Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where I am today...

Every time I’m absent from my blog for an extended period of time, I feel the need to explain – to let you know why I’ve been gone – like a school kid with a parent’s note.

You know...Summer’s a busy time of year.  There’s vacations, trips, yard work, Red’s games…  It’s been so nice outside.  I’ve been busy with my garden (canned for the first time the other day!).  I’ve been reading a lot of baby books.  I’ve been sleeping a lot more than I normally do because of the pregnancy.  I just haven’t had time for blogging.

I also haven’t been blogging because I said good-bye to Facebook.  I said I was going to do it, and I did.  However, it was so so soooo difficult to click that “deactivate account” button.  I tried several times and failed.  Cancel, cancel, cancel, I can’t do it!  But eventually, I clicked it.  And I don’t regret it at all.  I love the freeing feeling of not being so attached to social media.  I don’t feel like I’m missing out.  I like not having that unnecessary responsibility to “stay up to date” with everybody and everything.

The only effect I hadn’t anticipated was, now, I feel no narcissistic urge to check my Facebook account.  Therefore, I feel no need to check the internet in general.  As a result, I don’t post to my blog either.  Hmm...weird, didn't expect that...

Another factor contributing to my “not blogging” is the fact that my eating disorder recovery has been going really well.  I think that I might not be able to connect to others who are in the midst of terrible E.D. struggles anymore.  It's a good problem to have, I guess.

My mind is no longer consumed with the negative, body-bashing, fat-fear, food-is-the-devil thoughts.  I don’t need to utilize the blog as a coping skill as often as I had done in the past.
What’s really cool is that I’ve found things that I love more than I had loved my eating disorder.  I never thought I’d be able to get to this place.  My E.D. used to be my full-time hobby…well, full-time job really.  There was no room in my head and no room in my life for anything else.

Now, since I’ve been recovering, I have room for lots of other things.  I am able to fill my time with things like, gardening, knitting and crocheting, reading, walking, and visiting friends.  And I don’t think about food, calories, exercise, losing weight, and looking a certain way.  There’s no more fear of eating, no more guilt after eating, and, most of the time, I don’t even remember what I ate yesterday (which is a huge deal).
I realized just how far I’ve come the other day during a family event.  Someone who I suspect struggles with disordered eating tendencies and body image issues made a comment about all the food.  They said, “I look around and all I see is food!”  It made me so sad, because I know that feeling.  I could tell that all the food was causing this person a lot of anxiety.  I’ve been there and it’s miserable.  My heart went out to them because, in that same situation, I looked around and all I saw was a bunch of people!  It was an “A-ha” moment for me.
Eating disorder recovery is all about baby steps.  If feels so minor at times that you don’t feel like you’re making any progress at all.  But then all of a sudden, you look back and see that you have made great strides.
Two years ago, I didn’t think this type of recovery was possible.  I would read success stories like this one and think that I was not capable of achieving it.  I didn’t think I was strong enough, committed, determined, or even had enough desire to do it.  There were many times I didn’t even want to get better.
But, I did.
And if you are also struggling with an eating disorder, you can do it too.  I’m no one special – If I can do it, you can do it.

I like what Jessica said in her blog, “Surviving ED”:
Honestly, four years ago when I started following eating disorder recovery blogs, I would have read the above paragraphs and thought, “Well, that’s nice. For her. It will never happen for me.” I always believed that the person whose blog I was reading was more intelligent, stronger, more stubborn, more gifted, more whatever than I was – and that why was s/he was able to recover.
Here’s the thing, y’all – there is nothing special about me that has enabled me to get to this point in recovery. I’m smart, but I know plenty smarter. I’m strong, but I know plenty stronger. I am not at this point in my recovery because I am some sort of special case – I am at this point in my recovery because I worked for it. I decided I wanted recovery and I decided I was willing to do whatever it took to get there.
It has been a lot of hard work. It has meant working even (and especially) when I don’t want to. It has meant redefining who I am without an eating disorder. It has meant learning new coping skills and using them. It has meant dealing with the physical and emotional side effects of refeeding and renourishing my body.
But most of all, it has meant freedom.

I’m not trying to say that I am completely, 100% cured.  I still have bad days here and there.  I am still tempted with negative thoughts.  Occasionally, I still think that my life might be better if I went back to my old habits and became super thin again.
Especially now because my belly is growing, I’ve had breakdown moments when I can’t fit into my pants anymore or my favorite shirt becomes too tight.  At times, I’ve been sad, I’ve cried, I’ve analyzed my flaws in the mirror, I’ve coveted other people’s bodies.  It hasn’t been all roses and sunshine in the recovery department.
But that’s OK.
The difference is that I can bounce back.  If I do have a bad day (which are fewer and farther apart now), because of my experiences and my commitment to recovery, I have a lot more resources to rely on when things get bad.  I can avoid another relapse because I know the warning signals, I have an emergency plan set in place, and I have lots of people to talk to about my struggles.
Recovering itself became a habit.
And that is a good place to be.