I have realized that I need to write more about the positive things I do towards my recovery on my blog because these steps forward are so important to recognize and celebrate. So here is one from last night:
I went to my grandma's house last night to celebrate her birthday with some of my other relatives. I knew there was going to be cake & ice cream there and so I had decided to myself ahead of time that I was not going to eat any of it. That is how I was going to deal and cope (especially after the rough few days I had had with some feelings being brought to the surface that are very painful... the last thing I wanted to do was eat cake & ice cream). And since I had already made up my mind- I didn't have to worry about anxiety or fear, and I could just relax and have a good time, right? I was able to be talkative and engage in conversations because I wasn't worrying and stressing about having to eat the cake & ice cream. Then the time came for the cake & ice cream (and to make things worse, it was that store bought cake that is even more frightening to me). But "my plan" was still in place so I didn't need to worry or be nervous. But...I knew people would have an issue if I said "no thanks" to the cake and ice cream. I might be able to use that around other people but with my family...it usually doesn't fly because they know why I am saying "no thanks". So I politely took my plate when my aunt handed it to me. I was sitting there with a book I brought (to distract me) and I was going to wait until no one was looking and throw my cake & ice cream away. Then that would be that, and I would be happy and everyone else would be happy because 1) I would be happy that I didn't eat and 2) they would be happy because they would be under the assumption that I ate. But then I started to think about recovery and that I was doing the exact opposite thing that I have learned in all my years of treatment. So... I nervously ate the cake and ice cream.
Now, to most people, this might sound like a small, unimportant, or even silly thing - but to me it was a huge deal. Those are very scary and intimidating foods to me and I still have those thoughts that I am going to explode if I eat certain foods (as irrational as they are... they have been fears for a long time, and they don't just go away). Afterwards, when I finished, I tried to stay positive and happy but I was immediately overwhelmed with my ed feelings and I was so upset with myself that I ate it (and all of it). I kept wishing I had been strong and in control by not eating it... but then I realized that I was strong and in control because I fought off those ed feelings and, in that moment, I chose recovery! And I didn't explode.
I wish I could say that this was the end of the story and we all lived happily ever after - but eating that cake & ice cream pretty much ruined the rest of the evening for me. I was overcome with negative thoughts and feelings and I couldn't shake them. I kept telling myself, "okay if I can sneak off into the bathroom and purge then it will be gone and I will feel better..." But I knew deep down inside, that that wasn't the answer, and that I needed to sit with the uncomfortable (and very nauseous) feelings and wait for them to pass. That is something I struggle with a lot. Whether it is the physical feelings or the emotional, I have a hard time coping with them, sitting with them, and waiting for them to pass. But that is exactly what I did last night. I sat firmly in my chair and tried my hardest to distract myself. I was pretty quiet and to myself for the rest of the evening - but I took a step forward by eating the cake and ice cream and then sitting with the feelings until they passed. Instead of running away from and hiding from that thing which is overwhelming and frightening.
This doesn't mean that I am cured from my fear of cake and ice cream and that I am going to eat it all the time now - it just means that I was able to choose recovery last night and I am pretty damn proud of myself.