The lure of the dark side

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If the universe was reasonable, it would allow me to “fully recover” before throwing curve balls in my direction. Unfortunately the universe isn’t reasonable.

I have made progress. I really, really believe this. But I am far from recovered. And the moment the balls are curving towards me, there is an overwhelming desire to return to the comfort of old habits and dark desires.

Every day is a battle to eat well, eat regularly, and keep food down. Every day is a battle to deny myself self-harm – no matter how much I want to carve into my own soft flesh. Every day I make the decision to either do harm or do good to myself. And it’s exhausting.

I am so, so tired – physically, mentally, spiritually. There are good reasons for me to be tired, but that doesn’t make the exhaustion easier to bear. I keep reminding myself to hang in there – this too shall pass. The curve balls will slow down and straighten out soon, but in the meantime I need to hang in.

I made the decision about a month ago to remove the tools of my self-harm trade to a safer place – so I didn’t have constant and ready access. More and more each day now, I find myself wanting to return them to their rightful place by my side. As yet I have not done so – I choose to make a better choice today. I make no promises about tomorrow.

I have eaten daily – for months. Most of the year in fact. I have not consistently eaten six times a day. I know I should, as learning to recognise hunger signals is part of what I am relearning. There are so many things regular eating will do for me – stabilise blood sugars, reduce bingeing and craving, feed my energy levels and brain function. The voice  screaming at me that food = fat is being bullied into shutting up more regularly. Yet still – it is a battle. I have to make a conscious choice to eat. To eat well. To stop eating. And every single fucking time, I have to make the heart wrenching decision not to purge. The dreaded food stays in – mostly.

I guess most (all?) people reading this will be glad I’m eating, not purging and not self-harming. I’m not. I feel sad about it. I’ve lost my best friends. I can’t promise I won’t go looking for them again. But right now, I’m resisting the lure to the dark side and choosing instead to sit up straight and let head rule heart.

I have learned to accept and manage suicidal ideation. My death wish is always there, but I choose not to act on it, and I’m unlikely to act on it because I worked hard to find reasons to live.

I’ve also worked hard at picturing a future filled with recovery and purpose. And to achieve this recovery and purpose, I must maintain the gains and work towards more. I dream of being freed from food obsession – I can’t imagine it, but I dream of that freedom. Every time I give in to an eating disorder demand, I push myself a little further back  – away from freedom. Every time I make a good choice, or choose to do a self-care activity, I push myself a little closer to freedom.

When life is stressful and exhausting, it is hard to focus on that freedom. But the degree of difficulty is not impossible and is almost irrelevant. The slips are getting further further apart. The desires don’t lessen. They are still there. Every single day. Will they go away? I don’t know. Will I learn to live with them? I hope so. Am I going to succumb? Possibly. But if I do, it will be okay. I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep on working towards this recovery. The lure is alluring. Succumbing is not a necessity any more.

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