I didn’t eat eggs for about 30 years. It was difficult/impossible to eat them. I didn’t just dislike them, I hated them more than any food in the world. I was opposed to eggs.
But recovery has involved doing lots of things that I thought I didn’t like, and doing them has been incredibly beneficial. So I began looking at other things that I thought I didn’t like, that didn’t seem like they were my kind of thing, things I thought I couldn’t do. I’ve learned that most of those things are just driven by fears and anxieties, even if I’ve forgotten what the original fear was by now. I’ve been learning how to add those things into my life if I know they would be beneficial to my health. One of those things is eating eggs.
My aversion to eggs probably came from emetophobia (fear of vomit) connected to the other OCD symptoms I struggled with. The smell of eggs made my skin crawl. The texture made me gag because I associated it with vomit. I believed that deviled eggs truly were the devil. If I was a guest at somebody’s house and they served eggs, I’d politely eat them as long as I could drown then in ketchup, hot sauce, and pepper. And then I’d need to go someplace to calm myself down afterwards. Eggs caused me stress. So I decided to bring eggs into my life. Being stressed out by eggs wasn’t helping me with anything. And I was missing out on a convenient, high-protein breakfast food.
Cutting out an avoidance compulsion works the same as cutting out any compulsion: you expose yourself to the thing you’re compulsively avoiding, and when your brain says, “Ahhhh! Get away!!!” you smile and you don’t run away.
So I ate eggs! I lived eggs! I pretended I liked them no matter what my brain said. I made eggs every morning for weeks. I sat up straight and smiled while I shovelled them down. My brain screamed at me that they were disgusting, and I didn’t argue with it, but I kept on eating and smiling.
Brains don’t like to waste energy, so our brains won’t keep freaking out about something if we stop reacting it. This works for cutting out typical anxious compulsions, and it works for introducing things we find difficult.
Now I eat eggs almost every morning. But a couple of months ago, I would have said that making eggs (or even having eggs in my fridge) was impossible for me.
I’ll share my egg bacon muffin recipe next week.