Doo dee doo doo doo. Since our office was without phone or internet today (a squirrel apparently had a midnight snack on one of the cable lines), I had a bit of time to think. I was supposed to be working, but bored out of my skull and so got to pondering life and other such things.
Recovery is like building a house. When you don't really think about it, all you see are four walls, a couple of windows, and (I hope) a roof. Presto! A house. Then you hear estimates on how long it takes to build a house- several years sometimes. Dude- it's, like, four walls. Unless you live near where I grew up and you have indoor pools and tennis courts but that's another story. What takes these people so long?
It's not that easy. You don't just set up shop on a little parcel of land, hammer some wood together, and sleep under your new roof all in one day. You have to get a builder, a contractor, permits, people to hammer, people to roof, people to put up the siding, and the landscaping, and the plumbing and electricity and I'm sure there's other stuff but I've never built a house so I wouldn't know. Holy crap! It's totally complicated!
That, in a nutshell, is recovery.
If you look at me from the outside, you'll have noticed that I now eat (somewhat) normally and have achieved a healthy body weight. I laugh a little more, my moods are stabilizing a little. Still can't sleep with shit, but can't win 'em all, I suppose. Recovery looks simple. Just eat. Just eat. That's it. Two little words. Those words are the foundation of recovery. Eating. It really is. If you don't build recovery on that (healthy eating and healthy body weight), you will have a house of cards. A little wind? Poof. All gone.
So. We have the foundation poured. Now what?
This is really where the metaphor kind of got it's start. When I worked at the University of Michigan Hospital about 5 years ago in the human genetics lab, they were building this HUGE new state-of-the-art research center that cost...well...millions. Almost enough to put a dent in the national debt. I worked in the lab for a year, and then went to grad school at U of M for two more years. So that's three years (aren't you glad you put me through school, Mom?). The first year, all I saw was this hole in the ground. It was quite something to behold. My boss, a native of Boston, called the building the "Big Dig." They dug 4 stories underground for a parking garage. It took several tons of lumber to keep the dirt from falling back into the hole. And I wasn't even there for when the architect initially drew up the plans, the bidding took place, and the college bought up the surrounding land and tore all the houses down.
Year two and things pretty much look the same. Big hole, a little more steel, more guys in hardhats, but that's about it.
My third year, however, things really took off. Almost overnight, this building appeared from the ground. There were steel bars, elevator shafts, windows. It looked like an actual building, rather than just a really big hole in the ground.
For the last couple of months, however, the building continued to look pretty much the same. They were doing the finishing work. Putting in the floors, making sure the sprinkler systems worked, checking the locks on the doors. Not exciting. I remember wondering when I could take a walk around this place. The final stages dragged on forever.
The building was eventually finished, and I did get to see the lobby. It was quite lovely. But the first part and the last part were agonizing to wait through. What could they possibly be doing?
Preparing. They were preparing. Preparing for the final building, preparing for any mistakes that might come their way. Fixing any errors that may have happened along the way. Because if you realize two hours before the ribbon cutting that whoops! the lights don't work, you're kind of in trouble. Back to Square One.
I think I'm in the waiting stage. When stuff is going on, but it's not always visible. Even to me. But it is happening. I am changing. My brain is healing and rewiring. My organs are gaining weight and function. My frazzled nerves are becoming less frazzled. It's okay. It's all a part of the process. There's a quote that I like:
Change can be so constant, you don't even feel the difference until there is one.
And we will now think warm fuzzy thoughts, give each other hugs and crowns of daisies.
Dibs on the hottie in the brown hardhat.
- binge eating disorder
- biology of EDs
- body image
- disordered eating
- eating disorder
- Grand Theory of Eating Disorders
- narrating anorexia
- normal eating
- obesity hysteria
- weight gain
- weight loss
- Carrie Arnold
- I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.
Drop me a line!
Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote
I had mentioned about a week or two ago that I was going to begin a blog series on the biology of eating disorders. I wanted to start with ...
I've gotten emails from several people over the last few weeks about finding a therapist, knowing if s/he is for you, and so on. Others ...
Earlier this week on Twitter (do you follow ED Bites on Twitter ? You know you want to...), I ran across an interesting article about why so...
Even the best relapse prevention plans might not prevent a full-blown relapse. Maybe you miss the signs, or maybe you can't figure out h...
In recovery, one of the most difficult things for me wasn't just eating, but getting used to eating regularly again. I resented having ...