A Day of Coping
This past Friday was the roughest day I’ve had in a really long time. It had nothing to do with the eating disorder, but obviously, the stress of other events continues to affect eating disorder thoughts, even now.
The day started with the realization that I was more behind on my assignments than I originally thought. Like a lot more behind.
I put my head down and churned through as much work as I legitimately could, and grabbed a late lunch around 1:30 or so. At around 2pm or so, however, I got a gut-churning email from work. I’m not going to go into details because exactly what happened isn’t relevant, but for the first hour, things were really panicky on everyone’s end. After we realized there was, in fact, a solution, we had to hammer out the details, which took until 7 or 8pm.
As soon as I read the email, I could feel the wave of panic rise: lightheadedness, cold sweat, numbness in my hands and feet, and severe nausea. Always the nausea. I managed to keep my lunch down (I wasn’t having urges to purge, but I always get nausea with anxiety), but I knew it might not stay that way. I also knew that I was going to have to bust out the old school coping skills to survive the afternoon.
I started with Better Living Through Chemistry. I have a prescription for benzodiazepines. My doctor gives me 15 pills per year, no refills, so I’m fairly secure I won’t abuse them. Plus, just having them on hand drastically lowers my anxiety because I know I have something if things get bad. Well, on Friday, Things Got Bad. So I took one.
I brushed my teeth in case the lingering flavors from lunch were contributing to my nausea, plus it gave me something to do besides panic.
As we moved into the trying to figure out exactly what needed to be done stage of the afternoon, I realized I was still far too shaken up to think. My nausea was still pretty severe, and an attempt at afternoon snack just didn’t work out. So I made the executive decision to make it up later (not ideal, but I was trying to keep from flying apart at the seams).
Then, I turned to my favorite coping skill, which is looking at cute animal pictures online. I started by watching this Vine over and over and over:
Then, I read through one of my favorite Twitter accounts, @ProBirdRights, who is a “Birds’ Rights Activist” and tweets such gems as:
I been working on my summer bod: it the same as my regular body, but this time more popsackles in it.
— birdsrightsactivist (@ProBirdRights) June 15, 2015
I have two potata chip but only one mouth. My life is complicated
— birdsrightsactivist (@ProBirdRights) June 1, 2015
Lastly, I watched this guided meditation:
Opposite action, right?
By the end of the day, I was utterly drained. But I survived. I didn’t implode. I didn’t give myself over to panic. And although I didn’t get in my afternoon snack, I did partly make up for it later.
I didn’t realize it until later, but it turns out that this–all of this, the panic, the exhaustion, the coping–is recovery. This is it. It’s getting through the day. It’s not always loving life. Sometimes it’s just buckling down and doing what needs to be done. And sometimes it’s watching cute puppy videos.