Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yes, Virginia,This IS Eating Disorder Recovery

I have been in a bit of a funk lately (I know, what else is new, right?).  But this was not a super-depressed funk, or an anti-Valentine's-Day funk.  It was just your garden variety it's-sort-of-spring-but-not-really funk.  I found myself asking "What's the point?" about -- well, basically everything.   That's partly why I haven't been blogging as much.  I was Ecclesiastes personified. 

More specifically, I kept looking at my eating disorder recovery and wondering if it's any sort of recovery at all, if I'm not just deluding myself.  I have been dealing with super-charged anorexia/bulimia for the past five years, and have been a compulsive grazer and emotional eater since puberty.  In all that time, funk-ified me kept asking, what have I accomplished?  What have I gained in terms of healing?  Have I changed at all?

My initial answer to those questions was a resounding no -- I've barely made any progress, I'm a loser, [insert negative self-talk here].

But today I learned differently.  I was able to glimpse a piece of evidence proving that I am changing, that I am growing and maturing and healing.  And it's all thanks to Jillian Michaels.

Here's what happened.  After taking two of the pups on a gentle hike, I felt like lifting weights.  Don't ask me where this desire came from, because I been completely lax with my exercise.  I certainly haven't lifted weights since last summer, and I can't say that I wanted to then.  But today I did want to.  Not being one to let such an unexpected gift of motivation pass me by, I turned on the Best Husband Ever's computer downstairs (my designated workout zone when he's not home) and prepared to get my Shred on with Jillian.

Except I couldn't log onto the Best Husband Ever's computer.  When I entered my user name and password, this came back at me like a slap in the face:

In other words, I was locked out.  Then I remembered that last weekend the Best Husband Ever had to wipe his hard drive, and that he probably forgot to add me back in as a user.

Although I was initially tempted to grab at this opportunity to slack off, I changed my plans and headed up to the living room to workout.  And I did, and it felt good.  I discovered that I've missed my interval workouts.

 So . . . that story doesn't sound too revelatory, does it?  Not at face value.  But for me (and the Best Husband Ever), my reaction to today's slight workout hiccup tells a far different story.

Back in the summer of 2008, less than a year into our marriage, I came home from work one afternoon with the intent to do a yoga podcast class that I had saved on my computer.  When I tried to turn the computer on, however, nothing happened.  The machine was plugged in, but I couldn't get it to come to life.

And I freaked out.

After furiously examining the computer's various cables, I called the Best Husband Ever (who was still at work) in a rage of tears.  I shrieked at him about the situation, how I had to do my yoga and how I could get the damn computer to work.  Something was standing between me (or really my eating disorder self) and exercise, and it turned me into a raving maniac.

Needless to say, the Best Husband Ever was stunned (to put it nicely).  

He tried to talk me through some fixes into between my gnashing of teeth, and then (miraculously, in my mind at the time) I jostled a cable that had been loose and the computer kicked on.  And, like a switch had been flicked, I turned from a lunatic into a sweet newlywed, thanked the Best Husband Ever, and hung up to do my yoga.

Disturbing.  I know.  I didn't know it then, but I can see it now.  I was possessed by my eating disorder.  My personality swings would not have been out of place in a horror movie.

But in light of that past episode, you can see how my experience of a similar situation today left me feeling encouraged.  Once again an uncooperative computer stood between me and my exercise -- and I was okay.  I was flexible.  I could adapt, and did adapt without a fuss.  There was no hair pulling or foot stomping or tears.  I just shrugged and changed my plans.  

So that shows me that I have changed since 2008.  I have changed since eating disorders invaded my life.  And, while I am not completely free of my eating disordered compulsions, I am recovering.  I am healing.  There really is a point to my daily battle for balance, because the evidence at hand shows me that I am gaining ground on ED, one step at a time. Which means (and this is the really exciting part) that there is reason to hope.

What are you hoping for today?


  1. Stephanie (dancingwaMarch 24, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    As always, a beautiful post, and clear insight on how far you've come. Congratulations!

  2. I think it is great that you are seeing your progress. You are so inspiring! Keep fighting. :)

  3. Jo @ Jo in the KitchMarch 25, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Well done! You definitely ALWAYS have reason to hope. As long as you're alive, there's time to change. I'm glad you're giving yourself credit where credit is due.Have a good weekend!

  4. Beth this is SOOO great! Isn't it amazing how the seemingly smallest thing can be so huge in meaning?I'm totally embarrassed...but I had a freakout a few weeks ago like this. I put a Netflix ordered yoga DVD into my laptop and it wouldn't work due to some issue with my software. Freaked out, and broke the DVD in half. Wow, WTF? I was so shocked at what I had done. Instead of gratifying ED with an even harder yoga practice on my own, I put on an older online video that was very gentle and calmed myself down.Today I'm hoping for some civil communication with my husband this evening.

  5. Oh my goodness, thanks so much for sharing. I am glad you made the conection and I needed to read what you wrote because I am in the same boat ... (Let's go on a luxury cruise next time, shall we?) I feel like such a failure and that "I suck" at recovery and you know what? That maked me real scared I am going to give up. Real scared. This weekend I will WILL abolish that thinking. I am not the woman I want to be, but I am more than the woman I was. You too. And you're awesome because you eat pickles and peanut butter.

  6. That's wonderful, Beth! I'm so glad you could see the positive in the challenge. I just finished reading Ann's post at A Holy Experience, and it was talking about how life's pressure cooker is really God's way of refining us, and we need to let the pressure and heat and steam do its work instead of running from it, freaking out - letting off steam. I'm proud of you that you were able to meet the challenge with grace and composure. :)As for what I'm hoping for - I'm hoping whatever's wrong with my foot will heal quickly so I can get back to rockin' all out with the hoop.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King