For years I’ve known that big events trigger the voice of my eating disorder; Christmas parties, birthday celebrations, holidays, you know, all that stuff that for some reason gets us obsessing about our appearance which tends to go hand in hand with weight.
Losing weight = good
Gaining weight = the worst thing ever imaginable.
It’s been Seared into our minds for more years than I care to imagine.
So what happens when you’re recovering from an eating disorder and simultaneously planning the wedding of the year? (No, not Harry and Meghan’s, though I’m sure theirs will be almost as lovely).
I’m getting married in 23 days and it’s come round faster than I could ever imagine. I’ve planned and prepared, I’ve stressed and I’ve cried (just a little) but overall I’ve enjoyed the run up. However, I did not prepare for the overwhelming want to lose weight, exercise, ‘clean eat’ and all the other stuff that I’m so firmly against when in a delicate mindset.
Almost as if that voice has awoken and clawed it’s way free from its carefully constructed cage in the corner of my mind, questioning every morsel of food or drink that I consume.
‘Too much sugar’
‘No exercise for HOW many weeks?’
‘You’re going to look awful for your wedding.’
I guess I prepared for this in a way. I knew that planning a wedding would be potentially triggering, I just didn’t know when the thoughts would strike.
It’s hard finding a new comfort when my mind bubbles over with thoughts of flowers, dresses and seating charts. It’s almost impossible to calm myself without turning to food when I convince myself that something is bound to go wrong on the day and as for a good body image, well it’s non existent at the moment.
Now we’re probably getting to the part of this post when you’re thinking ‘hey this all seems pretty negative Lucy, how is this related to the title at all?’
Well simply put, on occasion I do miss my eating disorder.
I miss the comfort that it brought me.
I miss the little bit of control it gave me when every other aspect of my life felt so out of control.
I miss it being a safety net and that food had the ability to quieten my mind for just a few moments.
No I wouldn’t go back, but I’m now starting to understand that it’s okay to miss and it’s pretty normal.
It’s okay to miss something which was once such a big part of my life, bringing me comfort and security. Much like a child with a dummy, you wouldn’t scold them for missing something which served as a comfort at one point. So as adults we need to be gentle with ourselves.
Next time you find yourself in a similar position, missing a habit or a ‘crutch’, instead of panicking just simply ask why. Why are you missing it? What is happening in your life right now that’s causing this mess of emotions?
Overwhelm? Stress? Negative body image? The want of comfort? The need to escape or control part of your life?
The hardest part is to sit with those feelings, to pick them apart and not turn to food. That’s how we get better.
But I want you to tell yourself that it’s okay. It’s okay to miss it, the relief it gave, the comfort you felt even if only for a brief time. You are okay and this will pass.