I have a long way to go and that’s okay

I have made plenty of accomplishments this year in terms of my recovery.  I won’t deny that.  But something happened to me on Friday and it showed me that I am still very much in recovery.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I’ve read many books and papers about eating disorder recovery.  They have all said that each person’s recovery will be unique. Someone may recover quickly whilst another person will take more time. Your recovery timeline is like your fingerprint. It is totally unique.  And that’s okay.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m an impatient person.  I don’t deal with open loops well.  I want everything to be sorted and in it’s place.  If something is wrong in my personal, professional or social life, I just want to fix it.

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Recovery has allowed me to travel with my partner and enjoy a variety of foods.

My eating disorder is one massive open loop that I can’t seem to close just yet.  Some days I feel closer to the end of the loop than others.  Some days I just want that damn loop to close and for this whole chapter in my life to be over.

On Friday, I went into a new workplace.  I woke up that morning and I packed my lunch.  I didn’t know when we would get a lunch break but I packed it just the same.  It wasn’t a special lunch. Just what I would usually pack for work.

After about an hour in the office, after I had met the team, I was told that we were being taken out to lunch by our manager.  He was taking us to a Chinese restaurant.

This was the event that I mentioned earlier.

I didn’t know how to deal with this.  I started getting anxious and thinking that I wasn’t prepared for the challenge.  I felt like I couldn’t possibly do it.  I wanted to find an excuse not to go, but they had organised the lunch to welcome me to the team.  I couldn’t be so impolite by declining.

So I bit the bullet and I did it.

You’ll probably want me to say that I felt liberated at this luncheon.  That I embraced it with open arms and told the challenge to COME RIGHT AT ME.

That would be a lie.  I was horribly anxious.  I felt completely thrown because my routine was compromised.  I was at a restaurant I’d never been to before, eating a cuisine I don’t like with people I don’t know.

I felt guilty for a few hours afterwards. My eating disorder wanted me to be frightened and angry.  How dare these kind people offer to take me out?

It was late afternoon when I was on my way home.  I had time to sit with the discomfort and dissect it.  Had I died? No. Was this corporate lunch such a big deal? No.  Is it normal for people to go out and enjoy eachother’s company over a meal? Yes.

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I have come a long way. A year ago, I would never have thought a burger and chips for lunch was possible!

I’ve thought about this experience over the past few days.  I’ve come to realise that my reaction on Friday is really important.  It’s important because it has reminded me that although I’ve come a long way since April, I still have alot of work to do.  I don’t have a completely functional relationship with food yet and I am still very much in recovery.

But you know what?  That’s okay.  Because this is my journey. I need to experience some obstacles and I need to overcome them myself.  That will take alot of effort on my part.  It will take time.  And that’s okay.

I will keep working on it and one day I will be fully recovered.

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