Monday, February 15, 2010

Question # 17: Trapped & Tied...Am I Ready?

SUZANNA WHITE writes: "My question kind of goes with the art: '...trapped and tied to your disorder'(The Healing Room by Shawna Atkins)

I think as the days go by, I want less and less to recover. Did you have this same feeling when you were in recovery? I desperately want to go back to how things were when I was at overtaken by my eating disorder, and most days I feel like trying to recover was my biggest mistake. I kind of just want to know I'm not a freak. Do you ever step on the scale? I am just not ready to stop weighing in--maybe I'm just not ready for recovery?"

I can't tell you whether you are ready for recovery - only you can make that decision. But I can tell you that I understand your current stage. It's almost... apathetic? I've felt that way in the past. Going back to how things where when you were overtaken by your eating disorder is the easy way out. It's also giving up - because it's only a matter of time before going back to the beginning becomes giving up on life. Your life won't be your own and more importantly, it may not even exist in a few months or years. I know this is what practically everyone preaches - that you need to stop or you'll die. But it's true. There aren't really old women anorexics out there. You either recover or you die. I know it's blunt, but it's true.

You're not a freak. Wanting to give up on recovery does not make you a freak. I think many of us feel that way at some point. You're certainly not alone. Letting go and giving everything back to your eating disorder would feel like a sense of relief, right? It's less work, it makes your mind feel better, etc. But that's because your mind has an illness. You have to understand this to get anywhere.

If recovery was easy, there wouldn't be therapists, nutritionists, support groups, self-help books, treatment centers, and other resources. And yes, you do have to CHOOSE recovery - it's not going to choose you... but all that means is making the decision to live or die - because even if you're still breathing while you have your eating disorder, you're still not really living.

An eating disorder is a slippery slope. You give in once, you're falling fast. You give in twice, you're falling hard. You give in three times, you're falling down into a big dark hole. And it's going to be even harder to get out. Going back to it only seems easier than this whole recovery thing right now - but it's really not. That's all in your head.

Do I ever step on the scale? Yeah, I do. At the doctor's office when I go for my regular appointments. I didn't even have a scale in my house for the first 3 years after college. Scales do not matter to me. I do have one now. I do get on it...maybe a few times year? I don't care that it exists. I let a scale back in my life when I knew it wouldn't affect me any longer. If you came to my house and said you had to take it, I'd say, "Sure, go ahead." It's just a thing. Before it used to be power. Control. Numbers. Self-worth. Constant, multiple-times-per-day evaluation. That was years ago. I'm done with that. It's no way to live!

You can be ready for recovery and still be scared of the scale. You can be ready for recovery and still step on it. But one of these days you're going to have to make the conscious effort to stop and say, "This is it. This isn't helping me. I'm done. Maybe in a few years I can be around a scale again, but that is not today."

And tell yourself to cut the crap. You either want to be rid of your eating disorder or you don't. In my humble opinion, you wouldn't be reading my blog OR submitting a question for me to answer if you didn't on some level want to be rid of your eating disorder. This is a recovery blog. I give advice, support, help, and motivation for recovery from an eating disorder. It has never been anything but that and I have never pretended otherwise. You know this. And therefore, on some level, you want to recover.

Are you ready? As I said, I don't know. I can't answer that. But you can. And you will. At some point, you will. Maybe you're not ready to answer that question you've put to yourself, because you know that if you do you will have to start putting more effort into recovery. Maybe you're just afraid of a life without an eating disorder as part of your identity. Whatever it is that's holding you back, sit with it. Reflect on it. And remember, recovery is possible. You can do it if you really want it.

Yes, there was a time I felt like you. But now I feel like me. And I'd much rather feel like me. Feeling "trapped and tied" to something gets old pretty quickly... and you deserve better.


Anonymous said...

I have a question in a similar vein.
I came forward without prodding; no one knew about my EDNOS except for me. Am I still allowed to have days when I wish I'd never said a word? How can I deal with those feelings?

Valerie said...

Thank you for sharing, Arielle. It certainly helps hearing it from someone who's been through the ups and downs of recovery. You have been an inspiration to me! =)

Lou Lou said...

hi arielle, im off to treatment for a month in a few days, but just wanted to say thank you for your amazing blog, it has helped me get this far, ill miss reading and wednesday warriors!
take care and just wanted to say you are an inspiration!!!!

Arielle Bair (Becker) said...

Julia - Thanks for the question. It will be answered ASAP on the blog. :) I added it to the list.

Valerie - Thanks for reading, babe. I appreciate the kind words.

Lou Lou - Good luck, sweetheart! Hope to see you around again in month though! Thanks again. <3 Take care.

AVY said...

Keep the spirit up.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted this! Just wanted I needed to and wanted to read today/tonight!

Anonymous said...

I feel the same, always.
Every day I feel like I want to give up this fight. As - it's true - with anorexia everything seem simpler.
But I have only this life. Maybe building something for myself it's worth the try.