I have been feeling quite down lately, especially about the fact I haven't been able to make any changes myself. Like I complain about horrible I feel and how I just want someone to make it stop, but still I do not take any steps to change it. I know what to do, I know the anxiety will ease and it will get easier, but still I choose to remain in this endless cycle.
An eating disorder is not a choice but recovery is, that's what they say isn't it? Recovery is a choice, but what about when you don't feel like it is a choice. When your mind is so wrapped up in the eating disorder, that every time you try to reach out and break free you hit a glass wall. I feel trapped in my own mind and in the eating disorder, but it's also comfort. I'm not going to deny that. There is something comforting about this. It's familiar and let's be honest, it's easier. Shall I tell you what frustrates me is when people don't try they make no effort in their recovery, they just expect it to get better. The stay at a low weight, exercise, eating pitiful amounts #realrecovery and then complain that they don't feel any different that there is no "cure" for this illness. By saying that there is no "cure" it gives them permission to carry on, well if I'm not going to get better why bother trying. It's like being given the golden ticket, pass go do not collect 200 calories. So am I a hypocrite? Definitely. Do I agree with that way thinking? Definitely not. I've been told by professionals that I may never be completely recovered, that I could be a lot happier but deep down it will always be there and it is about learning to control the anorexia, and not letting it control me. I don't feel knowing this that I have a free pass to just keep restricting, in fact the opposite it just means I need to learn how to keep it in check, and like with all things the more you do it the better you will become. Eventually I will to do it without thinking about it.
My problem is that I though I was immune to relapse, despite being told by my medical team that I wasn't. I didn't think I was immune because I was so strong and recovered, no, it's because I wasn't strong enough for anorexia. I was too weak minded to be able to restrict and lose weight, I had lost my will power. The voices in my head laughed at me, told me my one stint hospital was a one off there wasn't really anything wrong with me, it was just a "phase". And this is why I was so sure I would never relapse. I would have bet my life on it.
So I digress. So I was thinking about how angry I was at myself. I wanted to punish myself. Then I read this blog post by Life without anorexia, which talks about treating yourself as you would a friend. Now I think we all know this advice but we all need reminding sometimes.
So I took a step back and thought about what I would say to my friend J, who also suffers from anorexia. I would tell J, that no one would choose to live like this and I understand that every day is a struggle. When the thoughts are so loud you can't hear or do anything else, when it is all so powerful that you become powerless. You feel controlled, someone is dictating to you and slowly over time in the process you have lost the essence of who you really are. I would tell her to try because I love her and I hate seeing what is happening to her. I would reassure J that I understand that it's not easy to just try, when the thoughts and anxiety is so overwhelming that you can't think past the next minute. When your body is making all its decisions on instincts and you're on survival mode, but the problem is that it is confused and thinks of food as the threat. A threat similar to poison or consuming acid. So you run. I would tell J she needs more support and that I'm always here for her not matter what, to speak about how she is feeling or for some distraction.
Sometimes we all need a bit of care and love.
So every so often, just stop take a breath and think if I was [insert friend's name here] what would I tell them?
It's got to be worth a try right?