The further I get along this road, the more I realise that there is no destination. Everything is a journey. Even when you think you’ve gotten somewhere, to your goal…there’s always somewhere else to aim for. Or a long way to fall backwards.
I’d thought that this time would be the one that would stick. But maybe that was my mistake, for thinking that once you start getting better, you just keep getting better. That recovery is a linear thing that just keeps going up and forward. I’m realising now that it’s not. It goes up, and down, and up again. But hopefully you come out of it alive.
Back in April I resolved to make a change, for good. To take the steps I needed to stop binge eating and recover from the eating disorder that seems to have swallowed my life and my health just as I have swallowed so much during this time. I went days binge free, chronicled each day online. I thought it would make me accountable, and it did, and it without doubt stopped me from binging much earlier than if I hadn’t been tracking my days on Twitter and Instagram.
I got to 66 whole days binge free, and it felt really good. I built an audience, albeit a very, very small one, and started receiving messages from people spilling out their problems, asking me how I’d done it. It felt nice, of course it did, and I so value their support and feel so good to think I might be helping them too – there are so few people talking about this stuff. I even posted a blog post with my own personal best advice to beat binge eating, and the funny thing is that I truly believe those things are what you need to recover, I just never could consistently put them into action.
But with that, even the teeny tiny amount of attention I experienced, comes a pressure. You get to a point where you need to just start living without thinking of a close captioned way to express it online. I was saying I was binge-free but couldn’t decide whether that was true or whether I was just giving it a different label. So, I decided to take a break, not post for a few days. And that was fine, but it was the start of a slippery slope. I didn’t necessarily binge on those days, but after a while away, posting my days again seemed impossible. I’d always wanted to get to 100 but realistically, sharing those graphics probably wasn’t sustainable.
I’m very much of the belief that going ‘clean’ from whatever it is you’re struggling with, food or otherwise – if you’re counting it in days and then you ‘slip up’, the counter shouldn’t go back down to zero. So yes, I have binged in the last few weeks. Quite a lot. I feel myself sliding into the mindset that I need to do it just to get by. That it’s what I need to function. That’s just not true, of course – but just because my days binge free are no longer coming one after the other, doesn’t mean that those 66 don’t count any more. I still went over 2 months binge free for probably the first time since I was 17, and that’s a fucking good achievement. I’m proud of that.
What I need to do now is let go of the bad days, figure out what drove me in those 66 days and start working towards it again. Maybe I’ll share it on social media, maybe not, maybe just in a different way. It felt so good to help people feel less alone but I can’t be a fraud, preaching perfection in public whilst failing in private. So less pressure, I think, is key.
If you’re a fellow binge eater reading this, I hope you don’t think less of me. I hope this piece of honesty makes you realise there’s not one road or even an easy road to recovery, and that I was never trying to present that to you. But we can overcome this, together. xx