Writing something like this is hard for me. I keep a lot hidden away. I put on a smile and go about my day. I am pretty optimistic about life these days. But I still have my struggles. Getting them out of my head and into actual words makes the feelings all the more real, and for years I have tried to keep them at bay. I’m learning that is not the way to go about life.
Life is all about feelings, good and bad. You cannot know joy without also knowing sadness or pain.
So for whatever purpose this will serve to me, here goes…
From start to finish yesterday seemed to have it out for me. Extra drowsy upon waking, traffic, traffic going to a job I’m not crazy about, the time crawling, having to McGuyver the button on my pants, my favorite celeb couple divorcing!, losing my health insurance, and not being in bed as early as I wanted to.
I am not typically a complainer. I pep talk myself a lot, especially on the way to work, because I am truly grateful for the little things in life, the things that often are overlooked, and I know all of the stuff I mentioned are first world problems.
But my normal shtick is to pretend I don’t have bad days. I slap on a smile (most times genuine, sometimes not), do what everyone else asks of me, and I go about my merry way. This sometimes leads to some sort of self destructive behavior and/or frame of mind. Which is what happened to me last night.
Knowing my night would not go as I had wanted it to, not being able to get things done on my own time, and being cranky as hell lead me right into the kitchen. Now, it wasn’t a full on binge. Some people would probably roll their eyes if I complained to them about my overeating. Being in recovery for food issues, though, this is a very big deal to me.
While in the midst of eating a little more of this and a little more of that, growing a little more nauseated by the bite, I was fully aware of what was happening. I was cognizant of the fact that I was using food as an escape tool in an effort to soothe my frustrations with the happenings of the day.
I had a lapse in judgment, and I stumbled.
I had a lapse in judgment, and I stumbled, and I admit it. Aloud.
Because if there is one thing I have learned in recovery it is that hiding my feelings and creating a sense of shame does not work. It does not make me feel better, no better than the act of overeating soothed my bad mood.
Recovery is full of bumpy roads. Recovery is full of twists and turns, wrong ways, pot holes, and every other driving metaphor you can think of. It is not easy. It does not lead into one direction. And often the road is traveled alone.
For this, I am learning to share. I don’t have a close friend to whom I can turn and discuss the shame and self loathing I feel after overeating. There is no one talking me down from working out twice a day or after having worked 12 1/2 hours. Writing it down, sharing it with strangers on the internet, sharing it with people who have felt the same, with others who struggle at times, it helps me to release some of the negative feelings I have about myself in the aftermath of those moments.
I am human. My recovery is not perfect. My voice of reason is combating the voice of an eating disorder on a nearly daily basis.
Still I refuse to give up. I will slip up. I will stumble. I will learn everything the hard way. But I refuse to go down that road again.
I fought so hard for so long. I’m not going back.
Releasing these feelings from thoughts to words doesn’t yet feel good. Neither does holding them in.
So this is my declaration to anyone reading, anyone struggling – no matter what the issue.
Say what you feel. Be honest with yourself. Travel alone if you must. Strength is earned so earn it. Look forward, never back. And never.ever.ever. give up.