Crazy has an Itchy Trigger Finger

You’ve already gotten the true Naked confession that returning to Columbus, GA, the scene of my relapse into anorexia 6 years ago, has huge potential to be triggering for me.

Now the second Naked truth: I was kinda hoping that walking in recovery meant I wouldn’t have anymore triggers. An excerpt from my journal this morning:

My heart is bowed low in humility or embarrassment, pain or fear, I’m really not sure which of these it is or might be. In spite of all my words and plans for preparedness, Crazy is trying to kick in. Almost quite literally, Crazy (the compulsions I obeyed and my behavior while under the influence of an eating disorder) is trying to kick down the door and all of my defenses, the things I propped against the door are shaking, quaking, threatening to collapse around me, crush me and all my valiant efforts to “stay well”.

I admit (Naked truth here) that I have wondered if it might require less energy to drop my resistance. To just slip back into the habits, routines and culture of my “former Columbus”. Just let it take me under. But what of the next move, what then? Would I ever, ever be able to resurface again? I fear that if I let anorexia take me under one more time, I’d never breathe again.

So, as I am leaning into my One Word 2013, Naked, and bearing my soul to you here, I wonder:

How does Crazy kick in?

Few people actually think they’re Crazy, how does it sneak into my life and habits?

How do I slam the door since I already know what Crazy looks like?

How do I get away?

I’m in a position right now to be staring Crazy in the face, let me tell you how he got here, what he looks like and how I will banish him.

Crazy always walks in with a trigger. From a place of recovery, that looks like something you did or someone you knew before when you were still acting Crazy. And while you are chatting with this person, or considering this behavior, a flood of optimism comes over you. Crazy tells you, “We had good times. You don’t want to lose this relationship. You can keep it under control this time. You can find balance even while flirting with this behavior.

On a personal level, my trigger is all the familiar streets in Columbus, the sweet friends who are still running and competing in triathlons. The friends who somehow are able to contain Crazy without letting him take them over. I’d like to think I could do that, too. But I recognize this trigger, if I start extreme exercising again, I’ll flip the switch for Crazy.

But perhaps what Crazy looks like and even how he got here aren’t all that important relative to how to get away from him. Praise the Lord, who through Jesus, has finished all the work for me.

“LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” Is. 26:12

As I prayed and continued writing in my journal, the Lord spoke to me.

Beloved, all your defenses, the plans you stacked against the door of possible relapse, are pointless without me. No good intention will ever succeed without me. It is not only someday in Heaven that you are safe from fears, secure and protected from your enemies. Darling, you have me, The One True God, now, and forever. And it is not only eternity or only your spirit that I love and care for. I am intimately invested in you. Trust me with your recovery.

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure…You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Ps. 16:9, 11

2 thoughts on “Crazy has an Itchy Trigger Finger

  1. As you write I can see your struggle so clearly through your words. I feel so much for you. You are back in a place that is full of triggers. It’s not that running is something that it overall a negative behavior, but in your case, and in my case, it turns so quickly into a negative behavior that snowballs us right back into a full-blown relapse. Something I noticed that you wrote caused me to stop and think. “But I recognize this trigger, if I start extreme exercising again, I’ll flip the switch for Crazy.” I think I have been telling myself this for awhile, but just lately have realized that I don’t even have to go all the way to “extreme exercising” again. All it takes is one or two steps in the wrong direction. For me running is still too linked too that over-exercising I did for years, and so just starting to run when in a triggering environment, could easily and quickly lead me down the wrong path. So, I decided that for now I’m just going to cut the running out completely again, as I did early in recovery. I’ll stick with walking, zumba, and other ways to be active that don’t have the potential to trigger me and take me down that path towards extreme exercising again.
    Another thing that I was thinking about while reading your post. Something that is very different when you are recovered vs. still in the eating disorder is not necessarily the number of triggers you face but how you react to the triggers. You may still be triggered when you are recovered from an eating disorder-but how you respond to them, with coping skills and the ability to think through the consequences of the easy route of just bending and allowing yourself to follow the trigger vs. fighting against it and staying strong in recovery….that is the difference now between recovery and when you were still in the eating disorder and didn’t have the strength to fight back. I will be praying that you continue to have the strength to fight back during this time of transition and other stressors during which triggers often seem to appear. Thank you for being so open and honest and for being an example of how strength in the lord is where our support should come from.

  2. Brynna, I really needed that today. We’re visiting my in-laws in my home town – another trigger place. And needed the truthful reminder that I don’t WANT crazy and I need to stay far away from it. And sometimes that means giving something up.

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