A close friend and I went out to eat for my birthday about a month ago. I had only been out of treatment for a week. As we prepared to order I was looking over the menu for something condensed, but yet, that hit all of my exchanges. I decided on a quinoa, kale, craisin, almond, salad with grilled chicken.
She got up there, decided to get half of a turkey club. No bacon. No mayo. No cheese. I struggled through my lunch, desperately wanting to not eat, to only eat toast and turkey. I was so annoyed that someone that knew me so well would do this at lunch. I took it very personally, was irritated, and pretty triggered. She was part of the reason I went to treatment, telling me she was proud of my choice to go, to take care of myself, etc. Yet, here she was eating bread and turkey… half a starch, and maybe one protein.
I wanted nothing to do with my lunch anymore, I wanted to say something. Blow up. Let her know how ridiculous that was that she is barely eating anything and yet here I am having to eat all of this.
I didn’t say anything. I ate half of my lunch, (which was the norm when we would go out to eat in treatment) boxed up the rest, and tried to not let anything get to me. It was my birthday lunch, this was my recovery. I was still annoyed by what she had done, but I tried to talk myself out of being triggered and pissed. I wanted to throw up lunch.
Being rational though, I told myself that this was my recovery. I had to do what worked for me.
Later, I told a friend about what had happened. I explained it was no fair that I had to eat all of my exchanges and eat so much when she was barely eating, and she knew I had been in treatment. I told her that was so triggering to me, and I thought it was so ridiculously ignorant of what she did.
Without judgement she pressed the issue a little further. “So, it was triggering because of what she was eating?” Yeah! I wish she would have eaten like as much as me, not barely anything, because I didn’t want to eat anything.
“Sweetie, you weren’t just triggered…. you were jealous.”
Those words were enough to make me defensive and pretty pissed. Until I realized she was right. I was jealous. I was jealous she didn’t have to eat as much as I am expected to.
When people would talk about running and sports, I wasn’t “triggered”, I was jealous as hell that they could do something I couldn’t and they hadn’t abused working out like I had.
Talking to my mom I consider that very “triggering”. She has a way of making me envy people who have healthy mother daughter relationships. She makes me jealous of the people who can rely on their family and jealous of the children who can talk to their moms.
In my opinion, it is ok to be “triggered”, but acknowledge it for what it is. Is it jealously? Are you really “triggered” or is it stemming from something else?
It is okay to be triggered, just like me at lunch, but it is how you react to it.
I could have chosen to have a hissy fit, not had lunch, restricted or purged. That wouldn’t have been proactive or healthy at all, and would have only hurt me and my recovery.
It is perfectly okay to be annoyed, upset, triggered, jealous. The key is how you react to those situations and circumstances, that makes you rise and continue on towards recovery.
Trust the process.