I recently had another spiraling-out.. a weekend with lots of bingeing and purging. It was a combination of a lot of things, really. My mom was visiting, my schedule was chaotic, I wasn’t able to exercise as much, there were lots of sweets around, and plans kept changing and throwing me off.
I feel like I’m out of the spiral and on the other side now, 5 days into another recovery cycle. I feel like my sanity has returned, the cloud has lifted, and I am back to my usual self again. I feel good, or at least good-ish.
So, I’ve been trying to think of what REALLY keeps me coming back to this place of relapse. I can note the triggers of sweets, stress, unpredictability… but what is REALLY the thing that keeps me from a full recovery?
And, I found the answer, which of course I’ve known all along but don’t want to admit:
I just don’t think bulimia is ALL that bad.
Now, I will qualify that with all sorts of things–I KNOW bulimia is bad. I BELIEVE that it is bad and that it’s taking all sorts of things from me. But, deep down, those beliefs and knowledge just don’t match my actual feelings that maybe it’s just not that bad. That maybe if I could just get it down to one episode a month, then maybe that would be an OK way to live out my days…
I think it’s that idea that triggered my initial relapse back in November, after almost a year of recovery. I saw the movie Spencer about Lady Di, and instead of being repulsed or devastated by the very graphic, very honest depiction of her bulimia, I came out thinking, “It’s really not that bad…”
I realize that this thought stems from a skewed sense of self-worth and a lack of self-love. I remember that if my own daughter was making herself vomit once a month, I would be completely beside myself figuring out how to help her. I realize that if a student of mine told me they made themself throw up even once, I would be worried and get her help. But, for my own self, I see it as somehow acceptable.
I’m working to get my beliefs to match up with my feelings. A podcaster I listen to often says, “You’re not responsible for your first reaction, but you ARE responsible for your second.” I know that I have trained my body and my mind to this learned behavior, which is very unhealthy. It may be my first response to stress or big emotions, but it doesn’t need to be the response that wins.
Back on Day 5.