Today I am leaving for the cottage, travelling about 5.5 hours up north to spend a week at a cottage on a lake with my husband and 2 other couples. I am incredibly excited, but still feeling a bit nervous. Last year in September we went to the same cottage with 3 other couples and I expect this year to be a completely different experience.
Last year I was gaining weight and starting to recover, but was still very deep in my eating disorder. The night before we left, September 5th, 2013 was that last time that I purged. The lead up to the trip was filled with fear and anxiety – what was I going to eat, what was everyone else going to eat, would I be able to exercise, I would have to be in a bathing suit – how would I handle that, how would I purge when I was so close to 7 other people 24 hours a day for 3 days? I took my own food, all pre-portioned and measured. I had all my meals planned out down to the bite. I was able to leave my scale at home, but was anxious about leaving it, how would I know how the food was effecting my body!? Our first night at the cottage I had a panic attack and had to bring Carson outside to calm me down. A panic attack over potatoes. I wanted one but couldn’t have it because it wasn’t in my plan, the war in my head was so strong and I had no tools to fight it. After crying and shaking and pulling Carson outside to help me figure this out, I realized there was a REAL problem. The other 3 couples were inside, and they likely knew what was going on – these attacks happen often when we are at parties together. Carson was upset because I pulled him out of the fun to help me deal with my worries – he was on vacation and wished he could also have a vacation from me and my disordered brain. I realized then how unfair I was being to him and my other friends. I was embarrassed that I had ruined the fun for not only Carson, but made my other friends feel awkward. It was then that I decided to not only eat the potato (which was incredible by the way) but to loosen up and give Carson (and myself) a vacation from my rigidity. The rest of the weekend was the greatest 2 days of my life. I ate with the others and only occasionally had my pre-portioned food. I had snacks, drinks and didn’t stick to my meal times or plans – I went with the flow. It was then that I decided that I wanted this life to continue. I wanted to be able to not only have a vacation from my disorder, but have a life free from it. This was the beginning of my re-commitment to recovery.
This year, I have no idea what we are eating and that’s ok! I bought a bathing suit that fits my new body and plan to wear it. I will swim because I want to feel the water and explore the lake, not because I am trying to burn off that day’s food. I will allow myself to relax without thinking about what else I should be doing or how I should be moving. I will eat and drink with my friends and actually enjoy the food’s flavors and textures, not focusing on the calories in the food and worrying on it’s effects on my body and weight. I see this trip as a real test and celebration of the progress I have made in the last 10-12 months, and I can’t wait to have a real vacation for the first time in my life.