Bored In Your Eating Disorder Recovery?
I have been solidly in recovery from anorexia nervosa for six months now. (Meaning, I discharged from residential treatment six months ago. I find it difficult to count toward my recovery time where I was "forced" to behave.) A lot of things about recovery are awesome and most of the time I really love it. Until I don't.
So I wanted to share something from my personal journal today, mainly because it's a part of recovering from an eating disorder that I've never really heard people talk much about. I certainly had no idea how boring recovery could be and how tempting it would be to go back to behaviors because yes, they're familiar - but you miss the excitement. The insane highs after a workout or a purge or what have you. Sometimes recovery is just boring.
Recovery: Six Months In
From My Personal Journal, Dec 2013
This is what Marya Hornbacher refers to as "the boring part of eating disorders." Going back is not an option, so I eat and I hate it. I sit around reading and I hate it. I do what my treatment team says and I hate it. I am envious of friends who are struggling and I hate it.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Things have, for the most part, settled. All the things that you reclaim in early recovery (memory, relationships, stamina, personality, hope, etc.) are there and their presence is not a new, exciting thing. The presence of these things is normal and everyday and that is fantastic, but without that excitement, everything is just sort of blase'.
It feels like I am in a perpetual holding pattern. There is no rest here because I still have to work to make this recovery thing happen - it not yet ingrained in my mind such that I can lay off the vigilance for moment or two. So I am working hard to stay in the air, to avoid losing altitude, but I'm going around in circles seeing the same thing over and over and over again. And even though the scenery is beautiful, it gets old after a while and you would welcome a drop in altitude just to get a different view.
But you know that you cannot let off the controls for even a moment, because the smallest drop in altitude could turn into a free fall. Free fall is almost certainly fatal and the risk is too great to chance it.
So even though I know that flying in these circles is better than the turbulence and excitement I experienced before, I long for something new, something exciting. I want new scenery, but the only place to go is up and I'm not ready yet.
It is boring here.
What I Know Now About Eating Disorder Recovery
Recovering from an eating disorder is not going to be fun all the time - well, actually, it's rarely fun. And people prepare you for the parts of recovery where you have to fight tooth-and-nail to make it through the day without behaviors. But they don't tell you about this part - this sort of monochromatic middle ground where things are just sort of boring. I suspect that this is true of anyone's life (even those without an eating disorder), but once you've lived the insane highs and lows of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or any other manifestation of this cruel disease - it's tough to get used to the flat road.
Fellow recovery warriors - am I alone in this? Family and friends - do you think this plays a part in your loved one's recovery and/or relapse?
Hudgens, J. (2014, January 23). Bored In Your Eating Disorder Recovery?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2014/01/bored-with-recovery
Author: Jessica Hudgens
I feel like this. Often. I'm struggling to recover from my eating disorder now that I'm no longer on drugs.amphetamine free since September, I can't believe its been almost nine months. Trying to overcome booth problems (which overlap in some ways) has been the greatest challenge I've ever faced. At this point there isn't a rush or a high I can chase, because even the b/p episodes feel routine. I guess that's a good thing, because it makes it easier to choose the healthy boring option.
Congrats on making it almost nine months free of drugs! That is a huge accomplishment and just says to me that you are most certainly strong enough to kick your eating disorder to the curb, too! The "overlap" you talk about is all-too-common in addictions. And as you're realizing, when you take away one addiction, the others come to the surface.
Check out these older blogs that talk about symptom switching and working with dual diagnoses. Thanks for reading! j :)
The flat road is boring. It is also calming. But you will adjust and learn to enjoy life this way if u want. Its the same flat road that I had to adjust to as a recovering drug addict of 32 years on February 20, 2014.
OMG I relate to this SOOOOO much! I left residential treatment in December 13, and i have been having the same thoughts and feelings. Thanks for sharing...I feel less alone now!
Writing to you after I just finihed editing tomorrow's post. It's normal to feel bored at this stage. Actually, there will be more of these moments now and then, at least in my experience. These times challenge us because we must come back to why in the first place we are here. Why we decided to recover.The highs and lows are gone, now, the feelings are a wide open space we run through and explore...flat ground without drama but rather solace.
It does feel boring, but perhaps it's a reminder that chaos is not necessary to simply 'be'. Perhaps I'm making some sense here, what I wanted to tell you is that this is a state that is recurrent, and it's scary at times for me too... :-)
Yes, recovery is defiantly boring at times. I can defiantly agree with that. But so is relapse. Counting calories and waiting for the next time you allow yourself to eat is extremely monotonous. There are the highs but there are more boring days than exciting times. I have to remind myself that at times.
Give it time. After 10 years of the crap, it gets more "fun". I was talking about my own recovery and how I stopped certain behaviors and the honest truth was, as stupid as it sounds. I GOT TIRED OF IT. And I literally did not have time for it. I mean, sure I could have made time. I could lose my job, my marriage, etc. My friends. But I have those now. And I worked damn hard to get it. Eventually I really did just.. grow up, I guess. And was faced with the harsh consequences, physically, of what my eating disorder has done to my body. It's not fun, and really, I have nothing to show for it. Nothing. Unless you count my lowered bone density and deteriorating teeth, with my acid reflux, etc.
I think the main thing is that it's not SUPPOSED to be "exciting". Some days when work is blowing up and my family situation is blowing up I wish SOMETHING in my life was boring. But it's not. But my eating routine.. pretty boring. My weight.. neither overweight nor underweight. My life is much more exciting that my eating disorder, at this point in my life. And that's how it's supposed to be, I think.