Learning and accepting that I have an eating disorder has been a double edged sword for me. On the one hand it has allowed me to stop blaming myself… most of the time anyway. As I listen to other people’s stories, I realize they are the same as mine. Even the girls I’ve met who struggle with Anorexia or Bulimia. The details and situations may be different, but the thoughts, feelings and outcomes are very similar, which makes it much more difficult to get caught up in the “why me” of having a weight problem.
On the other hand, I have also started “giving-in” to the compulsion in a way I never have before. In the middle of a binge, especially in public, instead of fighting myself tooth and nail to stop before anybody notices, I give myself permission, because you can’t blame a girl with a disorder for which she is not responsible (I’ve argued this point of responsibility with myself plenty of times, but I’m currently in the camp of ED being the hand I was dealt).
To quote Curvy Yogi paraphrasing Geneen Roth, there are restrictors and permitters:
Someone says to you, “Don’t eat that cookie, you will get fat.”
Restrictors say, “Yes. YES! RIGHT! I will not only not eat THAT cookie, I will not eat ANY cookie ever until the end of time. And for that matter I will never eat sugar or butter or flour or anything that makes up that cookie. Better yet I will only eat food diametrically opposed to the cookie. Lettuce. I will eat lettuce.”
Permitters say, “Don’t you dare fucking tell me what to eat. Don’t eat that cookie you say? Watch me. Not only will I eat that cookie, I will eat every cookie I ever see until there is not a single cookie left on the planet. Oh, and fuck you.”
So, yea. I’m eating that cookie. Defiantly. Permittedly. That last one might not be a word, but you catch my drift. Maybe bringing my compulsion out of hiding is not the worst thing that ever happened, except that one method has not REPLACED the other… it merely supplements the secret binges when I can’t be alone. And when you combine the two behaviors, I’m definitely feeling like I am doing a little worse with my recovery than I had been BEFORE I went all public permission on my disordered eating.
I talked about this a little bit in aftercare and the counselor asked what I thought the next step was. It’s hard to say, because on the one hand, I feel like not beating myself up for “bad behavior” is a good thing, but on the other hand, I’m feeling more out of control with the food. I guess the next step is caring about myself, my life and my health enough to make better choices in a loving/caring/accepting way, rather than stopping my actions through criticism and judgement.
As frustrating as this stage of recovery is, I have often been told that “it’s always darkest before dawn.” Maybe these are my days in hell before resurrection. Here’s hoping.