Saturday, April 25, 2009

When swimming is hard...

I took this photo today of a carpenter bee in the water bucket. It was quite sad really. There it was just flailing around in the water. I don't know much about carpenter bees and whether they behaviorally go towards water for a deeper meaning than just "taking a drink," but in my anthropomorphic mind, I like to think this was all it was doing. But then, it fell into the bucket and helplessly swam around and around in circles, unable to fly out. After some time, it got tired and could no longer flap its wispy wings. Its poor eventual demise was death, just floating on top of the water.

So what does this have to do with this post?

At my last therapy session, I told C. I had been entertaining thoughts of sliding towards ED behaviors. Restriction is always there in the back of my mind, but purging hasn't been on my radar for quite a significant amount of time. Like the carpenter bee with water, I feel like taking a "sip" of anorexia or bulimia. However, at the same time, I know just a "sip" of it is all it takes to spiral out of control.

So where do I stand? I don't know honestly. Part of me knows that, falling back into ED hell is futile, but another part of me wonders if it is just self sabotage--a way of saying "see you can't even do recovery right, you'll never be recovered." :sigh:

I know logically the best option is to swim, fighting all the currents along the way. It just feels so hard.


Kristina said...

Just to share a random note about the bee thing - they seem to end up in our swimming pool, and then M. rescues them!
I understand what you mean about [insert behavior] always being on the back of your mind. I feel like that too, but then there are times when it seems to demand more thought/space in my brain. As much as I dislike it, I'm trying to now see that as something to stop and examine. Look at my life and ask myself what else is going on.
Maybe there is subterraneous movement, emotions beneath the surface, and you are looking towards anorexia and/or bulimia because that has been your "fall-back"?
Finally, I do believe that there is no "right" way to do recovery. Maybe you are putting SO much pressure on yourself that you feel like you are going to explode? And by explode, you go back to what is familiar?
Sorry that I'm filling this comment with questions. I guess it's that I've been there and I often times believe that I will be there again. And I cannot predict HOW I'll respond. But I believe that fighting the currents is well worth the struggle.
Take care.

Lisa said...

Sometimes I think like that, too - "well, if I just cut back (I don't say 'restrict' in my head) for a little while, just a week or so, I'll lose a few pounds and THEN I'll be happy."

Funny how that weight loss never actually does that magical thing I think it will.

Carrie Arnold said...

I watched a bee (not sure what species) on my balcony today, struggling to fly. I kind of cheered when I made it off the balcony, and not just because I'm not to keen on somehow acquiring a beehive.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with DBT, but one of the principles is radical acceptance. And maybe that's what might help. Can you just accept that you're having these thoughts without acting on them? Accept that they're a normal part of recovery? I'm not saying I'm good at this, because I'm not.

Kim said...

I like Carrie's suggestion -- radical acceptance of the fact that these thoughts are part of recovery. I would think it a little odd if you NEVER thought of your ED again. It's tiring to always swim. Sometimes, we want a "break" from recovery. Doesn't mean you have to take it. I totally understand that feeling of, "See you can't even do recovery right." I think I've had lots of false starts with recovery and I just reinforce this failure concept. I'm not failing though. It's all part of a bigger process. I'm trying to be ok with that.

Gwen said...

I totally understand the place that you're in. I, too, think Carrie's advice is excellent. Emotionally you are drawn to the eating disorder behaviors because, maladaptive and painful as they are, they do offer you some relief. But logically you are drawn to recovery for a million, better reasons. Don't be that bee who takes a sip of water and then winds up swimming in circles until he can't swim anymore. Stay out of the bucket. It's just not worth it.

Tiptoe said...

Thanks for the comments all!

Kristina, very true indeed. The ED does feel "familiar" and has for many years. It's hard to break out of that thinking that it is just NOT an option anymore when any moment, it truly can be except that you choose have to choose not to.

Lisa, yes, I wish we didn't always think of the happiness image with being thin. It just never happens in the long term.

Carrie, I do know about DBT, though have never been formally trained so to speak. I wrote a long paper on it in college and did independent research on it. I should probably try harder to put some of these principles into practice. You're right that cceptance of both good and bad thoughts/behaviors is important to think about.

Kim, I agree that these types of thoughts do happen in recovery. I think part of it is that this is close to the longest I've ever been in more or less substantial recovery. I know it hasn't been perfect or anything, but there is just the fear of screwing up. Thus, then reverting back to a bit of black and white thinking.

Gwen, yes, there is definitely that juxtaposition between ED and recovery. I'm trying very hard not to be that bee and fall into the bucket.

Kara said...

Thanks, Tiptoe, I needed this post. I need to get out of the water and stop drowning.