This is an excerpt of a journal that Bridget kept during her long battle with anorexia nervosa.
The past few weeks have been a huge struggle. Depression hit me hard. I felt like I was drowning with no way to come up for air. I was very conflicted inside. I wanted to choose recovery, and yet I struggled daily to find a reason worth living for.
I had two choices; one - to give into the depression and allow it to cripple me with feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness and allow my eating disorder to flourish. Or, two - to do the opposite of what I wanted to do at the time, which was to isolate, self harm, take laxatives, purge, restrict and lay in bed.
I chose number two, which for me was not an easy thing to do. I chose to go to friends houses, so I wouldn't be alone. Some days I went without even showering or even changing my clothes. I knew that I just needed to go. I am so thankful that my friends love me no matter what. They encouraged me and laughed and cried with me. They reminded me of all the positive choices I have been choosing towards recovery.
I was challenged to explore what is OK and not OK in my recovery. In looking hard at myself, I realize that I do things that are not recovery focused. My mind is almost automatic in justifying these actions to make them OK. I have listed a few things that I feel are most critical for me to work on. I have to change the way I think in regards to these behaviors to be able to move forward in my quest for recovery.
Some things I do that are not OK (and how I justified the behavior):
- Going into a meal with the mind set that I'm going to purge anyway.
- Justification: I was not comfortable with the food choice, but i needed for my family to see me eating!
- Buying a scale.
- Justification: Though I knew I shouldn't have one, it was only $6. After all, it wasn't the elaborate one with body fat measurements.
I have been able to hang on to the eating disorder by practicing these behaviors. I had to come up with a plan of action to fight against them.
For example, I had to make a list of negatives when it came to the scale. I know deep down inside that having a scale would be detrimental to my recovery. I would never be satisfied with what it said. It would never be low enough!
I'm scared! In looking back at these few weeks I know that I need to challenge my thought system continuously. In not challenging it, I'm allowing the eating disorder to control me as it has before for so many years. I don't want to go back.
For me the most important thing during this time has been remembering that I am not alone, and that I cannot do this by myself. I need to continue to ask for help. It has always been there, I just never felt worthy enough to reach out for it. The statement "I deserve to"... was definitely challenged these past few weeks by my belief system. But, today I know that I deserve to get better!