Background noise

This past September, I upgraded my Blackberry to an Android. I love my new phone. The one problem I have is that the battery loses juice really quickly. I Googled the problem, and I found some apps that can shut down the other apps not in use that are slowing down the processor and sucking the battery dry.

{{In fact, my phone just eeped at me that it needs to be plugged in.}}

I was aware, of course, that apps run even when you're not actually using them, but I didn't know how much power they sucked up. On days when I'm not using my phone a lot--it's rare, but it happens!--the apps running in the background don't really pose much of a problem. I just plug in my phone before I go to bed like usual and all is well. Most days, however, I use my phone for pretty much everything, especially since I found a free Sudoku app, which keeps me entertained on my nightly Adventures in Insomnia.

I've been pretty busy with things lately, mostly work and writing stuff. I'm chugging along on my book, I've been freelancing, I've been crocheting, doing the recovery stuff. If I were my phone, I would be in a period of almost constant usage. It makes the ED stuff painfully obvious because there's not much energy leftover.

The danger zone for me is when I'm bored or work is slower. It's when the ED stuff isn't as obvious. The background apps suck the same amount of energy regardless, but it's harder to recognize all the time and energy it's using. The same for the eating disorder. Thoughts and behaviors suck up the same amount of effort whether I'm busy or not. I'm better able to recognize and fight them when I know there's lots of stuff on the line because I know I don't have that extra energy to spare.

Too much spare time isn't my friend. My brain is always working, always thinking. If I'm not thinking about nerdy stuff or yarn stuff or other stuff, then my brain will find other things to think about. Things like food, weight, calories, and exercise. It's hard to balance, since being too busy ratchets up the stress level to the point where I find myself reaching for the volume knob that is the eating disorder to turn down some of the stress.

Like so many things in recovery, it's a balancing act.  But this knowledge is helpful--I know that letting myself get too bored is just as bad as getting too busy. For now, being busy is good for my recovery. Not to distract me from anxiety, depression, and all of that other crap, but to make it painfully obvious just how much the ED takes out of me.


hm said...

The good news here, as I see it, is this: You are apparently so adept at your recovery skills that they can run well in the background WHILE you are so busy with everything else. Do you know how COOL that is???? I've actually teared up here, thinking about it. It is amazing.

Right now, my recovery skills are still so young and crappy that they take immense amounts of mental, physical, emotional energy. When I get too busy, I can't juggle these tedious new skills- and recovery just slips right out through my fingers, while appointments, work, grading papers all take precedence.

As the holidays come up and life only gets busier, I feel so, so discouraged. It's been more than a freaking YEAR that I've been trying to do this. It still feels foreign. It still takes so much concentration. It's still so exhausting I could just cry.

Not saying that recovery is never exhausting for you too- I'm sure it is. But I'll be damned- I want to get to the place where I'm so practiced at it that I can be really, really busy, and my recovery skills will run on auto-pilot in the background. I want to be there.

Anonymous said...

I finally feel like I have turned a corner in recovery. I know though, that this is when I have to be very careful because ED tries to hit hard when I am feeling better.
As far as a good balance between busy and boredom I completely understand. Too much stress and a feeling of losing control causes me to reach for the control of ED. Too much free time gives my head too much space for ED thoughts. It is a very thin line for me. I actually bought a dog to give me something to focus on (as long as I don't use him as a way to squeeze in extra exercise). He really has been a great tool in my recovery.

Anonymous said...

Definitely understand about the staying busy part! I'll take on as many projects as I can precisely so I don't have any free time and make sure none of the ED stuff comes up. But you have to remember to make sure to take time to rest otherwise you crash! Unfortunately I found this out the hard way... but hang in there!!

K said...

I find the same thing - my mind just doesn't want to switch off! And it gets worse when you stop, or get bored, so you have to keep busy distracting yourself. The problem for me is that i can fill the days with loads of stuff, but i cant be busy forever, so it all goes crazy at night. I miss being able to just go to bed and sleep.

What I have learnt during my recovery is how important it is to take one day at a time. It's so easy to be overwhelmed, especially if you're trying to get your life back on track after taking time out for recovery. Balance is so important! But I think it takes practise, lots and lots of practise!

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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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