Eating Disorder Recovery Is Served with a Side Order of Relapse

Luna Exit

It’s easy to think that I’ve got it all together. My last binge was in 2009. In the last six months I have lost 10 of the 15 kilos that I put on when I gave up dieting. I think that I’m better. I think I’ve recovered.

But things have gone awry.

It all started with the scales getting stuck at a weight I thought was too high. It was doing my head in so I’ve stopped weighing. And then I saw a picture of my friend who looks better than me without dieting. Not to mention the tropical holiday and the trip to Brisbane looming on the horizon.

I feel fat again. I worry about what I’m eating. For the last six months I’ve been keeping my carbs low, but I am so bored with eating this way. I felt deprived. I was back in restriction land without meaning to. So I’ve dropped the carb rule and now things feel out of control. I feel guilty for eating oatmeal. I am eating caramel slice and pizza and feeling bad. I’m too scared to stand on the scales. I promise myself that tomorrow I’ll go back to low carb, but I don’t want to.

I’ve had a relapse. It’s part of the process. It is an opportunity to break through to the next level of freedom.

Why am I feeling this way? What is it that I’m burying or refusing to say?

I think it is because I’m mentally bored. Uni is on a semester break and I don’t have the constant challenge of learning to keep me occupied. And I’m feeling overwhelmed. There are so many filmmakers, writers and photographers better than me than I doubt that my work could ever make a difference.

I check my numbers – blog views, hubpages views, gallery views, and video views multiple times a day. I’m judging my worth on how many people look at my stuff. I’m obsessed with the numbers.

I don’t think I have to fix any of this right now. The point of this post is the recognise what is going on and to welcome the feelings without trying to change them. I am imperfect, I’m flawed and that’s OK for now.

Maybe this is a step back, maybe I’ve relapsed but it’s all part of the journey. I’ll figure it out.

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

11 thoughts on “Eating Disorder Recovery Is Served with a Side Order of Relapse

  1. I love that you are not blind to you life but that you are not trying to force it either. The answer will come.

    Forcing has never gotten me anywhere…well, anywhere good anyway : )

    Your photography is beautiful!

  2. listen to your body 🙂 if your body wants carbs, eat carbs!

    this post really resonates with me because I relapsed earlier this year with the restriction of eating raw vegan. personally I believe any restriction is a restriction. you can choose to eat a certain way from moment to moment, but if you believe you have to eat that way all the time, it becomes a restriction. that you can reflect on it & realize it is wonderful, though. I tried ignoring it for the longest time, kept on wondering “why am I binging again? why is this happening? I’m over this.” for ED-recovered souls, I didn’t realize (at the time) that it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of relapse, and that going back to restriction/disordered behavior is a sign of something deeper, deeper issues that need to be addressed.

  3. oh, and you say you feel guilty/bad about eating the pizza/caramel slice.
    Is it not amazing how much guilt rules our life?
    It is a fairly erosive emotion and felt way out of proportion with what we feel we have done “wrong”.

  4. Hi Katie, try and forget about the numbers. At the rist of sounding trite, It’s not about how the world sees you, it’s how you see yourself. Cheers, Charlotte

  5. I definitely agree with you that you don’t need to fix any of this… I relate to this post – I have times these days of feeling so free from any food woes that I can’t imagine how there could ever have been a problem, but then come the times in between when I can feel right back in the thick of it! – but like you say, it’s all part of the process! In one of Geneen Roth’s old books “Why Weight” she describes the stages of breaking free – it’s worth a look, as I saw it for the first time the other day and found it to be spot on, and it gave me so much hope! Keep writing – your work is so inspiring x x x

    1. Thanks Astrid. It’s easy to think that recovery means that we never feel fat or overwhelmed by our eating decisions. But all of that is normal and happens to naturally slender people too. Interesting, I’m back to my happy place now so it was only a blip on the radar.

  6. Hi Katie!

    I’m recovering from an eating disorder as well. In the middle of a relapse though. But it IS true; recovery includes relapses too!
    Hang in there,
    Hug, Maria Anna,
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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