During recovery you learn to rewire your brain, change your thinking, change your behaviours and surroundings. As time goes on you become more distanced from your eating disorder and old habits. At times the urges to tap into the behaviours increase but you are armed with a plethora of techniques, tricks and distractions to outsmart the eating disorder.You are confident. So confident you sometimes forget how hard it once was.
Despite this new found strength traces of the eating disorder linger. Sometimes its overtime other times in a moment where everything can change and once again you feel tempted. A situation, a comment, a feeling or seemingly nothing pushes you towards those behaviours which you have fought so hard to stop.
You get home from work a time when you know its harder to resist the urges. You walk to the kitchen. Sometimes not straight away, sometimes you make a feeble attempt to divert your attention elsewhere. But you know what’s coming. You walk into the kitchen, the temptation rises. You take out some bread and one slice becomes another. The mind-set flicks to black and white thinking. May as well keep going. You eat mindlessly, not tasting the food.You layer the butter thickly, you eat anything-after all its not staying down.
Sometimes you rush and are panicked, almost choking and your heart racing.Other times you eat slower not even thinking about what you are doing, your mind elsewhere, almost trance like.Sometimes you feel empty inside so you fill yourself up with food. Other times you feel full to the brim with fear,anxiety,doubt,self hate,sadness.frustration and you just want to let it all out. Sometimes you don’t feel much, its just a habit which is all too hard to quit. You just crave the behaviour. It’s all you can think off.
Your leg tapping increases, you bring your awareness back into the room. You walk to the bathroom.You don’t think you just do. But the difference now to six months ago is that now you are in recovery. You DO stop and think. Its no longer a straight forward reaction.The recovery side of your brain fights. “This is not what Ula wants, this is what bulimia wants.” The eating disorder side fights back. “just this once” “think off the relief” “You stupid girl, you’ve failed anyway”. The physical reflex is hard to fight and you feel your stomach muscles clench.
But you look at the bracelet on your arm that says “courage”. You think back to what you saw earlier on the news; children starving in Somalia. You think about how scarce food is for some. You think about the consequences of your actions. If you purge tonight it will be all the harder to not do the same tomorrow and the day after.So You walk out the bathroom, full of shame for even contemplating purging. You hold the food in.
So what now? You forgive, You reflect, you learn. You don’t let this one slip up define you, instead let it remind you off why you choose recovery. Think about how far you have come in not letting your behaviours continue and spiral out of control.
Sometimes the anxiety is unbearable but you have learnt to ride it out. Other times you may feel indifferent and not even care. In the end it is only food and you are only human.
The slip up does not become a slide.Life goes on and so do you.