child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Saturday, March 8, 2014

NEDA week and comparing my journey

I've wanted to write for a while now.  I've just been so tired and when faced with the option of curling up in bed next to my husband and sleeping or turning on the computer and organizing my thoughts into words....well, comfy bed seems to win more often lately.  Last week was a struggle for me.  I was already struggling a little but NEDA week is hard for me.

 It is a week that makes me think I was never really THAT sick.  I hear the stories of people who nearly died and I think well, I didn't nearly die.  Until my husband speaks that strange kind of logic that says, "Um, you did almost die.  You were intending to commit suicide."  And I think about so many of my friends who have spent time in in-patient care and think but I wasn't sick enough for in-patient.  I hear how someone restricted to x amount of calories and the competitive voice of orange reminds me that I was x amount of calories more than that person.

My brain, or rather my disease, argues with everything its got to say I wasn't ever really sick. I don't have the physical scars that some have. I knew how to take care of my self inflicted burns and cuts so that they wouldn't scar and people wouldn't have reason to think I was sick.  My body doesn't carry evidence of the hell it has been through so I try to downplay that it really has been through hell.

Isn't that the battle of the eating disorder though?  There is ALWAYS going to be someone out there who is sicker than you, which will always play through your head to insist you aren't sick because you aren't as sick as ______.  As long as the comparison game continues in my mind, I will never be free from the belief that I wasn't sick enough.  And I've come to realize that as long as I compete mentally to have been sick enough to validate my illness, NEDA week will always be difficult for me.

It's great to educate.  I went to a meeting of about 50 women the other day and this group of women were having a biggest loser competition.  They were standing on the scale before breakfast and giving out prizes for the most % lost. I wanted to grab the mic and tell them that in a group that big, I would be shocked if they didn't have at least one woman who has struggled with some variation of an eating disorder.  I wanted to educate them about NEDA.  I love the purpose of the week.  And I also, for my own recovery, avoided the computer radically last week.

For this time in life, my recovery depends on me not comparing my journey to someone else's journey. For this season of my recovery, I will focus on choosing the next right thing and worry less about comparing my illness to someone else's illness.  Recovering together is amazing, it is great to have friends who just know and understand.  Recovering together is not however meant to be a comparison.  Comparison is a trap, and not one I can afford to get caught in.