I was planning to write a post on recovery, on the positives of caring for yourself and ensuring you don’t slip back into old habits. A post which celebrated the fact that the sirens which scream ‘ED, ED behaviour’ have been silent for so long. That I am gaining control of my life and my eating habits again.
However, I don’t feel as if I can write in that way right now. I’m slipping and it’s no good trying to see how far I’ve come when I feel like I’m still on the edge, on the tip where I could get better but I could tumble back down.
Each day is a struggle. It will start out alright; I’ll feel ready to face anything and everything but it’s hit and miss as to whether the feelings follow me through the day. Lacking motivation to do the reading for my course may mean I can’t concentrate on it so I will procrastinate. The book or website will be open in front of me but my mind will wander, I’ll feel like a failure and then I’ll be stressed about not working hard enough, further triggering the cycle of being unable to focus and work. If a day starts like this, there seems to be little chance of enough reading being achieved.
Then there is the issue of food. Breakfast is fine. I know that I need energy to get through the day and the fact that I like to have fruit for breakfast and homemade soda bread or granola means it is relatively healthy and free of additives. But having a snack three or four hours later can make me feel worse. I’m hungry, that’s why I bother to have a snack in the first place, yet the fact that I am getting hungry can anger me or make me worry about the calories I am consuming and the need to burn them off. Even though I will eat, the attitude surrounding food that I had in the midst of the eating disorder still surfaces almost every day. I still feel a need to justify what and why I am eating.
In so many ways it seems as if the control I have over myself, over all that I do, is extreme. Everything I do ends up being analysed; it takes too much mental energy and leaves me feeling guilty for eating and not eating, working and not working. In this state, I cannot satisfy myself.
Some days I do manage to lessen the control I have, and on those days I know that God has control instead. He can guide me through a day and there will be more peace and relaxation even if I don’t do as much work or eat as well as I had planned. He takes the worry and stresses as His burden instead of mine.
Just remembering to breathe, to take a few moments aside, can really help. To refocus on God and to refocus on the tasks that are most urgent. My outlook on the day will be brighter.
Recently though, more and more, life seems overwhelming. I can feel myself slipping back to controlling food and overworking. And that is why I can’t write about successfully recovering, about moving forward to complete freedom. Setbacks knock your confidence, they make the struggle seem worse and less conquerable. It seems as if you’re facing an impossible battle.
In a way, I want to reassure myself that this struggle, this step backwards, won’t last forever. And if anyone reading this feels like they’re in a similar situation, then this is for you too.
It’s been worse, it’s been better, but try to take each day as it comes; take small steps, accept that recovery isn’t immediate and that achieving all you want to achieve will take time.
What we need to do is learn to love ourselves for who we are, not we want to be. Take care of ourselves and remember that it is as important to love yourself as it is to love your neighbour.