I spent the weekend and much of yesterday studying for my genetics exam on Thursday, and have to say I’ve been fighting the same feelings of stress I had last time I posted. It’s been pretty difficult, but it’s also amazing how my mind goes directly for the ED stuff when I’m stressed about something. Stress can be good – in fact it helps one perform in small doses – but when it turns on the sick thought patterns, it’s really detrimental!
I’ve been trying to keep perspective and remember that I’m preparing adequately for the test and will do my best when it comes down to it. There are many more important things in life, and I have to get used to taking difficult tests without stressing myself out so much. Last year it was easier because I had a coping mechanism (however unhealthy) and something I could “fall back on” if the test didn’t go as planned. This year, I’m healthier but I’m still struggling in times of stress because I don’t have a tried and true healthy coping mechanism to fall back on. If anyone has any suggestions of what they do when they’re really stressed, I’d love to hear them!
On another note – acceptance. I think acceptance of changes (bodily or otherwise) is a common theme for many recovering from an ED. Last Friday I talked to my therapist about not fitting into my interview clothes. She said “Well, duh.” And I was like…”um, excuse me?” In the interest of full disclosure, I really appreciate my therapist’s perspective. She can bring humor into any situation, which really resonates with me. She went on to say that it makes sense that my “sick” clothes wouldn’t fit because I’m in a much healthier place. She said I need to get rid of the sick clothes so that I won’t keep seeing them in my closet and feeling pressure to fit into them.
I haven’t gotten rid of the clothes yet – but I think it’s important that I don’t feel the need to fit into them. I think I need to accept that my body is more…authentic now. It’s closer (if not all the way there) to what is its natural state. It’s healthier, yes, but it’s in a place where it’s supposed to be.
And I need to accept that my “sick” body and weight are not states I can return to. (Or, I could – but I would have to be engaging in ED’d behaviors and essentially in a relapse)
And I think that realization is sort of…freeing. That I’ve finally transitioned from the “sick” size to where my body naturally wants to be. I’m taking care of my physical self, and my body is thanking me by being healthy and having energy for the day. I don’t have to fit into those clothes anymore, and I just need to let go.
I’m not going to lie, there is obviously a part of me that will always want to be in the smaller clothes. But then I remember the person I was when I was that small – I wasn’t really alive. I was a shell of myself – physically present but mentally and emotionally checked out. It’s not worth it to starve myself to get back to an unhealthy place where I know I was, to be frank, miserable.
I know there is more to this than “just the size” issue, but I think it’s an important step because it’s a transition. It’s a physical checkpoint. Something I can look at and say – This really is a good thing. I’m finally taking care of my body fully, and yes I gained a size BUT in reality no one even knows that. People love me and want to spend time with me now because I’m more alive and healthy. I laugh and smile and joke. I can hold an intellectual conversation but also be as immature as a six year old. And my friends and family love me regardless – because I’m being me, the way nature intended.