I don’t think my hippocampus is back online yet. They get testy, and will sometimes go on strike when the world is stressful and the hits won’t stop coming. I’ve had so many hits, my soul probably looks like a patchwork quilt of impact craters.
On the bright side, I didn’t fall back on old and harmful patterns of coping.
Bad habits can be broken. Who knew?
I don’t have a word for how I feel about quitting smoking. If you’d have asked me two years ago, I’d have said quitting the demon weed was an impossibility. But look at me sitting here with a year and a half of cigarette freedom under my belt, smelling like not-an-ashtray. I suppose “gobsmacked” fits.
I’ve also held the line when it comes to my eating disorder recovery. I’m two years binge and purge-free and, knock on wood, going strong. I’m not even tempted (my recent kidney infection may have helped: nothing like intractable vomiting to make you opposed to vomiting).
I’ve become uninterested in pursuing the things I was once willing to die for. Makes me feel a smidge foolish for wasting all that time, but only a smidge. Things happen when they’re meant to, mostly.
I think quitting smoking was the easier of the two. One can give up cigarettes. One can’t give up food. Walking away from eating was part of what got me into this mess.
The inability to abstain from your drug of choice makes eating disorder recovery difficult indeed. And not just not-abstain: you have to play nicely with your drug of choice multiple times a day, and it doesn’t feel good. In the early days, it was difficult indeed. And for “difficult,” read temper tantrums, panic attacks, and refusals to comply.
At least I avoided the feeding tube this time.
I don’t like the incessant thinking about food that comes with recovery. Ironic, since with the eating disorder, you think about little else. Things were easier when I only ate microwave popcorn, lettuce, and diet Pepsi. Things were easier when I didn’t worry about other people worrying about my recovery.
The “no man is an island” thing isn’t that comforting when you’re wracked with guilt over the inadvertent harm you caused.
Recovery eating got better when I dropped the medication that had a caloric requirement (though that’s not why I dropped it). It got better again when we changed my antidepressant dosing: I shifted from taking a pill with each meal to taking them all together once in the morning. A certain schedule rigidity vanished with the change and losing the last of the recovery food rules made me feel light indeed (though there are still some eating disorder rules to deal with).
A recovery eating plan is pretty rigid. It’s three meals and three snacks a day. I also make sure I’m getting some of every food group, and I eat from the rainbow. I address problem foods and work to reintroduce foods I abandoned. And If you read that with an eye roll, you have the tone about right.
Prescriptive rigidity was probably necessary at the beginning, but recovery has to evolve. I’m ready to take the training wheels off.