Upon reflecting on my progress in recovery, I have come to a realization. My disorder-dance is kind of a like a whack-a-mole game. I clobber one of my issues with that little mallet and celebrate its retreat into its little mole-hole. No sooner does the victor’s smile creep on my face than one, no, two, no, three of my other issues raise their ugly faces. In the process of living, and whacking, I have discovered a correlation between my victory over my eating disorder and the resurgence of the depression and anxiety. Over the past twenty-something years, I have developed a pretty sound strategy of keeping the most issues under control at any given time. The only catch is that the eating disorder’s little lovely head has to be peeking out ever-so-slightly. My dietician said that I do an excellent job of “living with my eating disorder.” I remain sub-clinical and fly under the radar while continuing to maintain pretty solid negotiations with the eating disorder. To me, this has been survival. My little moles of anxiety and depression appear to be the more debilitating and even life-threatening issues, especially with my little ones to look after. Allowing the anorexia a tiny little spot in my life seems to be the lesser of all of the evils, and surely life is not so wonderful that I can avoid having to choose any of the evils altogether. The dance is tedious, however, and maintaining health while negotiating with an eating disorder can get tricky, especially while taking care of two babies under the age of two and breastfeeding and going without precious sleep. Maybe there are more options. Maybe I can figure out how to manage my other “moles” without having to use another one to hold them at bay. Are there healthy habits that I can grasp onto as I relinquish the habit of restriction? It may be a little bit more complicated to pursue better self-care and recovery-oriented behaviors in place of this clandestine relationship with the anorexia, but I am not so sure that it will be. It could be much more simple. Of course, I would love if my little horrible moles would just choose to never flash their hideous faces ever again, but history does not offer much evidence that they can be exterminated. I grow weary of this tenuous dance with anorexia, however. I long for a way to live free without having to use one disorder to hold back other more intimidating disorders. It all starts with following that ever-nagging meal plan. Simple enough. The complicated part comes when those dang moles start popping up. I certainly have the tools to deal with them without allowing anorexia back. Am I okay with “doing an excellent job of living with my eating disorder,” or do I really want to live free? Can I possibly live free of all of my disorders, or am I like Sylvia Plath, waiting for one of the bell jars to descend again? I honestly don’t know, but I am willing to step out to see.
2 thoughts on “Games We Play”
I really appreciate your blog. I have bipolar and am trying to live in recovery. I don’t find many (if any) blogs about striving for recovery. Thank you. http://lilypupslife.wordpress.com/
Thank you for your encouragement. I write on here mainly for myself. I honestly don’t really expect anyone to read it, so to hear that it is encouraging is icing on the cake! Blessings on your journey. I know that saying that it is difficult is possibly the greatest understatement ever, but it is so so so challenging. Hang in there, and keep writing!