I'd be a liar if I told you that one day it stopped: the familiar stream of thoughts and opinions which flows through the lobes of my brain. The ideas which blur the lines between healthy and hazardous, sending me flailing blindly for answers and solutions to quell my uneasy mind. Those, well those never stopped.
However, a year ago next month marks the beginning of my attempts to silence those intrusive thoughts. Next month marks a year since I began treatment.
Next month marks a year since I began developing methods to mute those thoughts with clear and helpful beliefs of my own.
Next month marks a year since I began to recognize the difference between what I "should" do and what I "can" do.
Next month doesn't mark my coming back to reality, but finding a new one.
As I said before, it never stopped; I've just gotten better with my responses toward thoughts which encourage negative behaviors. These responses aren't bulletproof, however.
Within the past few months, I weighed myself. I didn't think it was a bad idea, I was sure that mentally, I was prepared. My life was so lovely that regardless of the number, I was comfortable.
I was wrong.
My mental barricades faltered and my recovery troops fell. Since then, I've had some difficulty with thoughts of body image and old behaviors. Let me just say that regardless of whether or not you've been in treatment for an eating disorder, it's borderline impossible to be comfortable gaining weight when everywhere you turn, the world commands you to do otherwise.
I've picked up most of the pieces of my rational mind since with the assistance of my counselor, my loving friends and family, and my wonderful boyfriend, however, there are a few shards which remain astray.
If you wonder what a bad day in eating disorder recovery feels like, imagine yourself running from an erupted volcano; ash is flying around and your feet are the only thing carrying you.
Then your shoelaces vanish. Your stride becomes uncertain and unfamiliar and helplessness threatens to swallow you. At last, you step foot on the shore, abandon your shoes, and swim away.
The volcano is the disorder. The shoelaces are the issue with body/food/etc. The water is the support system.
Though it hasn't stopped, the stream of intrusive thoughts has become shallow enough to wade across; the current weak and the waves calm.
Sometimes life gets seemingly unbearable, but with help it transforms into something extraordinarily serene. The journey between the two stages is where the growth takes place; where one can harvest wisdom.
Please don't ever gather the impression that my posts are merely directed at people with eating disorders. My goal is to make anyone who's struggling recognize that the struggle is just a footnote in a life unwritten.