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A body is just a body.

Firstly I want to send apologies for yesterday. Some days it’s harder than others to continue this fight.

I spent last night attempting to challenge the thoughts that seem to be ambushing me at the moment, all the ones that tell me the answer to my general feelings of wrongness could be fixed if I was just at a lower number. If I was thin…if I was pretty…if I was…If I was anything but me, as though looking different would make me different.

Yet as I reflect back to the time before, when I did look different, when my body weighed more and my hair was longer it becomes clear to see that internally nothing had changed. Losing weight didn’t make me smarter, it didn’t make me funny or witty. It didn’t kill the need to self-destruct, it didn’t secure my place in the world and it didn’t make my world safe. I used to wear the eating disorder like some sort of protective charm, kept tucked in close to my heart, holding on to the belief that it would stop me from getting hurt, make me invisible or untouchable. Make me into a person who hadn’t known what it was like to have their trust violated or the foundations of themselves shaken. I sold myself into the dream that millions of women trap themselves into everyday, which is the belief that to be successful or attractive you have to be thin.

Yes I had given myself, my future, my happiness all up for an idea. Not even a very good idea, and definitely not one based on any evidence.

I say it’s getting harder to live with myself. It’s not. It’s getting harder to live with my body. It’s getting harder to realise I have one, that it has needs and that it is my responsibility to fulfil those needs if I want more to my life than spending my life curled up on the coach, in too much pain to move.

I wanted a happily ever after so much. I wanted to get to the perfect size and shape, twisted in an abnormal way and be able to find myself no longer wanting but acceptable.

No such thing.

When will I stop believing my own lies? When will I be able to fully accept that a body is just a body, not a canvas to illustrate war? When will I stop seeing that there is nothing about being thin that equates to happiness?

Mostly when will I stop blaming my body?

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7 thoughts on “A body is just a body.

  1. You put those feelings into words very well! “General feelings of wrongness”, that is what I think so often – it’s hard to grasp something so general and vague, and even harder to fight it. I also absolutely love your metaphor “a canvas to illustrate war.”

  2. When I was anorexic I thought I had found the perfect body. The trouble was: it wasn’t enough. I needed more. I wanted more. I couldn’t stop at what was “perfect” because my body wasn’t the problem. The mind is constantly changing- that is how we have become the dominant species on the planet. It adapts. So, when I was sick and in hospitals all the time, I felt HORRIBLE. My body felt horrible as well as my mind.
    A few years later, I’ve gained a shitton of water weight and my electrolytes are all off. Heart disease, heart attacks… it’s all here, and I’m only 25. My body was telling me what it needed and I didn’t listen.
    “Losing weight didn’t make me smarter, it didn’t make me funny or witty. It didn’t kill the need to self-destruct, it didn’t secure my place in the world and it didn’t make my world safe. I used to wear the eating disorder like some sort of protective charm, kept tucked in close to my heart, holding on to the belief that it would stop me from getting hurt, make me invisible or untouchable.”
    I TOTALLY can relate to this. Yes, I’m a guy, but I can still completely relate. I thought being thin would make me more lovable, more awesome and more cool. Well… to the eyes of other anorexics, maybe. But to everyone else I looked like a freak, and only this time, everyone could see how screwed up I was.

    I wanted to challenge a thought you had: being thin doesn’t make you eating disordered- you’re still eating disordered when you put back on all the weight that you’ve lost (And then some, in many cases) You are still clinically anorexic when you regain the weight you’ve lost because the disease isn’t your body- it’s in your mind.

    Not sure if that has brought you any comfort or not, but I know that when I was in the throes of anorexia (12 years ago… GOD I’m old!) I hung onto that with everything I had. I had a death grip on it and was terrified to let it go. 12 years later, and having had bulimia for 11 of those years, I’m finding that I STILL have a death grip on my eating disorder, only this time, I’m male and I’m an adult and have nowhere to go for treatment. It’ll likely get to the point where it ends up killing me because treatment for guys is kind of impossible to find in America.

    If you’re still young enough to get help- GET IT. People told me when when I was young and I didn’t listen. I thought I had all the time in the world to get treatment…. I didn’t.

    Good luck, and please continue blogging. I’m always here for you if you need anything

    – Mike

    1. Hi Mike, thankyou for your thoughts. I’m sorry that you had to go through what you did, that you’re still going through it. It’s a terrible thing this disorder no matter your gender or age. One thing that I keep telling myself and what you talked about is the fact that the eating disorder will continue to take from you and that no matter what you give it, it will never be enough.

      I want to just mention that in no way do I think recovery is achieved by weight gain. At any weight eating disorders have the potential to kill a person, and if not then completely destroy a person’s life. I believe that the weight gain is only like dipping your toe in the water, and I think that’s what scares me the most…once I get through this part I know how much it is really going to begin to hurt.

      It is not too late you know, for you! I can only imagine how hard it is to get healthcare in America, help for eating disorders is still so limited. There is only one treatment centre in the whole of my region. I was ready to give my life up to this, write it off as the way it was always going to be until my body packed in. It has been 14 years and it is only in the last year or so that I have begun to even deal, or acknowledge that this was a problem for me. But I saw a lot of people in treatment of all ages, people in their late 40’s and 50’s and I knew then that I did not want that to be me. I didn’t want to be still struggling in 20 years time. Don’t give up on yourself ok?

  3. I’m glad you don’t believe that recovery comes with weight gain… it’s taken healthcare professionals 50-60 YEARS to figure THAT one out…

    I am so in awe of your strength to persevere after all this time. That’s wickedly awesome 🙂 You may be struggling with it after all this time but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re still here, with the possibility of a tomorrow… and so long as you’re alive, there’s hope.

    I’m seeing a cardiologist and am on all kinds of meds. Oxygen at night. It’s hell. But I absolutely hate my body. I hate the fat, I hate the lack of self control, I hate how imperfect I am. It’s especially tough at night (It’s 10:11 PM now… RIGHT SMACK DAB in the middle of my daily hell). I’ve tried reasoning with myself that it’s a MENTAL illness, that my body has been fine, that I was fine… I couldn’t believe it.

    Don’t give up on yourself either. Suicide is something I struggle with every day. I’m human in an imperfect world. I want to live better but I don’t know how to. I don’t know how to give this up and allow my body to heal itself.

    These aren’t your problems, I’m just sharing my thoughts on this. And, yes, odds are, the weight gain will hurt, and it will continue to hurt, for a very long time. I don’t mean to scare you out of it— it’s the true. I wasn’t prepared for it, and when it happened, I went right back into my eating disorder… only this time I can’t lose weight (I’m clinically obese… I’m 200 lbs) to save my life because my body is so screwed up. I can’t exercise… I physically can’t do it. I can’t burn calories I eat… so I either vomit or use laxatives… and that only makes my heart problems worse… I don’t overeat… this is the consequence of bulimia. It works for a while and then it smacks you in the face.

    So, I encourage you to stick with your recovery, and prepare yourself for the shock that will most likely come when your body absorbs everything you get it. You’ve run it dry… you WILL gain weight, but that is OKAY 🙂 You will still be you when you’re done gaining, only this time you’ll be a happier you, and everyone around you will be happier as well.

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