Adventures in flexibility

My best friend L is visiting me for the weekend.  She's never seen my new place and she needed a weekend away, so I invited her down.  We've had a nice time thus far--she got to meet J, and we went out for dinner at a local Indian restaurant.  She'll be here through tomorrow.

It's been really nice to get to spend time with her, and just relax and talk.  But having anyone come to visit, especially when coming off of more ED struggles, is tough.  It's not just the food thing as it is having to share my space with someone and having my usual routines disrupted.  I love having L here, so that's not the issue.  But all of a sudden, there's someone else in my space, and I have all of these little quirky habits that don't always mesh well with visitors.

My learning flexibility is a good thing. Yet it's still hard for me to adjust to new things.  {{Wait, someone with anorexia having trouble with change? That doesn't sound right...}}

I'm mostly used to doing my own thing on my own time. To being in charge of the TV remote.  It's not the easiest thing to adjust.  At the same time, it's something I know I need to do.  I get way too easily attached to my routines and rituals.  It's part of my personality.  That chair I sit in on the first day of class? That's the same chair I'll use for the rest of the year.  Most of the time, these habits are pretty harmless.  After all, exactly where I sit in class probably didn't have that much of an effect on my learning.  But the problem is that I get almost unspeakably anxious when I have to sit in a different chair.

Granted, I have plenty of habits, rituals, and compulsions that are harmful in and of themselves (hand-washing, cleaning, that whole eating disorder thing).  For the majority of my habits, though, it's the thought of changing them that causes all hell to break loose.  It's that I find them too meaningful and perhaps too helpful.  So when things get changed, I tend to find it difficult.

I'm actually doing okay food-wise today.  I've been eating what I need to, if not always at the exact right time.  That structure is probably what is saving me right now.  That and friends and good times and yarn.

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hm said...

Yay for eating well! Yay for visiting friends and social support!!!!! Yay for flexibility! :)

You rock, Carrie. I'm so glad there are supportive people around you right now- I'm glad they are disrupting your routines which lets you know that you are far more valuable than the sum of your consistent habits and compulsions.

It feels bittersweet to let go of the illusion of satisfying solace that we find in our rigid, predictable ed behaviors- and turn back, instead, to the loving arms of the unpredictable human beings around us for support.

But it is the good choice- the healthy choice- the not lonely choice.

Again- I am proud of you. Sending warmth, love, and prayers your way for some fun times with your friend.

Tiptoe said...

Glad to hear you are getting back on the recovery wagon and have a friend visiting.

Change is always tough even small things like when people are in our homes. This reminded me that I had recently invited an acquaintance/friend to stay at my house, so she would not have to drive back and forth to a a seminar we are going to in May. Then, I realized I really don't know her that well, and secretly hoped she would not take my offer and decide to stay in a hotel. She actually did decide on the latter, and I have to admit, it was a breath of relief.

Still though, I think I've learned to be adjustable to things, this one was just one that freaked me out a bit.

Keep working through it, you'll get there.

Cathy (UK) said...

I could have written this post myself Carrie... I have HUGE difficulties with change, and that is why, throughout my life (long before AN) I have always adhered to rituals and routines. I also have a greater need for solitude than do most people. As a child I could never do 'sleep-overs'. To remove myself from my safe environment, rituals and routines, and to lose my 'alone time' made me very anxious.

In fact, the primary reason why I developed (and stuck in) AN was because it comprised a series of rituals and routines (around eating and exercise) that felt safe. It also disengaged me from the world, and I was not coping with life at the time I started to restrict food and to over-exercise. Provided that I adhered to all these rituals I felt able to cope in the world.

This is all so far removed from the assumption that AN is 'about' body image. Nope. I cannot speak for everybody, but for me AN was very much 'about' avoidance of change (and the associated anxiety) - and such change included seeing my weight change.

Enjoy your weekend, and I'm glad your eating is going better!

Sarah at Journeying With Him said...

I hate this part of an eating disorder--the part that makes us dislike having our best friends around or being on a well-deserved vacation. I mean, really? It makes no logical sense!

I hope you can enjoy your friend's presence. Weekends like this are what life is about.

CeCe said...

I'm the same way. I get accustomed to routine and anything else is a disruption-including my husband. When he comes back from a work trip it can be so hard for me to re adjust to having him in my space-never mind that it's OUR house. I totally understand. It's all part of the isolation habit people with ED issues tend to get into.

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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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