This week is huge for me. And I want to talk about all the amazing thing ahead and I will but today I need to pump the brakes. This is one of those posts that sat in my drafts staring at me. So bear with me here. My blog allows me to write and I kind of need to get this out more than ever. Sometimes it is what I don’t say that actually says the most about me.
Lately, my mind and eyes have been falling into traps. Traps that have made me take a step back in many aspects of my life.
You hear about recovery. You have heard about mine. You hear about the tough points. The breaking points. The shining moments. I have shared many of those with you throughout my blog journey. One of the biggest battles of it all happened in inpatient in 2011 when I was forced to gain the weight. Gaining weight is so taboo in recovery. What I mean by that is people always think, oh you gain the weight back you are healed. So false, yet the role of gaining is still a major step in recovery. A significant life change has to happen in recovery to move you away from the ED into a healthier life. Things can’t go back to the way they were. Period.
Gaining is not easy. But necessary. I believed for so long that I could do it my way. In high school, even with team after team, day treatment after day treatment, my mind would get to a point but my body would not. The disconnect was apparent which is why that form of ‘my recovery’ was anything but true recovery. It kills me to see those struggling talk about all the mental gains they have made. Sure, you can make a lot of mental strides but the work begins (as I was always told) after you gain the weight. It is not until you gain that the mental transformation can begin. Gaining is about being uncomfortable and continuously pushing through it. Gaining is not about building muscle, it isn’t about staying safe and finding where your body naturally functions. It is about letting go of all those ED thoughts and doing the opposite. One by one.
Eating disorder stories start with the struggle, the treatment and the recovery. What what about the after? What about when life starts to get normal?
I’ve been at a healthy weight now for two years. But in all truth, I haven’t inhabited this body. I avoid it. Lately, the thoughts have been powerful, intense and often times debilitating. I hate saying all this because I KNOW these thoughts are not my thoughts, they are the ED thoughts. The aftermath is a tough one and my mind is rightfully confused. The comparisons are intense, between myself and others, with anything I read, with anything I watch. What I have to be really clear about is that I know is that this is a mental issue, not a physical one. But it is also a physical disconnect that could improve with some physical changes – not weight related. Make sense?
I live in denial in many ways that my body is this way. I avoid mirrors. I avoid tight clothes. I put up safety barriers that at the gaining time worked and were necessary. I remember being told to allow those defense mechanisms to set up a boundary. But it has been two years. Two years of wishing and thinking I looked better ‘back then’. Gag. I hate writing that.
My thought process is all wrong here and I know it. It is sick. I say ‘well the old Alex had an amazing sense of style, loved shopping, wore cute clothes, and didn’t think about her body’. On the other hand, my eyes had no life, I constantly thought about food and I isolated myself like the plague. But still that mental barrier remains. There is still the part of me that says ‘when I am like this’ and worse ‘your current state is temporary’.
I don’t know why I felt the need to put this all out there but I hope it puts things in perspective. For me and others. I am not perfect. I think recovery can be clouded. Recovery can be masked. And recovery can be secret. There is no end to recovery and what I am facing is a road block. A big ass road block that needs some digging into. Like I said before, nothing will move forward if I don’t yet again make a change. And something I need to say is, for the first time a big road block is not setting me back. I am not acting on these thoughts, I am not bingeing, not restricting – that amazing difference from me two years ago is what I need to remain focused on.
And the Alex standing here has no idea what the next steps are. All I know is I can’t let these thoughts continue at this magnitude because it is only one slippery slope back down. Shutting down has been my go to but I am for once realizing this is bigger than me, something that I wish I had those supports I once had just a quick connection away.
What I do know is I can get through this. What I know is I can find strength in the struggle. What I know is being honest and not hiding this from my supports shows recovery. What I know is I now choose to write about these thoughts rather than act.
Take what you need from this. For you. For a friend. All I know is I needed to write this. What I keep reminding myself is…there is beauty in the breakdown.