After arriving back in the USA a few days ago, I’ve been busy cleaning out all of my old boxes. Although I just moved back from China, my goal is to move abroad again for my Master’s Degree soon. Thus, all of the clutter in my old room and closet needed to leave.
As I pulled out old boxes and rummaged through dusty drawers, glimpses of the past kept appearing.
My fingers were stained pink and blue from oil pastel paintings made in residential treatment for my eating disorder. Babies surrounded by darkness, blood-red monsters devouring me, trees half blossoming and half diseased – images of despair and hope mixed with every color.
Imagine meeting an old group of friends or classmates. One person constantly belittled and even bullied others while growing up. Now, she listens well and even apologized for past actions. Another person, on the other hand, was shy and insecure. He still struggles to speak and usually complains about himself when he does speak.
Situations like this happen to me all of the time although not always in the same day. I meet people from the past who have changed tremendously while others are nearly identical. The questions arise, “Do people change? Can someone move on from the past? Are some people able to forget who they were?”
Living in recovery (or at least attempting to) is strange. At times, the current sweeps you under and pins you under the water until you feel your lungs about to burst. Other times, the water seems like a calm pool, perhaps even enjoyably cool and refreshing.
Then there are days, weeks, months, years when you are just treading the water. You aren’t about to drown, but your feet certainly do not touch the ground to stabilize you. Each recovery-based choice takes considerable effort and seems like a waste most of the time. However, making those healthy choices is not impossible.
Whenever I have a meal or snack, the first thing I look for is a distraction. A movie or TV show must be on, a book must be open, or a person must be talking to me.
This made me think if I ever just eat? Does anyone simply eat without distracting himself or herself? If so, does that person experience more mindfulness and healthy/normal/undisordered eating?
Look around while others are eating. How many people are on their phones? What about watching television? Strange, isn’t it? People talk about their hunger or favorite foods. Yet, these same people seem to spend little time focusing on eating itself.
I am not sure if this is necessarily a bad thing. It just is an observation that I made. Does this contribute to disordered eating? Possibly. I am not really sure.
What do you do when you have the urge to use a symptom? When suddenly, you feel like you must cut or you will die? When purging seems like the only option? When isolating for a week sounds like the only thing that will keep you safe?
You have to run. Run to a coping skill. Run to a loved one. Run to your recovery.
Lent used to be rather simple. Give up candy. Don’t eat sweets. Turn down desserts.
However, anorexia made it more confusing and dangerous. Recovering from that the next few years was difficult but possible. Trying to find a new way to fast that did not include restriction made me creative.
There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. ― Steve Maraboli
Growing up overweight, I always hated hearing thin girls complain about their bodies. If they feel gross and dislike themselves, what must they think of me?
However, I kept my mouth shut and felt disgusted with myself. The years of anorexia changed that a bit. I am ashamed to admit that I began complaining about my weight and appearance more publically. Still, I tried hard to be positive so as not to trigger others.
Be quiet. Do not complain. Remain strong like nothing is wrong.
Those are voices in my head. Sometimes those messages are helpful. Usually, however, these words create more drama and pain in my life. Instead of being honest about difficulties, I try to manage by myself until I end up sobbing, feeling alone and defeated.
For some reason, certain emotions seem to be linked together more often than others. Happiness and relaxation, sadness and tiredness, stress and irritability.
Another pair that I often link is loneliness and hungry. When I am lonely, I get hungry often. This does not seem uncommon from what I can tell. Others seem to eat when they are lonely or feel unloved.