I'm writing this post about as eagerly as I would rub salt in a wound, and writing it is probably going to feel the same way.
I've decided to do a recovery exercise - to see just how far I've come since the beginning of recovery and what I need to do to keep moving forward. I've realized that I have stagnated a bit. I've gotten to a place where I feel comfortable and "safe". Yes, I DO uncomfortable things, but for the most part I stay in my own little bubble and don't want to venture out of it. I realized this because while talking to my mom about my recovery and the steps I'm taking I felt defensive, scared and anxious. And I asked myself : "Why am I feeling this way?" The first response that came to my mind was "She doesn't understand my ED. She'll have unrealistic expectations of me and my recovery process." But deep inside I know this isn't the real reason. So I dug deeper and realized that I'm afraid of stepping out of my routines, I'm afraid of pushing myself farther then I have been. I don't want people to get involved because deep inside I know I'm not pushing myself hard enough. These feelings of anxiety and fear are the same feelings I had before I went into recovery and people spoke to me about my eating habits, and that is a warning sign that something is seriously wrong.
This is hard for me to admit to myself, because I like to pat myself on the back for the little steps I take and feel proud of myself. And yes, I should feel proud of my accomplishments, but small accomplishments need to lead to more long lasting progress. Have I been seeing a lot of that? - Not really. Do I want to see more? YES!!! Am I scared of what pushing myself harder might involve? I'm terrified. But I'm willing to do this because no one is going to do this for me. No one can force me to progress, to achieve my goals, to live life. No one but me. Is this a daunting thought - in some ways. But I might as well accept the fact that I am no longer a child and that it's time to take responsibility for what I do and don't do instead of excusing myself.
Alright so I'm going to start this exercise by listing the things I have made progress in since the beginning of my recovery. It's not fair to say that I haven't been making progress, because I have made some steps. And among others these are:
- I have introduced greater variety into my foods. My portions have grown as has my calorie intake.
- I have stopped obsessively planning meals, portions and meal times. I eat much more intuitively and I try as much as possible not to count calories.
- I have broken many eating rules such as: not eating past 6:00 PM, eating slower then everyone else, timing how long it takes for me to eat my food etc.
- I no longer need someone to FORCE me to eat. I choose to eat on my own.
- I have stopped purging.
- I have stopped looking for ways to burn more calories.
- I drink my calories.
- I no longer regard sugar as "the spawn of the Devil"
- I allow myself to enjoy meals and I admit to other that I do.
- I admit to others when I am hungry and no longer see it as a sign of weakness.
- I choose normal over diet products.
I'm sure there are more, but these are the most memorable that come to mind. Now I'm going to make a list of the things I need to still accomplish before I could consider my eating habits more or less "normal".
- I need to keep introducing variety into my meals, and STICK to eating a variety of things. (I tend to eat a "fear food" once and then pat myself on the back and keep eating the way I am "used to")
- I need to learn to eat what other people cook.
- I need to stop obsessing over eating only "healthy" foods.
- I need to learn to admit to myself when I like certain foods, even when I feel they are "unsafe". (Case in point. I like cheese. I know I like the taste of cheese. Do I eat cheese on a regular basis? Other then cottage cheese- nope. I tell myself I don't like it, but I do. My ED tells me that I don't)
- I need to learn not to fear social situations and what I will face in them.
- I need to stop thinking about my food so much.
- I need to stop looking at my stomach in the mirror after eating food.
- I need to stop analyzing each meal after I've eaten it and wonder if I've eaten the suggested portion size.
- I need to stop alienating myself from people. I need to force myself to go out and be sociable.
Wow, quite a list. Now it's time to do something about it. I'm going to let all this information settle in and I'm going to work on tackling each of those points. Not all at once of course - small definite goals that I will post here.
Back to the title of my post. Why do people rub salt in a wound? Well one reason is to disinfect it, to help it heal. It's excruciatingly painful, but it does help. Just like taking these steps. They will hurt, cause anxiety, push me past my comfort zone. But they will heal me and help me live a more healthy, happy, productive life. And if it takes a little pain, so be it.
If you find a path with no obstacles, it's probably a path that doesn't lead any where.