I'm at a very odd point in my recovery, one where I've never been before. Well, I take that back. I've been to this point before, it's where I'm going that I need to sort out. I've been living at home and working on recovery full-time for almost seven months now. I have gained back all the weight I lost during my last relapse and have been holding steady for several months now. At this point, I'm starting to wonder what now? What's next for me?
Before, I would approach the "what's next" either as an opportunity to go off and lose weight again or just stick my head in the sand and forget about this whole eating disorder thing anyway. Needless to say, neither of these two options really worked out too well.
I know I'm not fully recovered, and I know I still have work to do. I also know I'm in this for the long haul, and I don't want to shorten the journey because I get impatient, which will only leave me vulnerable to relapse later. I don't want to jump the gun, but I also want to get on with my life. I've slowly started looking for part-time jobs, and I have several writing projects I'm working on (which I hope I will be able to share with you soon, once everything is official and I get the go-ahead from The Powers That Be), but much of the rest of my life seems stalled somehow. I know I still have plenty of recovery work left to do, yet there's a part of me that wants to get one with things.
I love my parents, don't get me wrong, and I'm willing to stay living with them as long as I need to in order to really begin putting this eating disorder in the past tense, but I'm also starting to desire a place of my own.
I'm not sure of my motivations in wanting to get on with my independent life. Every other time, it seems the eating disorder has been perverting my own desires for independence into a chance to go back to anorexia. I don't think that's the case this time. I also don't want to rush into moving out simply because turning 30 while still living with my parents isn't exactly what I had in mind. One of my friends from college is having twins in a month, another is finishing up her pediatric residency. They're not living with parents and floundering with their life plans. Granted, my friends aren't struggling with an eating disorder, either.
And yet a part of me is okay with the status quo. It's nice not having to stress over meals, to worry about grocery shopping and buying cereal and being left to my own devices to manage my exercise. The accountability of living with my parents is really helpful, and I'm not always sure I want to leave.
So there is this almost continual push and pull between running forward and staying right where I am. I don't have the all-consuming thoughts of trying to figure out how I'm going to lose weight once I bust this joint, which is a nice change, but I also know that I will remain vulnerable to relapse for quite some time. I am determined not to screw this up this time--there are too many things I want to do in life to remain tethered to the eating disorder. And I think I've finally grasped that "life" and "eating disorder" can't really co-exist.
I suppose the move-or-stay decision doesn't need to be made now, as much as I would love to get the decision out of the way right now. There isn't one "perfect place" for me, and I'm sure I'll be able to find something whenever the time is right. And as much as I would love to be totally on my own and doing well in recovery by the time I turn 30 this next summer, I might have to accept that living with my parents at 30 beats being back in treatment at 31.
My goal in the next week or so is to determine what behaviors my treatment team thinks I still need to work on in order to start thinking about moving out.