More musings on recovery from an eating disorder

February 24, 2011

Tonight I realize how much freedom I have. Let me explain:

I used to think about nothing but food.

I couldn’t have a life as long as I was starving myself because

  1. I obsessed over food
  2. There wasn’t enough emotional or mental energy to put into anything else
  3. I couldn’t think,
  4. I couldn’t even walk across the room without feeling like I was going to pass out.
  5. I was always trying to figure out how to avoid eating so I had no time for anything else.
  6. did I mention food was all I ever thought about? That and my inadequacies. And my fears. And who wants to think about those? So I thought about food instead.
  7. through everything was an all-pervasive sense of shame that kept me from enjoying anything.

I have a life now. As much as it sucks to constantly be caving into the temptation of chocolate or cookies, I’ve really gained so so so much freedom. I can always work being healthier, and I am working on it.

I have a more balanced life. I have fun, and I work. I think about my future, the present, and the past. I work on my spiritual life, my financial success, my relationship with others, my education. I enjoy myself. I don’t worry so much anymore. Most of all? I don’t feel ashamed of myself on a constant basis. I have accepted myself, and learned to stand up for my right to be treated like a human being.

And you know what else? I feel attractive if I dress right and put a little makeup on. Which means I feel good about how I look an average of  four days a week. Not bad at all.

You know how often I used to feel good about how I looked? Never. The closest I got was that feeling of accomplishment about the third day of a fast.

Before I felt like it was just survival. I felt strong and safe through starvation. Ironic, no? It really put me in danger and made me weaker. But for a while it was all I had in life. I guess that’s why it was so difficult to leave that lifestyle. Because take it away, and what did I have? Nothing.

My advice is take a little bit of time and energy and try to build other things in your life… you can’t expect to stop clinging to this safety net if you don’t start guiding a foot towards the ground, right? Set aside food right now, it’s out of the picture. What do you feel is missing from your life? If you had more time or mental energy, what would you use it on? Art? Friendships? A secret hope/dream of yours?

Another thing I noticed was I starved myself because I wanted to blame my inability to do anything for myself on a physical sickness and not an emotional/mental one. If I started getting better I would have more responsibilities I couldn’t handle.

I remember it was very difficult in the beginning, being expected for the first time (it felt like) to do my school work, or to leave the house (gasp!), or complete some multi-stepped project without having a breakdown. It was scary as hell! But by the time I felt well enough physically to do all the things I feared, I actually could manage it. I just added a little more each time and eased into it.

If you are where I was, you probably can’t fathom this. But if you keep plodding along you can make it. Ignore the prognosis. People are not statistics. You can get better; you can get your life back.


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