesn’t fit anymore. Now, I just have to focus on finding clothes that fit my new body, because this is the way that my body is going to be for a while. Because I am going in to get weighed less frequently and am having fewer appointments with my therapist and dietitian and psychiatrist, all I have to base my weight off of is how well my new clothes are fitting. When my jeans start feeling a little snug (if that happens), I just need to be more mindful of what I am eating.
Food is still something that’s on my mind a lot. I do worry about what the options will be for me whenever I go out to eat. Whenever there is a menu that has clearly visible calorie and nutrition information printed on it, I have to put the menu down and ask whoever I’m with to read me my options so my meal is something that I want to eat, not what ED tells me is safe to eat. I still tend to panic whenever there are no “acceptable” options for me to eat. I worry that anything I truly want to eat (pizza, pasta, sweets) will make me blow up like a balloon. I hope that one day I can be free of this irritating voice in my head. Something that helps is seeing the people I am at school with and what they are eating and how they are not gaining weight, they are maintaining their weight like most people do. Another worry of mine is how the fact that I now drink will impact my weight. Everyone knows that alcohol has calories. I guess it’s a good thing that they don’t have calorie content printed on the bottles, though. I don’t think I’m going to stop drinking though just because of this. I am not drinking every night of the week, just on Fridays and Saturdays, so it’s unlikely that I will gain 5 pounds each weekend that I am drinking. Ugh I just hate that food is constantly running through my brain. I hate going to the grocery stores and walking the aisles, seeing all the food that I used to deny myself that I just think “I’m in recovery now, I get to eat them again,” but still feel uneasy around. Well more than uneasy, I mean I had a freaking panic attack around ice cream one day. I know that I can’t expect everything to be better overnight, but I just wish that this preoccupation with food would show some signs of abating.
One part of my recovery that I am most happy with is my decreased depression. To be honest, I don’t really even feel depressed at all. I can’t even begin to explain how nice it is to be able to go out again and not worry about what people are thinking about me. I don’t get paranoid about any party I am at getting busted. I don’t fear that anyone who I befriend will turn around and stab me in the back and completely shut me out of their life. A social life really does a lot for my recovery. I just feel so much more valued and appreciated by others. It’s awesome to get invited to just go to the dining hall or study with in the student center. Not to mention, when my friends mention how I am pretty and nice, I love it so much. One example, when I tried on my dress for the dance that our school just had this past weekend, my friends mentioned how awesome my butt looked. Before, if anyone at a dance would start to dance with me, I would think that it was so they could make fun of how terrible and ugly I was afterward. Now, I know that it is probably because I look like a good dancer or am attractive. I have had my fair share of douche bags pull some terrible stuff on me, I try to not let it get me down. I know that there will always be exceptions to how most people act and they stand out more than all the nice people. Overall, moving on campus has sent my social life through the roof. I am always going out to parties on weekends and am with friends every night of the week. I have laughed more since being on campus than I have in the past year. I wake up every morning excited about what that day will entail and what entertaining things will happen.
Something that my therapist told me today really resonated with me. She mentioned how much structure an eating disorder adds to your life. When I was practicing ED behaviors, I knew what every aspect of my day would entail: what I would eat, where I would go, what I would wear, when and how long I would go to the gym, and what excuses I would make up for how thin I was getting. When I was at Remuda, I literally had a chart written up for me showing what every minute of my day would consist of. When I got home from Remuda, I had mandated eating times, mandated meals and frequent meetings with my therapist and nutritionist. She then said that maybe now that I am finding more ways to structure my day (going to classes, hanging out with friends), I don’t need the eating disorder to structure my day and give me something to do, I am now able to slowly free myself from the iron-grip of ED’s hands. This really hit me, I know that this was one of the big things about my life. I always had to have my day planned out and I had to know what I was going to do every minute of the day. If something happened that wasn’t on my schedule, I would panic and not know what to do. Now I am able to make plans at last minute, and change things that I had planned depending on what I want/don’t want to to, what my friends want me to do and whatever else might pop up. I just feel so much freer these days, that it’s okay if something unexpected comes up, it won’t ruin my day and completely derail me from what I need to get done.