Good evening, my dearest readers.
It was quite the day in Montreal; 26º C at its warmest! Everyone in the metro seemed happier (which was a nice change for a Monday morning), everyone ate outside for lunch, and all I could see where shorts and t-shirts. I was so excited to wear my new overalls, so that was a good thing today.
There was a little hitch in my day though. I recognized the old feelings that resurfaced, I googled them to confirm, and I knew I was experiencing a little relapse.
Relapses in anorexia recovery can be pretty bad, but it is very important for the person in recovery to not see it as a failure and get some help for it, or utilize the coping skills they’ve learned in therapy. Right away, in the middle of my workday, around lunch and very much after, I was panicking and so afraid of having my slip up escalate.
What had I done? I thought I was ready this past weekend to know my weight because I thought “gosh, I must be at a healthy weight by now!” Just to give you context, I haven’t weighed myself for, well, almost a year now (wow, yay me!), and when I was initially gaining weight and decided to get better, my parents weighed and monitored me so that I didn’t have to. To everyone out there, by the way the number doesn’t matter, for me or for you. Can’t we just throw out scales already?! I’ve read so much on diets, the body, and how we eat during my early stages of recovery, and I’ve learned that our bodies have a certain genetic makeup and “set point”: a place at which it will naturally stay. That’s why, during later stages of recovery, we can trust our bodies again and eat intuitively, and just know that our bodies know where they need to be. But I can tell you that it’s one of the hardest things I am doing right now.
As I was saying, I found out my weight, and it turns out I wasn’t ready to know the number. I kind of freaked out. Not right away, but it simmered, I was a bundle of nerves and anxiety all day, and I really was upset at home tonight. My thoughts today turned to my appearance (actually, nothing really new there), I felt dread, hopeless, I didn’t want to interact with anyone at work, and worst of all I didn’t finish my lunch. This was the worst thing I could do: I thought it was harmless, I thought I’m just not hungry, but I knew deep down I had a different reasoning for it (which I won’t say). It wasn’t a good idea because my stomach reacted badly to any other kind of food/supper I tried to put in my mouth. I felt nauseous, anxious again, butterflies at the highest level, and I all I could finish was a banana.
I felt awful, physically, but in a sick and twisted way: there were times in the day that I was happy to have those old, familiar thoughts back. I KNOW, THAT’S A HORRIBLE THING TO SAY, but when you’ve lived with some horrible festering creature like An for 5+ years, those thoughts are almost all you know. They used to comfort me, as much as they harmed me. At the end of the day, a long phonecall with my family, and talks with Jack, I snapped myself out of it a little bit and tried not to see it as me welcoming the thoughts back, but just An being louder and happy about it.
This was a culmination of what I’ve been feeling for a while. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious in the big city, and I spent many days wishing I was home in New Brunswick, close to the river, trees, and forests, to breathe cleaner air (and gosh, experience less people smoking! I just can’t stand that in Montreal, sorry to anyone out there who does smoke, I’m just so sensitive to the smell), to live in a a less bustling downtown core, and of course, be with my family and friends.
Most importantly though, I’ve been feeling tired. I’m sure an hour or two more of sleep wouldn’t hurt me, but I mean tired of doing stuff. Of commuting, working, shopping, cooking… I’m so grateful to have Jack do it all with me, but still. It’s a lot of work to plan ahead, shop, cook, and actually eat three straight meals and snacks a day for someone in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder. For me, it’s been a lot up until now, but when I knew my weight, I thought “come on, my body is stronger than it used to be, can I just take a break now?” I thought my work was done. But it is crucial to note that the problems of someone in recovery don’t go away when weight has been restored. Not all the way. In other words, I now have to deal with and accept this extra skin and muscle on me, and not punish myself mentally for having it (or rather, let An punish and yell at me for it). I know it sounds crazy (hey, it’s a crazy disorder), but it’s a big deal for me, and I did cry about it.
I just wanted to write this little update to let you know that I’m still here. I won’t be able to update you with the story this week because I just couldn’t do it. I’ve been busy trying to eat. I’m also, finally, going to see an eating disorder psychologist, and get some insight, another view into my An and recovery, and coping skills to deal with it all.
I’m sorry if this post was a bit “much” or descriptive, but I thought it was important to tell the truth. I don’t want people to think I’m like this all the time (see that picture, me looking happy, carefree, and recovered). I’m far from fully recovered, but I’m getting there.
I love you all, and I’ll be back next Monday. I know I’ve left Part 5 on a sad note, but don’t worry, it will turn up.