What scares you about recovery?
Is it the unknown? The weight gain? The active and purposeful stride towards life?
Is it heading towards something that you have no experience of and the reality of not knowing how to handle that? Is it the fear of being out of your depth and not being comfortable with the possibility that you might not get it right?
Is it all of those things or any of those things?
For me, it’s all of them but it is also something else. The thing that scares me the most about recovery is relapse. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve relapsed in both small ways and epic ways. You’d think eventually it gets easier to tolerate, that when you fail enough times, it loses the power it has on you. That’s not true. Each relapse hurts more than the last. Each backward step, each undoing, each loss of something regained feels terrible. So knowing all that, why does it keep happening? Why, even when you know that the Eating Disorder is nothing but a devastating death sentence, do we keep going back? What are we hoping to find there?
Sometimes I catch myself engaging in one of my “early warning signs” and I question what it is I am doing and what am I expecting to happen. I don’t have an answer. You see, relapse is not an active choice for me as I’m sure it’s not for you. Those behaviours are what we know, they are our normal, they are our starting point. Recovery takes effort and it doesn’t feel natural. Those basic instincts to eat in order to survive don’t seem to be working quite right. In the way that a dieter wants a break from their healthy eating plan in order to eat cake, I want a break too. Recovery takes a hell of a lot of energy and some days, I just don’t have it in me. I don’t get to take that break though because a break leads to a slip, which leads to a lapse and then that leads to a relapse. The thing that scares me the most. The thing that I am trying to avoid this time round. I can feel Anorexia throwing hooks at me, piercing my skin in attempt to get a hold and find a way back in. Part of me wants to tell it to stop being desperate. The ferocity won’t be the thing that allows it to win but rather it’s persistence. I can take the hammerings. I can stand my ground as it screams. I can stare it down without losing much of a beat but that’s only for a short amount of time. I tire easily and that’s how I relapse. My stamina is my downfall.
I have been trying to do recovery for years, how much more time am I going to lose to the same fight? In life, I can walk away from a fight. I can disarm the other person, freeze them out or kill their anger with kindness. It’s simple. An eating disorder, I am learning has a whole different set of laws. It’s destruction and therefore doesn’t care about your tears or pain. It doesn’t know mercy or compassion. It cannot be handled like a person can be. That’s what scares me. Regardless of the number of years I have lived with this disorder, I still don’t understand it and if I don’t understand it, how am I to stop it from coming back?
I am as prepared as I’m ever going to be in my attempt to stay actively in the recovery zone but it worries me, always, that maybe that’s not enough. That is quite a frightening thought and what’s more unsettling is that I don’t trust the ground beneath me. I’m not sure how you create a stable sense of self when that’s your base.
I hope your day has been good to you.