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  • Jason Wood

Okay on Vacay

Vacations are supposed to be an opportunity to relax and escape the daily routine. This is exactly why the thought of vacation used to fill me with fear. As someone battling OCD and anxiety, I’ve structured my days in an attempt to “control” life. I’m now realizing that is an impossible thing to do, plus it’s not near as much fun as mindful living in the moment!

Imagine standing at the busy intersection of OCD and an eating disorder and the stoplight goes out. That was basically me every time we went on vacation. My mind flooded with questions. Where will we eat? What can I order? Will I gain weight? What about working out?

Vacations meant deviation from my regular routine. The routine that made it easy for me to follow orthorexia’s rules. Unfortunately, my eating disorder invited himself on each and every trip. And he is not a fun travelmate! Forcing me to spend endless hours researching restaurants and menus, while constantly telling me what I could and couldn’t eat.

Well, later this week we’re hitting the road and going back to Illinois for the first time since the wedding in 2019. I’m excited to see my friends but also a little anxious about the upcoming trip.

Will my friends still think I’m fun to be around now that I’m my authentic (and sober) self? Will I even be able to stay authentic or will I find myself reaching for that mask? Will I be triggered and resort back to my orthorexic ways at a meal? Will I be able to stay fully present in the moment or will these questions haunt my mind the whole trip? Will this deviation from routine derail my recovery?

Will, will, will!

I could sit here and list a hundred other “will” questions but I think we both get the point. My mind loves to default to the worst-case scenario. That is something I’m learning to work on in my recovery. Just having this awareness means I now have the upper hand.

It’s okay to have these questions and anxieties. I’m going to embrace them, but I’m not going to let them get in the way of having a great time on this trip. Rather than worry about the what-ifs, I’m focusing on the amazing opportunities this trip presents.

I’m going to see my best friends for the first time in almost 2 years. I’m going on a trip and orthorexia is not invited, so I’m eating what I want when I want. I’m not going to have to worry about which character I’ll play today, I’m going to be myself and that’s pretty damn awesome. I’m going to remember that recovery is a process, not a pass/fail test, so above all else, I’m going to practice self-love, self-care, and mindfulness on this trip.

And most of all, I’m going to embrace the heck out of this challenge and live my life out of that comfort zone!


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