I’ve been in a consistently downward spiral of late. Many people I know in “real” life are now reading this blog, so I need to word things carefully …
A few things are coming to an end and there are some changes I’ve been working towards making, all of which lead to increasing anxieties.
The recovery course will end this week and I’m not doing great. To be honest, I had put a lot of hope into it and had unrealistic expectations. The truth is, I was never going to be “all better” in a mere eight weeks – most people take six-twelve months. This course is the single most important thing I’ve ever done for my recovery. I’ve felt more hope, learned more things and made more progress than I have anywhere else – and the two major things I’ve taken away are the importance of focusing on outcomes not the struggle, and searching for reasons why I want to recover and generating a picture of the future. These are really important things. I’ve learned tons of tools from tons of places and they are all great.
I felt this would be the last key piece of my big recovery puzzle. It isn’t…
The truth is, I’m not feeling much better now than I did at the start. Not really. I want to slip back into my old habits and I’m fighting hard not do it. I never know which voice is talking to me. I still struggle to picture a future free from binge eating, purging and restricting. I can’t picture it at all. I have done lots of visualisations about this, and tried really hard these past few weeks to put positive things up on here about my recovery picture, hoping that by writing it often enough I would start to believe it myself. I don’t. Not at this point in time. I am however much better at focusing on outcomes not struggles and when things go pear-shaped, I turn it around much quicker than previously.
So the group will end and I feel really sad – it was one of my last hopes and I didn’t do enough of whatever I was supposed to do. I’m jealous of everyone else’s recovery. I feel like I’m the only person going backwards now. I feel a sense of failure at my lack of progress – lack of success.
And if it’s my last hope for recovery, what does it mean if I don’t recover?
Another thing I’ve become aware of is the affect my changing behaviours and choices have on my mood. When I decided in February not to go ahead with my end-of-life plan, I quickly spiraled into depression and escalating eating disorder. There is a lot of safety in have an exit plan. If the going got too tough, I had an option to get off the merry go round. When that option is gone, I am left with the reality of having to deal with all the issues life throws at us, and to think about the fact I have to fill in the next 30-50 years of my life. And that was totally overwhelming. It still is to be honest. I don’t even have a lethal dose of pills at my disposal any more…
I am contemplating removal of my razor blades, which is having a very similar affect is the anti-suicide plan. No more safety net. When life gets too stressful, deal with it. Use the tools that get talked about but don’t feel familiar or safe or useful at this point.
And of course the eating disorder is the same. If I let it go completely – learn to manage emotional distress without any maladaptive behaviours – then it’s going to be really uncomfortable. Like – really uncomfortable. Do I want that? Yes and no. For the benefit of others, I’d like to be healthy – mentally and physically.
Hidden my scales – makes me incredibly anxious.
Stopped restricting – makes me feel sad.
Reduced bingeing and purging – makes me feel incredibly anxious.
Contemplating hiding the razor blades – makes me feel sad.
Learning to sit with and feel emotions, really feel them – makes me anxious.
I have to live until I die from natural causes – makes me really sad.
So all these endings are of course, just excuses for “failing” at my recovery. I do recognise that I have a choice – in everything I do, I always have a choice. And the easy, safe choice is being bulimic. Harming myself and lessening my life expectancy. That’s the comfortable, easy option. Recovery is hard work. It’s supposed to be – major changes are being made to our core being, and that is uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and not very entertaining.
I don’t know how far I’ll get with this recovery gig. Perhaps I’ll trudge along and figure it all out and look back one day and say, “I did it! I’m recovered.” Perhaps the changes I’ve learned here will stick and I’ll keep finding more tools and more support and it will all add up. Perhaps I’ll stagnate and get neither better nor worse. Perhaps I’ll fall off my perch and go back to square one. Perhaps perhaps perhaps….