I forgot at 5:30am it’s not exactly ideal running conditions with an 84-degree temperature. Much better than 108, but still hot. Starting over in the heat is hard. I woke up in the dark and walked outside to a beautiful coral and apricot sunrise. The sunrise is mine when no one else is in sight. It’s a secret between God and I that I get to keep because no one else is awake and I feel the most freedom and clarity in these moments. Even when it’s hard. Even when what got me out the door is obsessive-compulsive and fueling my eating disorder. As soon as I start running I feel an immediate drop in anxiety. I hear less noise. I feel less chaotic.

This routine is a delicate dance my eating disorder and recovery tiptoe around in harmony for a moment.

My breathing is out of control because I am out of running shape but I am running east to watch the mountain line fade from blue to pink to yellow and soon forget about my labored body. My attention is captured by this most spectacular gift, a connection to God I can see, and for a couple minutes, I am not punishing myself for being out of shape.

“When you want to step on the scale what do you really need?”

I need validation. I need to believe I’m loved and worthy.

This is the answer to practically everything.

People keep telling me I am all of these things but my eating disorder is still louder. I still believe its lies more often than not.

Sometimes I wish all my meals could be supported. I get now that that is what makes doing this entirely outpatient so difficult. I am a thousand times better when I’m being held accountable and when I feel connected. When I feel like someone else cares, especially when anxiety shreds my motivation and depression decimates my worth.

The most irritating thing I kept hearing at the beginning of recovery was “stay the path” mostly because in those hard moments, I didn’t want to stay the path. But I want to stay the path towards the sunrise, now. I want to feel freedom and clarity for more than minutes, hours, or a couple days.

This is the hardest thing I have ever done. The lows feel devastating, maybe because there are some actual highs I’ve recently experienced, and the support I surmise I need in those moments is difficult to ask for. I am significantly better at reaching out than in the beginning, but in those terribly low moments, the ones where my thoughts are spinning, answers seem non-existent, and my worth is somewhere in the Indian Ocean, I want to stop existing. The farthest point from Pheonix, AZ is Phoenix, Mauritus–an island east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. How ironic is that?

The eating disorder part of me is sensitive, fragile, and delicate. That part of me needs so much love. That’s why I have to hold on to it like a million-dollar glass antique. That’s why I have to keep waking up and reaching for the sunrise, and reaching out for my life. That part of me will shatter into shards of glass if it’s not held properly. I don’t trust myself to hold it, but I trust my team to hold it and not let it disintegrate into dust until it’s the right time to let it.

 

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