Monday, October 13, 2008

Recovery musings

Today's therapy appt. made me think about recovery and what my goals really are. Sure, it is to be ED-free, but it's not as simple as that.

I was telling her about my fear of "post-marathon" blues. You know it's kind of like the "post-vacation" blues, where you feel depressed and know that you're going back to your old life whatever that may be, except that it becomes worry about backsliding into eating disorder behaviors. I was truly honest with C. and told her that I think one reason why I've done "better" (this is in the context of the last few years) for the last ten months is because my eventual goals were to run marathons.

I felt so hypocritical after saying it, like recovery should be more than just about running marathons. I said to her half-tearful that "I don't want to have a marathon planned in order to allow myself to eat. I want it to be about being healthy and feeling okay with myself." She completely understood what I was saying, but then said and I'm paraphrasing here, "you know what, if it takes planning a marathon year after year to continue to eat, then maybe that's what you need right now until it becomes about health. I know you'd rather it (recovery) be for intrinsic reasons rather than external ones, but you're just not at that point yet."

I'm not sure how to feel about everything she said. On one hand, it's all true, but on the other, I just feel like I'm such a let down and loser. I know external validation from wherever it comes from can only go so far. You have to get to a point of wanting and creating internal validation or else, you'll continue to keep running in circles. Circles don't end, they're continuous. Lines, goals, and paths end, and that's where I'm hoping to eventually be--on the recovered end.


Carrie Arnold said...


Having something to work for is a very human need. I am always on the lookout for things like this, too. We want things to look forward to. Traveling is one of my things. And being able to go hiking. And so on.

Even if/when your recovery becomes its own thing and you're doing it for YOU, those little motivators certainly don't hurt.

Ai Lu said...

I agree with Carrie, and with your therapist, and I don't think this is anything that you need to be ashamed of right now.

I know when I had a therapist who told me "You don't need to stop purging right now. You are doing this because you don't have other options right now, and until you have those options, I don't want you to feel that you have to give it up." I was shocked. She was actually giving me permission to purge? Wasn't that the problem in the first place? Wasn't it unnatural, and unhealthy?

Well, by giving me permission, some of the shame and mystique went out of binging. It wasn't forbidden anymore, and I started to forgive myself whenever it happened. From there, stopping altogether happened gradually, but it was a lot easier when I knew that I had it, at least, as an option. Maybe running a marathon is that option that you need to permit yourself to have right now, while you are busy developing other options for yourself.

Take care!!

Ai Lu

Tiptoe said...

Carrie thanks so much for your response. You are right that having those motivators do help. I hope recovery will eventually be truly for me, it's just a little frustrating to not be at that point when it "seems" like it should be.

Ai lu, I had a psychiatrist who said something similar to me when I was purging a lot. I remember him saying that maybe I would only get it down to once/week, and that would be a real accomplishment. And I viewed it similarly as you. It was helpful at the time to look at it that way.

Hopefully, I won't need permission and can get to recovery on terms for myself.