Today I am done. I am not strong enough to fight my inner demons. The eating disorder has the upper hand today.
I need to eat. It’s 4pm, my head is pounding and my body feels weak.
Eat. The logical thing to do is eat.
But I don’t feel hungry. That’s the scariest part. I used to feel hungry. If I manage to push past the voices telling me not to eat, to stay sick, to get sicker, I still face a full stomach- when I have yet to eat for another day.
I always tell myself my eating disorder isn’t bad enough. But here I am looking at this damn banana and I can’t seem to eat it. I’ve been trying for hours.
Days like this are becoming more common lately. I know I could let that scare me. That talks of treatment mean I’m back to square one. I’ve lost control again. Can I really not handle this? Can I really not handle the pressures of life without resorting to my eating disorder? How can I let myself fall again?
But I’m not falling. In fact, I’m stronger. I was discharged a year ago and I am a completely different person . I’ve eaten pizza and didn’t die, I managed to take off 6 whole weeks off of working out without gaining 300 pounds, I have worn clothes I haven’t allowed in years and I want to finally be around people for the first time in years! I’m starting new hobbies, having new interests and I truly feel like I’m starting to create a fresh new identity. So now I know what being healthy can feel like. I now understand the people, connection and staying present is far more important than stupid calories and what the scale says.
I’ve noticed so many of my past memories are vague, plagued by thoughts of how my clothes were fitting, how many carbs I had that day and what my next workout plan would be rather than being in the moment. Because if I could get the perfect body- then I would be happy, then I would be enough.
But I’ve learned that’s a bunch of bullshit. Because with my eating disorder, I wasn’t happy. And after 365 days of fighting, I now see there is a whole world out there of ice cream, incredible souls, and carefree adventures- that is what matters. That is what I want. It’s what I deserve to experience, not an eating disorder.
So yes, I’m struggling a bit and although I keep trying I can’t seem to shake it. It’s not a matter of trying harder, believe me, I’m trying with everything I have. But I’m tired. I’m ready for some help. So if treatment is the necessary plan to get me back to days of laughing and really living in each moment then hell yes I’m going. It doesn’t mean I’m falling apart or we are back to square one. It means I just spent a year kicking my eating disorders ass and climbing HUGE mountains- and that’s hard fricken work. I’ve made tremendous, TREMENDOUS, progress. I barely recognize myself- what I do, what I eat, what I like. But it’s hard, and I need rest so going back to support before everything falls apart may be the best option. I’m strong enough to know this is what I may need right now to be healthy, to be happy.
Certainly not excited for the mandatory pizza nights and once a week cookies, but I know this is what I need to do.
A therapist shared an excerpt with me today and I felt it described the process of recovery perfectly…
Anita Johnston ©1996 Excerpt from Eating in the Light of the Moon
Imagine yourself standing in the rain on the bank of a raging river. Suddenly, the water-swollen bank gives way. You fall in and find yourself being tossed around in the rapids. Your efforts to keep afloat are futile and you are drowning. By chance, along comes a huge log and you grab it and hold on tight. The log keeps your head above water and saves your life. Clinging to the log you are swept downstream and eventually come to a place where the water is calm. There, in the distance, you see the riverbank and attempt to swim to shore. You are unable to do so, however, because you are still clinging to the huge log with one arm as you stroke with the other. How ironic. The very thing that saved your life is now getting in the way of you getting where you want to go.
There are people on the shore who see you struggle and yell, “Let go of the log!” But you are unable to do so because you have no confidence in your ability to make it to shore.
And so, very slowly and carefully, you let go of the log and practice floating. When you start to sink, you grab back on. Then you let go of the log and practice treading water, and when you get tired, hold on once again. After awhile, you practice swimming around the log once, twice, ten times, a hundred times, until you gain the strength and confidence you need to swim to shore. Only then do you completely let go of the log.