When It Rains, It Pours / How I'm Getting Back On Track
I've had a rough couple of weeks.
To say that my recovery mindset has been rather negative is a complete understatement. Not only was I overcome by the ED voice in my head, I let anorexia affect my daily actions, too. I was digging myself deeper into the eating disorder "hole" every day.
This negative headspace was due to a couple of coinciding factors, which are not too relevant for discussion. The thing is, I resorted to eating disorder behaviours and was doing anything I could to act in accordance with the voice in my head yelling at me to self-destruct.
I really believe in the saying "when it rains, it pours". It's like I was hit with one curveball after another for weeks on end. All domains of my life were impacted: professional, personal, and health. I felt like I was drowning and despite trying to come up for fresh air, I couldn't catch a breath.
So what did I do? I took control of the situation. On Monday, I had the day off work due to a mini-ice storm in Montreal. (That's right, a mini-ice storm in mid-April!). While I struggled on my day off (too much free time means too many opportunities to ruminate with unhealthy thoughts), I also did something drastic. My mom and I booked a mother-daughter trip to New York City.
Now, one would think that booking a trip would lead to excitement and anticipation. But I was scared.
You see, I've been kind of coasting in my recovery. I wouldn't say I have relapsed, but I definitely have a million and one things I need to improve upon. One of them being weight gain. I'm not denying the fact that I am on the underweight side and have some work to do to bring myself into the "healthy range". That being said, I (or rather, the ED voice in my head), have been quite resistant to the idea of eating more and gaining weight.
Back to my trip.
There is no criteria being imposed on me that states: "you need to gain X pounds before your vacation". Neither my therapist, dietitian, or mother are setting weight gain as some kind of requirement or contingency. But I am. I am saying to myself that I need to gain some weight back before my trip.
Why? Because it has been proven that when one is underweight and malnourished, anxiety rises. Concentration decreases. Obsessions become worse. And overall, a negative headspace may follow suite. Truth be told, I don't want any of that when I'm away. I want to touchdown in New York and live in the moment. Really, truly enjoy my favourite city in the world. And it would be nice to do so without the incessant worry about food and calories and the possibility of weight gain (which all get amplified when, once again, one is underweight).
I am paying for this trip and I don't want to taint New York City with negative, eating disorder-filled thoughts. I'm being realistic, though, in the sense that I think some of those thoughts will still be there. I'm not recovered, after all. But I can act now to decrease the intensity of those thoughts, and prepare my mind and body for New York in the beginning of June.
I had an appointment with my dietitian Friday morning and I vocalized this sudden drive of motivation. I am committed to gaining weight for my trip. Although my actions will be met with the promise of a "reward" at the end (vacation), it doesn't mean my actions won't be valid. Maybe this upcoming trip is exactly what I need to get myself out of the hole I have dug for myself in recent weeks. At the very least, hopefully I'll be able to start climbing out of it.
So, these past few weeks have been far from easy. I have been dealing with a lot of negative thoughts and a lot of anxiety due to the "weight gain" goal I have set for myself. The whole process of committing to gaining weight and seeing that number go up on the scale is terrifying. Quite honestly, weight gain never gets easier for me. Even though I have done it numerous times throughout the past decade, both in treatment centres and on my own at home, I still get scared. I still freak out. I still cry and get frustrated and question whether or not I am making the right decision by eating more.
But, irrational fears aside, I want to make this year a good one. I don't want to spend the first year of my thirties in the depths of mental illness with no real plan for the future. I'm tired of living just to "make it through the day". I really want to experience joy again. And I know I have to fight back a little harder against the ED voice in my head.
So, here we go. Again. I need to focus on my priorities and give this a try.