Cars have lights specifically to warn whomever is behind it when it is backing up. These lights are a warning that if whomever is behind doesn’t change their direction they are in the path of the car, and bad things will happen. Luckily, life also has these same warnings for some things, notably ED.

Lately, I’ve been having nightmares. For a long-time my nightmares centered around what had happened to me when I was a child, or the rape I endured as a teenager. They aren’t every night (not typically anyway), but will intersperse with other dreams, always leaving me awake coated in a cold-sweat and feeling sick. Last night, and the past few nights my nightmares have changed. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember that I was really skinny again, and that I had decided to go back to being Vegan again. Most of all, these dreams were unbearably real.

I loved being Vegan. I felt like I was helping the world, treating other living things the way that mattered to me, and I was getting thinner and thinner, but deep down I also knew that my motivations at the core were really about how thin I could get without having to give up binging. At my best I was eating truly healthy foods and losing weight, but then something happened. I don’t remember what that something was, but I changed. I went from eating balanced and healthy meals throughout the day with no true binging and purging, to suddenly finding ways to feel guilt about my vegan eating and binging and purging again. I would most frequently cave to eating something not vegan I was craving with the excuse in my mind it was just this once, but ultimately make myself feel so guilty that I would end up ill. The purging was almost an emotional reaction to the intense guilt rather than a calculated decision (at least it wasn’t a conscious decision).

Regardless, this nightmare, because going backwards is a nightmare, left me awake and confused. It was one of the dreams that is so intensely realistic that when I awoke I simply thought it was real-life. I was frustrated when I got up because I realized that all those emotions that I had fought so hard to overcome in the last year were still bubbling just below the surface. Since the dream, I have spent some time browsing online stores, though not buying anything. My guilt now shifting from the knowledge of backsliding into ED’s arms to my self-imposed shopping ban. Either way, I held strong, and I’m proud of that, but the emotions are still lurking there just below the surface, and that left me to ponder what self-care I am truly needing.

Life has been jam-packed with stress this week. My sister-in-law had major heart surgery, my mother’s neighbor held himself and his girlfriend hostage at gunpoint causing the local SWAT team to make my mother take cover on her bedroom floor and surround her house for a couple hours (I was on the phone with her the whole time), and then I was rear-ended a day ago. All of these things have left me drained past the level at which I function with any sort of patience or true self-care. It took all my will-power to push through Pure Barre tonight because I knew it was good for me in a way I would appreciate tomorrow.

I’m simply past the emotional limit my mental health and body can take at this point. My reverse lights are blinding anyone nearby. 

This is why ED is trying to speak to me right now. I’m weak, I’m tired, I’m simply flashing those reverse lights for all they’re worth…and ED is trying really hard to wave his arms and get me to stop. But I haven’t, and I won’t because I’m not that person anymore. It doesn’t mean that those emotions aren’t something I am going to have to deal with, because they are, but rather than turning to ED’s false security, I’m going to have to have some serious self-discussions. (not aloud though because I don’t want to sound crazy)

Today was a low point for my psyche as I realized I was thinking through the justifications for going back to being vegan, of restricting. In part I know why today was a low-point; I weighed myself. It was a foolish and simply a mistake driven by desperation to feel something other than the emotions this week has heaved my way, and I’ve been working out so hard five days a week that I just thought seeing that number a little lower would be my reward. Desperation at its finest; a human crying out for a moment to breathe.

The number wasn’t lower though, it was essentially the same, and while I told myself it was just a silly number and my pants have started getting looser, ED started telling me it wasn’t just a number. I allowed my weaknesses to tempt me to do something I knew in my heart was a bad choice for a recovered ED. Yet I did it anyway. I could feel ED’s bony fingers starting to curl around me in that moment, and it scared me.

I think if I’m being completely transparent that the real reason I was seeking comfort in that number is because I needed to feel comfort, not because I was truly seeking validation. I have that validation already, but when you’re emotional strung-out and you are seeking solace, sometimes you make stupid choices about where to find it. Isn’t that why spouses cheat, children decide to lie, and ED survivors backslide? Everyone who slips is looking for solace, but they look in the wrong place.

The takeaway in this whole fiasco is that ED didn’t win and I learned something. No matter how many times I tell myself that I’m past ED and that I’m different, there will always be a short slide back to ED’s arms in my weakest moments, and that is when I need to be the most vigilant of not allowing him near me. I’m proud of myself for using those reverse lights at their highest power. I’m proud of myself for realizing the negative impact my slip-up with weighing myself caused, and stopped myself from justifying the idea of restricting my diet again because those realizations are the reason that I can keep moving forward. Those realizations are the reason that I’m still whole, the reason behind the tattoo on my wrist, and the reason I can make it through. Eyes wide open doesn’t mean easy or clear, it simply means aware and willing. 

Nearing the end of week 4 of the spending ban.

Saved: $560

Spent this week: $0

(almost) 4 weeks down…48 to go!