As someone with a history of eating disorders, I know how scary time spent alone, or any time without a definite plan for the future can be.
For me, disordered eating was always rooted in anxiety, loneliness and control. The incessant news updates about COVID-19 and its effects, coupled with the fact that I’m not allowed to see many of the people I’m close to, would be more than enough to send me spiraling—if this were happening a few years ago. Now, I’m devoted to my wellness.
I know that no matter how deeply I’m feeling about all of this news and how isolated I am, I don’t need to slip back into a lifestyle of disordered eating.
Since the country began taking COVID-19 more seriously in March, gathering food quickly became crucial. Going to the store and seeing so many bare shelves was a signifier that my immediate family and I needed to stock up as soon as possible. Once we did, I realized that being surrounded by food was a bit of a nightmare. Although I’m in recovery and in touch with an ED specialist, sometimes I’m was still afraid to be around excessive amounts of food because I’m reminded of my past experiences.
Today I’m more empowered, and vocal, than ever before.
A few things have been helpful during this time. The first was that I had to slowly release the fear of my body. I had to let myself know that it’s okay to nourish myself, and that it’s also okay to gain weight. I’m inside more, and I’m not meeting with a trainer, so it’s only natural. I had to allow myself to be human.
Another tidbit that I had to take in was that I can’t control everything. I’m not meant to. All I can do it take the proper measures to ensure my safety, continue to bring myself joy in whatever ways I can, and try to find some sort of routine in the midst of all of this. I don’t have to be undone by my refusal to let go.
It’s also been important for me to understand that I’m not alone, in any sense. I’m in touch with people who love me and I can reach out to them any time I need to.
Whether you’re quarantining alone, or with family, you’re not by yourself. Through all of the ups and downs of eating disorders, know that you’re supported.
Please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 if you are struggling at this time. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.