Between five and seven pounds

I wasn’t going to write about my eating disorder today. I have a draft post about my PTSD waiting for revisions. I’ve resisted looking deeply into it to date but had big plans to do so in the somewhat near future. Those plans flew out the window this morning when I put on the jeans that are supposed to be baggy only to find they were less baggy than expected.

Just like that, my mental equilibrium got shot to shit.

I knew it was coming. I’m hyperaware of my body and I’ve noticed a little extra flesh on the hips. I’ve been eating, you see. Not a lot, but more than I do when I’m at the one thousand calories per day restriction level. I’ve been bingeing Friday nights as well, letting myself off the leash. Not a recovery behaviour perhaps, or maybe it is. Maybe letting myself eat what I want without throwing up is a good thing.

Regardless, it’s Monday morning and the pants I rely on to tell me I have value and worth are tighter than I want them to be. Now I’m in hell.

The side of my brain that wants to recover, the part of me that wants to get well is busy. She’s pointing out all kinds of logical things. That it’s only five to seven pounds. That the pants are small anyhow. That my worth as a human being is not dependent on having a visible bone structure. That I’m in control of what I think and what thoughts I choose to follow. That when I’m in my eating disorder, I’m miserable.

My eating disorder laughs at my feeble attempts to break free and starts to make plans. Restriction. Throw away foods that aren’t on proposed eating plan, which mostly seems to involve vegetables. Exercise. Lots of exercise. And where are those laxatives anyhow?

It’s tiring. It’s depressing. It hurts to have part of you hate yourself so extremely. To feel you have nothing and are nothing simply because the legs of your pants are a little tighter today.

I want to retreat from the world. I don’t want to talk to friends or see family. I definitely don’t want to do family dinner tonight. Because, in my eating-disorder-ascendant brain, all they will see is someone who is fat and pathetic and useless. Because, in my eating-disorder-brain, the only thing that holds any value is thin.

I have no idea what to do.

Which is somewhat untrue.

I know the path I should follow – and yes, “shoulds” are evil and need to be abandoned but sometimes, no other word seems sufficient.

I should continue to eat. I should continue with a pattern of moderate exercise. I should get rid of very small clothes. I should recognize the strides I’ve made, the months of stable eating, the fact that weight gain will likely improve my health and sleep.

There is still, unfortunately, a large part of me that disagrees. That feels that I’m only worthwhile if my stomach is extremely concave and the hip bones jut through my pants. That I’m only worthwhile if my thighs are extremely thin.

This is the challenging part of recovery for me; when I hit a bump and I need to make choices and the choices are up to me. There’s no one else in charge, no one tells me what to do, what road to take, what path to follow.

There is still a large part of me that wants to recover while still staying extremely thin. It’s an untenable position but I persist in holding it.

I suppose I’ll have to spend some time thinking about incompatible objectives today.

What we choose determines what our lives look like. If I go with the default setting, then I will restrict. It’s easy to say “lean into the discomfort”. It’s easy to say “we are more than just our bodies”. It’s harder to live the changes when ever bit of you feels like you need to be moving in the opposite direction, moving back.

Even when you know that nothing good is back there.

2 thoughts on “Between five and seven pounds

  1. I feel like we are in a very similar place in our recovery. I completely relate to what you said in this post. Picking up and starting again…and again…and again…so hard. You can do it. If I can, I know you can.

    Liked by 1 person

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