Yesterday was a big day for me. First time working all day at the new job, as well as working alone, opening and closing on my own. I was forced out of my comfortable routine of eating at the same times, the same things and taking large breaks to recoup. I had to plan ahead, come up with meal and snack options that would work and then I actually had to follow through on it(with no one but myself for accountability), as well as realize and accommodate the fact that I would be busy and on my feet all day and probably would need more fuel. Most importantly, I just had to go with the flow and do whatever was necessary at the time and being a bit of a control freak this is normally pretty difficult for me.
I not only survived but it was a really great day. No matter how stressful a day may be, working with children and seeing the joy on their faces makes me smile. Whenever the ED started to creep in or my anxiety started to rise, I thought about the children and how I could best serve them in that moment. My job doesn’t leave much room for error. One simple distraction or mistake and it could be pretty dangerous. Losing focus isn’t an option for me. Nor is being upset or in a bad mood. (Which happens when you are not properly nourished) One of the things that I love about my job is that it requires me to be outgoing, friendly and happy on a fairly regular basis. I get to use my personality and wave to everyone without it being creepy. Yesterday, as I diligently ate every meal and snack I weighed my options. I am not at the point where recovery always seems like the right thing to do, but I am also no longer at the point where I immediately respond with ED behaviors. I am in that middle area that I would like to call the “cost vs. benefit” stage.
Whether it’s wanting to give into the eating disorder or deciding to do what I need for recovery, lately I find myself weighing my options. It reminds me of a cartoon when I was younger where the cat (maybe from Looney Tunes?) had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on another, trying to persuade him and tell him what to do. This is a pretty accurate description of what it’s currently like for me.
I can’t say that the angel always wins, but yesterday that was mostly the case. I still have my moments where the idea of instant gratification, even as temporary as it may be, seems so much better than sitting through the anxiety or waiting for the uncomfortable feelings to pass. Some days I am totally ok living with the costs and in a moment of panic believe they are worth it. And other days, I refuse to allow the eating disorder to steal anymore of my time and life.
I always thought that having an eating disorder and recovery was a black and white process, but I am starting to see that like everything else there is plenty of gray. Yesterday was living in the gray.