The Hardest to Learn

Dinner of champions

Lately Tuesdays have been difficult days for me because Nat has class until 8:30 pm.  This means two things: first (and most importantly), we don’t get to spend much time together on Tuesdays.  By the time he gets home, I’m getting ready to go to bed.  We may watch something together, but that’s usually the extent of our together time.  Second, since Nat isn’t here all evening, I’m either on my own when it comes to food, or he’ll stop by the store and pick something up on his way home and we’ll just eat late.

I’ve actually been meaning to order some groceries through Fresh Direct, and just haven’t gotten around to it.  As you may know, I’m not the best when it comes to grocery shopping–this is possibly one of the most lasting and stubborn symptoms of my ED.  And this being a Tuesday, not having anything in the house is a bit of a problem.  Because food is such an issue on Tuesdays, I kind of obsess about it all day.  Today was no exception, and my obsessing continued when I got home, and as I did my hill repeat workout.  I started to worry that I’d have to go to the grocery store by myself, which I haven’t done in a long time, and which I don’t really feel prepared to do since I get easily overwhelmed when I can’t just run in and pick something up and run back out.  Skipping dinner was not an option, and because I’m not very good at determining what I actually want to eat, I tried to think of all the easiest options.

Our cupboard is not so bare that I wouldn’t have been able to pull something together, but I also haven’t cooked in a long time (see above re: symptoms of ED) and I knew that if I tried to make myself cook, it probably wouldn’t end well.  This meant that my options were peanut butter and jelly, microwave popcorn, or baby carrots and hummus.  PB&J with carrots and hummus wouldn’t actually be all that bad as a meal, but as I thought about it I realized I just didn’t want it (believe me, I can always come up with about 100 reasons why I don’t want something).  I started to feel discouraged, as though I was struggling against my ED habits and they were starting to win.  Skipping the meal was becoming more and more tempting just because I didn’t want to keep fighting.  But I realized that skipping the meal pretty much negated everything I’ve been working toward lately.  So instead of giving up, I reapplied myself, and tried listening to a different voice–the voice that was trying to tell me what I was really hungry for.  As it turned out, all I really wanted was some fresh fruit, greek yogurt, and cereal or granola.  Once I figured this out, I went to a deli (easier to handle than a grocery store) and picked up the things I wanted.  Then I fed myself.

Eating disorders are frighteningly powerful things.  It’s common to hear a person dealing with an ED to describe things as though their ED thinking is separate from them; this is because once you reach a point where you can recognize that you aren’t your eating disorder, you begin to feel stuck between a healthy you and a disordered you.  When your ED is at its peak, the healthy voice gets drowned out.  As you begin to recover, you have to learn how to listen to it again.  You also have to learn that it never went away in the first place, just that you stopped being able to hear it.

Nurturing the healthy voice, letting it speak and responding positively to it when it does, is probably the nicest thing you can do for yourself, but also the hardest.  I’m really proud of myself for having been able to do it tonight, and I hope that next time I have to choose between the healthy me and the ED me, I can make the right choice again.  For now, though, I’ll just be happy in the moment, and celebrate this act of kindness to myself.  I think the Embrace:Me Challenge has had a positive influence on me!

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6 comments

  1. I’m glad you managed to eat something :). Even what you ate, at least it’s pretty healthy and it’s a decent dinner.

    For me, I don’t mind going to the grocery store. I go a lot. It doesn’t bother me. Cooking, on the other hand… I absolutely hate and it causes lots of anxiety for me. I’m just scared my food will turn out bad and then I’m stuck with it, you know? Last night I was trying to cook soup for my hubby (who was sick). It was probably the first time I’d tried to cook in over a month. I almost had a panic attack because I couldn’t find a packet of ranch seasoning. Seriously. It was so bad, I woke him up.

    EDs are so weird. It’s like having a bully in middle school, except you never graduate or you can’t avoid it. It’s just always there. I don’t think people get it that you can’t just start eating and just gain weight. Even hearing the health risks, I think we all know about them, but we know about them before EDs develop. It’s not all about food. It’s so mental…

    Stinks you don’t get to see Nat on Tuesdays. I don’t get to see Clay much either because of his schedule :(.

  2. hooray! i’m so proud of you, emilie! great, great accomplishments :)! i definitely know how difficult it can be to give into temptation and list off a million reasons why you don’t want something. it’s so wonderful to see you choosing health. love seeing the embrace:ME challenge is working really well for you! sending lots of positive vibes and hugs your way 🙂

  3. Way to go!!
    I understand your inner debate. It’s interesting though, when I was struggling the most with my ED, grocery shopping felt really empowering. Just goes to show you that things manifest so differently in different people.

  4. The whole time frame of January through April is hard for me, similar to yours with Nat, because my husband is an auditor and that’s his busy season with work. He works late and even when he gets home he often gets back to working. I feel like I’m “supposed to” make meals for both of us to be the “good wife” but then I struggle to want to eat anything and end up not making anything for either of us. Then we’ll end up eating cereal at different times in the evening or things like that. Plus missing out on time to connect a little is hard too.

    My treatment team encouraged me to make a list of “recovery celebrations”, and many of those are seemingly little things like “I made myself eat my snack” but all of those are reasons to celebrate because I beat the ED voice that moment. This is one of those moments for you!

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