Step by step I’m maintaining recovery. Little ups and downs, but I feel like I’ve turned a corner. One of those big kind of corners.
In the ten days since last I posted, I’ve eaten all the meals on my menu plan. Flexibility has sometimes been an absolute necessity due to external situations. And I confess there are meals I’ve stared at and not wanted to eat. But I haven’t skipped any.
I’ve had no desire to purge – at all. This feels like the biggest miracle of all. I recently ate and lost one dinner due to the lap band restriction. But the desire to purge seems to be gone. In fact, the day I arrived at the clinic in mid-January, it disappeared. And the follow on effect is very little desire to binge. I’m not down to zero binge-desire but I can feel that is just around the corner. I am feeling hope in this recovery journey. Something I had very little of not so long ago.
I am still struggling with high levels of anxiety and resorting to moments of scratching at my hands – but it isn’t escalating. I have an appointment with my new psychiatrist tomorrow and managing the anxiety is going to be top of our chat list. I’m still on clonazepam and I’d like to be off it and find a longer term solution. I feel the improvements in my eating regime have contributed to my sense of fragility and vulnerability – escalating my anxiety.
But if I can get on top of 50+ years of disordered eating, then I can get on top of high anxiety. I have to believe in that.
I’ve recently returned from a most beautiful five days on Maria Island – probably one of the most stunning islands I’ve ever visited. Physically the trip was very demanding. Normally I can walk forever without too much problem and love nothing better than climbing mountains to find a spectacular view to soak in. But after seven weeks in a psychiatric facility where I was allowed no more exertion than walking to the dining table, my fitness has dropped. On our second day we kayaked down the coast, discovering stunning beaches and coves and enjoyed a lovely swim before exploring on foot. We made the mistake of enjoying the pristine white beaches a little too long and had to kayak back in windy, white caps which was very hard going and sometimes I was working very hard to not go backwards in the water. My friend is much stronger and more experienced than me and I know she was worried about my ability to get back to our starting point. But we did it! It left me exhausted and teary but I made it. We were freezing by the time we got back so enjoyed a beautiful night in front of a lovely fire.
One of those days where you realise the importance of digging hard and keeping going, no matter what.
The next day we cycled down to the bottom of the north part of the island. For my companions, cycling is fine. For me, it was unnaturally terrifying. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 14 years old. We had good bikes and while some of the tracks were quite rocky, for the most part they were good gravel or sandy paths and lots of flat or downhill sections. I was still unnaturally terrified. Can’t quite explain why I was so scared but after a whole day out on the bikes, I finally started to settle a little and feel less nervous. I know there’s the old saying, you never forget how to ride a bike. And I guess that’s true because I didn’t fall off. But as someone said at my gym class last night, you lose your nerve. I absolutely had lost my nerve! Unlike the kayaking and hiking, biking really makes me feel my muscles – they’re aching! Most likely my poor technique. So I ended up with two consecutive days that were physically extremely taxing on my heavily drugged and sedentary body. The following day we slept in, then climbed a mountain. What a view! Walking is definitely my comfort zone. The whole day was stunning. So much beautiful flora and fauna and rugged cliffs and lovely paths that traversed from big open grassy moors, to gentle pine forest walks, to scrambling over rocky sections before reaching the summit.
Sitting enjoying lunch on that summit was my highlight of the trip.
I regret my lack of strength and fitness at present, but hope it builds soon. And with my new consistent eating regime, and regular gym attendance, I’m hoping strength and fitness is not too far away.
Despite exhaustion and some teary days, I feel like the progress I made in the clinic is continuing. My husband is really supportive and checking in on my meals. And I’m doing it. I’m staying in contact with my professional team and if I do stuff up, I reach out and let someone know rather than wallow in shame. I know I’ve been doing this recovery gig a very long time and I’m sure some people wonder why the hell it’s taking me this long to get my shit together. I wonder the same thing. But I’ve learned patience is key and everything will happen in it’s own time. I’m starting to believe this is my recovery time and I’m on the road. Step by step I’m going to get there. Finally.