I have talked a lot about my aversion to reality and the truth lately. How I have preferred to stay completely miserable in my own hellish bubble, as opposed to stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my fears, problems, insecurities and the eating disorder head on. I have taken the easy, probably more painful road, by seeing what I want to see, believing what I want to believe, hearing what I want to hear and saying screw anyone who gets in my way. I have even taken it as far as believing the most current BS that I will always be consumed by the eating disorder and self hatred so maybe I just should just make it easier on myself and everyone else, admit defeat and stop trying.
The rational, go-getter, fighter in me isn’t ready to completely accept this fate and is the part of me that continues to fight, reach out and push forward, even without an end in sight. It’s the part that has forced me to take a step back, take a few deep breaths, take a look at my life and current predicament and begin to devise a plan, instead of continuing to do nothing and fall deeper. (I am beyond thankful for this part)
In the last three days, I have desperately tried to allow this little part of me to take over and figure things out. To try and override the majority and fight for it’s cause. To lead me to solid ground or at least stop the bottom from continuing to cave in. And I have ended up even more lost, confused and frustrated. I have tried to use my knowledge, insight and intelligence to get myself through this logically. To put the irrationality of the eating disorder and my current emotional distress into it's place. And it’s been exhausting. I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, running in circles, unable to even figure out what to try next. I don’t know where to turn, who to trust or what to follow. I am questioning my abilities, rationality and the faith that I normally have in myself and it’s quite a scary place to be.
Yesterday, with the help of others and a lot of blunt honesty, I was faced with the truth; the missing piece of the puzzle and even more the thing that I have been avoiding and secretly hoping wasn’t the answer.
Shocking I know. Eating is not only the next step but the only thing that is going to even begin to help me find my footing and possibly gain some ground. Food will be the medicine that gets me through.(which sucks to hear when you struggle with an eating disorder) My anxiety, depression, apathy, inability to problem solve, function and figure out what to do has largely been amplified because my brain and body is malnourished. Although I don’t feel this way, my body is in survival mode and is not receiving adequate nutrition to do the basic things that it needs to do and therefore can’t even begin to do all of the hard recovery work and problem solving that I am desperately trying. So instead it retreats and I end up even more confused. The only way to even begin to not feel so miserable and be able to work through all of the underlying issues that keep me trapped and make this so incredibly painful, is by eating. No amount of therapy, talking, thinking, writing, blogging or anything else is going to work if I continue to restrict my intake and manipulate my food. No matter how intelligent I am and how much logic I try to use, without food I will continue to remain stuck.
Although I have been hesitant to even begin to admit this and a big part of me still doesn’t want to see it, I am starting to see the truth in this fact. I have watched my life fall apart over and over again recently and on many occasions in the last 10 years. I have found myself unable to control my emotions, thoughts and life. Although I have had periods of being very high functioning while barely eating, this is no longer a frequent occurrence. Most of the time I find myself either a raging or sobbing mess, scared of the entire world. I am no longer able to just suck it up when my body isn’t being fueled.
A big reason that my recovery has been so up and down is directly related to nutrition. Even though I have broken down a lot of ed/food rules and have had periods of doing a lot better, I still haven’t completely accepted that I need to eat. I haven’t completely given up restriction as my way to cope and control or continuously allowed my body the nutrients that it needs in order to repair the damage that I have done and function at an optimal level. I’ve continued to do it “my-way” and that includes the bare minimum, maybe even enough to get by on a good day.
Being told that food and eating is my one way ticket out of this hell makes me feel like I am being punched in the gut; kicked when I am already down. And it’s because the truth hurts. Although I didn’t realize it was what I was constantly avoiding, I was subconsciously (and secretly) hoping that I could just make it through without that part. (I know how ridiculous it sounds that I wanted to recover from an ED without eating, but welcome to my irrationality) It sucks to know that it doesn’t matter if I take every other step in recovery and do everything else necessary if I continue to restrict my intake. That if I am not eating enough, it really isn’t ever going to get better, at least in the long term. (Probably the short term as well)
I feel betrayed. Like Seriously? In a this-isn’t-fair-why-does-this-have-to-be-the-case kind of way. Why does the one thing that I fear the most have to be the first step to freedom? Why can’t I just continue to drudge through my past, sit through the uncomfortableness and forget about eating all together? Can’t this be my get out of jail free card?
Just a little clarification here, food/eating isn’t going to fix everything or allow me to not have to do all of the other painful, hard parts of recovery. It isn’t going to make my life wonderful, carefree and make all of my issues disappear. It isn’t the ONLY piece, but right now it’s a big piece and one of the most necessary pieces to getting out of this hole that I am currently in.
Although I have pondered this realization, talked to a few others and written a blog post about it, I still really really really don’t want to have to accept it. There is still a big part of me that wants to say “ha, the jokes on you. You are wrong. I can do this without increasing my intake. I have done it many times before.” (Ignoring that I have ended up near hospitalization and unable to function many times before) But, given the fact that I am desperate and running out of options of things to try to get my life under control and not be so trapped and miserable, I am starting to see the truth in this. Food just might be the thing that saves my life.