For the past week and a half, every day has been a milestone. Every day has pulled me one step further away from the disorder that’s held a tight grip on my life since I was fifteen, and one step closer to the life I’ve been dreaming of since I was little. Undeniably, thanks goes to my new Prozac prescription more than to a renewed sense of self control. New medication made the first few days easy. It made the next week after that even easier.
Getting used to the new medication has made the past few days a little bit more of a challenge. Regardless, I have little to complain about. It’s been nearly three weeks without mindless trips to the store or quick runs through the McDonalds drive thru after work to cram as much food into my stretched stomach as I could. It’s been nearly three weeks of rest, because after you fight with yourself every day for years, you tend to get tired.
Sitting at nineteen days without disordered eating has put me a little on edge. The past few days, I’ve been getting the “too good to be true” feeling. There’s no way I’m recovered, I’ll tell myself at the end of every day without a relapse. It’s always been a waiting game, seeing how long I can go without a binge before I get dragged back down. Though I’ve always craved recovery, I could never wrap my head about what it would actually be like to wake up without an eating disorder.
The usual uncontrollable urge to binge, thanks to Prozac, has thankfully been replaced with occasional passing thoughts. A stressful moment will remind me that I could easily “deal with it” by shoveling down Ben and Jerrys or double cheeseburgers until I want to puke. A small food craving will make my stomach twinge with excitement before I remember why exactly I gave that life up. Every day, though I remain in control, I continue to be terrified that I might quickly lose it.
Today, I put that fear to the test. The day started like the past eighteen as I woke up with no urges to binge. Admittedly, I had a small craving for one of my favorite binge foods: ice cream. But it wasn’t necessarily an uncontrollable desire-more of a normal, non-disordered craving. So I thought, Why not indulge? Over the past few weeks, I’ve refused to restrict foods. I felt like if this shot at recovery was going to be different from any of the others, I had to stop trying to lose weight and completely cut out my favorite foods. So the past few weeks have been anything but sugar-free.
But the one thing I couldn’t bring myself to eat was ice cream. It was more of a fear that I would lose control than anything else. Out of all of the things I hated about a binge, I hated the loss of self control the most. It made me feel weak and vulnerable, and I couldn’t let myself risk my progress by eating something so tempting. I didn’t trust myself.
Today, I figured, was as good a day as any to learn to have a little faith. After my morning therapy session, I swung by the grocery store. I considered stopping by the gas station instead, out of fear of losing control and going on a shopping spree, but I figured that wouldn’t be realistic. Without hesitation, I waltzed into the grocery store, grabbed a pint of Ben and Jerrys, and headed for the check out. No last minute stops in the candy aisle, no staring down all the foods I used to binge on. In and out.
This is probably where you expect me to tell you that I took a few bites of ice cream and didn’t really want the rest. Hell no. I ate that entire damn pint of ice cream and felt proud, tossing the empty container in the trash and returning to my regularly scheduled programming. No guilt, no shame, and definitely no binge. The fear I’d harbored over a silly container of ice cream melted away pretty quickly.
I faced my fear, eating one of my most coveted binge foods without losing control. Even with my body getting accustomed to the medication, I had the power to say no. In recovery, it’s easy to live your life afraid of some foods. It’s so easy to give these foods more power over you than they’re meant to have. At the end of the day, it’s only food, and you still have choices.