National Eating Disorders Association

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TFW you think you're 100% recovered but then BAM here comes quarantine!

TLDR: Covid is bringing back old pre-recovery feels. Who else is feeling this? What healthy coping mechanisms do you use?

I'd been considering myself "officially recovered" from my eating disorder for a couple years now, but like many others in this situation I feel like I'm starting to relapse thanks to covid19. I suffered from a combination of multiple disordered eating habits and over-exercising. I only talk to my therapist every other week now and stopped going to my dietitian because I didn't feel like I needed them (also my therapist is expensive and I'm a poor grad student haha!). But over the past month or two, as my work schedule was cut in half, going to the grocery store has become an anxiety-attack trap, and climbing gyms are closed (climbing and riding bikes are my activities of choice), I'm starting to feel like the lack of control is putting me back in that ED headspace of needing to control something, feeling discontent with my body, extremely paranoid that I'm gaining weight, etc.

One thing I've been trying to do that I think would be helpful is limiting how much time I spend on social media (this has proven to be very difficult haha!). As a cyclist I follow a lot of fellow cyclists and cycling accounts, and I've found that exercise-heavy instagram accounts make me think more about how little I am exercising in comparison to them, and then I feel bad about myself (I know this is totally irrational since some of them are professionals, or racers, or whatever, and I'm not at that level nor do I want to be nor would it be healthy or realistic for me to be, but I still compare myself with them subconsciously). The weather has been pretty crappy too this spring so there've been many days when I don't even want to be outside. But even so, I feel this guilt on days when I don't exercise and then I start doing this very negative self-talk, accusing myself of things that I know deep down aren't true or real but that's all part of the disorder I suppose.

I'm trying to do deep breathing exercises when I start getting freaked out, and I'm trying to talk to people who empathize with me. My partner is supportive too but since we are quarantined together I feel bad for constantly complaining about my ED to him all the time, especially since he really has no idea what it's like. I wish I could be totally content with my body and unconcerned about it like he is about his own.

Today has been an especially rough day. I had planned this relatively long and strenuous ride to do today but due to mechanical issues with my bike wasn't able to do it after all, and felt real crappy about not riding on a day when I finally have a chance to. At work I sit in front of a computer all day and that lack of movement bothers me, and I've been driving there instead of riding my bike so that I can give a coworker a ride, and that makes me feel crappy too. Also in grad school, most of my classes are online (especially now) which requires a lot of sitting at my computer doing schoolwork. These things trigger this feeling of discontent and disgust at my body, feelings that I honestly have not felt in probably three or four years, and I feel like my recovery progress is being peeled back bit by bit.

I just feel like this big dark cloud of doom is slowly gliding over toward me. This feeling is so familiar to me but I haven't felt it like this for a while. I feel unmotivated to do things that I normally enjoy and sometimes all I want to do is take a nap that lasts all dang day so I don't have to worry about stuff and can pass the time without having disordered thoughts. I've been tempted to buy a scale recently but I know that will not lead to anything good. I've even thought about borrowing a scale from my workplace but I keep having to tell myself that it will not do any good.

I gotta keep reminding myself that it's not all that bad. There are some silver linings to this quarantine thing for me and I am grateful for them. Still, I have days when I feel like I'm slipping back down to that dark place and those feelings come back and haunt me.

Dear supper

Welcome to the forums! We hope you find support here. If you need any additional support or resources we encourage you to reach out to our confidential NEDA Helpline at 800.931.2237 M-Th 11am-9pm ET and F 11am-5pm ET or chat with us online M-Th 9am-9pm ET and F 9am-5pm ET. We also have a resources page dedicated to COVID-19 strong and take care!

hi pupper

its hard to stay positive right now, and i think you have done a great job putting things into perspective. Just remember to be kind to yourself. I think a lot of people are feeling more depressed and struggling more during this crazy pandemic. Try not to be yourself up for struggling - its normal and expected. It is so great that you are reaching out for support and trying to beat your negative feelings. I am sorry I don't have more advice, but we are all here for you. Stay strong, sending hugs.

Lack of movement

Hi, I just want to let you know that you are not alone. I share a lot of the same feelings as you. I have AN, used to have a job where I was on my feet all day moving around, and would exercise for hours a day before and after work, mostly running several miles. Now, I have an office/desk job and have been told not to exercise for medical safety. It is a very difficult compulsion to turn away, especially when I encounter a challenging food situation that raises my anxiety. I used to spend my lunch hour speed walking around the neighborhood, but have finally gotten myself to stop. I just want to remind you that your body needs food regardless of not exercising, and not exercising does not equal failure. I know ED can make missing a planned exercise feel incredibly guilty, but it is natural and okay not to exercise every day! Sending love.

You're not alone

Hi pupper, I don't have great advice but I wanted to let you know you are not alone. I'm struggling a lot with my ED right now and I've recovered for a long time. I didn't think I'm be down this road again where I want very badly to fall back into controlling something too as a way to cope with the uncertainty of our times. I related to a lot of your post and I'm glad you posted it so I know I'm not alone either.