Jo thinks I’m relapsing. She’s probably right, although her evidence is just that I’m admitting stuff I’ve always done, like exercising and reducing the carbs (pulses) in my stews, etc. Is this complacence or a new openness that comes from seeing Phil? I don’t know. Jo is also transferring anxiety and exhaustion that’s been cultivated in her by a criminally, cruelly demanding job, rather than having any obvious evidence from my behaviour. She thinks I’m being more snappish with the kids, for example, whereas I think she’s just less tolerant of my ever-present snappishness.
On the other hand, I am lighter than I was and more sensitive to the kids’ food foibles. I probably am relapsing, although I don’t think I’ve revealed much to Jo, and this could, I suppose, be, in part, because I’m picking up on her work stress. Families are a very complicated moiling soup of reflexive interactions.
Jo googled “anorexia relapse” and found an informative looking website (‘Informative looking’: that’s what amounts to credibility, in the internet age!) It said relapse was part of the recovery process, which was reassuring. (National Eating Disorders Collaboration, nedc.com.au) Jo claims I fit most of the criteria they lay out for someone who is likely to relapse: they are older when they develop the condition; haven’t been in-patients; exercise excessively; have low self-esteem; find it difficult to interact with others, have a low body-fat percentage; and have a diet which is low energy-density and of limited variety.
It’s amazing how lacking in autonomy I am and how predictable my behaviours, thoughts and motivations are with this condition. I find that reassuring, though. It reduces blame, for one thing: it suggests it’s an actual condition rather than a wilful, perverse and self -indulgent attempt to be as nasty and difficult as possible, for attention.
Anyway, the website said that relapse can be part of a process of learning how to control your anorexia, and, certainly, I feel more confident that I know what is going on and that I can stop myself from going totally off the rails. This could be just a self-satisfied lack of imagination, though. Now I’m off to do some more star-jumps.