This isn't a topic I necessarily enjoy talking about. In my mind, it displays weakness and despair, but it needs to be discussed.
We all have them; especially in recovery.
For the past two days I have been tempted with exhausting urges to engage in disordered behaviors. Last night I had my temporary escape from my anxieties all planned out, but somehow found the strength within myself to fight off that temptation. The weird thing is, I wasn't even all that proud of myself for fighting off temptation. The fact that I was tempted at all to engage in a behavior that nearly ruined my life was enough to make those self-critical thoughts get the best of me.
In the past, I have done whatever I could to numb out those uncomfortable feelings. Now that I am in recovery, however, I am expected to sit with those anxious, depressive, and harsh self-beliefs. I'm not sure if exhausting is the right word to describe this process. It is grueling, strenuous, and draining to fight against the urge to act on behaviors that will get rid of those feelings, even if it is transient.
As a result of my efforts to fight off these urges, I went to bed around nine o'clock last night, only to wake up feeling even more fatigued this morning. Somehow I managed to make it through a day full of classes with a racing mind and an incessant need to numb out. Those of you who have struggled with an eating disorder can understand how difficult it is to eat during these times of stress, which of course, only makes things worse. I returned home feeling ravenous, irritable, and longing for a nap in addition to my growing craving to act on these urges.
Talk about exhausting. As one of my friends put it, sometimes fighting off urges is a full time job in itself.
The crazy thing about urges is, I know better. Acting on certain behaviors completely destroyed my life in years past, so why in the world would I even think about engaging in those behaviors? If I am being honest here, fighting off these urges in a million, billion times more difficult than actually giving into them.
So what is really bothering me? What is making me crave this escape from my everyday life? A close friend of mine suggested I make a list of everything that is bothering me in this moment and to my surprise, that list is huge. There are several things I can control and need to take action on; however, there are also several things out of my control right now. Those things that are out of my control at this moment are pretty tough to cope with, but thankfully, I know acting on urges isn't the answer either.
I had plans to indulge in these behaviors again tonight, but luckily, writing and this blog (along with two very supportive friends) are saving me. Reaching out has always been difficult for me. Who wants to admit they are struggling? And even if my friends tell me how much better I am than this stupid disease, who says I have to listen to them? When I want to numb out, I want to numb out. Period.
However, by taking the time to notice these urges before I took action, I was able to talk myself out of engaging in destructive behaviors - even if that meant I drove myself a little crazy today.
I'd say it was worth it.