Well, here’s writing assignment number 2:
In my book, The 8 Keys to Recovering from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin, she lists 10 phases of recovery:
1) I don’t think I have a problem
2) I might have a problem but it’s not that bad
3) I have a problem but I don’t care
4) I want to change but I don’t know how and I’m scared
5) I tried to change but I couldn’t
6) I can stop some of the behaviors but not all of them
7) I can stop the behaviors, but not my thoughts
8) I am often free from behaviors and thoughts, but not all the time
9) I am free from behaviors and thoughts
10) I am recovered
This assignment asks me to look at these phases and determine which phase I am in.
I would say that I am solidly in phase 6. I have eating disorder thoughts almost constantly and I do act on them from time to time. I feel as though I would be happier if I lost weight. I feel compulsions to exercise. I count calories without even thinking twice. I know that some meals I restrict.
I get discouraged admitting to myself that I am in this stage because I have definitely slipped back considerably from a couple months ago. I believe that at my best, I was in phase 8. I feel as though I’ve failed myself, failed my treatment team, failed my family and failed my friends. Some days I think it’d be easier to just throw the towel in and fall into weight loss again. Weight loss is a safe, happy place for me. One of my biggest fears is gaining weight, and I know that if I am losing weight I am free from that worry.
To keep going forward I have to remind myself of where I have come from. I came from a shell basically. I essentially had no contact with friends other than my mother. My daily happiness would begin with the number on my scale. After a momentary happiness from a consistent weight or a drop, I would feel as though even that weight was not low enough. I would battle guilt from whatever I ate; even if it was a “safe” food, I was eating too much of it.
But then the eating disorder pops in my mind and reminds me of the better place where I’ve slipped from. I slipped from a carefree happiness where 90% of the time I didn’t worry about what I ate. I was happy and smiling and living on campus like a normal college student. Now I am sad and depressed most of the time, feel the need to cry a lot more than I should, get stressed out when things are out of my tight grip of control, and am ridden with anxiety at food or weight. I am not even living on campus anymore; I had to move home a couple weeks ago because I couldn’t deal with the stress I was going through.
This is not where I want to be.
I’m trying really hard to get back on track, but I feel that my intense desire to lose weight is like a huge concrete wall in front of me. I can’t go forward, but I can definitely turn back. Yes, it really scares me, but I hope that my support system can help me to break down that wall.