Bread, Big Wins and Building Blocks for Recovery
“Can you pick up some bread for lunch?”
“A simple question, but if you’re struggling with an eating disorder, you’ll know that any question about food can represent so much more than just a simple enquiry.
I’m doing well in recovery. There are still plenty of mental gymnastics that go on from time to time, but I’m eating regularly, eating all foods, keeping my body well fuelled and rested, and able to eat socially and spontaneously again too.
It was rainy here this past weekend. A real stay-at-home-in-your-pjs-movie-marathon kind of a weekend. Late morning on Saturday, my partner said he was nipping out for a run in between downpours. Without thinking, I shouted “Can you pick up some bread for lunch, too?” as he dashed out the door.
Well, my being able to ask that, and without thinking about it first, was one of those “big small” things. Why?
- My partner was going out for a run, and instead of thinking “I should be exercising too” and making an excuse to leave the house, I just felt thankful that I could stay cosy and warm at home.
- The fact that my partner was going running and I wasn’t, did not lead me to believe that he would have “earned” bread for lunch and I wouldn’t have.
- I had eaten a bagel for breakfast, and yet I felt totally confident that it was absolutely fine for me to have something else “bready” for lunch.
- I didn’t specify a brand, type, shop or colour of bread. I had no idea if he would come home with sliced white, brown rolls, baguette…could have been anything. And it didn’t matter. I honestly didn’t really care. Time was, I’d never have trusted him to get any of my food shopping, let alone sent him off without written details or strict instructions for fear that what he bought wouldn’t be “the perfect bread”.
- We hadn’t decided what we were having for dinner yet. I no longer need to have planned every last crumb of food for my day in advance, and do not make my choices at one meal based around what I’ll be having, or have had, at another.
There are plenty more items I could add to this list of “why this little deal is actually a big deal”, but you get the idea.
These changes, this progress, this getting closer to a version of myself that I recognise from before I came ill, and which I feel is far more aligned with my real values and attitude towards life…it hasn’t come easily. It’s taken consistent, repeated determination in walking into fear, sitting with the discomfort which arises, digging deep to find the self-compassion needed to counteract the guilt, and then dusting myself off and doing it all again.
Each time you choose to honour YOU, rather than your eating disorder, however “small” the matter in hand – asking someone else to shop for you, having cake when your friend is just having coffee, taking the bus to work instead of walking – you are taking a courageous step which will form a building block in creating the healthier, happier, freer future you deserve.
Things that feel impossible can begin to feel possible.
Things that feel terrifying can become manageable.
Things that feel world-shattering can become unimportant.”
What “big small” thing can you work towards today?
*Thanks to Jessie for creating this piece
- Aug 2021