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The Eating Disorder Recovery Epiphany I Had Because of Cadbury Eggs

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Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.

Today I ate Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs. I didn’t enjoy them. And it isn’t Easter.

There are bags and bags of leftover solid little eggs at work, and apparently we can help ourselves. I’m not sure my colleagues realize what that actually means to somebody with an eating disorder. The only thing stopping me eating the thousand of delightful chocolate orbs perched upon the piano is the mortifying thought of explaining how I ate a thousand chocolates — by myself! I’ve certainly been giving it a good try though — the eggs are disappearing at a reasonably rapid pace.

I could ostensibly ask my manager to move them to another location so I wasn’t tempted. I’m sure they’d be happy to do so, but I’m not entirely convinced that is a great idea. I don’t think it’s in my vested interest.

Firstly, it would mean divulging the full of extent of my unhealthy relationship with food (they know I’ve had mental health issues and an eating disorder, but they don’t know the full extent of it). While I have definitely become much more open in the past six months, I don’t necessarily open every sentence with, “Hi, I’m Simone, and by the way, I’m bulimic.” Most people are very kind about it and they want the best for me, but in order to actually understand the depths of it, you have to have lived it. And that is not something I wish upon anybody. So no, I don’t want to ask my boss to move the eggs.

More importantly however, the hundreds of foil-wrapped treats that remain are just this weeks problem. If I ask someone to hide them, it doesn’t solve next week’s problem. I don’t actually know what next weeks problem will be; but I do know this is neither the first or the last time I will be confronted with irresistible tidbits for me to hungrily gorge myself upon.

The whole point of recovery is for me to find healthy and manageable ways of dealing with what for most people, is perfectly “normal.” Everyone else in the office is enjoying the Easter eggs – one or two here and there. I am the only person that waits until nobody is looking, grabs a handful to hide on my desk and then quickly scoffs them all before anyone returns.

I downed all my eggs and ended up using eating disorder behaviors to compensate — after that, I chose to reach out to my recovery group. Clearly I could (and should) have reached out before eating the eggs. But we can’t win all the battles on the first day! I sent all those lovely ladies some meaningless drivel, but once I’d finished writing, the compulsion and urge to keep consuming eggs was gone. Poof! Just like that. Which proves one really amazing point to me – the most useful recovery tool at my disposal is writing.

I have been gathering tools for ages and trying bits of this and bits of that. But today I realized when I reach out and write, it helps. It is cathartic. My ability to express myself with the spoken word is somewhat limited. I’m not entirely tongue-tied most of the time – I can string some intelligible sentences together – but the written word is where I find what is buried so deep inside me that I can’t even give it a name.

So today, those little bags of divine deliciousness imparted some divine wisdom: I need to write. I don’t need to ring people or do exercises, visualizations or affirmations (… actually I retract that… I’m sure I do need to do those things, but not as my very first go-to tool in a crisis). My first port of call is to write it down. Explore what’s going on in my head.

So there we go – I’ve found epiphanies buried beneath a pile of Cadbury Easter eggs. You just never know what you might find, especially when you’re not looking!

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Thinkstock image via Leekris

Originally published: October 18, 2017
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