I would like to thank everyone who is reading this for their patience over the last month as I deal with the passing of my mother. It happened over the holidays which is already an incredibly vulnerable time for those in recovery (and still suffering from) eating disorders.
Before my life was thrown into a blender I wasn’t nervous about the holidays. I was able to see the holiday meals as just a normal dinner with a lot more hype. It was still just a protein, vegetable and starch. There would be dessert, yes but I have had dessert before and I had confidence that I would be alright. I felt confident but I also felt afraid (no these 2 emotions are not mutually exclusive!). I was afraid because weeks before Christmas I already started getting the beginning twinges of urges, mostly for restriction in the days preceding and following Christmas and New Years. I was able to breathe through them and acknowledge they were there but push them from my mind.
When my mother passed everything suddenly began to spin leaving me dizzy and delirious in the middle of it all. The visitations, funeral, and burial floated around me; family and friends drifted in and out, the days shifted into nights and back into days, all the while I stood in the eye of the tornado that had landed right over top of me.
I have since started re-integrating into “normal” life. Life will never be normal again but I can do my best to make it a new normal. I have resumed doing the things of everyday life that I was finding difficult (laundry, dishes, showering, watching tv, going to yoga etc). I have allowed myself to have some fun with friends over the holiday, spending time playing games and laughing. I let myself take a break from all the work that has to be done in order to give myself some space and emotional relief. I even gave myself permission to eat.
Food was the one thing I was most worried about through all of this – it was the perfect excuse my disorder needed for relapse, one that everyone would understand and be compassionate about. I didn’t want to eat but I knew that I had to. I saw my dietician and even though I was worried about my eating patterns she reassured me that I was in survival mode and whatever happened was alright, as long as I didn’t restrict too heavily or start purging.
I found that whatever I ate I became very full very quickly, so I let myself stop and listened to my body. Whenever I wanted to eat something I went to get something whether the last time I had eaten was hours or minutes ago. When I wanted to eat or drink something I didn’t question it or justify it; I just put it in my face, chewed and swallowed. I made food as simple as I could and although we didn’t eat very healthily and ate out almost every meal I needed it to be easy so I didn’t chastise myself for it.
I agreed with my dietician that I would start keeping track of my food and eating diary again after the holidays when I started back at work. I would let my structure and routine at work help to stabilize the rest of my life and see what my eating patterns were like after a few weeks of readjusting to normal life.
So, today is day 1 and I am looking forward to getting my life and my recovery back on track. I am worried about what this little time of nutritional chaos did to my system but we won’t know for another few weeks after things have settled a bit.
I feel a little guilty trying to move on, I feel like if I loved my mother I should stay in a state of mourning forever. I worry that moving on with my life will mean I didn’t love her or that I’m leaving her here in time when all I want to do is carry her with me always. Carson tells me that I will always carry her with me, that she is not lost in time and I am not abandoning her. He tells me that she would want me to continue with the life I am working SO hard to create for myself and I know that he’s right.
For now, I will continue to take everything slowly and accept the support that is offered to me. I will continue to ride this emotional roller coaster and take each depth and height in stride. I will re-normalize my eating and let my life find its new flow.