I returned from Walloon Saturday after a week of being with guests. I have realized that summer is great, beyond great and fun, but winter is a different story. I, after years of believing I was an extrovert, I admit that I am indeed……an introvert. I love being with people, especially those I love, but lacking the ability to find a quiet private space to write, to read, and talk to God made me a little unsettled and anxious. I even cancelled my phone appointment with my therapist because there was no place for me to speak privately for an hour. Yet, I needed to touch base with her because I was beginning to to slip again into the little pressure release purging and I wanted it to stop there and not take on a life of its own. I didn’t want it to suck me back in with guilt, shame and the voice of Satan saying “go ahead, purge, your almost fifty, you will never get out of this.” We talked briefly, then I was on my own. Well I knew I wasn’t truly on my own as I had the Lord with me and had e-mailed my pastor a prayer SOS!!! I am so tired of being dependent on my therapist and my pastor. Romans 12:12 “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I know God’s timing is perfect, but I am so tired of fighting this.
So, affliction, he is refining me through affliction, but I am running out of patience. I finally check in with my friend, the scale, and am truly surprised to see that my weight still hovers around 114lbs-115lbs. I am both relieved and disappointed. There is part of me that thought if my weight did go up a little it would mean that I had survived the extra pounds and my life didn’t come to a halt. And maybe, just maybe, I would be able to try and become comfortable in my body with the weight. I try to explain this to my therapist. She acts like I am crazy to even entertain the idea that I could have been okay with it. “Thanks for the vote of confidence” I think to myself!I had prayed for God to confirm whether I am seeing and feeling my body accurately. So, this and the fact that I take back a Christmas present that I had asked for in a size medium only to exchange it for an XS indicates that I just don’t see myself with any accuracy. Fuck! How do I change this? Is it possible that I do see myself accurately, but don’t like what I see? Or do I really just not see it? I am so confused and frustrated. I sit here trying to think my way out of this whole skewed body image. I feel like Winnie the Pooh taping my forehead over and over saying “think, think, think” My attitude today morphs into Eeyore and I feel like the whole world is against me. Okay, not the whole world, but I do leave my therapist’s office once again feeling so defeated and sounding defensive. She says she believes in me, but she doesn’t seem to believe me.
Every year except the past two years part of my pre-skiing fuel has been a huge glass orange juice mixed with cranberry juice. It helped hydrate me, tasted great, and give me a little boost of energy. I gave up my pre-ski potion once I stepped onto the slippery slope of the eating disorder. I tell her how this year without even thinking about it I, before I left to ski each day, I had my pre-ski potion. Instead of seeing it as a sign that I was evolving through the eating disorder, she brings it back to habits and rituals, and how I need routine. This is true. I like routine. Is that a bad thing? My point was that I had what I wanted and needed without the great anorexic want vs need/how many calorie debate. If she saw this is a step forward, I sure didn’t catch it.
I entered the room drinking a Vitamin Water the purple one because of the potassium. My feet and legs had been cramping when I swam earlier, so after a hot yoga class, it would be wise to replace some fluids and minerals. She was drinking an orange one. I asked her if it was as bad as the purple one I was choking down. She thought there was something wrong with the fact that I continued to drink it even though I didn’t like it. “Well, it was what I had” I said. “you could have dumped it for some water” was her response. Somehow I was thinking that by drinking something that I needed even though I didn’t love it was taking care of my self. “You said the same thing about the protein shakes, yet you still drank them?”she seemed to ask as a question. “Again I was just trying to comply with my meal plans.” I am starting to feel a little damned if I do, damned if I don’t. She even suggests that I allowed my self chips instead of pretzels because me weight was “safe” Can’t I get just a little positive
feed back (no pun intended) for my food choices possibly evolving past the eating disorder?? Do I get credit for eating the sandwich I packed even though I briefly thought about all the carbs I had already had today. Nope! Six months ago I would have had a running debate about it and probably not have eaten it. But she does point out that I had any second thoughts about it.
I try to get some kind of clue as to what she is expecting of me. Where if anywhere in recovery does she think I am? I ask because I had just spoken to a group of senior high girls about eating disorders and that was one of their questions. “are you over this?” I explain to her that it was hard for me to do this year because some of there questions were more personal, and because of my continued reading and research yield answers that may not be as palatable as it is simply our cultures fault. “You can say no if it is going to set you back or unsettle you” She tells me. No shit? Really? I do know I can say no, but I believe that God puts you through what he will use you through. I also think that he calls us to step out of our comfort zone in faith. And yes I do realize the irony of not fully stepping out in faith with my weight, yet fully stepping out in faith to speak about it.
I ask her if by defining myself as anorexic, or an anorexic but in recovery means I hold onto the behaviors because that is how I am defined or am I defined as anorexic because of the behaviors? She looks perplexed, and I am continuing to grow increasingly frustrated. The more I do my Winnie the Pooh impression, the more my head begins to ache. I just want to go home. I keep reminding myself how far I have come in the past 6 months, and the few positives I hear her say, but maybe it is because of that Perfectionistic temperament, I focus on where I am falling short, rather than succeeding. If I continue to define my self as Liz an anorexic in recovery, then I feel like it will always continue to be who I am. She asked me what I meant or how I would define myself. I am so defeated and discouraged by self doubt, I am unable to get out that this is what I mean.
I leave the office and by the time I pull out of the drive way, I am feeling the sting of tears welling up and then cascading down my cheeks. Now what? If the changes I have tried to make with my food are meaningless or still part of the eating disorder, where do I go from here? Home is where I know I am physically going and I can’t decide whether to write, take a nap, or bum a smoke off my friend. Am I supposed to feel this shitty after therapy? Maybe, maybe not, but what the fuck do I know; she is the professional and I am just a fucked up client with, right now, a bad attitude missing her daddy. I try to cry it out and work it out before Kurt comes home. He has such a hard time with me falling apart. It isn’t like I will spiral out of control (anymore), but I believe that is his fear.
I call Rich which leads to a few more shedding of tears. He tells me to really start praying that God would open my eyes to see myself accurately, and the revelation of the root of my fear of the weight. I open my journal and piece of my writing falls on the table. “Yet it is these moments of strength that I panic. ‘who am I with out the eating disorder?’ And then I read who God says I am. 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) “But you are not like that, for you are God’s chosen people. You are a royal priest, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. So there is at least one answer of where the root of my fear is deeply embedded, but also who I am. I am his chosen one.
One look at me and Kurt knows I have had a bad, no, terrible day. I can’t conceal it, even though I once again try to choke back my tears and steady my voice before I turn to see him come through the door. One lone tear sliding down my cheek becomes a flood. I hate having him come home to me like this, and on top of it all I have totally lost track of time as I have become engrossed in writing and talking with God. I haven’t even thought of dinner let alone prepared anything. Is it really 6:45 PM already? By now I am knee deep in the whole gamut of emotions and attitude so now, sarcasm. I like it and I am good at it. I can be sharp and funny with it, or bitter and caustic. “Oh wait, if I didn’t have an eating disorder I wouldn’t have lost track of time and forgotten to make dinner!” I think, remembering something my therapist says to me today. “Right,” I think aloud, “I would make time for it other wise. Oh come fucking on! Seriously? All the people I know have days like this and lose track of time and when to eat, and most of them have no known food issues.”
We end up at the club for dinner. I am not sure I have much in me for talking and am as irritated as glad that the old people behind us are talking so loudly that a real attempt at conversation would have been futile. I am determined to eat a decent meal an keep it in despite my mood. To do other wise would just offer up more proof that I am way sicker than I believe I am. And I know I am right!!!