The all consuming nature of my eating disorder.
Sometimes I feel as if I’ll never overcome my dependence on food. Sounds silly doesn’t it? I mean, we all depend on food. It keeps us alive, it nourishes us, its the reason we survive. But more often than not I feel like I’m forever fighting a loosing battle.
Granted, I have improved a great deal. It’s been near enough 5 years of working on myself and being fully committed to recovery. Brilliant! Do I get a gold star? A medal? Maybe just a pat on the back?
All joking aside, I still struggle. I guess it’s like any vice; drugs, alcohol, cigarettes. Things that numb the pain, things that comfort and help you forget.
For anyone recovering, it’s all too easy to let the mind trick you, to lure you in under a false sense of comfort. It promises you that, by entertaining your demons, you will feel safe again, your pain will ebb away and you’ll be left with a feeling of contentment. I know that’s not the case. I know returning to my eating disorder will not cure heartache, sadness or anxieties, it will not help me regain control or erase uncomfortable emotions. But that hasn’t stopped my mind drifting to ‘what if’ questions when I’ve been faced with difficulty over the recent weeks.
It’s not been easy, not one bit of this journey is easy. Everyday I’m faced with food and everyday, every meal and snack, I have to make a choice. A choice whether or not to over eat, to numb my emotions, a choice whether or not to purge and feel in control again and these decisions become harder when I’m faced with discomfort and uncertainty.
Some people may think that I’m ‘better’ or ‘recovered’ and to some extent I am. I know what triggers me and majority of the time I can pick apart what’s going on enough to stop a binge episode. But then there are those rare occasions when the rational thought process stops, I become overwhelmed and food becomes my comfort once more. Those are the situations that still need work on and you know what? I’m okay with that, sometimes I forget that, at the moment I still need to focus on my overall recovery and that’s alright! It. Does. Not. Happen. Overnight. (Or over a few nights).
What I’ve come to realise is that it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to not have full control over every aspect of your life, because, hey, life just happens, whether we’re prepared or not. It’s also okay to have days where you feel low and all you want to do is eat some chocolate and cry, shout, scream, to hide away from the world. We are human and we are entitled to feel every single one of our emotions without judgement.
What’s not okay is relying on food to take all that pain away, to mask upset by bingeing and purging. Because when the food has gone, those thoughts, the thoughts we’re running from, they will return and we’ll be back at the start.
I know it’s addictive, that blissful freedom once the mind becomes quiet and you feel comforted and safe. But it doesn’t last, it will never last.
The struggles that I have with food may be with me for a little while longer and I am prepared to accept that as part of my journey. I won’t give up, I won’t quit and on the days where emotions become too much to bare and all I want is to get that control back, I’ll take a breath and work that little bit harder to cope. Because even on those darker days, I can still be glorious.