I slipped off the icy path of recovery for a few weeks there when it first became apparent that my life was about to be turned upside down by the neuropathy in my legs and feet. Having to accept the fact that I would not be returning to my job as a psychiatric nurse that I have absolutely loved for the past 6 years was a huge punch to the stomach.
I didn't consciously let him in - he slipped in when I wasn't paying attention and all of the sudden, THERE HE WAS.
With the realization that I would have to resign, I fell into a very, very deep depression so all-encompassing that I found myself struggling just to get through each day. I virtually had no appetite, and I didn't have the energy nor the yen to force myself to eat 3 meals a day.
Before long, my outside matched my insides.
I looked and felt sick and tired. Instead of my thoughts going a million miles a minute (my usual problem), they were slow to form and quick to dissipate. During those dark weeks, my days all blended together and I would find myself staring off into space while hearing nothing but a "wah wah wah wah" like I was stuck in a really loud wind tunnel. I'd cry if my husband said the wrong thing, I'd cry if a sad song came on the radio....I cried a lot. And I never cry.
So, ED was back and he fed off of my despair.
All of the sudden I was body-checking again. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it is exactly what it sounds like.) I would walk up to the mirror sideways instead of face-first like a person would normally do. I would spend so much time looking for flaws, and I would find plenty of them.
ED loves it when you hate yourself.
After poking and prodding and turning and staring I would always walk away dissatisfied and disgusted. Eventually it got to the point that I hated my reflection so much that I stopped looking all together. I spent my days in my pajamas, not bothering to shower or get dressed because what was the point?
It wasn't until my best friend verbally slapped me that I snapped out of it.
She came by to visit one night shortly before she left for treatment. We were about to go outside so I took my sweater off and put on my coat. My head was down as I was putting on my boots when she said, "What are you, not eating??" I literally froze. I hadn't really truly realized how bad things were until she said those words. It was like everything came tumbling down all at once. All of the sudden I was able to see myself through everyone else's eyes and not my own ED goggles...and it wasn't a pretty sight.
I needed to change things, and change them fast.
It wasn't easy, and every bone in my body was screaming for me to stop eating before I blew up to 10 times my current size. (Spoiler: it didn't!) It was terrifying, and ED was yelling louder than ever those first few days. I had to fight off all of my feelings of guilt and my internal alarm that was shrieking, "STOP THIS!! THIS IS NOT HOW YOU WANT TO BE!"
And then I woke up on day 6 and everything was quiet.
ED had left the building, and everything got a little easier. I had to be extremely strict with myself - no body checking and no scale. AT ALL. I would find distractions for after each meal so that I wouldn't be tempted to use any ED behaviors. I crocheted, I read, I watched tv, and I talked to my friends. Anything that I could do to let enough time pass for my stomach to settle and for my brain to stop insisting that I shouldn't have eaten that.
And I survived.
I looked in the mirror straight on and saw MYSELF. It was me! I had a light back in my eyes, I didn't look like a skeleton wearing a skinsuit. I didn't look miserable, and I wasn't sharing the mirror with that a**hole, ED. It felt so good to be back.
No matter how many times you fall down, always get back up.
Don't get discouraged - get angry. Take your life back as many times as you need to to show ED who's boss.
YOU are the boss. It is YOUR body. It is YOUR mind. ED has no right to be controlling any of it.
Kick him out. You can do it.
Have a lovely day. Be kind to yourself.