Finding your passion

One of the hardest things for me to adjust to in recovery was all of the spare time and energy I had.  When I was in the depths of ED, I spent all my awake time perseverating about how much I ate, how much I exercised, what I weighed, and how much I hated life.  I could distract myself for brief periods--maybe for a few pages of an unusually good book or during a movie scene--but the ED always intruded.  This dragged me back to going over and over these things in my head.  Literally, these thoughts were my life.

As they receded, I often felt my brainpan was going to collapse without the constant pressure of those thoughts zinging around.  The obsessive thoughts lessened somewhat as I reached a healthy weight, but they still occupied freaky amounts of my time.  I didn't enjoy obsessing about every little thing, but I didn't know what else to do.  One of the things that left me so vulnerable to relapse was the fact that I didn't have anything to take the place of the ED that had occupied my thoughts for so long.

I found writing to be so helpful not just because it helped me sort through my thoughts, but because it provided me with something to do.  For the first time, I had something much more interesting, enticing and absorbing than the ED crap to think about.

I slowly began to find things that were not only more interesting to think about but could also be totally absorbing when I actually did them.  That's what I loved about mountain biking- I literally could not think of anything besides not crashing.  I hated the constant threat of danger, but I loved the challenge and the total mind-absorbing nature of it.  It's one of the main reasons I fell in love with cycling- I could daydream but the task at hand still demanded almost all of my attention.

I still struggle to clear my head while writing at times.  I'm aware that this is pretty normal, but I get a little more peeved when it's ED stuff creeping in rather than more normal, I-need-to-run-the-dishwasher kind of stuff.  And if writing doesn't do the trick (and I have some free time, which is becoming an increasingly rare phenomenon!), I can get involved in a good book as reading is another major passion of mine.

Finding my passion for writing didn't enable me to recover--there was a lot of hard work and therapy and facing my fears about food one at a time and meal after meal after meal.  But it's one of the best motivations to stay recovered.  Then I can actually get absorbed into books and projects and bike rides.  When I'm malnourished, all I can think about is food.  Now that my brain and body are (mostly) healthy again, I can focus on bigger and better things.


Jenny Z said...

I love each and every single one of your posts and literally feel like we share the same is so nice to know I am not alone. thank you SO MUCH FOR WRITING everyday!

Danielle said...

Thanks for posting this carrie! I'm trying to find my passion right now but it's really hard because everything i think of has to do with exercise or modeling. Both of which i can't really do right now.

Peregrine said...

Your words mean so much to me (as, I'm sure, for many others of your Silent Lurker readers)! Your post today completely resonates and came at a low moment for me when I needed to be reminded of the incredible positives that come with recovery. I just started a tough PhD program at an intense US school and it's so tempting to shrink before the stress into old habits instead of remembering that THIS is why I fought to recovery, so that I can have the energy to read books and write poems and fight photocopiers and take walks to the library. I still hate Habermas, though.

Big hugs and thanks to you. You are an amazing person and a fantastic writer.

Emergefit said...

Take caution. Passion can be a pseudonym for replacment...


Guy has recovered from many things...

Jade said...

That is so true! After I got out of the hospital I literally couldn't remember what I used to fill my time with. Luckily it doesn't take long to fill up your life again.

hm said...

I hope this is true for me if/when I recover- I'm always desperate for more time to get things done but forever out of time- I read about this in Next to Nothing, the having more time on your hands thing, and it is a motivator. I can see how it could be true. Am getting ready to start Running on Empty. Am looking for reasons to recover. Am trying to figure out if I can do it- if it's worth the trade off. Having more time to do the things my life demands would be a plus.

Cate said...

related so much with this post it actually inspired me to take a big step and start my own blog. come and visit me sometime at

HikerRD said...

Your ability to write is all the more evidence of your recovery! Keep up your inspiring and ever so honest posts, Carrie. I regularly direct my patients here!

Lori Lieberman, RD, CDE, MPH, LDN

Stephanie Kennah said...

This was an amazing post! Finding something you love to do is something very important and it will keep you occupied. When you talk about your past experience with an ED, we can tell you've been through a lot and now that your healthy is great. You are very strong and I admire you!
Please keep posting. You are an amazing writer and I love your blog!

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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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