Well folks, it’s been a roller coaster the past six months and now I’m back…I guess. I’ll explain.
There has been a shift…a big one. At some point this last week my eating disorder disappeared.
I blogged previously about my therapist giving me instructions to try eating every two hours. You might remember how angry it made me and how helpless I felt to follow through. In our next session I told her how I felt and she told me that she hadn’t actually expected me to be able to eat every two hours. Huh? It was only meant as a guideline. What? And she said that anything she would tell me to do would never be an order. Really? And she would never give me an ultimatum. Right.
After that enlightening conversation which would have been more helpful the week before, she decided she needed to change her approach. She asked me to think of something that I could change. Her theory was that if it came from me that it might work better.
For some reason I said that for a week I would stop using my apps and websites to record my calories. She liked it and said that she would get behind any idea I came up with. She told me not feel bad if I didn’t succeed every day with the resolution and to just keep trying.
Except for one day, I was successful in keeping that resolution. And then I had an epiphany. It was a dumb epiphany but huge for me because of how ridiculous obvious it was. You have to understand something first to understand why this was such a huge revelation.
In my mind, I have one memory of my uncle. The memory is of the few moments it took for him to kiss me between my legs and me telling my grandmother what happened and the confrontation that never happened because I couldn’t repeat it in front of him and his wife.
In my mind, that is the first and last time I ever saw my uncle.
Then I had the epiphany. When I stopped counting calories, I was lying in bed one evening and it hit me. That was not the first time I ever saw him. It couldn’t be. I remember enough about how I felt around him and his wife that day to know that I already knew him by the time that day happened. It wasn’t a ‘Hey, meet your Uncle So-and-So’ and then bang! he molested me. I already knew him. I remember when my grandmother wanted me to say it to his face while I stood in the kitchen. I looked at his wife, my aunt, and if I can put a context to a child’s feelings, I think that I felt like I would hurt her if I told her what he had done. I understood their relationship on some level and understood that there would be some kind of pain for her if I told.
I wouldn’t have understood all of that if that was the first time I had ever met them. I wouldn’t have felt some kind of emotional response if I just met him that day. There was a familiarity with him and with her that could only have existed if I already knew them by then.
You may think that this was obvious but it was not obvious to me until that very second a week ago. My therapist said I compartmentalized it and I never understood that concept until then. In my mind that day was isolated from everything else. I have absolutely no memory of him outside of that day. It was the only day for me. She said that once I stopped obsessing about the calories, it opened space for other things.
One day this past week I suddenly had permission to eat again. The compulsions about food were gone as quickly as they appeared. Strangely it felt like the decision was not my own but came from somewhere inside me. Since I’ve been doubting that I even have DID, this was especially weird (I’m still not sure but there it is). I sense that maybe the blood test results and my crashing blood pressure contributed to the change because the goal was not to kill me. I’m not sure. It’s just how it feels. I think.
Whatever happened I woke up and I kept hearing that it was okay to eat. When I got hungry, an internal voice (or something), told me it was okay to eat. I was allowed to go into the kitchen and get whatever I wanted. Now I could not only cook for my husband but I could also eat it. If I wanted to exercise I could do it because I wanted to and when I want to. I literally had to be reminded of this each day, every day, from inside.
I told my therapist about this shift and I was sure that she would be incredulous but she wasn’t. She told me that she has seen this before. She gave an example of a client who was purging and then one day she suddenly stopped. This was not an unusual development in her eyes and she was glad to see it. She welcomed me back. I told her that looking back at my blog, I realized that I had been doing this for six months. Even she hadn’t realized it was that long.
I had an eating disorder and I can see that now, standing on this side of it. I’m still uncomfortable with my weight but I’m trying to balance my comfort with healthy ways to manage my weight. It will take time because I’m not used to eating and I’m not used to not exercising obsessively. All I know is that things have changed. I’ll have to see how things go from here.
I’m going to try and take it a step at a time.