“When we feel stuck, going nowhere–even starting to slip backward–we may actually be backing up to get a running start.” -Dan Millman
I’m not in a place I want to be, but I’m not willing to hide from the fact that I’m struggling. This week has been hard — all of the good steps towards recovery that I’m taking are awesome, but I feel like I’ve overwhelmed myself. Coupled with a serious migraine that came on while I was at work and sent me home early (making me feel bad since I want to do as well as possible at my job and I really don’t like that I had to go home), I’m in a bad place. I ate dinner once my aura wore off and the headache was bearable enough, but then I felt anxious about the fact that it was early in the evening and all I had to do was go to bed. My knee is still bothering me and when I take my migraine medicine, I feel funny if I work out that day/early the next day, so I think there is more than one reason why taking tomorrow as a rest day would be logical (45 degree humidex, much?). I decided to be ‘productive’ and make the dessert for tomorrow’s work party this evening before I go to bed. So I did.
And what did I do? Ate the extra chocolate chips, the extra peanut butter left in the jar I finished up, and sampled some of it to make sure it was done. All pretty normal things. Then I realized I wanted more, so I decided to just sit down with dessert. Choice: a Godiva bar, but it took a few Smarties (which I don’t even like, so I threw away the rest of them) for me to realize it.
So then I felt bad for having all of that PLUS the chocolate bar, and I was still terrified about the large span of ‘free time’ ahead of me tonight (even though any rational human being would eat, have dessert, and be able to go to bed if they had a pounding migraine…it’s even bad enough that my whole arm went numb for half an hour so needless to say I think it’s best that I came home and am at least sitting down and intending to go to bed as soon as I get this out of my system).
I started to write down some of my concerns about the things I’ve been eating and the way I’ve been thinking lately (I’ve got an appointment with the dietitian tomorrow as well as with the therapist, so there will be plenty of support for me to talk it out with), but I felt really sick and I found myself getting sick. I need to make it 100% clear that I didn’t physically make myself sick, and while I’d like to think that it’s the migraine that’s making me nauseaous, Ed was happy about the situation. I hate admitting this, but I can’t lie to myself or to anyone. Does it count as a relapse? I don’t know. What I do know is that if this wasn’t the binge/purge relapse that I am telling myself won’t happen, I am still at risk. This article on Eating Disorders Blogs (a really helpful site) says to be ready for relapses, and I think I am okay at accepting that sometimes things getting off is just a signal that I’m out of balance. My migraines are the same thing — usually they come on worst when I’m stressed out and then start to feel better.
So, I’m realizing that I’m still vulnerable. I’m also going back to the books that have helped me in the past, looking at why this might have happened (i.e. could it be that I feel so guilty about having to go home early from work that I am taking it out on myself? do I feel like I’m going to have to deprive myself of enjoying the treats at the work party/the other parties this weekend so I’m rebelling on purpose? do i feel so overwhelmed/guilty/scared about all of the ‘fear foods’ I’ve eaten lately? … yes), and promising to be totally honest with my support group. I want to get better, and it’s also important for me to remind myself that one slip doesn’t make all of the hard work I’ve done useless.
I’ve gotten rid of the ice cream and the candies that I have been picking at/bingeing on. I’m taking my dietitian’s advice and realizing that while I could have them around, it might be safer for me not to and more enjoyable for me to enjoy some things with other people on purpose instead of using them for comfort. I think that in the future, making things for parties/potlucks should be about making things that I feel comfortable eating (and I think that at some point, this will include dessert, but this week with everything else, it was just too much). I need to remind myself that even if I put on x number of pounds this week, these lessons are worth it.
I find comfort in this article, which points out that recovery takes time for reasons that are beyond psychological. Jenni Schaefer writes a good article about doing the next right thing after a binge or relapse. For me, the next right thing is going to bed (realizing that I can write/work on assignments when my brain is not screaming at me), not forcing myself to work out tomorrow, and stopping this cycle right here.
How do you move on when you feel like you’ve slipped backwards?
Do you find it hard to take a day off?
Do you think recovery is all mental/psychological or do you think there’s a physical component that we can’t rush?