Last week, my dietitian and I watched a video by Carolyn Costin on her 8 keys to eating disorder recovery. I felt as though they really spoke to me and I loved that Costin herself is recovered from an eating disorder. I have been in the market for a recovery book but didn’t want one that was just the same as every other one that I’ve read in the past. I decided to give this one a shot. In each chapter there are writing assignments to help to book get across its message better. Because I’ve been running low on post inspiration, I decided to use the writing assignments as blog topics. I hope that by reading these you can get more insight into what goes through my mind.
My Worst Eating Disorder Day
It was last school year, fall semester. During my weight gain, I had to go to my doctor’s office for weekly weight checks. When I first got out of Remuda I insisted on looking at the scale. My treatment team and I decided that was not the best choice, and so I stopped looking. I knew that when I checked out, my weight was written on my sheet, so I would purposely fold it up super small so I wouldn’t have to see it.
One day going in for a routine check up, I found out what my weight was. I can’t remember how it happened, if there was another nurse doing it who told me my weight, or if it was written on a paper I had to take with me, but I found out what my weight was and I was floored.
I knew that I was heavier than I liked but not that heavy. It took all the strength I could muster up to not break down in the doctor’s office. Once I stepped out the door and sat down in my car, the flood gates opened and the tears rolled down my cheeks.
My appointment was scheduled so that I could get back on campus in time for class, but that never happened. I got into my room, shut and locked the door, curled into bed and wept. I don’t know how long I laid in bed but it must have been hours. The only thing I wanted more than to cry was to be thin again. I hated my body, but most days I could live with it. However, on that day I didn’t see any way that I could keep on recovering.
At that point, I didn’t have many close friends. my roommate came back later in the day and knew something was wrong because I was still crying God knows how long after I got back. I didn’t want to go on with life as I knew it. Seclusion felt safe. What I wanted more than anything was to have the willpower to stop eating. But, living with my roommate and best friend didn’t allow for that to happen. She made me come to dinner, even though I’m sure I barely ate. She made me keep going. Yes, she did allow me to sit and cry, because it’s important to get that out of the way, but she reminded me of all that was better in life because of my recovery.
I’m not going to sit and say that everything was better when I woke up the next day, but not having to go through that day alone probably saved me from relapse.
That day also showed me, albeit much later on, that in order to be fully recovered I can’t be afraid of the scale. I can’t let stepping on the scale give me any sort of reaction. I’m nowhere near that point, but I know it’s where I need to be and that’s all that really matters at this point.
Recovery is going to be full of tough days like that one, but what matters is what you do with them. I don’t consider that day to be a slip up despite my restriction. I felt my reaction was normal to a traumatizing experience like the one I had. To a “normal” person, my reaction to stepping on the scale was not normal, but my reaction to extreme trauma was.
What I’d like you to get out of this is that bad days will happen. They will range on the spectrum of suck-ass-ness, but what matters most is how you deal with them. If you seclude yourself and plan your relapse, you need to seek help. You need to make sure you talk to someone. Or at least be around someone who will care for you when you aren’t able to see the purpose in self-love. An eating disorder is NOT something that you can get over alone.