I did another post on COVID-19 a couple weeks ago that was not specific to eating disorder (ED) recovery. I talked about my three-day stint in fear and anxiety, which could have been a recipe for disaster but luckily I was able to move forward and I am still happy to say that I am, for the most part, “keeping it together”. I actually would like to say that mostly, I am thriving. Keep in mind I just had a baby- so that is like, a whole other thing in itself lol.
As you notice on this site, not ALL posts are specific to ED Recovery because I also like to write on all topics in the realm of personal growth, self awareness and personal development. I guess it’s because I enjoy shifting my focus onto something other than eating disorder this and ED that- it is an interesting place to be, because on one hand I believe that our biggest pains can be our greatest gifts, but then there are days where I just really want to not think about what used to be….
I look at my older posts that are quite ambiguous in the mention of ED and focused on self growth- so although many posts may not be “specific to ED” they definitely are apart of the whole journey- this whole journey.
Anyways, I Digress. Back to the post.
I wanted to take the time to day, to talk specifically to ED Recovery in quarantine, because this is a challenging time for many who struggle with mental health and disordered eating. It is easy to feel like you are ‘losing’.
Especially in uncertain times, Eating Disorder Recovery can feel like a real losing battle.
Eating disorder behaviours can provide a sense of comfort and escapism and thrive in isolation, with everything that is going on (fear, changes, uncertainty, etc.) and the lack of feeling supported during a time of social distancing this can be most triggering for a person who is striving towards recovery right now. Those later in their recovery can also find it easier to fall back into bad habits. Although I have navigated fine so far, these past few days have been particularly more challenging for me food wise as I have been eating less whole and live foods and more packaged and processed- and I am have experienced some food guilt which I haven’t had in quite some time. I have since gotten over that now (thankfully quite short lived) but it reminds me how necessary it is to write this post.
What Can We Do?
Reach Out, Keep Going
Reach out to friends/family/coaches/practitioners/online communities. If you don’t follow me on social then you can do so here where I will be posting any (possibly free) resources when I discover them/ etc. etc. on my stories. There are options to do zoom or Skype calls, facetimes- try reaching out to others as much as possible so that you don’t need to feel like you are alone during this time. The reality, is that the virtual calls don’t necessarily provide the same level of nourishment that human to human contact does- so I get that. BUT they will still provide you with support.
Feel those Feels
I also want to mention that the discomfort of being alone- ‘feeling’ alone- and being able to sit with and recognize this discomfort… discomfort is not always necessarily a bad thing as there are some major teachings found within our discomforts. I do encourage you to bookmark this site and go through past posts if this is the case for you- don’t forget to leave me comments!
I Mean, Is This Is Kinda Becoming Normal…?
Speaking of discomfort, let’s spend a moment to talk about using food to cope during this time. Those who struggle with ED struggle with a disordered way of looking at and feeling about food/their bodies/ choosing to either not eat or eat too much… I mean heck, those without ED are becoming food obsessed and using it to cope these days, which just goes to show you how much of a topic this truly is for society. There are many people right now who could be developing and experiencing a disordered way of eating- the anxiety and loneliness experienced during self isolation may have a person turning to food to cope. Stress eating or eating out of boredom and then feeling sluggish and guilty- basically starting to pave the path towards a disordered way of eating as there is an association of food equaling comfort.
Of course, I am going to say “Keep plenty of healthy and nutrient dense foods around”- this is an obvious. But food- and using it to fill, and try to continue to fill, the discomforts that you may feel inside… the best thing is to try to focus your thoughts around other things besides food. Try to get out for a walk and spend time in nature while ensuring that you follow current social distancing guidelines.
Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. This is not the time to be harsh and critical with yourself. If you are craving food and eating more- it’s okay during this time. Routines will be broken (all gyms are closed) and foods that you usually eat might not be available. Try not to be too ridged. If you can, work on just being. Just Be. This is a really great concept- and if you want to get lost, get lost in a book on this topic.
Understand that YOU are not your thoughts and YOU are not your emotions. You may have thoughts and feel certain ways but those all pass. You may be sitting with levels of discomfort and anxieties. It is important to name these emotions and feel them but don’t fall into a trap where you let them consume you. And I get it- this can be easier said than done. Personally, I have found mindfulness practices to be very helpful- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was a therapy that I learned in outpatient care which you could look into- or if you just want to get started right away check out the mindfulness page for meditations and hypnotherapy (I have a free hypnotherapy you can try out) and there are plenty of others available online. *FYI I am currently working on my own meditation series*.
Recovery in Quarantine might be harder- but it is STILL POSSIBLE. If you were working with an outpatient support group and they are no longer providing resources, find another one- such as Westwind or many others that are available online. You can also find a coach, such as myself to support you on your journey along side a medical practitioner.
Either Way, Own It.
At the end of the day, your recovery during quarantine is still, largely up to you. The choices you make and the thoughts you choose to think either help or hinder your recovery but that being said…
I can’t sit here and tell you all the solutions for your recovery- because I believe a ED recovery journey is unique to the individual. But, I can bring to your attention this and many other things if you cruise around this blog- my hope is to give you hope- hope that if you are struggling there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You are not the only one who has struggles- certainly there are many others including myself so no need to feel alone. Doing the same thing you did yesterday that are not working well for you in hopes for a better tomorrow is not the way- there are new ways. You can find them, you can feel faced with challenges and move forward from them. Seek professional help if you need it. (As I always mention, this website is not providing treatment or professional help I just share my own views). Keep going. I believe in you. You got this.
As for me- I just ate (and thoroughly enjoyed) a leftover slice of pizza for breakfast. I feel great. I am headed out for a walk soon and then tonight I have a zoom hangout with some friends and a glass of sparking rose. Today and at this point – and in my mind- I’m totally winning.