Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Called RECOVERY

I'll be completely honest: I've been avoiding blogging. On purpose. You see, lately whenever I have been reading blogs and stuff I've been feeling really triggered. But this is a different kind of trigger. Instead of being triggered to cut back on meals and over exercise and whatnot I've been feeling like I should be anorexic again. And being triggered into going backwards as opposed to being triggered into wanting to be anorexic again are two entirely different things.

You still with me? It's a little confusing I know. Anyways. Well I know that this is wrong--that it's wrong to want to be anorexic and it's wrong to try to be anorexic so I've been avoiding blogging just to give my thoughts some space and work things out. I don't want to go backwards. I have made great gains in my recovery along the way. But what is really confusing me right now is not really remembering what it was like to live as an anorexic. Oh don't get me wrong, I remember EVERYTHING. But now it just seems as if that world and that person that I once was and the person I have become now--a little bit more confident, a little bit more powerful, and a little bit more at ease with food--are two completely separate things. You see, I don't really act or think as much like an anorexic as I used to and I think because my mindset has changed, I am becoming scared and therefore wanting to return back to anorexia. Again, I don't want to return to the starving, deprived, hollow shell of a being that I once was who was scared to death to eat a stupid piece of bread and who obsessively counted every last calorie that went into my mouth, but to anorexia. The disorder itself. Why? I think it's because anorexia has my identity for so long that I am scared to leave it all behind.

This is a very dangerous trigger. I can't allow myself to be consume by this disease. Scratch that. I WON'T!
But this is hard for me because of how differently I think now. Lately I have been wondering if perhaps I'm going crazy because I feel as if I have forgotten what it was like to be anorexic. But, I don't think I'm having trouble remembering what my anorexic days were like. Rather, I'm having trouble remembering what my mindset was back then because I no longer have that old mindset.

This is very scary. To not be afraid of food? Preposterous!

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while are probably in a world of confusion right now. You're probably thinking, "What in tarnation is this girl saying??!! She's been writing about how terrified she is of processed foods, and nighttime snacks and sugar for the past 3 months! How dare she even imply that she is recovered!"

Well, hold on right there okay? To give you a brief background I have been battling my eating disorder for about 5 years, and have been through 3 real relapses. I started my blogging in the midst of my 4th nonreal relapse. I say nonreal because I wasn't really going backward out of the controlling power of my eating disorder, but rather I wanted to go backward. Why? Because I was getting better, forgetting my old ways, and losing my eating disorder.

Which brings me to the present. I'm getting better. I'm getting A LOT better. Food is not a huge issue for me anymore.

I can add little insignificant things to my meals without fretting (mostly) over the extra calories energy.
I plan my meals according to what I want.
I consciously choose NOT to restrict meals whenever my mood is down.
I can eat past the hour and I can eat a FULL meal!
I eat a nighttime snack (small but still...it's something!)
If I mess up one day, I wake up the next morning and just start over and do what I need to do.
I'm no longer afraid of sodium in foods!
BUT the biggest gain in recovery [pun intended:)] that I realized I have made this year is this: I don't use my food scale anymore!!
That's right! This girl right here used to be obsessed with measuring out her food. Tofu, Chicken, Avocado, Tuna, Fish. I measured it all, meticulously and painstakingly, sometimes even redoing it 2 or 3 times just to make sure I wasn't getting too much. But all that has stopped. I'm so proud of myself I just want to explode (into confetti, and pretty ribbons, and glitter and perfume and pinkness of course). Somewhere, somehow along the way I learned how to eyeball my food and I've just been slicing and dicing without worrying if it's a uniform size or not (okay sometimes I still worry, but for the most part I can just go with it).
Ya. This alone is HUGE for me.

You what else has improved? My body image.

This alone is quite bizarre. Remember when I said that I am starting to see the real me more often? Well one day the disordered mirror just shattered, revealing the ugly truth. I can see me almost EVERY DAY now. It's seriously like the wool has been torn from my eyes. I can see how thin I am, I can see the smallness of my wrists and the smallness of my legs, and especially the smallness of my arms. And it scares me. It scares me so much that some days I want to hide my body because I know that my appearance could be very triggering to other girls. I look at pictures of myself when I was 3 pounds away from my maintainance weight (which I never reached) and pictures of me now (almost half that weight), and I am completely disgusted. My face looks gaunt and drawn, my eyes are sunken in, and the tendons surrounding my jaw when I smile are not attractive in the least. And I wonder why I don't have a boyfriend? Anorexia is not that pretty.

Sometimes when I walk past a store window and I see my reflection I recoil in shock. The image I see is always of a very tall thin girl, with very thin legs. Always. I can't believe that I allowed myself to be this thin again or even that I wanted to be this thin again (sorry if it's triggering). It's terrifying.

I wish I had the answer but to be completely honest, I don't know how or why this happened. Suddenly I am able to see myself clearly, without distortion. It's very liberating though and very helpful in terms of gaining weight. Remember before when I said that I felt like my body had changed and I was afraid of gaining excess weight? Well, I don't really know if the body I saw then was really there or not, but all I know is that ever since I got back on my meal planning, my body changed back to the way it was before. So I think that because I was intentionally starving myself, like a yo-yo diet my body just decided to store excess weight to keep it from completely shutting down. But once I started nourishing myself again properly, my body changed back. And now? I'm not that afraid anymore of gaining excess weight. I can see the true image.

But what is scaring me the most is how my mindset has changed. I started noticing it a bit last year at the Easter Buffet and in bits and spurts since then. Lately, whenever I have been sitting down with my family to eat dinner or when I have been around certain foods, I've been err...craving "unsafe" foods. Instead of thinking, "Ewww...that's so disgusting and loaded with crap and it's going to make me fat!" I've been thinking more along the lines of "Man that looks good! I want some of that!" These thoughts have been scaring the CRAP out of me. This is not who I am! This is not who I have made myself to be or who I have become along the way!! Why am I thinking like this? I must be going crazy!!

And I seriously have been thinking that I am really and truly just losing it. How can someone's mindset just completely change? Why would I want to eat foods previously deemed evil?? To even think about processed foods is immoral!
I think the answer is this: I am not supposed to be that person. As I am slowly hacking away at every chain that the eating disorder has wrapped me in, I am returning to my old ways, to the girl I was before my eating disorder. Before anorexia I wasn't afraid of having a little bit extra. I wasn't afraid of eating pizza, cookies, ice cream, or cake. I wasn't afraid of food. And I think slowly, bit by bit, as scary as this seems, I am returning to THAT GIRL.

And now that the fear is slowly beginning to melt away I know I need to take the next step. I need to really push myself and eat outside of my comfort. Right now I am just holding myself where I have been, not daring to branch out. Mostly I am scared of binging and not being able to stop, insensitive comments from others (see previous post), and losing control of my weight. I know that this is what God is challenging me to do right now. I am just scared of doing it.

I am so incredibly thankful

So why the sudden change? Am I just going mad and completely forgetting everything? Why aren't I feeling afraid of food? Why can I see myself clearly now?

I think all of these burning questions can be summed up in one final answer.

It's called RECOVERY.
I just have to say that I am so incredibly thankful and in awe that God is working in me (despite me being...well...me) and is really opening my eyes. Thank You Father God. You are beyond amazing. I love You so much.