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.

Cue panic.

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:


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.

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9 Responses to “A Day of Coping”

  1. In recovery, we must do what we have to do to get through the day! Just for today. Keep striving!

    • OMG I absolutely loved the puppy video!!! I am so super proud of you. Thank you for sharing! You are admirable and courageous. Recovery is a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day challenge and you are kicking butt at it! You are punching ED right square in the face. Keep doing what you are doing! It’s what we learn in the “darkness” that gets us through our days. God never gives up on us and will never forsake us!

      Song of Solomon 4:7-You are altogether beautiful! There is NO flaw about you.

  2. Not sure that’s the type of meditation my Mum had in mind when she recommended it but this particular mantra is right up my street (and oddly actually IS pretty calming!)!
    I’ll be incorporating this into my own mindfulness meditation and sharing this new calming measure with my therapist tomorrow. I’ll also ask her to be sure to remind me to practice my F*ck That Meditation on a regular basis!

    Seriously Carrie, I think you dealt with an Almighty Shite day like a Mighty Tiger. Kudos to you and thank you for sharing. It’s from folk like you I draw my courage to face up to each day and at least miaow a bit in the face of anorexia (I’m still kitten standard and working on finding my ROAR!).

    Recovery is so bloody hard. That you share the reality of the everyday battles is so refreshing. It validates my own struggle but also pushes me to keep learning from that struggle (I’m a slow learner!), just as I see you doing.

    From now on I will remember that life could be SO much worse.
    I could be a bird with that age-old Two-Crisps/Chips-One-Beak dilemma. Gah. Why the heck didn’t God give the poor sods POCKETS??! That’s some real design fault right there. Hmm…
    I feel a knitting project coming on…Carrie? 😉

    Mel xXx

  3. Carrie, Thank you for sharing so honestly and openly about your recovery. It is agree with the comments above refreshing and does validate my own struggles. It resonates with me and you are so strong!

    I just found that mediation on Friday and I was laughing so hard. Laughter is good medicine.

    Recovery is challenging but knowing we are not alone is so helpful. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I am impressed.

  4. Love it that you can keep your sense of humor in the midst of struggle. Mindfulness at work- ok, here it comes- here comes the lightheaded stuff, now the nausea- just being with yourself as it happens and taking care of you throughout. Knowing you can and will get through the day instead of getting lost in black and white thinking- not that the IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD kinds of thoughts aren’t there, but that they aren’t the end of your thinking. You rock. Love how you deal with your shitty day. And, if you are all better now, you can still make up those missed snack calories just to make sure the ed doesn’t get any leverage. 😉

  5. This is amazing. “Breathe in strength; breathe out bullshit” – I think that might become my new mantra. Sounds like you handled a crappy day like a pro. Hope the rest of your weekend was better!

  6. Good going Carrie!!!

  7. Thank you for sharing. I am early in recovering and it helps to know what recovery can look like down the road.

  8. Hang in there…sounds like you’re doing the best you can, and that’s all anyone can ask for.

    Love the meditation. It is strangely relaxing.