This weekend is the Half Marathon in my city. Half Marathons remind me of a variety of things. Whilst I was living in Paris I signed up to do the Paris half. It was a way to make me train. Motivation to pull me out of bed in the morning and run. Keep running. And run some more. It was a way of hiding behind my eating disorder… People would congratulate me for training for a half marathon. It was fuel for Ed. Strength for Ed. Food for Ed. Little did I know that signing up for the half marathon would make me addicted to exercise and diagnosed with “exercise bulimia”.
Fortunately I started therapy in Paris in the January. The half marathon was in March. After many therapy sessions and a lot of conversations with my self-help group and sponsor, I was able to drop out of the race. I learnt that if I were to run the race and cross the finish line, it would be my Eating Disorder who had won. Not me.
However, as my friend was competing in the race she wanted me to come and support her. Although I knew it would be triggering and not the right thing for my recovery, I felt obliged to show my support. I sat, I watched, I cheered and I cried. The sound of Ed screaming in my ear was unbearable. The thoughts running through my mind were painful.
So whilst I showed strength in not running the race, I wasn’t strong enough to put myself first and not watch. I put other people before myself in another desperate attempt to people please. This year however, things have changed. I have realised that recovery has to come first. Staying on track and staying healthy is more important than a couple or cheers from the sideline. Today I am able to stay strong in recovery by removing myself from triggering situations. I know my triggers and I know how to avoid them. I can show support to my friends running the race in other ways. I don’t need to be on the sideline.