Sorry I haven’t been posted here in a while. My studies really kind of chewed me up and spit me out this past week and I am not sure if my academic priorities are done with me quite yet. Anyway, a topic I want to touch on is relapse.
These past couple weeks, I have found myself in the middle of a relapse. My treatment team has become concerned and they have begun to discuss higher levels of care for me. I cannot believe this relapse happened so fast. For those who struggle with recovery, you may have a good idea on just how easy it is for us to slip back if we aren’t diligent about it. So what happens when we find ourselves back in the grips of our eating disorder and off of recovery road?
First things first—as much as I love to try and examine how I let my eating disorder win—you need to get back on track and do the next right thing. Whether you have just binged on an incredible amount of food, not eaten much of anything, over exercised, etc. you need to get back on the wagon. A metaphor I feel works well here is ‘the fire in the wastebasket’
Picture yourself in your room or office. Suddenly, you become aware of the smell of something burning and some smoke. You look around the room and realize that the contents of your wastebasket are on fire. What do you do? You immediately find the quickest way to put it out of course! What you don’t do is stare and the flaming wastebasket and try to figure out how it got on fire or how long it has been on fire, what contents might be on fire, etc. You extinguish the flame as soon as possible. This can be likened to relapse. Extinguish the ed behaviors, then—once you are back on track—you can examine the possible causes that may have led you to relapse.
Also, other than disclosing with you treatment team (who may already know without your telling that you are in a relapse) you need to be vulnerable with members of your support team and share with them that you are struggling. Hoisting yourself up and out of a relapse can be very tricky and uncomfortable—especially if you try to do it solo. Call in your reinforcements and have them help you in the ways that they can.
Finally, once you have regained your bearings, Consult with your treatment team and investigate what triggers or events may have led you to relapse. From there, you can then work toward developing a plan of action in order to prevent the same events or triggers from making you slip again in the future. Relapse is a normal part of recovery so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in one. Just work your hardest to stand back up and use the slip-up as an opportunity to grow stronger against Ed in the future. You can do it.