You skip a meal here and there to compensate for your loss, because at least that is something you can control. And as the number on the scale rises, it replaces something within you. Your eating disorder replaces the loss, the grief that you’ve been trying to fill for so long. Soon enough it becomes all you have, all you can think about. While people try to bring you out of your stupor, it just won’t happen. They will try to make you, but the operative word here is try. You have to want to get better. You have to want to bring yourself out of the grave you dug.
It’s hard to go back and read those words from my diary. It seems as if it was written by an entirely different person and in some ways it was. For so many years, I tried to fill voids in my life through my eating disorder. I wanted to be perfect, I wanted to be the best. I honestly thought if I lost a couple of pounds that I would have attained all the things that I wanted. Oh, how wrong I was. I was a powder keg ready and primed to blow. Environment and genetics pulling the trigger to my demise. I wanted relief and I didn’t know how else to get it.
My eating disorder soon became my companion, my friend. It was the thing I turned to most in life when everything else seemed out of control. I spent many years counting every single calorie that went into my body. Every morning my first stop was the scale. I purged and engaged in other unhealthy behaviors. The thing about eating disorders is at the beginning you think you can stop any time you want to, but by the time you want to stop, you can’t. The disease takes over your mind and I was held captive like a prisoner.
For years, my eating disorder (ED) berated me. I was treated like trash and made to feel as if I’d be better off dead. I was a shell of my former self, now only functioning as an anorexic. I was lifeless and in so much pain. I was simply going through the motions of life waiting for the moment I could finally sleep at the end of the day, the only time I ever caught any relief. I wore a mask with the pre-recorded laughter and the painted on smile. I wasn’t worthy of help, my eating disorder told me. I knew my endgame was to end up in someone’s hospital bed. That’s all that anorexia really wants.
I always thought recovery was for the other people. I assumed that recovery was for the privileged and for those who had the chutzpah to put themselves through treatment. I didn’t have that. I so badly wanted to recover, but I was more terrified of my eating disorder and letting go. I honestly could not envision a life for myself where I wasn’t counting calories or eating three times a day. I couldn’t envision a life where I didn’t want to purge after every meal or deal with life without turning towards ED. I resigned to the notion that my eating disorder would kill me. I had made my peace with that.
God has a funny way of working things out for our good. He took an unfortunate and scary circumstance in my life and turned it around for me. He showed me how sick I was and that I would be getting a second chance at life, or perhaps a first chance at really living. I started treatment and while I didn’t get better right away, I was on the right path. Throughout these many years of torture, He placed people in my life to help me along the way. There were so many times I thought I was going to die and am so blessed that I did not.
While I may have trouble fully knowing this truth at times, I know that He continues to weave my tapestry. I know that by sharing my story, it helps to bring others out of their darkness. I still struggle with my self esteem, body image, and even eating. However, I can finally say with a proud smile that I am in recovery. It is not a myth. It is not for the other people. Recovery is for all who want it and it is never impossible. We are more than our diseases and there is such a grand life out there for us, waiting for us to sever ties from our addictions. Whether it’s an eating disorder, drugs, alcohol, etc., there is a life out there waiting to be lived.
I tried for so long to suppress the broken little girl inside me and now, I nurture her. I continue to heal everyday. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
There is so much life to be lived outside the confines of one’s eating disorder. It is a beautiful life and should be seen as an exciting adventure. I have much to offer the world, as do you.
Know that you are not alone and that healing is yours for the taking.
It is possible.