So here's a confession that probably won't surprise most people with EDs but most people without EDs will find it baffling: I miss the endorphin highs that come with undereating and overexercising. I miss the psychic lightness that makes me feel disconnected to this life and this world. I do. I miss it.
Of course, to wax nostalgic about the 0.1% of the eating disorder that was physically pleasant would be to completely ignore the other 99.9% that was pure hell. But our brains are good at ignoring such technicalities and the fact remains that I miss those endorphin highs. A lot. I don't miss being so weak I could barely get out of bed, or nearly collapsed after I finally finished exercising. I didn't mind it then, because it was a sign that at least I didn't eat too much. But then there were those fleeting moments when I felt lighter than air, when I had just slogged through another marathon exercise session and felt so freaking good, when I realized I hadn't eaten for Lord only knows how long...those moments I miss.
The endorphin highs aren't a major one of my roadblocks to recovery, but it's part of it, and so I am blogging about it. On average, I feel so much better mentally and physically now that I am in recovery. Yet the problem remains: I still haven't found anything to match those endorphin highs. I remember in my high school health class, we got a handout on "100 Natural Highs" that didn't involve drugs or alcohol. Which was nice and all, but even little ol' innocent me could see that blowing the fuzz off a dandelion was a very different thing than shooting up heroin. It's fairly similar here. I do loves me an afternoon nap, but it's not a replacement for an endorphin high.
Part of me thinks I should just stop looking for a replacement. That maybe the problem is my need for the endorphin high rather than the inability to find that high in a non-self-destructive way. Maybe, too, the giddiness of the highs were exaggerated by the fact that they existed against a backdrop of misery.
Over the past few months, I've been revisiting some of the foods I used to eat as a kid and had fantasized about for years, fantasies fueled partly by starvation and partly by nostalgia. (Bear with me- this has relevance to what I'm talking about, I promise!) So I've started sampling some of those foods again, treats I see in the grocery store or hear maligned in the media. Some of them are as good as I remember (Swiss Cake Rolls, anyone?) but many of them really aren't. For the most part, I haven't rated these foods as gross/icky/otherwise inedible, but the attraction just isn't there anymore. I pass these items, think "That's nice," and don't think about it much anymore.
Perhaps one day I'll think the same way about the starvation and exercise highs. (See- I told you the above paragraph was relevant!) I'll be able to look at those highs and think "That was nice while it lasted, but my tastes have changed, thanks."