Learning to Not Just Live With It

I’m reading the book An Apple A Day by Emma Woolf. It’s a memoir of her journey to recovery from an eating disorder. So far, it’s been awesome and has reaffirmed my belief that in almost every case, people who’ve suffered with anorexia, no matter how different their histories might be, go through very similar experiences dealing with the ED. (BIG CAVEAT: I haven’t read the whole thing so I can’t recommend it – as always, approach any recovery resource with caution, thinking about what is and isn’t right for you.)

Last night, I read about the time Emma questioned whether she should give up on the idea of full recovery and settle for a life with anorexia – whether she should learn to live with it in the same way people learn to live with chronic pain or other mental illnesses. This really confronted me. I had to put the book down and honestly ask myself, Have I been learning to live with my eating disorder?

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I’ve written before about the stage of recovery where on the outside things like relatively normal. But while you might be ticking all the recovery boxes on the surface, inwardly you’re still fixated on obeying rules and controlling everything. Reading Emma’s book last night made me reassess every aspect of my recovery and remind myself how important it is not to become complacent. Because do I really want to live a life full of rules and rigidity? Or do I want to be able to enjoy a spontaneous cake with coffee, cocktail with dinner or cookie with… anything really (let’s be honest!)?

Do I want to have to know what I’m having for lunch a day in advance, or do I eventually want to be an intuitive eater who can genuinely decide on the spot? These are the sorts of questions I need to keep asking myself, to remember where I’ve been before and where I want to go.

Emma’s book is teaching me a lot, but last night she reminded me to not let the ED thoughts run unrestrained around my head, to not let them control me but to talk them out, discuss them, think about why they’re there and ultimately challenge them.

Today, after recommitting to doing this, I turned my attention to a fear I’ve been thinking about a lot lately but have avoided speaking about (because I know that the minute I do Matt will lock in a date to challenge it – God love him!). So, instead of bottling it up I let it all out: telling Matt about my fears, my anxieties and, most importantly, my desire to challenge them.

I predicted right, we’ve now locked in a date, and while it scares the crap out of me and goes against every thought in my head right now, I’m going to do it because I do NOT want to simply learn to live with this thing – I want to be free, and free indeed!

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6 thoughts on “Learning to Not Just Live With It

  1. gordafat says:

    Hi Kate. You don’t know me, you have no idea of why I’m here. And little I know about you. But something sticks us together. I don’t know if it’s an Illness, or just another way to be, part of our personality. I know somehow it has always being there. And the same way I want it so bad, I hate it, I want it out of my mind.
    I’ve gone through recovery. And it was horrible. Everyone said it would get better eventually. But it didn’t, it got worse. Authentic beginning it’s fun, you eat and feel a bit guilty. But the energy it gives you make you feel a bit more humanity. Then kcals get heavy in your body. You see your legs touching and your collar bone getting under your skin and fat. And it isn’t funny or easy anymore.
    How do you do it?

    Like

    • mindfoodly says:

      Thanks for the comment. I am so sorry for all you have been through, I know how much it sucks and makes you want to give up.

      I honestly don’t think there is a simple answer to how I keep doing it. It’s not easy, or enjoyable but the life I get to live being free of this thing is so much better and for me that is a source of constant encouragement. I don’t want to live a life where something else gets to be in control and tell me what to do and when to do it, I am an intelligent woman who can work things out for myself without any input from the ED. The one thing that makes me keep on going with recovery when I know it would be so much more ‘comfortable’ to go back to my old ways, is hope. If you have read some of our website you will know that I am a Christian and my hope and faith in God gets me through this, I know that life is meant to be free, not full of rules and restriction. Having hope in something who is far bigger than all of this and who I know in the end has got it all covered gives me a source of strength.

      Like you said, we don’t know each other personally, and I never like to make assumptions when I don’t know the full story. With that said, the things you have described don’t sound like they’re compatible with true, full recovery. While I’m not there yet, I look to the people I know have fully recovered (Jenni Schaefer is a great example) to help me understand what it will be like. This is in NO WAY meant as discouragement, in fact it should give you hope that there is hope to reach a place where you won’t experience these things.

      Most importantly, I have to repeat that I am NOT an expert. I have no training, am not qualified to offer advice. The only thing I will suggest is (if you’re not already) to get in touch with a dietitian and/or psychologist who specialises in eating disorders.

      I’m not sure if that helps but I hope it does. I hope you can find your sense of hope and faith that you are worth so much more than what the ED tells you. Your life is there to live you just have to choose it.

      Liked by 1 person

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