Monday, August 27, 2007

My journey, thus far - what recovery means to me*

J.L. posted some very thought-provoking questions on her blog today. Instead of filling up her comment box with lots of "me, me, me," I thought I'd post my answers here.

"But when do you get to say that you’re fully recovered? Is that ever something that happens?"
I don't know. For me, I'm not sure I'll ever be "fully" recovered. However, I do think that I *am* recovered now. Although I pine for the days when I could use my ED behaviors, I don't use them. I find another way. I suppose, for me, "fully" recovered will be the day when I don't consciously have to talk myself down from my gateway behaviors (like keeping a food journal, using exercise as a way to compensate (punish myself) for eating...)

"Will there ever be a time in my life (for longer than a few months) when I will be 100% happy with my body, and eating/working out?"
To be honest, I don't know of many people who are 100%, 24/7/365 okay with their bodies/eating/exercising. That doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. For me, my goal isn't to be always okay with my body. My goal is that on those days when I don't feel okay with me, that I still take care of myself - by eating what I need, by moving how I need, by resting as much as I need, by being gentle to myself.

"When will I not turn to my ed if I’m stressed out?"
For me, I still turn to my ed when I'm stressed, I just end up turning away immediately - for example, today at work. I have a zillion projects with various deadlines. As I started to pick one, I had a sudden and strong urge to write down everything that I've eaten today. I pulled out a sheet of paper, got the pen, hunched over both on my desk,... and stopped.
I wrote in my private diary instead - about the stress that I felt and why. I reminded myself to breathe, to stretch. That it will all get done in time. I had (and have) plenty of time.
I think someday, I won't turn to my ED anymore - I'll know to breathe and stretch and cope in other ways without turning to ED first. I'll know all the reminders that I don't need my ED to deal with my feelings. Even the emotions that seem overwhelming.
I'm still practicing. Everyday. Sometimes every minute. Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don't. But the point is to keep moving forward, keep striving to be better.

This isn't a question, but...
"[Talking about events in the past is] not going to change anything. It’s only going to make me think about it more, and that’s something that I’m trying NOT to do!"

For me, when I am feeling a lot and trying not to (whether the feelings come from here and now events or ones that happened decades ago,) that is when I want to use my ED the most... I've learned that letting some (if not all) of the feelings out does help. Sure, thinking about events in the past won't change them - the events are done and over, but the feelings are in the present. Those feelings are HERE and NOW and they won't go away until they are given "the light of day."

And that is incredibly scary. Bringing feelings out in the open. Sharing them. Feeling them.

I'm still working on that - my anger, my sadness - especially surrounding my abuse, especially letting others (and myself) in on the rawness of my emotions. And that is probably why I still turn to my ED in times of crisis (even though I don't use it anymore.) I'm looking for comfort. For numbness. For oblivion.

But oblivion doesn't cut it anymore. Not for me. Not now.

I've found so much more strength in the arms of a loved one, in the words of a friend (that includes everyone on the cul-de!,) in the thoughts of my true self. I just can't go back to ED's cold and empty promises. That incredibly lonely existence that I lived for too many years of my life.

I won't.

Recovering, for me, means learning to enjoy life in the gray.**

Living, for me, is about sharing myself - my real self - with those who love me (myself included.) My true thoughts. My heartfelt feelings - whatever they may be.

I'm learning that people who truly love me, who truly care, won't run away from me. The real me isn't a hideous beast after all.

She's just human.

*okay, so the title sucks. I can't be clever all the time.
**And now that I think about it, "fully" recovered is awful black and white, isn't it? Why do I have to be "fully" recovered? I'm getting better, not striving to be best. And isn't the point of recovering to get better?


æ said...

I am so honored to have you share yourself with me.

Thank you for letting me be on your journey, and for coming along on mine.

J2R baby!!


roark said...

you got it, jeanne. hell yes.

i don't have to be the best, or fully anything. i can be me, being honest and fair to myself, recovering day by day.

hmm, i love that. just the thought i needed today, thank you, darling.

hope all is well in your neck of the woods...


carrie said...

Nail, meet hammer.

I am jiving with you at the moment. I can't say for sure that I will never relapse, never start acting on ED thoughts (assuming I totally stop). Because I can't predict the future.

Do I want to go back? No. Mostly no. Because ED is easier. It's simpler. It sucks. But it's easier. Yet I can't predict the future.

The point of recovery is to be happy and healthy, not perfect.

Eve said...

Dear Jeanne,

What a wonderful, introspective, honest post. (Much like you as a person, in fact!) Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on these questions.

Love, Eve

lauren said...

Jeanne, your words were great today serious eye opener things I hate to think about!
I love how you share thank you for being you sweetie!
Love lauren

Jeanne said...


I'm glad that we are sharing our journeys! Thank you for riding with me!

Hmmm, I thought J2R sounded familiar... ;-)


I'm glad I could help you along a little today!! Absolutely - we don't have to be best or fully anything, but who we are.

And no, thank you! For being here with me.


No one can predict the future. But I do know that even though ED is easier, I'm miserable with it. From the first moment onwards...

And you are so right - the point of recovery is to be happy and healthy.

Thank you!


Somedays I feel more introspective than others... don't we all? lol Thank you for being here, sharing this with me.

Jeanne said...


We crossed in cyberspace!!

I hate thinking about these things myself, but each time I stretch out into a little discomfort, I find that going back to it isn't quite so hurtful... Kinda like stretching your muscles - when you get to the point where you feel discomfort, you take a few deep breaths before you're able to lean a little more...

Thank you, too!

lauren said...

All I can say to this is you are soooooo right, I admire the hell out of you!
Love to you

Jeanne said...

Thanks, Lauren!