On Saturday, I shared some of my recovery green light signs, which was a list of thoughts, behaviors, etc, that were indicating my recovery was going along well. I am going to share my yellow light signs (warning signs of relapse) and red light signs (take action now, do not pass go, do not collect $200). But somewhere in between green light and yellow light are the signs of prelapse. If yellow light are the signs preceding a relapse, then prelapse consists of the signs before the signs.
I realize I haven't really defined some terms, so that we all know we're referring to the same idea, here are some (brief) definitions:
lapse: a one-time return to ED behaviors. It means you purged once, or skipped a meal, and so on.
relapse: an ongoing return to ED behaviors.
prelapse: the indication that you might be be heading for a lapse or at high risk for a lapse. It doesn't mean a return to ED behaviors.
Some of my prelapse signs are very related to the eating disorder (urges to skip meals, increase in body dysmorphia) but many of them aren't. Although I'm not sure that eating disorders have nothing to do with food, many of my vulnerabilities to anorexia and to returning to anorexia have nothing to do with food.
Here is my list of prelapse signs:
- preoccupied with food/eating
- avoiding friends and family
- urges/compulsions to overexercise
- increased rigidity in life and activities
- thoughts/urges to skip meals
- increased preoccupation with body image
- lingering sadness and depression
- feelings of restlessness
- return of OCD behaviors
- difficulties sleeping
- intense feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- deep breathing
- reduce stress
- ensure adequate sleep
- make plans with friends and family even if I don't feel like it
- snuggle with Aria
- work on creative projects (crochet, jewelry, etc)
- practice opposite action (watch a funny movie when I'm feeling down)
- eat several tablespoons of peanut butter before bed
- practice self-compassion
- increase appointments with treatment team
- BE HONEST about urges