Hang on, help is on its way I’ll be there as fast as I can Hang on, a tiny voice did say From somewhere deep inside the inner man (from Help Is on Its Way by The Little River Band
Those lyrics just popped into my mind as I sat down to write. I thought it was kinda cool….especially the line about ‘deep inside the inner man.’ For me that becomes the driving source when I need some relief.
Relief is a great theme for the weekly blog post challenge. As I write I am exactly 3 hours from the start of relief. In three hours I meet with the dietician for the first time.
Usually I’d be anxious, nervous, playing out conversations in my head and imagining what to expect. Not so much this time. It’s more of a matter of fact approach. When you’re desperate for relief you get that way.
Today is the end I hope. The end of life as I’ve known it for 3+ decades. The end of the denial. The end of the downplaying. The end of the lies and the energy wasted it takes to remember what was said to whom. The lies aren’t so much there anymore but they once were. Oh were they there. An eating disorder will do that to you.
So why do I call this ‘relief’? When you’ve played games and covered up stuff most of your adult life it gets tiring.
After a while the lie becomes truth in your mind and the path gets lost for what turns out to be a false reality. Only to me it IS reality right now. My brain has been wired in such a way since college that I don’t eat right anymore. And it seems normal. I learned in college the art of shutting off my hunger from paranoia that others were watching and judging me. And over time sugar and carbs became the quick fills to curb the hunger pangs. Pizza and sugar became my ‘frenemies.’ Over the years I became overly concerned about taking food from the fridge for lunch that I thought someone else might want…sometime. So I shut the fridge and avoid the choices. That mental nightmare is actually for me on of the warning signs my anorexia is kicking in. Just a couple weeks ago I froze. For 5 minutes I was in and out of the refrigerator trying to find something to eat. Mind you….there were ALL KINDS of things in there just waiting for the eating….and I had a reason not to take every single one of them (someone else might want it later today). It got to the point I think I might have had a bagel for supper that night. Or I didn’t eat. Or just had ice cream before I went to bed. It’s a mental hell.
Often times I have no idea what we’re having for supper when I get home. And if there are other things to do that need to take priority sometimes supper becomes ‘fend for yourself’ which becomes snacking, I don’t eat, or the ‘safety valve’ bagel. You can see in this short snippit how crazy things are in my head. And I have not been able to find the off ramp on my own.
What is changing the last 6 weeks since I finally started wrapping my head around the fact that I have an eating disorder as a separate entity and not a ‘tag along’ to other challenges I’m working through is simply I got tired of living that way. Giving it a name – its own identity – its own spotlight – gives me permission to face it and ask for help. It takes the weight off my shoulders and brings along others to help carry the burden.
My mindset is beginning to change. And what I am about to say may sound totally crazy or foreign to you and unless you’ve lived with any kind of ‘addiction’ you won’t get it. But try. I am realizing that I am worth fighting for. I am deserving of self-care and self-respect. I am worth the time and resources it will take to pull in the additional support to help me get healthier. I’ve had someone already tell me ‘it sounds more like self-discipline than anything else.’ That’s akin to telling an anorexic to ‘just eat.’ If it were THAT easy don’t you think I would’ve done it by now?! Do you REALLY think I ‘want’ to be this way? I’m trapped. Plain and simple. I didn’t have the necessary coping skills when I was younger to deal with some stuff so my brain found an ‘out’ in whatever way it could. And for whatever reason it centered around food. I read something just today that suggests there are some biochemical predispositions to eating disorders. If that’s true it takes away the stigma and lessens the burden. Doesn’t make the road to recovery any easier but it makes it make sense a little more.
And there’s a word that is sneaking its way into my vocabulary when I talk about my eating disorder: recovery. I remember telling my counselor a few months ago that I in essence had issue with that word and didn’t see an eating disorder as anything to ‘recover’ from but instead just something to be managed instead of it managing me. I’m not so sure about that anymore. As I think more about my eating and try to take a few small steps on my own to improve things I am realizing how much of an all-out fight I’m about to wage. All the steps of AA probably apply to an eating disorder if I sit down and really think it through. I know at least the first one does….admitting that I’m powerless over it….and step 2….turning it over to a ‘higher power’ which for me is God through Jesus Christ. Those two steps alone have been the journey the last 6 weeks, and step 2 came at church after my counselor challenged me to let go. I ended up on my knees up front at the altar just crying and telling God “I don’t want to fight you anymore. I let go.” And we’ve seen the self-care attitude come after that.
So I’m down to 2 hours and 13 minutes. My oral surgery last week has made eating this last week tough. I tried to eat a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and only made it through half of it until the jaw pain was too much and I needed more Advil.
I don’t know what to expect, but I know I will have challenges. All my life I’ve avoided talking about food and by seeing a dietician I’m asking us to focus on the one thing I’ve hated up until now. That’s BOUND to bring up some things. But I need to do this. For me. For my health. Because it’s time. I’d be honored if you’d share the journey with me.