Purging, but not the ED kind

March 10th, 2016

Feels like I haven’t been to Group in ages.  I love attending group.  It’s a safe space where I’m surrounded by really beautiful yet equally jacked up souls.  Only joking.  Mostly anyway.  We might not be jacked up, but we’ve got some seriously jacked up stories.  I like to think I’m the fun, grounded one.  I sit there all Buddha in my responses to others and vulnerably share my successes and setbacks for the week.  But today, I notice everyone’s toes.

I notice that M has her shoes kicked off and her polish remains only on parts of her big toes.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the daily difficulties of raising a child, mostly on her own, while working through memories of horrific violations committed against her younger self and determined not to use ED as a coping skill.  And I remember that her husband struggles to be present with her through all of these difficulties.  And I hurt for her because I kind of had *that*, at least.  I wish I could connect with her today.  She has worked so hard to be open with us.  She doesn’t possess my ability or lack of appropriateness to just throw it all out there for poor, unsuspecting ears to catch.  She’s thoughtful and guarded.  But so am I today.  Which is how I came to inspect everyone’s toes as opposed to connecting to the hurt in their eyes.

I didn’t want to come today.  Not because I had a hot date, because I don’t date and I don’t have my kids tonight.  I don’t want to go, because in two weeks, I haven’t had a day where I didn’t burst into tears randomly and definitely when speaking of anything close to my heart.  My ill-equipped coworker asked me simply “but do you feel like you’re doing better?”, seconds before I lost my shit, burst into tears and attempted communication through tears and gulps of air for the hour following.  I say ill-equipped because this is my cold-hearted bestie (I have many).  And by “cold-hearted” I mean she’s perfect at telling you when your butt is expanding (even taking pics when said butt busts through your jeans at work), providing you with perspective when you really just want to say how big of a douche canoe a former husband is, but completely unable to provide a side hug when the tears and snot have mingled into one big mess of bodily fluids on your face.

When it’s my turn to talk, I provide a quick update on how I have gone one month without engaging in my eating behaviors.  While I’m not allowed to specify what that means in group in order to protect others from possible triggers, it means I’ve gone a full month without binging and purging but also a full month without the longer running neurosis that leads to such episodes.  Even harder to recognize and overcome, are the thoughts.  The thoughts that lead to the undeniably, unhealthy behaviors.  But anyway, Dr W isn’t accepting this brief synopsis of success.  She, along with my fellow warriors, is completely attuned to my efforts to remain disconnected.  She calls bullshit.  Like she’s notorious for doing.  Not allowing me to stay comfortable, yet miserable in my own head.  And before I can even begin, I’m reaching for the box of Kleenex’s conveniently placed in the middle of our circle.  I’m not a soft, subtle crier and I’m instantly sobbing.  Sobbing as I try to tell them that I don’t know what’s wrong.  That I don’t know why I’ve cried everyday on my commute to and from work.  I’m not certain why I had such a good stretch and now only seem to be focused on Him.  On all of the ways and times that he showed me that he didn’t want me.  On how he still hasn’t chosen me.  And I’m so convinced that while I wasn’t enough for him to get better, he is most assuredly going to find someone a bazillion times better who will be just what he needs to be devoted and loyal and charming and all head of the household and shit.

Even as these fears are expelling themselves from my head, I’m very aware of how illogical this is.  I know that if any of these beautiful ladies said anything of the sort, I would lovingly smack that rubbish right out of their heads.

But somehow, convincing yourself that you are enough, that you are more than enough, is just so damn hard.

They don’t coddle me.  But R, always the wise Sage of the bunch, tells me not to judge myself.  Not to put timelines and limits on my grieving, but to love myself through this like I would anyone else.  And all-knowing like, Dr. W tells me just the thing I need to hear.  As a therapist, she’s not one to throw out compliments but remains ever objective.  She tells me that I am not drama, never becoming overwhelmed by a situation.  So it is her belief that if the tears seem to be insistent on coming, then so be it.  I am reminded to trust my body.  Allow it to define when I need to grieve.  That the years of suppressing hurt and anger only served ED.  She tells me that because I have done so well at not letting ED have a place for the last month, that I’ve made room for the healing that has so desperately needed to happen.

And I am reminded of the last time I met with my Energy Healer/Life Coach (Hey, I’m implementing every bit of help available, folks) when she lovingly explains to me that she sees grief sitting very pronounced upon my chest.  And that it is time to finally give myself permission to grieve.  The same counsel from two women, schooled in completely different methods.  And so I cry.  I cry knowing that it is time that I forgive.  I need to forgive #3, undoubtedly, but I need to forgive myself.  For the long years of harsh judgements and ridiculous expectations.  And I realize that I haven’t forgiven #3 because I’ve never forgiven myself.  And I will never be in full recovery until I can offer this to both our broken souls.  And this is how it comes about that I vomit all my emotions onto #3, the man with whom I’ve avoided even eye contact with in 7 months, on my doorstep when he drops The Girl off.  I feel like this might not have been the intention of my therapist or my Energy Healer.

2 thoughts on “Purging, but not the ED kind

  1. Congratulations for abstaining for a month from your eating disorder behaviours, even though you are feeling such grief. The first month is the hardest I think. I am also recovering from 30 years of bulimia and anorexia which started when I was 7. I had my first month of recovery in a treatment centre but then got into complete recovery from the bulimia by adopting a food plan from Overeaters Anonymous. I haven’t made myself sick since July 2009. I don’t use that food plan any more and have re-introduced small quantities of sugar and high fat food into my diet. But the other day I had my first bulimic binge for over 7 years just hoovering down chocolate, crisps and other high fat high sugar foods. I had to leave the party I was at or I would have made myself sick. Before that I thought my eating disorder was cured. Now I realise it is just in recovery but I still need to be very mindful what I eat. Good luck with your journey with your eating disorder and your grief.


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