And then sometimes, the panic about food just hits me. Like, it is a visceral response where I feel the breath sucked out of me and my anxiety rockets through the roof and I feel almost woozy and as if I am imploding. The panic is because I have been eating food. I used to panic like this really frequently about food. Now, it is less frequent, but it will just hit me randomly and I feel like, “What am I doing?! I have been eating food! I have to make this food go away. I have to do something…I can’t eat like this anymore.” Of course, “eating like this” means following a normal meal plan. But to me, it seems like an excessive amount of food and the repercussions of eating so much food for so long….Well, I just about can’t take it. And so the panic hits me…And the room whirls around me and I need to catch my breath and collect myself and talk myself down from the fear.
It’s moments like this when I know I have an eating disorder. Not that spending almost 4 months in eating disorder treatment doesn’t remind me of that every day..
Now, instead of escalating the panic, I can talk myself down from it. I don’t have to engage in behaviors to make it better, and lately, more days than not, I feel like I have actually made a ton of progress. Progress does not mean perfection or anything close to it. But progress means that I am less attached to the eating disorder compulsions.
My dietitian got all excited on Monday because I expressed a slightly tolerant thought about my body. She pointed out that that tiny bit of tolerance is a huge step forward. She also said I will sort of bounce back and forth between body hatred and tolerance before I settle in mostly at tolerance (and then do the same thing towards liking and maybe even loving my body.)
I dunno…I think things are changing. I think I am changing. It is terrifying and exciting. This treatment experience really has the potential to be life-changing for me, because it is not just the ED being addressed, but the underlying stuff too.
Hold on…You know what I just realized? I actually feel some hope. Hope! When was the last time I actually felt some hope for my outcome?
Hope? Is it possible?