I made a decision a few weeks ago…
I’d made similar decisions before but this felt different. I felt like I was doing it for ME. I finally had motivators and real reasons that were making me WANT to force Anorexia to eat its poisonous words. I could recite them better than the alphabet. And what’s different is, I believed them. It felt good, I felt excited.
Sounds positive doesn’t it…
I started off well. I enjoyed food I hadn’t allowed myself in ages- if I had then things would seriously have had to compensate. I was enjoying cooking, sending photos to my mum to prove I was on the right track this time. I was buzzing; I was going to have more energy, I was going to smash this.
What I forgot was that I had to do the same the next day. And the next. And the day after that. And then the day after that… On day three I found myself staring at the cupboard, tears of anger, frustration and confusion welling in my eyes because I thought “but this is different to before, I was only pretending before just to get people off my back. I want this now… So why, why can I not just pick something?”
I turned to recovery blogs to see how they got past this “grey area” but to be honest, they leave me even more deflated and certain that I’m the only one who doesn’t stand a chance.
Here’s a scenario: you’re on the top of a mountain. There’s a mad man chasing you with an axe. Your friend is safe on the other mountain; she got away but you didn’t see how because there’s no bridge between the two. She shouts at you, waving and smiling, telling you how great it is over there and how happy and relieved she is.
WELL THAT’S GREAT BUT HOW DOES IT HELP ME?!
I got tired of reading these accounts written by people already on the other proverbial mountain- yes, quite obviously you feel better NOW and I am happy for you, painfully jealous, in fact, because I want that too!
These blogs reassuringly tell you that the fear of the up coming meal will get easier over time; slowly start adding teaspoons of rice to a meal, one day at a time; they fell in love with exercise again and have energy radiating from their pores; they LOVE life… I don’t doubt that for some this is truly helpful. But for me, I was shaking the computer screen thinking…
“Where are the people who feared the impending meal because every fibre in their being is telling them NO?” “Where are the people who feared the meal because every fibre in their being was also screaming FINALLY!“ “Where are the people who feared the next meal because they ENJOYED the last one and this is terrifying!” “Where are the people who thought they’d NEVER. STOP. EATING?” “Where are the people who are just too damned exhausted to exercise?” “WHY am I the only person that thinks these things and isn’t loving life because I have to argue with myself fifteen THOUSAND times a day?!”
And why, dear god why, are they telling me how much they weighed and what they ate at their worst?!
This total limbo I find myself in, the gap between being ill and being recovered, is actually worse. Its worse than just trying to get on with it; manage the lightheadedness, the mood swings; eat just enough to stand up straight but not enough so you feel guilty or put on weight. This internal, total war in my head is actually worse than walking around a supermarket for 40 minutes, arguing with myself over what I could/couldn’t/might/won’t eat, only to walk out with a diet coke. Cliché I know, but gone are the days when I could “pop” into Sainsbury’s- it’s practically a field trip. But, at least this is familiar, I KNOW that phase.
I always knew I would “recover” from this at some point, I didn’t know when but it’s quite rare I let something beat me. The journey is never pretty but I have gotten there in the end. With Anorexia, I thought it would be a case of starting uni again; doing something I love and wanting to make a career of; being with someone who just makes me want to be awesome.
I thought I would no longer have the time to argue with myself over a raisin or a walnut. I have realised that I DO like life and WANT to enjoy it- Anorexia was just tricking me that I didn’t.
Some days it happens, some days it doesn’t Some MEAL TIMES it happens and some it doesn’t. I spend hours thinking I never want to eat again, hours thinking of nothing BUT wanting to eat and merely minutes of thinking “yeah, I can do this.”
I’m exhausted, frustrated, scared and tempted to just give up already- again.
Here it is in all its ugliness: the angry, resentful and immensely contradictory journey of recovery.