“A Selfish Illness”

My mum said something to me at our Mother’s Day dinner a few weeks ago that really slapped me in the face.

We were speaking about the eating disorder and how much it took over all our lives (and occasionally still does). She called it “a selfish illness”. She didn’t mean I was selfish, or that it was my fault or anyone was to blame, but simply that the ED doesn’t give a damn about anyone else. It doesn’t take anybody’s feelings into account and demands all the attention—leaving none for the people close to you.

I had never thought of it like this, but looking back it was clear to see. Even the very place the conversation was happening—a Mother’s Day dinner I organised for mum—was a reminder of how bad it was, and how far I’ve come.

There is no way I could have organised a dinner party (or any event involving food) a year ago. I knew I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. But this year things were different. The Mother’s Day dinner was my family’s present for mum. We all put in to pay for a chef to come to my parents’ place and cook us a gourmet three-course dinner, plus canapés on arrival. It was bloody amazing. (We’ve got a link to the chef and pics of the dinner at the end of this post for those who are interested.)

In the week leading up to the dinner I had a lot of anxiety about the food that would be served and many suggestions from the ED about how I could restrict before, during and after the night. Thankfully I’m at a point in my recovery where I don’t always give in to the ED and I was able to enjoy all the food on the night. I even had a glass of wine with mum, which made me really happy because I know how much it meant to her.

It can be really useful, especially early on in your recovery journey, to focus on getting better for yourself (and I’ve often used this approach), but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find the benefits of recovery aren’t just for me—they’re for my loved ones too. This realisation has given me massive motivation, especially during the hard times.

As you know, we’re all about being honest about our struggles here at mindfoodly. The truth is, while I did manage to enjoy the dinner without any interference from the ED, it struck back with a vengeance two days later. It was Sunday night and I came face to face with the prospect of eating dessert for a second time in one weekend—the ED thoughts came strong. I’ve found this to be pretty routine. Eating disorders don’t like you making progress, so when you do they’ll try really hard to make you feel bad for it. While it’s horrible at the time, I try to remember it’s a sign I’m on the right track! I may or may not have a thrown a little tanty, but I’m proud to say (after many expletives, screams and tears) I did enjoy a delicious bowl of Nutella and ice cream—mixed together by Matt of course!

Despite all this, the thing that makes me happiest is that when it was most important my attention was focused right where it should have been—on my darling mum 🙂


Here are the chef/caterer’s details:

Reay’s Catering
reayscatering.com
0414 482 519
garryreay@gmail.com

Now please enjoy these pics of the absolutely scrumptious cuisine we had the pleasure of eating:

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4 thoughts on ““A Selfish Illness”

  1. anorexiarevealed says:

    so much truth in that. it’s hard to hear from those you love, but ED really is an all-consuming disease, that, yes, is centered around itself. And the people we love definitely can feel that. it is comforting to know that we’re not in that place and that relationships heal and can grow from trials. sounds like an amazing evening you planned for you mom She’s lucky to have you as a daughter:) xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. krayolablue91 says:

    Indeed, EDs make it so what *it* wants is the most important thing in the world, and nothing else can come before it. It’s even more confusing when as you live it, at times it’s like you don’t get why other people don’t understand; or perhaps you can’t even think that far, the anxiety is so great. That is one thing that is difficult along the way I think, or at least personally for me. Learning to adapt or actually take in to consideration there is more to life than ED revolving routine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mindfoodly says:

      So true! But when you do start to break through the ED’s lies life becomes so much richer again. It’s like getting glimpses of colour in a world that’s become black and white. It is difficult, for sure, but so so worth it. So glad to hear you’re persevering and fighting for recovery.

      Like

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