Recovery is weird. I expected it to be two steps forward, one step back – but always moving forward. After all, I’m doing the work – I’m seeing my therapist every week, my nutritionist most weeks, my psychiatrist every 3 months. I take my meds for sleep, my meds for depression, my meds for anxiety, my vitamins for my deficiencies. I’m trying not to overwhelm myself, taking time for myself, exercising more frequently, getting sunlight, writing in my journal, trying to stick to my meal plans… What else is there? Did I cover all of the mandatory “recovery bases?”
So I’m on target, on track – right? All should be good with the world as I battle my demons. I feel like I’m Lara Croft, fighting off some giant serpent. But instead of slaying my dragons, I stumble. I have days where I can’t think about anything other than purging. I have days where I feel high because I forgot to eat and I think – wow, this is amazing! I can not eat and feel fantastic! Of course I feel like I’m going to pass out, but at least I’m thin! Woohoo! And I have days where I pull over in my car and cut my arm in nice neat slashes so it looks like I fell and skinned my arm and no one except T will know. If I tell her.
But then I have good days. They seem to be more frequent now, even though the bad days are still outnumbering the good. I went for a run yesterday and as I was running, for about 20 minutes in the middle of my run, I felt free. It was as though my brain was briefly let out of the prison of depression and ED and I was overwhelmed with a sense of power and possibility. I could see all of the amazing things I’ve done with my life, and all of the incredible things I still could do. It struck me, in that brief moment of freedom, that when my brain is clear from the fog of illness, I’m pretty amazing (we all are). My stride lengthened and my calves were tight but I didn’t care. It was like that brief moment of weightlessness that you feel on some roller coasters. I was flying – mentally and physically – and I can’t remember the last time I felt that way.
Instead of struggling to figure out how I was going to get through the day, I was thinking of ways to take my kids to ski at Whistler. Or going back to Rome with DH. Or learning how to windsurf as a family. I had dreams – for them, for me, for DH – and in that brief moment my mind was flooded with possibilities and dreams. God took off my blinders for a brief second, and that second was so beautiful that it gave me hope.
That hope keeps me going forward even when doing the right things doesn’t seem to matter. I’m used to plan–> action–> result–> evaluate. If I follow the plan, I get the results I want and the praise and glory that come with it. But life isn’t like that anymore. My ED doesn’t cooperate with my plans, and nothing else seems to either. But that’s ok, because yesterday, for a moment, in that glimpse, I saw freedom, and it tasted far better than skinny ever could.