I don’t have confidence in myself to move through such a sharp decrease in physical activity and eat. But that’s ok. I have a team of people to help me get through this. I don’t have to know exactly how I’m going to get through it. I can not have confidence and instead just lean in. Just keep talking. Just arrive exactly as I am, without expectation for figuring everything out in one hour. Or one day. Or one week. Deep breath, it’s ok.
This morning I shut my 5:30am alarm off to go running. As soon as I opened my eyes, I could feel my whole body aching. Because yesterday was not a day of moderation. Or self-care. Or listening to my body. Yesterday was a contained emotional explosion through purging all day long. It started at 4:50am and threatened to continue until I fell asleep at 10:30pm.
The very first thing I did this morning, was self-care. Stay in bed. Your body is screaming. I couldn’t go back to sleep because this started the back and forth thoughts of but you’ll feel so much better if you go run. You have to run. You have to burn calories. Fighting that off is so hard for me.
Then I remembered a quote I read last night:
Healing is an art.
It takes time,
it takes practice.
It takes love.
I think I’ve mostly accepted the time concept. The practice piece is the part I’m really working on. The love part is barely on my radar as something I can realize for myself. Just telling myself I can decide to go run later if I really need to, was progress. Part of the reason I run so early in the morning is that it’s more likely I’ll follow through to “get it over with” and not have any possibility of life getting in the way. Or for the wise part of me that chooses family time or self-care over punishment and self-hate to take over. I am less aware of my body that early in the morning. I don’t have time to think or debate to go or realize that I’m starving or sick. I make up my mind the night before and like a robot, I just go. Sometimes it’s positive, I almost always feel good after. I’m in a better mood. I feel strong. And my body does need to move–I do need to work out just like every human being does–this satisfies that.
But it’s not the same right now. I’m not in a position to keep doing that. The benefits are not outweighing the destruction. I have to practice not being obsessed with it. I have to fight the compulsion to go. Because I’m headed straight to Injury Land, which is a devastatingly difficult place for me to be.
Historically, I am the best at practicing. I always show up. I come early and I stay late. I always do all the homework, practice all the skills, I always seek out extra credit. This is the same. It’s putting in the time. It’s completely bombing learning new skills, but doing them over and over and over anyway. It’s extra credit in the form of doing all the things so far out of my comfort zone. I can practice. That’s all it is. Historically, I’ve had too much anxiety to put it all into action on race day/game day/test day. It’s not like I can’t get it together at all, but the result never seems to match the effort. I’m scared of that. But I don’t need to focus on the outcome, or end goal yet. This is just a practice test, it’s not the final exam.
I watched the first 2 episodes of this “Therapy & Theology” series last week and it really inspired me to really dig deep and (try to) be more open. I actually sat down last Thursday in session and actively tried to keep my arms open as opposed to crossed and gripping the opposite arm the entire time. Baby steps.
Maybe this will help someone else:
My dietitian said a couple weeks ago, “As long as you’re still curious, you’re not stuck.” I didn’t fully comprehend what that meant right away. But then, as these things seem to happen, I kept seeing the word “curious” in relation to psychology or recovery and I started to understand what she was saying. I have to be curious to keep going. When emotions come up, I can try to understand what’s going on for me instead of ignoring what is going on (ignore curiosity).
When all of this started, I didn’t really believe I was “hurting.” I’m actually cringing still, as I type that because I’m embarrassed to discover that I am, in fact, hurting. I think the hurt is so big and so deep that all I’ve really been able to do up until this point is just discover that it exists and not much more. It’s scary to open that up and dig around. I can’t even verbalize what’s in there, exactly, I just know I’m a little bit terrified, but I’m really determined to keep my arms open.
Today I’m going to try my best to just accept and arrive as I am. How I am right now, in this very moment, is okay. Finally believing it’s all right to show up as I am has allowed a huge wave of inner peace to wash over me. I feel a significant drop in anxiety by accepting this. It’s not good or bad, it just is. I don’t have to reach all my goals all at once, I can take baby steps to make progress, and that is perfectly fine.
I keep wanting to skip steps and make giant leaps, which only results in disappointment with a quick return to poor coping strategies. I’m extremely good at minimizing and ignoring my own emotions and experiences but I can’t continue to operate that way if I want to recover. By truly believing recovery is a process and not placing so much pressure on myself to get everything right the first time and thus be on my way as quick as possible, my heart is more open. Vulnerability seems possible. The concrete anxiety wall is disintegrating. I think this is a missing puzzle piece (and maybe there are more missing pieces) and in finding it I feel such a huge sense of relief.
I have repeated to myself a hundred times today: where you’re at, is where you’re at. It is okay. And that is calming. Abruptly halting the constant black and white internal fight and thinking in the gray is allowing more space for being kind toward myself.
I feel like I can breathe. I feel like I am going to get somewhere, even if it’s much slower than I anticipated, and I am able to accept that. Future-tripping me is worried this is going to be fleeting, but I just keep repeating; right now. Right now is what I’m focusing on. Where I’m at right now is okay.