Today, I cried
Because right now it just hurts.
I probably spent four hours of my day today crying. At times it was sobbing, while in other moments it was simply tears falling down my face. I cried while eating breakfast. I started to tear up when I couldn’t find a parking spot at home. Tears streamed down my face as I sat with Amy, and they continued throughout my whole drive home. You see, I’m hurting. Life has been kicking me in the butt in more ways than one in the last few weeks, and I have just about had enough. So today, I cried.
I should preface the current stress I’m experiencing with owning the impact that my current season of recovery is having on me. I’m at this point where I have been on my meal plan with no behaviors for 2 and a half months. Which is huge. Thing is, no one tells you what it’s like to be at this point in your journey. You hear about the challenges of choosing recovery, refeeding, etc., and then you get all the sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies about how much better recovered life is. But you don’t hear about the awful slug that comes in the middle. It’s probably because no one wants to write while in this season because, to be blunt, it sucks. So put simply, I have been cranky, tired, anxious, and depressed for the last month or so because my body is adjusting to a new normal, free from behaviors, although definitely not free from ED thoughts.
So I digress, but I wanted to set the scene- I have been a cranky bitch (ask anyone who has interacted with me and they’ll agree) for a while now as I try to cope with not being able to use my eating disorder to manage anything at all. Part of my current recovery season has meant taking care of myself in ways that I have let slip over the last five years- read visits to the doctors office, and the all too dreaded dental surgery. When my doctor appointment to finally establish primary care- it’s not like I’ve lived in Columbus for 2 years or anything- rolled around, I was already cranky. And after a couple of hours in my doctors office I only had reasons to be yet more cranky.
I’m going to whine for a second because this is my blog, and I can. I don’t like needles. I have never liked needles. They are not supposed to go in my body because obviously needles and my body are two different things! I acknowledge that this makes me sound like a petulant child, but this is real life! As I’m sure you can guess, my doctor surprised me with not only a blood draw, which is horrifying enough, but also with shots, because it turns out I’m missing more than a few of those dreaded injections. That alone would have left me cranky and pouting (yes- I’m a pouter, but that also probably doesn’t surprise anyone). But this is more of me bitching and whining simply because I can and that’s the season I’m in right now.
Most significantly, conversation with my doc led to the revelation that there is a pretty good chance that I have IBS, which means referrals to specialists to figure out what is going on. But for the time being it means partaking in what can best be described as an elimination diet. After chatting with my dietitian this means no gluten, no dairy, no nuts, and then none of a large handful of other foods. Yes you heard that right- I am having to eat a restrictive diet. Holy triggers. All. The. Time. Not to mention that the sheer volume of food I have to eat to make my meal plan is much higher than I’m used to. It sucks and it’s hard. And today all of this was just too much. So I cried. And I cried. And I cried.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have considered throwing in the towel this week. You know, giving up at eating everything I’m supposed to be eating, and reverting back to the restricting that seems so natural given my current limited diet. I even considered lying to my team about how I’m doing so as not to disappoint everyone. But that’s not me. And that’s definitely not badass Emma. Today, badass Emma sat in her therapists office and cried for her mum while trying to eat lunch. Because that’s what badassery is, it’s owning the struggles and the lows and not avoiding the pain even though I wanted to avoid, avoid, avoid. In that moment though, as both my stomach and my heart hurt, I wasn’t able to see the strength I showed in being vulnerable and not giving up and lying, but powering through.
You see, about a week ago I was given permission and a training plan to run the Columbus Half Marathon this fall. Those of you who know me will understand how big of a deal this is. I had a therapist tell me at one point that I may never be able to run again because of it’s connection to my eating disorder. And now I’m able to do this. To reclaim my body in a healthy way. To be an athlete once again. I earned this because I have worked my butt off to be healthy and free from behaviors. And as the tears again stream down my face right now, I am really proud of myself. And I realize this is why I have cried all day. I’ve cried because I can’t and won’t give up, no matter how much I complain and whine. Because I have worked way too hard to reach this place. And it’s pretty badass here.
So as I think about closing this post, I can’t help but think about the power of the reframing skill. Rather than looking at how awful this diet is and how it’s making me feel, why don’t I look at the benefits it is ultimately going to give me by relieving my constant stomach pain? And maybe it’s that stomach pain that has been making me so cranky and tired. Plus, I now know that cheap protein powder tastes like crap, rice tastes different depending on whether you mix it with coconut oil or butter, and there are only so many ways to eat plain chicken! But that’s besides the point. The point is that today I cried. And I think there’s a pretty good chance I’ll cry again tomorrow. Because it hurts. But let’s be clear, my tears mean that I am not giving up, I’m staying in the game. Because that’s what badass Emma would do.