I need to follow up that last post with the continued lessons and understanding that have occurred in just a couple of days.
It really is quite simple: I fell back on the familiar which happens to be eating disordered thinking (and no, not behaviour).
Something happened that caused a lot of change really quickly – the injury. It came with non-stop physical discomfort which, I think, drives any person - well or unwell - a little bit mad. I suddenly had to stop many of my activities that brought me pleasure (most importantly squash). I did not have the freedom to go about my days as I pleased, everything had to be planned. I had to make time to rest (not a strong suit of mine!), I had to seize the times when my pain was less to get the most crucial bits of daily living done: washing, dressing, meal prep, etc. This was unusual and completely out of my control.
(I hate to use that word “control” as people afflicted with eating disorders are so often labelled as control freaks. For me, yes, I was technically a control freak but only because I tried to create a practical structure that could keep me “safe” and possibly a little more sane and for no further reason than that. In that sense, I don't need control anymore, I just kind of like to be in charge of me after so many years of a) being ruled by the monster in my head and b) being told what to do by many other people.)
That's besides the point I am making right now, though.
Aside from familiar thought patterns, there is a part of me that is still terrified of relapse. I don't believe that I will relapse, I really don't see how it could be possible with the understanding I have come to have; but for the past 14 years of my life, I have been told that most people with EDs relapse at some point to some extent. The system I was treated in for so long has done be a great disservice in that way as now, being in a place where the philosophy is that absolute and complete recovery without risk of relapse is the only outcome, it's very difficult to unlearn what other practitioners presented as fact. I suppose, as much as I will prove to the people in my life that I am really okay, that I am well, I will be proving that to myself. And that's actually kind of exciting.
I'm a hard-ass when it comes to me helping myself, often a little too hard. It may not have seemed like it or have been understood by many over the years but whatever little bit of hope or help I was offered, I did my absolute best with. I also like to do things as quickly as possible and I am learning over and over that so many lessons take time to learn. Many wounds take time to heal. Thought patterns certainly take a lot of time to change. Being injured...I wanted to speed it up and to me that usually means pushing myself harder, in this case, it meant being far more gentle with myself which is still a very new concept to me.
I am experiencing improvement today. Maybe not physically but mentally. I still can do so many things and I'm focusing on appreciating those things, I don't have to be miserable because things have changed and because what had become what I looked forward to has to be put aside for now. I still have so much to smile about, to appreciate, and to engage in and do and enjoy.
It has actually been a blessing the have to slow down and really appreciate the little things. A song came on today and I started dancing without thinking and I got a few dorky moves in before my back said, “um...not quite yet, Julia” but those couple of mindless moves were worth it. It has enabled me to be so mindful of my body and appreciate all that it does and how absolutely all of it works together to function. Again, it is the wonder at life that has the potential to keep me ever entertained and in awe, and the loss of that focus that brings me down.
I know and believe greatly in the power of the mind. When understood and harnessed for the good, it has great potential and in this case, I am choosing the thoughts that will bring me healing as quickly as possible but only as it can be sustained.
Impatience, for me, is a great hurdle and I still need a lot of gentle encouragement to be patient with me and extend the same “courtesy in time to [me] as I do to others” as I was recently encouraged to do. I'm working on it, and it will take time, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to rush it except live. Hopefully I won't need too many more experiences like this, that literally force me to stop everything and wait until I can carry on. But, if that is what it takes for me to learn my lesson thoroughly, I'll remain open to it.
In the meantime, I suppose it's time to do unto myself as I would do unto others.