**Content warning: Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
By Bev T.
I’ve been dealing with chronic anorexia for many years. I have periods of time when I do well in my recovery battle and times when I feel like I’m back at the beginning. When dealing with an eating disorder, as you well know, it’s not just about meal plans and food intake. It’s about isolation, anxiety, panic, and all the noise you are hearing in your head from the entire committee, not just Ed. The Noise, as I call it, is overwhelming at times. Right now being one of those times, that noise can be devastating and in some ways deadly.
Everyone is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic causing widespread panic and anxiety. Dealing with everything being shut down and told over and over to stay home and self-isolate. No contact with people, and keeping 6 feet away from those you do come in contact with. Let me make this really clear: To someone with an eating disorder or those who have an entire committee in your head, as I do, this is like CHRISTMAS MORNING for the eating disorder.
I’ve been hit hard by all the chaos around me. My anxiety and sense of panic is overwhelming. I’m extremely frightened about being in forced isolation. Eating disorders thrive on keeping you isolated from everyone. They also thrive on the fact that food is being rationed as you can only buy so many of each item in the store. When you’re dealing with a meal plan that’s supposed to be followed, now more panic and anxiety can set in. My Ed keeps telling me to restrict food intake because what I have has to last a long time, like there is no food anywhere but in my house. Crazy but true. And yes, as hard as I fight, it has affected my food intake.
With all that I’ve stated, of course the big question is: What can I do about it? And if you are with me so far, the question is also what can you do about it?
First and foremost, keep reaching out for support. The virus does not come through the internet or phone. Talk to your treatment team, your family and friends that you are comfortable with. Complete isolation is deadly and I say this from experience. If forced to stay home, you still have a way to reach out and make contact. Ed will not help you through any of this. Ed does not care about you and your needs. All Ed cares about is controlling you and watching you fade away. THAT’S IT.
For those of you with some recovery under your belt, you have a voice inside you that speaks the truth. It’s called your recovery voice. This voice will not scream at you or demand anything. You just need to tune in to that voice and listen. It took me a long time to find that voice, but now I hear it loud and clear. Sometimes it may give you some tough love but it’s speaking your truth, and most importantly, it is not your eating disorder. As I’ve been told by my therapist many times, if you’re struggling or have setbacks in your recovery, it does not wipe out all you’ve accomplished with recovery. What you have learned throughout your recovery process is still there in your recovery voice.
These past few days have been extremely difficult for me. Last night when talking to my therapist about our session for this week being by phone or possibly face-to-face later in the week, I spoke up. For personal reasons I have a hard time with phone sessions. I knew that waiting until the end of the week would not work for me. My response was “I really need to talk to you, let’s do a phone session tomorrow.” Even though my heart was beating fast, I got through it and it was a really good session.
I’ll repeat what I said earlier. Reach out and most of all take care of yourself.
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