I tried to skip lunch today.
Honestly, I tried to skip breakfast too, mentally hoping the square of dark chocolate and two cups of decaf would hold me over until lunch. It didn’t. After talking with my husband, confessing my struggle with the anorexia voice these last few days, I gained enough motivation to eat a homemade turkey and cheese “Mcmuffin” of sorts. It was good, and my body was so thankful.
But my husband wasn’t home at lunch. My stomach growled and squirmed for more food, but the anorexia voice said, “Ignore it. Just go lie down. You’re tired.” So I did. Or I tried. It doesn’t feel good to be starving. It’s painful. When I was in the thick of my eating disorder, I rarely felt good, but not feeling well was normal. I was so accustomed to hunger that not feeling well felt just fine. Now, after almost a year of being in recovery, feeling hungry feels uncomfortable, like it should.
So I got up and ate a small bowl of butternut squash risotto–trying to pacify the hunger while still giving into the eating disorder voice. This has been the battle for the last three days… anorexia voice versus the healthy voice, both vying for my effort. I just don’t feel like fighting the anorexia voice right now, yet I’m annoyed it’s still there and would like it to go away. I pray, wanting to honor my body’s yearning for nutrients, knowing God can quiet the eating disorder voice; at the same time I don’t care what God wants or what my body wants. The tension is tiring, friends.
November 3rd will mark my one-year anniversary in anorexia recovery, and I have been thriving strong in the maintenance phase for several months. My body is recovered, and my mind has been growing steadily healthier every day. While I don’t know why these last three days have been so hard, I do know that this is called a “slip.” I am not falling into a relapse but rather faltering a bit unsteady on my mental feet. It’s happened before on my journey this year; slipping is a normal part of recovery. I don’t like it. I feel like if I am getting better then I should just be better.
I don’t want anorexia anymore. I used to need the disorder to feel safe–to feel that I belonged somewhere and was worthy of belonging. My journey has taught me that I don’t need anorexia because I belong to God. I am safe and valued and worthy and perfect in the eyes of a Father who has chosen me as his daughter. So why can’t my brain cooperate with my heart?
I don’t know. Recovering from a broken brain is hard. Getting better is different from being all better. I am so grateful for the healing I have so far– I live in freedom most days. Tripping over the last few days–restricting portions here, skipping a snack there–is normal, as frustrating as it is. I have tools; I have friend/family support; I have a great therapist; I have God. I won’t fall because I am tethered to tools, friend/family support, a great therapist, and most importantly, God. The slip, though, is unsettling.