It’s so easy to focus on everything that goes wrong, everything that still needs to be fixed, and how big the fricking recovery mountain is!
It’s so easy to regret the decades where I didn’t seek recovery or acknowledge the severity of my problems. And to bemoan my many failed attempts at change, the misunderstandings of my own behaviours and those of others. To look back in frustration at not having the wisdom or strength to question my thoughts and feelings and actions.
These things are easy to do. I do them every day. It’s part of the perfectionist thinking common to most addictive behaviours: I’m not good enough. I haven’t mastered this aspect of recovery, therefore I’ll never recover. It’s too hard. I’m beyond redemption. There is no hope.
While I do recognise I am climbing a very tall, steep mountain, and I’ve spent a lot of time sliding down unforeseen crevasses, today I want to focus on some of the progress I have made. And while I confess that part of the reason for this post is to make other people feel better (everyone likes to hear success stories) I also recognise that acknowledging progress is part of the recovery path in every aspect of my mental health. So here we go – this is what I am succeeding at right now (I had to retype the word “succeeding” several times – it sticks in my throat…)
- I made an appointment to see a dietician today. I didn’t want to. I’ve resisted this for a long time as I feel I already know HOW to eat well and in a sensible manner – I just ‘choose’ not to do it. But – it won’t hurt to see someone who specialises in food. You never know – she could be my missing link.
- I have not restricted for two weeks. Not once. Despite waking up every day feeling horrified at my weight and listening to the voice screaming inside my head about how useless and fat and stupid I am, and that restricting is the ONLY answer. I have not done so. Sure – I’m still binging and eating poorly a lot of the time (most of the time?) but I’m not restricting.
- I am trying not to purge. I am – for the most part – eating in a manner that allows me to keep food down. I do slip up every few days, but compared to purging every single thing that passes my lips, it’s an improvement. It’s a conscious decision at the start of eating that allows me not to purge.
- I chant the phrase, “The answer is in recovery” to myself relentlessly – especially when I want to restrict. And my interpretation of that is true recovery will eventually see me eating healthy meals throughout the day – for hunger and pleasure – and will leave me without guilt or shame. And that this manner of eating will ultimately lead to my weight stabilising in a healthy place. This I have been promised… My soul does not believe it – but many people tell me it is so. I am trying to have faith in them.
- I am watching Rana’s facebook videos – almost every day. I am trying to absorb her really sensible lessons. It’s not information that is new – but it is information I need to keep hearing, because clearly I keep forgetting to do it.
- I am not self-harming. While I did have a bad moment during a few sleepless nights last week, in general I am not self-harming any more.
- I got a tattoo – more on that later (it won’t be finished until tomorrow)! But it is meant to be a line in the sand to remind me that suicide is not an option – my story isn’t over yet…
- I am writing. Mostly (in fact entirely) I write here now. I used to do journaling, but now I do blogging. I figure as long as I’m writing, that is all that matters! Again – it was a tool I had been hearing about for years and had resisted. Eventually I thought I’d give it a go, and what do you know?! It actually helps.
- I am not good at talking to people about stuff – out loud and face-to-face and all that jazz. Not even with my close friends, family or even my psychologist. I will do it. But I’m uncomfortable and to be honest, information needs to be drawn out of me – it will rarely be volunteered. I am an expert at finding out all about you and making you feel listened to and valued. I suck at reversing that role! However, I have started occasionally venturing into little tidbits of shared information – without someone having to force it out of me. I’m still bad at it – but at least I’m making a bit of an effort.
- Multivitamins. My energy levels have been so low for so long that I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be me! My breakdown and trip to the clinic a year ago left me beyond exhausted, and while I have been slowly and steadily improving in a lot of ways in that time, I still have significant issues with fatigue. I have had a medical checkup and the most likely scenario is poor nutrition – due to bulimia 😦 So while I do need to work on the eating disorder, in the meantime if I take a multivitamin (plus I’ve added an extra vitamin D supplement), hopefully they will increase my energy levels which could potentially increase mood as well. My fatigue is debilitating at times. Most weekends I can’t get out of bed… I used to be hyperactive and running around like a mad thing all the time. I miss that…
So that’s my list of ten things (part of my slight OCD-ness means lists have to be in multiples of five!) that are recovery positives right now. It doesn’t feel like much to me. It certainly doesn’t feel like it is nearly enough… But it is success (there’s that ugly word again) that I’m experiencing right here and right now.
Onwards and upwards?!