My job requires several months of travel during the fall season. For some, this may seem like an exciting job perk– beautiful sights, comfortable hotel rooms, fancy car rentals, new business connections, eating at restaurants that your hometown doesn’t have, etc. For others, like me, this may seem a bit daunting. I am here to tell you what it’s like for a person with an eating disorder to be pushed outside of his/her comfort zone.
When I am at home, I follow a routine that provides me with a sense of security, especially for my eating disorder. I wake up every morning in the same bed, next to the same person; I go to work at the same place with the same people; I shop at the same stores and hang out with the same friends; and I eat the same “safe” foods in my home and at well-known restaurants in my small town.
Now, I don’t speak for every individual with an ED, but the majority of us like things to stay the SAME. We are control freaks whether we are deep in our disorders or are in recovery. So, take an eating disordered person out of his/her comfort zone (their control center) and WOAH… let’s just say things get rather complicated.
For me, my eating disorder uses travel season as an excuse to go haywire; it absolutely thrives off these kinks in my routine.No stability? No one to comment on my behaviors? No therapist to check in with me? Well, that means little to no food, no structured meal plan, no desire to follow a healthy lifestyle. That means drinking by myself in my hotel room because I am too anxious to go out with new colleagues. That means avoiding all of the unfamiliar restaurants because calorie contents are not “safe” or unknown. That means taking advantage of the hotel fitness center because there is no one to stop me from hopping on the treadmill at 2 am. That means… disaster– for both my physical and mental health.
It’s difficult (to say the least). Traveling alone is not meant for everyone, especially Type A personalities, as it tends to disrupt one’s typical daily practices. Who knows? I may be the only ED person who feels this way; however, I would like to think that I am not alone in my late night “on the road” ramblings.