I decided that I need to make a list of pros and cons for fully recovering from TED. This is not to decide if I should continue, but more to identify the challenges I am likely to encounter on my way to recovery. Maybe it is a little late for this, but I always say “better late than never” mainly because I am always late. I have already faced “challenges” and I just feel like if I was better prepared (knowing what was coming at me) I might have a better chance at recovery.
CON #1: It’s Something I Am Good At.
I am good at losing weight, even if I am not doing it in a healthy manner. I constantly had people saying “you are so skinny” and “what’s your secret”. My answer – “I watch what I eat”. Now that is the understatement of the year. When I stepped on the scale in the morning and the number was ???, I knew what I had to do. My intake that day would be limited to two yogurts (200 calories). Within a day or so my number was back to “acceptable” range.
I realized on my own that I was good at losing weight, it was the first time I remember feeling confident in any of my abilities. I wanted that feeling all the time. In the end, the number on the scale was never good enough. I just wanted to restrict and once again “feel in control”.
Anorexia became my way to feel better when something went wrong in my life. When other areas felt out of control, I always had TED.
“I got a bad grade on an exam? At least I only ate X calories.”
“You want to criticize me. Whatever, I can eat less than you.”
“You do not understand me. Who cares, TED does.”
TED was the glue that held together what little bit of self-esteem I had. At some point, TED went from being something that made me feel good to being a form of ”punishment”. With every little disappointment (spoken or imagined) meant restriction. I began restricting for days because I always felt that I failed at something. The thing is, I miss TED. I miss knowing that feeling better is only a skipped meal away. I miss the self-confidence (however warped) that came with knowing at least I was good at something.
What I have learned on this journey through recovery (and I guess I have always known but did not want to admit) is that anorexia was just a huge wrecking ball in my life. It made me doubt my other abilities even more. I knew I was good at losing weight. I could still eat less than anyone else. TED wiped out all of my confidence in myself except when it came to my weight loss skills.
I know that TED will always be there. He will never go away completely. The hardest part is that I still know I’m “good” at it. I could go back right now ~ it’s like riding a bike.
GOAL: Replace TED ~ Find what else I am good at.