Trigger / Solution

So… I haven’t written about my eating disorder in so long!

Why?

Well, because I don’t need to, most of the time. I have been stable in both weight and mental health for going on three years now. I cannot tell you how lucky that makes me feel; how grateful I am for the people and institutions who supported me; how deeply I understand how FUCKING HARD it is to come out of this whole.

To everyone still working… keep working. Be gentle with yourself. Try everything once. And most of all, find happiness somewhere– anywhere– and cherish that as you fill that up that deep sinkhole that food used to control.

It’s all pretty words, but I want anyone who is reading this to know that it is 100% hard but 100% possible to be “okay.” Remember how I also talked about how many YEARS it took? Yeah. So.

Anyway, the reason I’m posting now is because in cleaning out my computer, I found an old document. I feel certain I found it somewhere, so wherever it came from… sorry for stealing your great words. It’s a list of triggers and solutions. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great resource. I invite you to check it out.

With love and affection,
B.

A series of unfamiliar situations, “unsafe” foods, unpredictable environments, restaurants, and social eating, like a vacation.
(Solution: Plan ahead, bring my own foods, get through as many challenges as possible, but keep as much consistency as possible.  Seek accountability with one or more of my traveling partners and be completely honest.)

Feeling strong, happy, and successful.
(Solution: remember that I must eat to stay this way.  All strong people eat.)

Conflict within a friendship or family relationship
(Solution: Evaluate my role honestly; make amends if necessary; set boundaries and get out.)

Sadness or failure
(Solution: let myself feel all of my emotions; be gentle with myself.  Remember that I need to eat to have strength to cope.  Remember that no one is perfect.) SEE INSIDE OUT!!!!! (that’s from B)

Stress or busyness
(Solution: make eating a priority to myself.  Eliminate as much stress as possible from life.  Make dates with friends to ensure that I eat when I am “too busy.” )

Weight gain
(Solution: follow nutritionist’s recommendations and forget about it.  Don’t weigh myself.)

Feeling overwhelmed
(Solution: have a friend or therapist help me evaluate and simplify my life.  If I am still stressed, realize that it is BETTER TO QUIT SOMETHING than to fall back into my ED.)

A friend’s ED, weight loss, skipped meals or odd food/exercise habits
(Solution: remember that I am following a perfectly prescribed diet and that I need to do what is right and healthy for me.  Realize that I probably have much more substantial nutrition knowledge than them.  Avoid meal times or diet talk with affected friend.)

Clothes not fitting
(Solution: throw item away and purchase a replacement, preferably a different brand.  Realize that it’s not my failure; it’s the clothing designer’s failure.)

Reading about diets or seeing pictures of underweight celebrities
(Solution: don’t read it.  Get accountability in this area if need be.  If I am needing an escape, read a travel or home decoration magazine, or a Christian or psychology book.)

Sense of loneliness
(Solution: schedule time for meaningful interaction with another human—if I don’t have a friend, make one.  Be vulnerable and express my needs.)

Weight loss
(Solution: immediately evaluate the cause.  If related to illness, take time off from school/exercise/life to get better.  If related to ED behaviors, notify therapist and others and implement what is needed.  If accidental and repeated again the next week, add extra nutrition.  Treat it as a serious symptom.)

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4 thoughts on “Trigger / Solution

  1. This is so great. Thanks for the resource for those of us still struggling, but even moreso, thank you for sharing your hope. It makes me so happy to hear that you are truly okay. I’m curious, do you consider yourself “recovered” or “in recovery”? You still speak of “my eating disorder” which makes me think you still consider it a part of who you are. Sorry for being nosy, I’m just trying to figure out what “recovery” actually means.

  2. Lauren! So good to hear from you!
    That’s a hard question, and I think “recovery” means a different thing to everyone.

    I don’t love the word “recovered” because it intimates that there’s some end point you can reach– some goal. That’s never been my experience. It’s a really long road and you feel like you’re going nowhere, and over time (and with a LOT of work) you realize that you depend on food less and less to fill you up, as it were. But there is no end point. Ever. No revelation. And it takes a long time.

    At the moment, I still lay claim to my ED because it’s a part of who I was. I don’t talk about it in the past tense. What I usually say is “I struggled for a long time with an eating disorder.” Which I guess is past tense, but not finite.

    An ED changes you, sure. But it changes you like every experience changes you– first love, college, losing a friend. Eventually you just start to absorb it as a part of who you are, and it doesn’t rule your life anymore.

    I don’t know if that’s at all clear.
    It’s also important that I tell you that my therapist helped me change my patterns of thought, which has quite literally changed my life (and my ED). My therapist used AEDP, which I HIGHLY recommend. Anyway, without someone helping guide my brain into making new neural connections (and anti-depressants), I would not be as stable as I am.

    Sending love…!

    • Oh, and:

      Everyone on earth wants you to be “great” and “good” and “happy” and whatever.

      I’ve only ever wanted to be “okay.” Because that means that I have both ups and downs, but for the most part, I’m stable.

      I HIGHLY recommend the movie “Inside Out” because this is a major theme in it.

      • I really appreciate your insight. 🙂 thanks for putting so much time and thought into your reply! I definitely plan to see Inside Out – super curious and excited about it.
        Take care of your lovely self. 🙂

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