You know the annoying things I’m talking about. The ones that just start talking to you when you say, “Hello?” or already have a pre designed responses when you press a certain key.
When dealing with, & overcoming, an eating disorder, you have a lot of these. A lot. Sometimes, even in recovery, you hold on to these things without even realizing it. I know this because it happened to me this week.
While going around & around about what I’d have for breakfast one morning, I settled on a bagel. But what else will I have? I thought, tearing the bagel in half. It’s not like I can eat an entire one, I can’t do that. It’s not allowed.
& I froze, eyes widening a bit. After holding this pose, my half a bagel in hand (looking rather ridiculous to a passerby I’m sure), I laughed to myself a bit. I laughed because I realized just how stupid that sounded. So I shook my head & pulled out the other half of that bagel, toasted them both, & then lathered them in cream cheese, another thing that was once forbidden to me for years. And you know what? It felt good. It felt damn good. Because no one can tell me what I am and am not allowed to enjoy, especially an automated echoing voice of an eating disorder that still thinks it can live inside my head. Not anymore.
Now, let me say I am in no way trying to give the impression that overcoming an eating disorder is that easy. It’s NOT. The overcoming is an entirely different part, the hardest part. What I’m referring to is that, even after being recovered for years, you will continue to realize that some things that are your normal are, in fact, are not normal at all. You will realize that life is much more than all of the tiny things that added up to weigh you down. You will realize that you can have not just half, BUT A WHOLE BAGEL, in one sitting, with-dare I say it-cream cheese included. I’ve had several realizations like this over the past 3 years in which I’ve lived my life entirely different than what it was before. At the risk of triggering those who may still be struggling, I am not going to list those but there have been many a moment I didn’t expect to have.
Recovery is beautiful. In one word, it is freedom. Freedom from rules, time limits, & a thousand regulations. It’s the ability to move on & TO LIVE life, instead of focusing on one aspect of it alone. With this post, I want to stress something not many people told me about it, thought. I’d always heard it will still be hard. I’d heard that, at times, the eating disorder thoughts may flood you & you’d just have to be strong enough to fight against them. I had not heard that you would go on doing certain things when you yourself did not even realize you were continuing to do them. So, if this happens to you, please do not feel defeated. It’s a normal part of the process. And, every time you realize these new things, you’re only getting stronger in your recovery-not weaker.
Here’s to you, ED soldiers!