Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Being Alone in Recovery

As lacking in services for treatment in eating disorders as Idaho is, that's not what I mean when I say being alone in recovery. Being alone with my own thoughts for much of the day has been one of the biggest blessings as of late. Let me explain.
I lost my job on June 17th. I am 32 and had been working continuously since the age of 19. Despite having two kids, I have never been a stay at home mom. Not until now. I have no job. I watch my kids during the day. My recovery efforts with the eating disorder have been "half-assed" according to my husband. My work life deeply affected my home life. I wasn't focusing on my recovery at all - merely going through the motions hoping something would change. But being home during the day has opened up a new way of life.
I was given the choice to work on my recovery fully or look for another job right off the bat. While solely focusing on doing the actual hard work in recovery terrified me, I chose that. I have the time. I have the resources. I have people. How do I choose NOT to do it?  And so I've been alone in my own thoughts. Alone in recovery.

It's been extremely liberating. My biggest challenge right now is the actual food. I now work with a dietitian that specializes in eating disorders. I am extremely fortunate to work with her. One thing she did while creating my meal plan was give me choices. For each meal. While it seems extremely obvious, I had never had it presented to me like that. I'm allowed choices! That tweeked something inside me.
I have a wrist watch with three different alarms on it to remind me to eat. Yep. I am notorious for "just forgetting" or some other lame excuse. And I was clearly instructed to eat even if I was not hungry. The whole point is so my body can get its metabolism back in balance and function normally. Because, right now....it sure does not!
Being alone during the day has put everything on me. There is no one watching me. I'm on my own. And that is scary to me.

It's getting done. Some days my food choices are whacked all out of order, but food is getting in. I look over my plan each morning and try to mentally plan what I'm going to eat for the day. But, as it turns out, it's actually remembering my times that is most difficult. I can't just eat when I feel hungry....I've kind of lost that sense in my body. It's starting to slowly come back. But making the conscious effort to eat is where the work is really being done. I do well most days, and overall, I'm pretty proud of myself. And yes, it's true. When the body is properly nourished, the mind soon follows. My mind is now focused on my relationships in life and how to properly interact with different people. And yes, food is one of my relationships that need to be worked on. As far as eating goes, my therapist flat out said, "It has to be done."
Find the courage to be yourself.

Being alone in recovery has been a good thing. It puts a lot of accountability on myself. And reporting back to my team in an honest fashion is what follows. That's a little hard sometimes, but today my doctor was pleased with my food intake. When stuff like that happens, it keeps me motivated. Work harder. And my husband has been a freaking trooper with me. We talk honestly and openly about everything, and finally I can now talk freely about food and my own body image. What a whole new thing.

No, being alone in recovery is not so bad at all....


Anonymous said...

I meant "half assed" in the nicest way possible!

Jenn said...

I'm sure you did, anonymous. :)

Meagan said...

Jenn, I'm very proud of you. I know that being alone, as in by your own lonesome, is one of the hardest things in the world for some of us- it is me, especially when it gets dark. I tend to bread down as soon as the sun goes down. Weird right? I try to stay busy, but as the night falls, my demons come out to play, they're tricky little bastards, they truly are. To hear you say that you are gaining peace at being alone is amazing. I strive to find that peace. I want to find solace in myself, and I want to be my own bestfriend. Not yet, definitely not there yet, but it's encouraging to hear that someone who can empathize with my own struggles is beginning to take control of hers is giving me strength. I too can do this- I hope. I don't know how yet, but want to learn. I don't know where to start or even where to gain the strength to overcome my own defeat after dusk. But I will get there....maybe you can write me a self help guide on how to be alone.....cuz I hate it. :) You rock my socks.

Jenn said...

You're already on your way, Meagan. I totally see it in you!

Be Coolio