My eating disorder became a habit. It became a way of life. It became my life.
It was like getting up and brushing my teeth. Washing my face. Getting dressed. Getting in the car and going to work.
That was just part of my day. A habit.
But the good thing about habits is that you can change and break your habits.
Dr. Amy Johnson said to me: Your habit is thought coming to life. It’s shallow. It’s not deep, and it’s not ‘you’. And she’s right. My eating disorder are thoughts. I turn them into actions. I make them a habit. When you do something enough times for such a long period of time it becomes a habit. And habits can be broken. This habit is meant to be broken. It’s changing your thoughts and interrupting the cycle. For me, I find that by focusing on the positives when I don’t engage in Eating Disorder behaviours I find what I’ve been missing out on.
When I don’t take laxatives and get to have a peaceful night of sleep and a day without lying on a bathroom floor in agonizing pain – I remind myself that I was able to live 24 hours of my life. Not in pain. Not suffering. Not being a victim. I was able to be present for myself, my kids, my family and my friends. I didn’t have to plan out my day, I didn’t have to lie about how I felt, where I was or what I was doing. I was able to go with the flow of the day.
All of the added stress of planning out a laxative binge is exhausting. I use to be able to time it quite well, but in recent months it has been unpredictable which makes it incredibly difficult. I have so many commitments that are important – driving my kids to programs, picking my kids up, putting the kids to bed because Rob has a late meeting or just talking to my kids about their day certainly takes precedence over anything and everything. I use to be able to plan it so I would feel violently ill during the day and muster up enough strength during the evening to get through the night. Or plan it so I felt like shit all night and had the washroom to myself without anyone being the wiser.
But somewhere along the way, they decided not to be as predictable as they have been. They were taking longer to have an effect on me and sadly the effects weren’t as strong as they use to be. I say sad, because to take that many laxatives and not have them react the way they use to means my body is so accustomed to them.
Being predictable was one of the good things about my routine. I knew when, where, why and how they would work. When that is taken away it’s like playing Russian Roulette. You never know what it will interfere with, you never know how they will make you feel and you don’t know what you will be doing when you begin to feel nauseous, dizzy, lethargic and basically like a pile of shit.
But this was all a “habit”. Buy laxatives, plan day, take laxatives, feel like shit for a day or two, feel completely empty and repeat the cycle all over again.
So breaking that cycle means making new habits.
Going for a walk to the mailbox at night instead of staring at my bloated stomach after dinner.
Going to Walmart and walking past the laxative aisle instead of standing in front of them wondering if I should buy them or not.
Waking up in the morning refreshed and not feeling like a zombie who can’t function during the day.
Those are new habits I am trying to create.
By getting rid of old habits and creating new ones, I will continue to remind myself of the life I deserve to live. Habits are just created by thoughts. My Mental Illness is a habit.
My habit is thought coming to life. It’s shallow. It’s not deep, and it’s not me.