[Valid Atom 1.0] Life With Cake: Eating Disorder Blog: Sep 18, 2010

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!