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My Recovery from an Eating Disorder

February 17, 2010

This is a chapter of my personal story in which I dealt with an eating disorder. It mentions that I self harmed in the past, talks about my reasons for my anorexic tendencies, God, and how far I’ve come. I’m not sure what constitutes as triggering in this category, but shame and guilt were all the trigger I ever needed.

It is 2010 and I have re-emerged into the solid-world, as I call it.  I no longer feel the incessant urge to punish or deprive myself of nutrition & fuel, sleep, or anything else I discovered I needed. My hypoglycemia is back under control and I no longer get dizzy spells. My health has returned though it took a long time to be rebuilt. Taste has taken its place once again in the shameless benefits of life, and I can allow myself to enjoy things. I have energy to do the things I want to do, and the courage to do the things I don’t. I have friends again that I enjoy being with, though It hurts to admit I did lose some to the wayside of my issues. By the way, I’m also back in school and though I’m going at a slower pace and not getting top notch grades like before, but I think it’ll be ok. I am no longer trapped and controlled by the landscape of my mind. I participate in meals without guilt or anxiety(!), (though I still hate it when people watch or comment on my plate.). In fact, the guilt and anxiety in other parts of my life have dissipated to a manageable level. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is.

Breathing is easier now, laughing is easier, art is received through brighter, more open eyes, and is created easier beneath my now-steady hands.

2006 At first the lack of food intake was by neglect, but then I realized it wasn’t difficult. Everything else in my life was such a struggle, and avoiding food took effort but I could do it. Plus I didn’t feel as if I was entitled to good things, even went so far as to feel I wasn’t allowed any.

2007 It was as if someone had reached in and turned the dial up on everything… time went by slower, light was brighter and it hurt my eyes, criticism hurt more, emotions I’d hardly known the measure of followed me around like a shadow: guilt, fear, depression, shame. It came on slowly but once I looked around and realized this little game I was playing had destroyed relationships, halted my progress in school, and isolated me from the very world I craved belonging to, I realized something had to change. I was in treatment for self harm, so I confided in my therapist.

As soon as the food police (my parents watched me 24/7!) were employed, let me tell you I regretted my confession! I was angry with them for making me so ashamed and felt guilty that they were now questioning their value as a parent because of me… I had disrupted their lives when all I wanted to do was hide and be less of a burden. I was so angry with myself it called for more punishment. Depriving myself of sleep and food encouraged my depression, and giving in to the voices gave them greater power. Soon they took over my life playing my fear like an instrument. I withheld forgiveness from myself as often as I withheld other things I needed.

2008 I was suffocating in shame, and I allowed my voices to be cruel to me. Finally I couldn’t handle it anymore! I didn’t know if it was ok to want relief, but I did. I discovered a shield: Whenever anyone (myself included,) began to treat me inhumanely, I pulled up the defense that I was indeed human; for the sake of the other person’s character they needed to treat all humans with respect. Some days I succeeded in convincing myself I was human. Other days, I did not. These were some of the hardest times in my life, perhaps because, unlike before when I was resigned to the pain, half of me — maybe even just a quarter — began to want something better. By Autumn, a majority of the days were spent with normal eating habits. I was both appalled and proud. Still, I’d revert to my old ways now and then and found it almost impossible to continue in this fight for relief. But I did.

2009-2010 While 2008 was spent fighting for the absence of pain, this year was spent accumulating the things that make a person’s life enjoyable in some measure. It took time to fully adjust to this new image of myself — responsible, healthy, forgiving — and it took time for my body to heal. But this last year has been many, many more things than just recovery. It has been full of life, beauty, art, family, learning, friendship, as well as difficult times. I am learning to look forward. God is teaching me to hope for better things I once thought would never come again.


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