[Valid Atom 1.0] Life With Cake: Eating Disorder Blog: Back Recovery, Recovery Rut

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Back Recovery, Recovery Rut

Hi Everyone,

I apologize, once again, for the long absence. First it was grad school and now it has been my back. I have always had lower lumbar strain and spasmic flare-ups, but a few months ago I suffered the consequences of a herniated disc... sciatic nerve pain from my hip to my foot. For three weeks, I was unable to sleep, I had to take off work, and for at least six weeks I couldn't sit. I really took for granted the simple everyday activities, like typing on my laptap, until I had the herniated disc. Not to mention, the pain zaps every ounce of creativity from your soul.

It's only natural as a food addict (maybe normies, too, I'm not sure) that when I'm in physical pain, the first thing I seek out is food. I don't mean in a binge-purge way, but rather in a who-cares-what-I'm-eating way. To some extent, this is a reflection of my recovery. When I say "who cares" I'm not being apathetic and I'm not depressed. It means that I've gotten to a place in my recovery where if I eat extra of this or that, it just doesn't make a difference. To some degree.

Once of my sponsors used to say, "It's one meal out of a thousand." I always like that line. However, you can't take it to an extreme b/c then one meal becomes every meal.

So, being laid up with a backache, and seeing my once-toned stomach muscles drown under the newly-formed flabby skin coating of butter, sugar, and cheese I've comforted myself with while recovering, I've had to ask myself an important question. How much more time am I willing to spend (or waste) worrying and obsessing about food and my body??? I see my dad still caring about his weight. My mom does the famed "Cookie Diet." What will I be doing in 20 years?

One thing I know is that I don't want to be where I am now. It isn't a bad place; I just feel like I'm stuck in this phase of recovery. Better than relapse, eh? Yes, my life is quite manageable and I'm becoming accomplished in ways I never imagined. But I'm still not eating that "perfectly clean" food plan that I was taught to follow in treatment. Partly because I just don't want to be restricted to that degree. It's so black and white. On the other hand, I lose mental energy by feeling guilty about things I eat. I only have feelings of guilt because I connect eating what I want with gaining weight. Rather, I connect eating what I want with not being able to lose weight. When I eat whatever I want (not bingeing, just like a non-foodaddie), my weight doesn't change. I'm fortunate in that I'm not a person whose weight fluctuates. The PROBLEM is that I still have the fantasy of losing weight. Even after all these years, I cannot get rid myself of the desire to be skinny. To be "average" feels empty. Until now I never connected average and empty. Average, in my mind, equates to not being good enough. Period. My irrational mind still tells me that unless I do something or turn into someone extraordinary, then I'm nothing. On the one hand, I know I'm a good person with wonderful qualities. On the other hand, the same hand that likes to put comfort food in my mouth, my life is driven by what I can achieve next. I always have to one-up myself. Because maybe then I'll be good enough. It parallels anorexia perfectly. One more size, one more pound, and I'll be good enough. But you never get there.

This is what makes recovery from an eating disorder such a rankling and arduous process.

After going through hell for nearly two decades, you go to treatment, learn how to live in recovery, master functioning at the level of an 18-year-old (when you're 29), and do things that "look" like you're "normal" (going to school, working, staying in a relationship, eating out at a restaurant, attending social gatherings, not escaping to the bathroom or bedroom at holiday functions). You're basically having a nice, happy life. Now you're FIXED (ah, that magic word parents and loved ones long to hear from professionals), right? Uh, no. Big. Fat. NO. Why? Because it is still there. Still. Always.

On the POSITIVE side, and there is one, the voice of ED gets softer as the voice of recovery becomes more audible.

I may be in a rut... but at least I'm still in recovery!


Trish said...

Hi! What a great blog (love the title, Life With Cake) and what a great voice you have! Please continue to write to the world of recovering bulimics and EDs; there is way too much silence out there right now! Keep it up!

Please check out my new blog, http://trainertrish.wordpress.com and my book site, www.trishblackwell.com; I am the author of a new book called The Skinny, Sexy Mind: The Ultimate French Secret --- which, after a ten year eating disorder battle myself, is a book intended to encourage people in body confidence and to live comfortably and confidently in the skin they are in.

Cheers, I look forward to continuing to read your blog!

Lynn Hahn said...

Wow! I remember being where you are. I did 20 years in food jail and have 27 years on parole. I wish I could say free but I don't know if that ever really happens. I haven't binged or purged in 27 years and have a good life.

Hope you find your road. It is a journey that never really ends but finding a road with fewer bumps can be done.

emma said...

Hi, I was very interested to read your blog. I was just wondering what your thoughts are on harm reduction (I can across your site after googling this). I have been battling with my ED for 12 years, sometimes successfully, but I always seem to end up back with it to one degree or another (although never as bad as the first 4 years). I try to do what I can to minimise the harm I cause to my body but thought it would be good to get some advice on how I could do this more. However, it would seem that this is considered "sharing tips" on how to be a good bulimic by some!!! I do not feel that this is a valid point. I am doing what I can to fight this disease and am not looking at a way to be a healthy bulimic. I'm just looking at a way to stay healthy. I hope this makes sense. So what are your thoughts on the idea of harm reduction? Note that I am not asking for ideas of how to reduce harm, although I do think it would be beneficial if this conversation could be had by someone (preferably a health professional!).

Many thanks and keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to us all :-)

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Glad to see you back, Greta! What a great way to look at it as being in a recovery rut! Keep on going, girl.

Anonymous said...


I stumbled accross your blog today as I am feeling exactly how you are at the moment... able to function on a day to day basis and no where near as bad as I have been with my bulimia a few years ago, but going through a "I can't be bothered" stage as I am stressing out due to various things and it is just an excuse for me to binge a bit and care about the consequences later on. I fully agree that its extremely difficult to be "fixed" completely, but isn't it great to know that, in the grand scheme of things, a few extra or a few less pounds genuinely DON'T matter! therapy and maturity has made me not only hear it but believe it too. the hard thing is that i am also lucky enough to be relatively slim/average and it is the strive for perfectionism that makes it so tempting to just try a bit harder/eat a bit less/throw up a bit more...

I was wondering if you have ever tried hypnosis? i would love to "block out" these relapse habbits, because I feel my thoughts are much better now and its more of a safety net that makes me binge now, either due to stress, boredom, or when there are things I can't control. It would be so great to have another way of dealing with that but i keep on falling back into relying on food as a temporary fix.

Keep on writing! Scottish girl x

healy said...

hope your okay. . .just stay fine! great blog.=)

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