I had the day off from the unit last Sunday and it was hard in a staring-at-my-plate, blinking-back-tears kind of way.
It was my second day off (the first being Thursday a few days before) and it didn’t go very well. I didn’t plan my meals ahead of time, which resulted in a lot of anxiety and restriction during mealtime. I was manipulative and lied to my family. When they called me out on it I sat, head in hands, crying at the dinner table. I felt awful: I put my family through so much and I can’t even eat a normal meal for them. What the hell kind of person am I? (Rhetorical question.)
I cut a lot of corners and suffered for it during the next weigh-in: between Saturday and Monday morning, I didn’t gain any weight; I lost almost a pound. I was honest with my treatment team about it, though, and have made a little progress since then. After a straight week on the unit, my doc gave me the weekend off – hooray!? I’m excited to have two consecutive days to myself, but I’m also terrified by the idea. I’m worried about following the meal plan without restricting; I know it’s like “well just don’t restrict, then” but it’s not that simple, not when there’s a constant voice in your head hissing nasty little diatribes about you and your body. Not to mention the exhaustion you feel after almost a month straight of following a strict schedule of therapy, meals, and “structured leisure,” when two days off sounds like the perfect opportunity for doing (and eating) absolutely nothing.
Both my individual therapist and my doctor challenged me to get out of my apartment this weekend (“but be mindful of walking too much!”), wear more fitted clothing, and to follow the meal plan as closely as possible – three things that are hard for me to do without being accompanied by anxiety. Armed with the coping skills I learned in treatment and a solid support system of family and friends, though, I feel like I’m ready to conquer this weekend.
As my late friend Matt once told me: “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.”