Most of my writing is non-apologetically depressing. It’s the only way I am able to get out what is ruminating and stuck in my head. I have a significant amount of trouble verbalizing a lot of what is here, and sometimes I am only able to verbalize it after I’ve written it. Sometimes, I still can’t.
But, even my writing needs to take a break from being sad. I hear multiple times a week that I need to re-frame things in a more positive light. So that is what I am going to do. Despite crushing depression and overwhelming anxiety, I still took baby steps. If I zoom out and look at my recovery process, right now is a valley. Almost level with where I started, but with more skills and a little bit more weight, and a lot more support. Mentally though, I am definitely in, what I would consider, a big dip. The level of anxiety I have around food is embarrassing.
I continue to have persistent and stubborn thoughts that I am not and was never “bad enough” for certain supports, levels of care, or even particular skills. But thankfully everyone else just kept ignoring me and pressing on with all the things they knew I needed because now I’m using them. My therapist has said a dozen times to “just take one bite” or “just lick the spoon” and not rolling my eyes to the back of my head as far as they can go was a task in and of itself, because I just couldn’t fathom how that applied to me. That advice is for someone who is half my size. I’ll just eat the whole damn sandwich, I don’t need to take just one bite or merely lick the spoon.
But I need to meet myself where I actually am. And that is: making the kids a PB&J sandwich and licking the peanut butter off the knife. Because a whole sandwich is too much. Because I feel paralyzed. Because I already ate and it’s not the right time and even though I’m hungry the eating disorder voice is so loud. I know I have to act opposite to make new healthy pathways in my brain. So I took the advice. Multiple times in the last 2 days. The calorie amount is nominal but the acting opposite part feels at least a little bit victorious, although it’s alongside guilt and fear. I have to keep doing these things because every time I don’t, it’s strengthening the eating disorder and that is not the goal. Repeat: it is not the goal to continue to feed the eating disorder.
Baby steps. I can keep taking baby steps. I took a baby step last night by sharing with my husband how anxious I got while simply trying to eat oatmeal yesterday morning, because my original plan was changed, and once I’ve “allowed” myself to eat something, if the plan changes and is more caloric, than it’s really hard for me. It’s embarrassing to me if other people are witnessing this anxiety. Which is exactly what happened and even though it was in a safe space (therapy) it’s still hard. I spent the next 45 minutes not eating it and really trying to be ok with it but I didn’t end up consuming it. I did however, eat it in my car before I got home. So, win.
I ate a protein bar, from my nightstand (win that I even put them there), last night because I was about to go to bed very hungry. Win.
I didn’t purge yesterday, despite bargaining with the eating disorder that I could only eat dinner if I either went and got a scale, or purged it. I didn’t do either. Win.
Today I stopped my run at 3 miles, despite wanting to cry that I’ve only ran 11 miles this week because I am in so much pain. Win, even though it feels very very terrible.
I had a couple bites of steak, instead of no steak, Monday night. Win. I walked the dog 2 miles instead of purging that night. Win.
I have not cancelled my appointment with the psychiatrist, although I have so much anxiety over it I couldn’t sleep last night because of it. Win, I guess, but I am seriously terrified.
I went to yoga Tuesday night, win.
I went to the bookstore and got 3 new books that I’m really excited about reading. Self care win.
A handful of times, I’ve talked to strangers. I helped someone figure out the lockers in the gym the other day– I wouldn’t even have noticed their struggle let alone offered to help before because I was too sucked in to myself. Especially at the gym.
I am incorporating music more into my daily life, another self care win. It’s so interesting how much the eating disorder takes over every single part of my life and is so punishing. I don’t think to do the tiniest things that could improve my day or mood–like playing music or reading a book or wearing non-workout clothes and getting ready for the day even if I don’t have plans to leave the house. I am not allowed to enjoy anything. I am not deserving of anything. It really does make life not worth living because joy is completely sucked from everything–not just food.
I found our whole family a church that everyone loves. My husbands parents come from 45 minutes away because everyone loves it that much. I feel so good about that. My kids can’t wait to go each week, and honestly neither can I. I get so much out of it. Major win.
I notice pretty things more. I see the sunrise. Really see it, not stare at it while completely lost in my head somewhere. I still get lost a lot, but I am able to see beauty and make note if it, where this wasn’t happening at all for a good chunk of time. I noticed a really colorful painting in my dietician’s office that apparently has been there the whole time. I’m just more aware in general of my surroundings– I didn’t even know there was a bathroom inside my therapists office until like 2 months ago. Win that I can see things, occasionally.
These things are often hard for me to even come up with because alongside them there are generally some losses–like I could only read a chapter of the book because I couldn’t stay present. Or, I spent the whole yoga class panicking about my body image and coming up with ways to workout more. Those overshadow all these wins, the losses seem so much bigger than the wins. But I have to take a minute to look at progress so my thoughts don’t keep spiraling. I am making progress. Even if it is really bumpy and this valley feels like the Grand Canyon. Which I have hiked to the bottom and back up in one day–and that last part up was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. So yes, it’s exactly like the Grand Canyon. I had to literally stop and sit down every 50 meters the last mile or so. It was excruciating. I was so exhausted and in so much pain. I am also exhausted and in pain right now. But I got out of that and I can get out of this.