I’ve been feeling a bit confused lately.
You see, ever since I started recovering from my eating disorder, I’ve been a bit obsessed with food. That is to be expected and is a common occurence among sufferers of EDs of all kinds, especially those in recovery. (You need to rediscover food, after all.)
This obsession was quite difficult to manage initially, because I would read food blogs all day, every day and stare in awe at all the beautiful photos – photos of food that I had denied myself for a long time. This led to me becoming quite resentful towards one family member, who kept telling me to eat “normal food”, which to them meant bread with butter or pasta and similar things.
I thought that if I had to eat, I should at least be able to eat food I really liked, meaning green smoothies, salad, whole-grain toast with coconut butter – predominantly healthy things.
Not a bad thing per se, but it meant that I never did give up control of my eating habits entirely. Again, I’m not quite sure if this is a bad thing; all I know is that I still have a problem with people telling me what to eat.
I can “go with the flow” when I’m, say, at a friend’s house or eating at a restaurant, but if a family member tells me to eat (or not eat) this or that, a simmering anger bubbles to the surface.
I’m not particularly good at managing anger – it was the only emotion I felt when my ED and depression were at their worst; searing, irrational anger that I could do nothing about – so I do explode sometimes. I know I’ll regret it after 20 minutes – as fierce as my anger is in that moment, it never lasts – but I can’t help it. I’ve finally built up a wall that prevents me from internalising my anger and I am happy about it. I just need to find a way to let go of the anger.
“That’s interesting and all, but it doesn’t quite explain why you are feeling confused,” I hear you thinking, and of course you are correct.
The reason for my confusion is this:
A few weeks ago, everything I’ve detailed above – the obsessive thoughts, the resentment, the prickling undercurrent of dormant anger – suddenly faded.
I didn’t feel the need to check the kitchen to get an idea of what I would be able to eat.
I didn’t mind having a piece of toast for breakfast instead of my usual beloved bowl of porridge.
I didn’t slip into the particular pattern of restrictive eating that tends to make itself at home in my brain when I don’t eat for several hours or skip a meal.
I didn’t care about the sugar content of the occasional snack I was given.
I didn’t push myself past my limits when exercising, just close.
I didn’t linger on destructive thoughts after overeating.
I didn’t browse food blogs with nagging suspicions of disordered eating behaviour poking me in the ribs, I just didn’t browse them at all.
… and I don’t know why.