Hello again everyone, I am doing back to back posts tonight as a mini series on eating disorder recovery. So here is the currently edition of the series which will briefly cover what recovery means to me, how my lifestyle has changed recently, and where I intend to go.
What does recovery mean to me?
Right now my goal is to get my body and mind to a place of stability. I have read and heard many times that having a menstrual cycle is the fifth vital sign for women. Now that I am not breastfeeding, the only reason for not getting my period is a history of HA and the unhealthy patterns that I have slipped into after giving birth. There are so many reasons why getting a period is important for my health as well as anyone else struggling with HA. Brittle bones, brain cell degeneration, and an increased risk of heart disease are just a few of the health consequences of HA. I gain a lot of motivation when I read into each of these areas of concern. When I am cycling regularly it is an affirmation that my body is at a healthy weight and that my stress is being properly managed. When I am not cycling regularly, I know that there are areas of my life that need attention. In terms of mental health, recovery looks a little more fuzzy. I do not have set goals like I do for the physical aspect. I plan to elaborate more on the mental aspect recovery on this blog as I go through the journey myself.
How has my lifestyle changed?
After giving birth to James and even while pregnant, my lifestyle shifted back to a pattern of intense exercise and restrictive eating. Exercise is an area of my life that is black and white. When I am in an exercise phase I go a little crazy. It’s like my brain goes into this certain mode and I crave the extreme amount of pain and sweat that comes from a challenging workout. Rather than having healthy goals for exercise like feeling better, having more energy, and enjoying movement, I approach exercise with two goals, burn calories and control my body (shape and size). I feel beaten up and exhausted after my workouts. I have a hard time moving my body for fun and participating in low-intensity exercises. I am currently in a phase of no exercise as part of my healing process. The only way for me to heal my relationship with exercise is to rapidly decrease what I am doing and start from the beginning. I’ve had to do this reset a few times in my life, and I’m still searching for a sweet spot where exercise is enjoyable, I don’t have such a rigid mentality, and rest is incorporated.
Where am I going?
I have no idea where I’m going, but I feel like the question needs to be addressed. I am not currently working with a professional to help me through this recovery process other than the Lord Himself as well as referencing resources that I have used in the past. I still have access to Robyn’s course (therealliferd.com), as well as various books that I own. I know that I am not doing this alone and that is reassuring. There are others out there fighting these battles with me and navigating their own paths towards recovery, and with the strength of God we can all get to the other side. I don’t know what’s on the other side and maybe the fear of finding out is what’s holding me back from getting there? Will I be bored if my mind is not constantly fixated on controlling my food intake and exercise? What is my purpose if it’s not to achieve a “perfect” body? What I do know is that this goal that I have been chasing has only led me to misery, loneliness, compromised health, etc. so I need to let it go. It’s just a matter of what’s next and as someone who likes to have goals, this is where I struggle. So I sit uncomfortable in the here and now, but with hope that God will lead the way.
The things I don’t want to talk about…
If my writing is at all coming across like I have this recovery process under control I absolutely do not. I am an emotional rollercoaster. I get stressed out easily. The responsibility of taking care of James feels overwhelming at times. Motherhood is exhausting and lonely. I bottle up emotions all week and then unravel on the weekends when Josiah is home. I experience fits of anger that I can only control by hurting myself. There are some really dark moments in this recovery journey. I need some healthy coping mechanisms because all of my go-to’s seem to be some kind of self harm. Growing in my relationship with Christ is really the best thing I can do right now. Spending time in His Word, praying, and connecting with other believers. Defining my worth through God’s eyes rather than my own standards and desperately putting my faith in Him through this entire process. I fight it every day. I want to do this on my own. I have doubts that God is able, but deep down I know He is. I would not be where I am today without Him, it’s just been a long process.
A bright future!
The future is bright indeed! Despite all that is weighing me down I am so incredibly grateful for life right now and I look forward to the days ahead. Yes there are dark moments, but the light always shines through. God has been so good to me and my family and I love being able to live knowing that He will always provide for me. He will always hear my voice crying out in moments of weakness and despair. His love will never fall short. I will leave you with a verse that comes from Mark 10:27 “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'”