I was talking to a friend from my past group therapy, and she asked me how I was doing. I disclosed to her that I was having a slight “relapse,” but once the word came out of my mouth, it felt strange and just downright nasty to say.
“Relapse” is very common in recovery journeys, even when you think you are doing really well. It is almost inevitable that you will slip multiple times, times that we most commonly call a relapse, but those are the times that you become stronger and you learn the most about yourself and your triggers. With each “relapse” too, they tend to get farther and farther apart, IF you challenge the voices. If you don’t do anything about it, then of course it’s going to be harder for you to dig yourself out of the relapse ditch.
Now, with that said, I have come to the realization that the word “relapse” is such a negative word. Pardon me if I’m being a little more blunt with this post, but I feel like when you say to yourself that you’re in a relapse, it sets you up for failure. To me, it just sounds like an excuse to go easy on your ED voice, and allow yourself to engage in old behaviors again. This is why I like the phrase “slip-up” better.
With recovery, it’s all about changing your mindset from a negative thought to a positive thought. This is something I’ve learned in therapy. For example, instead of saying, “my legs are so big,” change your thinking to, “I’m so grateful that my legs have the strength to carry me around.” This is why I’ve changed my thinking from, “I’m in a relapse,” to, “I’m merely in a slip-up, and I can get myself out of this.”
Not saying that everyone is like this. But do a reality check on yourself and your progress if you’ve claimed to be in a relapse. Are you making excuses for yourself so that you can continue your ED behaviors? Are you engaging in them in full force? Are you brushing off the fact that your behaviors have come back? I know I was doing this for a while. I was saying to myself that it was okay, because I know my triggers and I know what to do when I am tempted to engage. But I didn’t actually implement any of those tools that I know and learned to use.
Next time you decide to call your slip-up a relapse, consider why you’re calling it a relapse. I mentioned in my last post that I was in a relapse, but now I just think of it as a slip-up. Getting out of slip-up seems more feasible now. I can do it, and so can you.