With it being National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I wanted to talk about some of the struggles and victories I’ve had getting the help I need, and encourage others who struggle to do the same. Yesterday my mom made spaghetti for dinner. A couple of weeks ago it wouldn’t have phased me and I would have eaten a normal portion without thinking twice. This past week or so I’ve been noticing myself skimping on meals and snacks again thinking it was no big deal. Well, with being in recovery from an eating disorder that’s a different story. You see, that’s how I know I’m at the beginning of a lapse, which could very quickly turn into a relapse if I’m not careful. A lapse could be a slip up in behaviors while realizing it and doing what you can to get back on track versus a relapse which can entail being in denial and dishonest about your behaviors to yourself, your loved ones, and/or your treatment team. I don’t want to go back down that path again. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to my family and friends. When things in my life are challenging or if things change in the slightest I get so overwhelmed that restricting my food intake or purging whatever food I’ve consumed seems to be the best way for me to deal with it. Those behaviors instantly take my mind off of whatever is going on around me and bring me inward so I don’t have to mentally deal with the hard stuff. Realizing that I do this I am finally learning how to ask for help when I need it most. Like now for example. So last night while having dinner I subtly sent my mom a text asking her to make sure I finished my meal and to make me stay with the family for awhile so I wasn’t tempted to use behaviors. In doing this it not only helped me realize how sneaky and manipulative the eating disorder can be, but also how strong I can be in fighting against it. Because reaching out when you are struggling is HARD. I do have choices in my actions, though it may not feel like it. A lot of times the urges to use those eating disorder behaviors take over and I feel such a loss of control. I haven’t always been able to ask for help though. Up until recently, and still some days now, I don’t realize that I have a problem or that things are starting to get out of hand again. Or I’d just rather not say anything because it’s embarrassing and gross and shameful. When you don’t or can’t admit to needing help, how is anyone supposed to be there for you? My mom reminded me of that last night. I can’t expect her or anyone else to always know what to do and how to be there for me. I have to speak up for myself and only then can I really let anyone in. That’s the most difficult thing to me about having an eating disorder and getting the help you need. It’s an internal battle where it literally feels like there’s an angel and devil fighting on each of your shoulders trying to persuade you in different directions. It’s constant back and forth on knowing what you’re supposed to do, and resisting the urges to not act in a negative way. Being open and honest and vulnerable to yourself and others is key in recovery. Don’t be afraid to reach out. We all deserve so much more than this.
With much love,