I’d used to think I was unique in my adverse reaction to change but as time went on I realized that not only was it a problem for me, it was a problem for nearly everyone who suffers from an eating disorder, and beyond that, people in general. It is a rare person who embraces and thrives on change. That certainly isn’t me. Even though this topics effects most of my life I’m going to focus on recovery.
“Change is a fact of life. Accepting change enables an individual to grow and discover new experiences.”
I can read this over and over, and in fact have, and still not comprehend it. I understand it but can’t comprehend it. It’s different. I could probably go back over the length of my life and see where change has helped me grow but it doesn’t lessen my discomfort with it. Recovery is change, plain and simple. I’ve had to change how I eat, how I exercise, how I perceive my body, how I perceive myself in relation to the rest of the world, so on and so forth. And yet, I wake up with a desparation to have everything remain the same. Even now, I have to keep my meal plan exactly the same, my eating schedule the same, how I eat, what my habits are…. all the same. I eat a ham sandwich every night for dinner. I’ve had a ham sandwich for dinner since I discharged from treatment March 22nd. I will probably continue until I’m challenged either by my nutritionist or by myself.
“Change provokes a feeling of fear which can affect your attitude and ability to be flexible and adaptable.”
Yep. That sums it up nicely doesn’t it? I went through a change this past weekend. I knew something had to change, I had to stop being the victim, stop fighting the team, stop fighting recovery…. stop fighting change. After 2 horrible days I finally culled together several compliant days except I was still exercising because, as I think I mentioned before, I turned yoga into an intense functional training workout. I can do that, I’ve been trained. Sigh… It wasn’t until yesterday that I was truly compliant, i.e., eating and no exercise.
What changed? I couldn’t figure it out until today. It was my attitude. My attitude toward the whole prospect of recovery changed. Up till a few days ago I had this weird sort of pride in having had an ED for so many years, 33 years. I was good at anorexia, I knew it, my therapist and former nutritionist knew it. They even said I was too smart for my own good, understanding how to manipulate calories, workouts, food, etc to maximize weight loss. Yes, I was good at destroying my own body but that’s not the messages my brain told me. It was the one thing I was competent at (big lie) and the one thing that could keep me safe (another lie). It kept me numb enough (not really) to not care I was destroying me body.
I lived, still live, with constant fear. It has taken away my ability to be flexible and adaptable. For years my attitude was invested in ED pride. Do I say false pride? I don’t think it is because it’s very real for me. Even so, the truth of anorexia is false. I can never attain what I want through anorexic means, ever. So what happened? I’m not sure. I had to step aside from Team Anorexia and make my own decision. I had to step aside from being that petulant child and view the whole thing from an adult perspective – not easy. I didn’t do that formally, it just happened. I had to choose and I had to make that choice before talking to my therapist or nutritionist or anyone for that matter. It had to be me… I had to be the one who took a step back away from the cliff. Not only that but after taking that step back, I had to turn around and walk in a different direction, I had to do that on my own…. and I did.
“Until you reach the point that you perceive the pain of changing something in your life to be less painful than the pain of leaving things the way they are, you will be reluctant to do things differently.”
Reluctant is a perfect word. I’ve been reluctant to trust my team, reluctant to eat the meal plan, reluctant to believe that my health was as bad as they said it was, reluctant to accept their advice on exercise, reluctant to use tools to deal with anxiety, reluctant to do anything really.
“It is when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’ll then look at change from a different perspective.”
I’m exhausted. Yes, I’m physically tired but that isn’t at all what I mean by exhausted. I’ve been doing this a long, long time. I’m actually too self aware for any of it to work anymore so instead of sitting their numb to the world, I sit their feeling every excruciating painful part of being anorexic. Yes, I might be numb to a point, but underlining pain breaks through and is too great to handle.
I sat down with my nutritionist yesterday. I told him that I didn’t want to trust the process or surrender to the process (trust and surrender are still words I can’t use yet), I want to be a ‘part’ of the process. I want to be a part of the team instead of battling the team. We both know there are many struggles ahead but if I’m a part of the solution, I think that will put a different light on everything. He was delighted but wary, as he should be. He wrote me out a new meal plan that was actually less food than I had. Apparently the weight I’ve gained has finally improved my body comps. Or maybe he’s putting his trust in me this week to see if I follow through with my intentions. I don’t know but his faith in me feels kind of good. My job is to eat. I told him I had to stop the yoga and all forms of exercise… did you get that? I told him. He agreed of course. I told him I don’t want to hear about my body comps anymore because I’ll just obsess about them, that’ll be his job.
So that’s that, isn’t it?
Like the video I posted I have a food prescription and will follow it to a tee. He reiterated my need to do that but I already know that is what I need to do.
This morning I panicked because he had 1 cup of granola listed and didn’t put soymilk with it. I have all sorts of anxiety if I add anything above and beyond my meal plan. Normally I’ll start fudging things around and try to figure it out myself, with terrible results. This time I texted him about it and he apologized, forgetting to list the total soymilk he wants me to have each day. It was just like calling a doctor to verify a medication dose. My anxiety went away and all was right with the world.
“One of the greatest discoveries, one of the greatest surprises, is to find out you can do what you were afraid you couldn’t do.”