It’s week 4 of self-isolating and social distancing and I don’t know about you guys, but I am starting to struggle more and more each day with my mental health. Isolation is hard and we are social creatures; however, it’s important that we maintain social distancing until further notice.
I feel stuck in a weird way, Just before this pandemic began, I completed treatment for my eating disorder. My days were fully booked with cognitive processing therapy, relapse prevention appointments, and maintaining the stability I had worked for in treatment and believe me when I say that recovery is a full-time job plus overtime. I worked everyday to nourish my body and to learn to care for myself in a way that would allow me to transition into a normal life. I had goals of going back to work, finishing school, and moving on with my life away from my eating disorder. Now, I’m here in my room forced to repeat the same patterns and hope for a different result.
See, everyday I used to wake up with no alarm and wait for the energy to pull myself out of bed, some days this was 7am and some days it was 7pm. I would roll out of bed, get dressed in yesterday’s clothes and plant myself back in bed rewatching Disney classics. My life consisted of eating disorder symptoms, thoughts, and emotions. I walked the walk and talked the talk under ED’s influence. Now, I’m here waking up with no alarm clock because there is nothing in the world for me to wake up for except my 1:00 online support group. I throw my oogie boogie onesie on and watch The Simpsons reruns on Disney+. I walk up and down the hallways of my near-empty apartment – 2 of my roommates are isolating in other homes – and talk to a computer screen. It feels all too similar – eery, even – and I’m scared.
This is a test for me: can I actually have a life without my eating disorder? Can I function without the only habits and coping mechanisms I have ever known in my life and will I be able to create positive behavioural changes that will support my newfound recovery? What does life without Ed actually mean for me?
I’m honestly not sure of the answers to any of those questions, but I do have hope. I have hope that I can have a life free of Ed; I have hope that I can develop coping mechanisms that don’t involve working myself like a dog and starving myself if I made a mistake; and I have hope that life means another chance to create a meaning for myself.