We haven’t had to move house for a long time. On purpose, because everyone knows how horrid moving house is. Well, we just did it again this month.

This move was horrid — still is actually as we’re trying to remodel the place we are moving in to as we move in to it. Long story. That, and saying goodbye to the lovely, fully remodeled house that has been our home for 8 years.

I can’t help but still notice how much easier, and less stressful things like this are when one is fully recovered. I remember a house move once before I was recovered, and it was stress on steroids. Partly because moving is stressful, but mostly because my stupid rules and rituals were all being pushed out of sync and I couldn’t mentally handle that, so I was trying to fit in jumping through all my silly eating disorder hoops and move house. It is incredible I managed it at all without having a nervous breakdown especially since I couldn’t just run to Wendy’s and grab food there at the end of a long day’s upheaval like I do now. (I might add, that I have eaten fast food or frozen pizza for every meal this past week and will probably continue to do so for a while – maybe the rest of the year – and I couldn’t give fewer fucks about it.)

So it went like this. I would get up around 3am and start packing and doing the things I needed to do super early so I could still go to the gym when it opened at 6am and spend all morning there and then come home and still do my hour long dog walk on top of that and still be back in time for when we were supposed to be loading trucks and moving stuff. And of course I would work out extra hard on those days just anticipating that someone might suggest we get fast food due to the lack of kitchen. Despite that, when some smart and normal person would do the normal thing for when one is moving house and suggest fast food, I would still say no and insist on eating something I had made and stored the day before — usually something I had saved in a tupperware and carried along with me. So everyone else would enjoy pizza or burgers and beer after a day of upheaval and I would be sitting there eating something cold and tasteless that had been sitting in my rucksack in the footwell of the car for a day. And of course no beer because beer has calories.

I love beer.

And then there is the first night in the new house, where I wouldn’t sleep because I was fretting about going for a run in the morning on new territory. What if I didn’t run the “normal” distance? What if I didn’t know what route was comparable to my usual one? Most people would be thinking about unpacking boxes and sorting the wi-fi, but I would lie awake worrying about getting my morning run in, and the fact that I didn’t yet have a gym membership.

I would also make it a million more times stressful buy insisting on trying to move all my hoarded frozen food with me. Half-pieces of bread, frozen mini-portions of my safe food. And that would add a rush on moving stuff out of my old freezer into the new one that most people really would not worry about. You know what I did will all the odds and ends in our freezer this time — I binned them. But before? No … I would have saved them and insisted that every last item was transported before it had time to defrost. Partly because I had that anorexia food hoarding thing going on, and partly because I had that anorexia money-saving-frugality-can’t-throw-anything-away-as-it-cost-money thing going on.

Some of these things, such as worrying over how to save the freezer odds and ends, are so insignificant seeming that they are hard to describe. But they all add another layer of complexity to already complicated situations that most people are oblivious to. It is like I had this additional level of things to work out and think about in my head related to food and movement plastered onto any given life situation. And because nobody else could see it, I didn’t have anyone to talk about it and help troubleshoot. That additional layer of stress was my guilty secret because I was always trying to convince the outside world that I didn’t have an eating disorder.

Then there is the mental availability and flexibility. I am able now to be available to actually be helpful to other people, such as my husband. Things like a sudden text “are you able to go in to the bank and them them X,” I can say yes to, whereas before you could guarantee I would have said I couldn’t because I was “busy doing something.” I was always busy doing something, usually movement or obsessively doing whatever it was on my rigid pre-planned daily schedule. I had no mental flexibility. I couldn’t fit helping others out into my busy day-to-day without it being a major stressor for me. Something like taking the time out to go and sit in the bank manager’s office would have caused me huge anxiety. Now, not the case. I can mentally be available and flexible, and I think that makes a whole lot of difference to my husband.

My new house is a construction site. All my possessions are in boxes and can’t get unpacked anyway until the construction is done, which will be months. But who cares? I’m happy and mostly I am happy because I am not hangry on top of everything else. And because my brain is not filled with worrying about food and exercise. I get up, I eat whatever is going, and the additional mental capacity I have due to not overthinking food means I am more present to make real decisions and handle what is actually happening. I can focus on the important stuff because my head isn’t filled with ED-OCD crap.

So while moving is still bollocks. It isn’t nearly half as bollocks as it is when I had an eating disorder.

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