I found myself related to Ben Cohen, one of the founders of Ben and Jerry. Who has little taste of taste and no sense of smell. Anosmia-stricken Ben advocated chunks when he and his partner, Jerry Greenfield, were developing their signature ice cream in the 1970s. He became a texture tester, who would determine that teeth could be satisfied even if the tongue was not there. After three small spoons, I put the ice cream back in the freezer, not allowing myself to do any more.
My recovery often consists of competing powers; The healthy side of me that recognizes that I need to eat more and I want to enjoy those foods, and the chronic eating disorder that tells me I shouldn’t.
The next day, family friends dropped a homemade broccoli and cheese casserole, coloring books for my kids and more than a dozen groceries that we love to eat: cinnamon raisin bagels, red grapes, smoothies Mix and more. I wanted nothing more than to enjoy home-cooked meals, which sounded like something my mother had made. I ate some of it, but not enough.
As our symptoms subsided and our two-week quarantine ceased, I began to see the effects of eating too little. I could see it in my slightly sunken cheeks, feel it in the contour of my hip bone, hear it in my stomach, which was groaning in the darkness of night. I took a photo of myself and recognized that I was very thin. My husband also saw. He reassured me that my taste would return, and he reminded me how much traction I would lose if I let myself get stuck in the setback.
Over the years, I have to change my perspective on what this means in recovery. I used to strive for “full recovery” – a life without slip-ups or failures – and would always feel that whenever I wobbled, I had failed. Now I refer to my thinking as the “middle place”, which is the sticky space between illness and full recovery. I make it my goal to make steady progress through that space – for myself, my family. Recovery is about recognizing that I am in control of my choice, even when anorexia knocks, to give another chance. During Kovid, I opened the door a crack, but eventually closed it.
My sense of taste was gone for about five weeks, and once it came back I started regaining my legs and eventually, the pounds lost me. When I was eating a banana, it first showed a taste once in the morning; Soon more flavors re-emerged.
And then one Sunday afternoon, I ate creamy tomato biscuits and felt and sniffed and tasted every spoon. It was summer there, the savory tomatoes, the joy of basil.