To eat or not to eat

by Anne-Sophie

in Blog

We all know those days when we simply cannot focus. Our thoughts are scattered, every word we write seems wrong and we just cannot focus on our day’s work.

And at the end of the day we have managed to achieve very little, at best.

When a part of your brain called Annerexia deliberately tries to sabotage you, those days look a bit different. Or at least in my case, they do.

It’s been a year since I decided to fight against my disorder, but the voice in my head still roars at me from time to time for not behaving the way it wants me to.

I can’t ever predict when this will occur.

There are days when I don’t think about food at all and then there are days when eating even the tiniest slice of bread is almost too much to bear. On those days, my productivity is at a bare minimum.

When a voice inside your mind is constantly counting calories, repeatedly telling you what not to eat and, even worse, what a bad person you are for doing it anyway, it kills your workflow, your creativity and your motivation. At times, it even tends to crush your spirits.

I could list a lot of activities now that might help you get out of this “funk”. Things like taking a walk, talking to a friend, listening to music to calm your mind, reading a great book to distract your thoughts or simply pushing through these uncomfortable feelings.

But none of these things will help. Why? Because what we are dealing with is not just a triviality.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, our eating disorder regains strength, even if only for a day, and we need all our energy to hold on to the sane side of our mind. Focusing on something else is hardly possible.

It is not an easy concept to accept. I always feel useless on those days and never go to bed without feeling like I have completely wasted a precious day of my life.

It is hard to come to terms with the fact that I am young, energized and enthusiastic, but yet experience a lot of  those entirely unfruitful days.

It doesn’t help that most of those who surround as, albeit no doubt lovingly, try to convince us that we could use our time in better ways.

Most of those not affected by an eating disorder see those days, weeks and sometimes months, when all your energy flows into staying on the recovery track, as some kind of vacation time. And from the outside, it may even look that way.

I had a discussion with my mom a while back about Facebook and what my status updates said about my life. She told me that all I appeared to be doing was going to Starbucks and practicing Yoga.  This, she said, was unacceptable.

First of all, I don’t share everything I do on Facebook, most of it is simply too boring for the general public to read. So, there are happenings in my day, she won’t find on there.

Second, drinking a Mocha at Starbucks without purging is a big deal for me. As is doing Yoga and not feeling bad that I didn’t use the time more efficiently (slaving away in the gym for hours to burn a maximum amount of calories).

My mom had no idea how important these activities are for me and I cannot blame her for that.

It just shows how different our world is from the world of those who are not affected by an eating disorder. They don’t see the hard work that goes into simple actions like drinking a Mocha. They don’t know how much strength, energy and focus it takes not to give in to the dark part of your brain.

Now, I don’t suggest we use our eating disorder or our recovery as an excuse to be lazy and to sit around all day watching TV.

But I believe we should try to give ourselves some slack.

Recovery takes time. We cannot assume that it will be an overnight action and, puff,  we are good to go and live happily ever after. It is a slow process and there will be ups and downs.

In those times, we simply cannot limit our beliefs to match the ones of those who don’t know any better. In those times, we have to know the truth in our heart and act the way we know is right.

In those times, we need to accept the fact that if all we manage to do is to eat regularly, it is something to be damn proud of.

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