I'm having this rather odd experience of doing well and actually kind of maybe feeling it. I can go out with friends. I'm still neurotic about food, but I can and do eat enough to maintain my weight.

At the same time, it's still a tremendous battle. There are many days when I don't want to eat, when I would rather go back to restricting because it's easier and I know what it is. I have these constant thoughts telling me, "You can do this. Really, you can. Do you need that granola bar? That piece of cheese? That extra helping?"

And all I can think to reply is, "Duh- I know I can do this. I've been doing it the past 8 years. It's not rocket science. But I can't. I won't."

I'm left with an enormously crappy feeling at the end of it all. Okay, fine, I ate the food that I needed to. I get that this is a victory. But it feels like a hollow one. The progress is that I can respond to those eating disordered thoughts in a positive and healthy way. I just want those thoughts to go away.

I remember the night before I decided (rather, was told to go) into residential treatment almost 2 years ago now. I lay in bed, shivering and sobbing, "Cure me or kill me. Cure me or kill me. I don't care which, but I don't want this anymore."

No, I'm not desperate, and I do indeed believe in recovery.

I'm just wondering if I'll get there in a meaningful amount of time.

It's like when you're in a car on vacation, stuck in the backseat with your bratty older brother. There's the usual "He's touching me! He's touching...ME!" And Mom makes the bro move his foot a millimeter away from yours but the air conditioner is broken, you're hungry and you really really have to pee. This is when the whining begins: "Are we there yet?"


Now? Are we there now?


He's touching me!
She started it!


That's the feeling I'm having. Even as a kid, stuck in a car, I knew we would eventually get to where we were going. It was a matter of when. And all I can see around me is the flat cornfields of Iowa- nothing to do, no "I Spy" games to play, just corn. Miles and miles of corn.

I knew there were phases of recovery, I just didn't know one of them was called "Corn."

I think some of it might be the fact that I'm, um, bored. Anorexia is quite boring. You do the same thing, day in and day out. It's comforting, after a fashion, but also boring. A boring I liked, for a while. Recovery also gets quite boring. Having your therapist on speed dial (Steph, you're still there!). Taking your meds twice a day. Paying outrageous bills at the pharmacy. Making sure to eat enough fat. And protein.

It's a task, a chore. Like laundry. Or ironing. (Though, considering how infrequently I iron, maybe it's not like ironing). Or the dishes. I do the dishes at least once a day. And since you can't cook in paper plates or eat cereal off of them,* eventually you have to suck it up and do the freaking dishes. With recovery, it's either get busy living or get busy dying. I can keep up with the dishes now, I know I can do them, that I need to do them, but still they keep piling up.

What else do you do? You run some hot water, grab a sponge, and get to work.

*One of my dear friends in college would put cereal in a big quart sized baggie, pour milk in, and eat it with a plastic spoon as she walked to class. Seriously. I found it quite humorous and impressive.

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mary said...

A hollow victory? No way!

You are closer to freedom from those thoughts than you think. They will not go away though. It's you who must leave them.
I know it's hard. I also know it's easy.
You are getting there...corn by corn.
There are many more important thoughts you've barely begun to entertain. It's really ok to forget you had an ED. While it will always be a part of your story it is not who you are! Now STOP fiddling around and asking ED if he's still there. Stop talking to him at all.
Let go! And live!/*****

Faith said...

That is basically how I started recovery - cure me or kill me - I don't care which. I was at total rock bottom and nearly catatonic. I'm so so glad I chose to get "cured". Not there yet - but closer than ever before Carrie!


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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.

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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


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