Monday, January 10, 2011

Eating Disorder Update

BJ recently pointed out that I haven't written or even talked about eating disorder stuff much lately. If at all. He asked how I thought I was doing. His direct question was, "Do you think you are completely recovered?"

The answer to that is... maybe.

Its been almost three years since I went for inpatient treatment at CFC. When I went, I believed I could conquer the eating stuff on my own... I had done that before. (For eleven years, I white-knuckled recovery. Forcing myself to eat, because that's what I was supposed to do. There is a part of eating disorder recovery that has to be just white knuckle. You DO what you have to do, because if you don't, you die.)

I didn't believe I could really recover without help: SERIOUS help. I had NO IDEA!! When I went, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted or what was ahead. That came to me later.

I remember one group in particular. The question was something like, "How will you know when you are recovered?" or, "What does recovery look like to you?"

Several people answered that they'd be able to eat a certain food without worrying. Someone talked about the scale. When it was my turn to talk, I heard myself say, "I'll know I'm recovered when I like myself more than I hate myself."

Eating disorders aren't about the food.

That said, I still have thoughts like, "Oh geez, I can't believe I ate pizza and brownies and ice cream and chips and guacamole and enchiladas and movie popcorn and... that's not even half of what I've eaten today. What would people think if they knew what a pig I am?" Those thoughts are fleeting, because immediately I hear, "What would they think? If they know ME, they'd be happy for me. I'm happy for me." (Just in case anyone was wondering, that was yesterday... And that IS a portion of what I ate yesterday.)

My eating disorder was all about hating myself.

Today, I can honestly say that I love myself more than I hate myself. A lot more. I rarely feel hatred towards me anymore. I like me. For reals. I'm not just saying that because I know that's how I'm supposed to feel.

I figure eating disorder thoughts and urges will come back. I figure, they will always act as an early warning system that there's something not quite right. I figure, I'm lucky to have a way to know when I need to change something in my life.

So, am I completely recovered? I'm not sure it even matters anymore.


  1. It's looking good Jen! Movie popcorn sounds really yummy right now...

  2. I like you too! (And I like popcorn and guacamole and all that stuff)

  3. " I can honestly say that I love myself more than I hate myself. A lot more. "
    LOVE this!! I know that three years ago I wouldn't have believed it was even possible to feel that way. EDs are definitely not about the food.

    I love what you said about eating disorder thoughts being an "early warning system" that something is wrong. So true, and a very useful way of thinking about it.