What’s tricky about this blog is that most people who go public consider themselves “recovered” or at least beyond the throes of their eating disorder. In contrast, I am quite deep in it. So my goal with this site is to be authentic and honest about what recovery looks like…without being super negative.
So, what does recovery really look like?
That. I like to be really good at things or I tend to not keep doing them. I played this game called “futsal” that was a combination of basketball and soccer. I hate basketball and soccer so I don’t know what I was thinking. I was AWFUL. And I quit.
It turns out that recovery from anorexia is actually pretty hard. It’s not fun. It’s humbling. It’s embarrassing. It’s constantly being faced with the choice of recovery or Ana. It’s lonely because everyone thinks you’re back to normal. What it’s NOT is linear.
In my effort to be authentic about recovery, here’s the last couple of weeks:
I was feeling confident about my progress. I had been doing fairly well for a few weeks since my breakthrough. I was getting a little snooty about how awesome I was doing. I was eating 1500-1800 calories a day.
Then, tragedy hit a close friend and I went into recovery high gear. What matters crystallized in my mind and I was ready. Ready to recover. Ready to gain weight. I spent last week trying to be an “intuitive eater”.
I thought intuitive eating meant I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. In treatment, they have told me that food rules are bad. So I threw all the rules out the window. I ate Taco Bell one day for lunch (it was as delicious as I remembered) and I DIDN’T FREAK OUT. I destroyed my scale and removed my calorie counting app from my phone. I thought it was going pretty well for the first few days until…
Ana remembered I don’t do moderation. And that I’m particularly vulnerable at night. Every evening, she said, “Go ahead. Be an intuitive eater. No rules. Have anything you want. Remember how much you love Girl Scout cookies and peanut butter? You should have them.”
This was strange advice coming from Ana so I probably should have been more suspicious. But I was enjoying eating more food and feeling free. So I followed Ana’s evening advice. My evening snack started after dinner and continued pretty much until I went to bed. Then, in the middle of the night, I felt like I couldn’t go back to sleep unless I went downstairs for a snack. Lots of Girl Scout cookies and peanut butter. LOTS.
On Sunday, I decided I couldn’t continue like this. I’m only a week in, my tummy and thighs looked huge, my pants fit tighter and Ana told me constantly how disgusting and out of control I had become. “See what happens? This is why I tell you not to eat. This is why Girl Scout cookies and peanut butter are bad foods. You don’t know how to eat normally. This is why you just shouldn’t have any at all. It’s easier. You feel thinner. You feel more beautiful and like how your pants fit. What we were doing before worked. You’re an amazing anorexic woman. You met your goals and had so much control. You were good at it.
Ana convinced me and since Monday morning, I went right back to restricting as I did at the beginning of the year. That’s my confession.
Here is the rest of the confession. It hasn’t been hard. I’ve felt good. I haven’t felt very hungry. Five days of restricting and I feel relieved. My tummy has returned to a tolerable (though still needs work) size. My pants fit the way I want them to again. Ana feels like my bestie.
Calling myself #mommystrong right now feels like hypocrisy. The least I could do was be honest. If you’re out there suffering from your own experience, I’m cheering you on as someone who knows the struggle is real.