My stomach feels at though the full force of Hurricane Katrina is upon it; I tense my grip on the steering wheel in direct proportion to the pain. My stomach swirls and rolls like the tracks of Space Mountain; I take a few deep breaths and turn off the radio. Finally, the pain gets to to point where ED wants it to be; her favorite mixture of physical, mental and emotional torment.
But let me back up a minute. You may be wondering how I got to this point. I had eaten my lunch an hour and a half early than I usually do in order to get to class on time. Halfway through my garden burger, the nausea started…and so did ED.
“You don’t have to finish it Rhea. If the sandwich is making you sick, just stop. It’s simple” she hissed seductively in my ear.
“I have to eat this sandwich. Because of my schedule, I will not be free to eat again until 3. My body cannot wait that long to eat again–especially since I slept through breakfast” I countered.
“You’ve done it before. We used to skip meals all the time. It was fun, remember. You have had half the sandwich and I think that’s enough for us. Back away from the burger you cow.”
I finished the burger, but the nausea continued.
I grabbed my teaching supplies and jumped in the car; ready to spend the next hour commuting to my students. That is when the nausea hit its peak. ED was there to “support” me again.
“Soooo,” she cooed, “looks like you’re feeling pretty sick, huh? Bet you’d like this feeling to go away before you get to school, wouldn’t you? I know what you could do to make this all go away.”
“No. I am not doing that again. I can’t.”
“C’mon Rhea. You did it last week when we were driving to work, and I no longer wanted what you ate. It’s not that hard. We’re in a traffic jam anyway, just pull over and get it over with!” she demanded.
“You are right. I purged last week. But, I’m not going to do it now. There is no need to do this. Eating is natural. Eating is necessary. Eating is not optional. And neither is purging”
“But purging your 10:30 AM lunch–which, by the way, what kind of fat ass eats lunch at 10:30 in the morning–will make the nausea go away. Listen to me. I’ve known you for 15 years; I know what is right for you.”
I was torn. ED had made a good argument. Instead of sitting in my car bickering back and forth between myself, I decided to end it. I pulled out my phone (I am all up on technology now), opened up a podcast–Thom Rutledge’s podcast called “Your Shot at Happiness without Ed” to be exact– and finished the drive to school without ED. I taught my students without ED, and I drove back home without ED.
I did not write my experience so everyone will see how easy, rosy and fluffy recovery is; because it is not. Recovery is hard work. I will be the first to admit that. I wrote this to show that even when you are in recovery, ED will still try to lure you back into her clutches. Recovery is a very non-linear process. One in which there will be ups, downs, steps forward, slides backwards and everything in between. It requires recognizing old, ineffective eating disordered thoughts, and replacing them with new, healthy recovery- oriented thoughts. As Thom always says, “There is no perfect recovery. There never has been. There never will be. And you are not the exception.” The important thing is to remember to do the next right thing for you, your recovery, your health and your life. Trust me, the next right thing will never include listening to Ed’s lies.
“For this reason He [Jesus] had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”