The first thing Anorexia ever taught me was to deny my hunger. Hunger was the enemy, the unrelenting pressure that would stop me in my kamikaze mission. It was a weakness, a failing, a sign that I was a human being who had needs…I didn’t want that to be true. I didn’t want to believe that I had needs.
People say that its easy in the beginning, that the exclusion and reduction doesn’t seem like that much of an effort. It’s a lie. Your body is still expecting it can count on you, it isn’t trained to know hunger or learnt how to over-ride it. The body still functions like everyone elses because it hasn’t yet grasped that the threat to its survival is coming from within. The cues still happen, the overwhelming need for survival exists and despite what your mind tells you, your body wants to live. That’s how wars begin; two sides influenced by opposite motivations upholding different ideals and belief structures. But I was young enough to not know about wars or anorexia or how quickly the slip down in to the rabbit hole could possibly be. I didn’t know that you couldn’t just climb out when you didn’t want to play anymore.
It is not possible to count how many times the words “I am not hungry” have fallen out of my mouth without even the slightest of pause to consider if it is actually true. It is possible though that I have been hungry for a very long time but I screwed up my instincts and cues so much that I no longer know how to measure that. My body stopped trying to send me the signals and instead it just begins to shut itself down now, as if I was a lost cause and the only way that it can ensure it’s existence continues is that it has to resort to other means…cue dizzy spells, headaches, muscle cramps and a heart that hammers under protest.
I am afraid of hunger or the possibility of experiencing it as everyone else does. One of my biggest fears is that it will become so intense that I will not be able to control it anymore and as a result will lead to a weight gain that I will not be able to accept.
I screwed up.
I let myself believe that power came from starvation, that strength came from refusal and that happiness could be achieved through something as superficial as a number on a scale.
I was wrong. I was wrong so many times.
When I began recovery I started the process of beginning to restore my weight. I learnt how to talk and use my voice rather than taking refuge in silence. I began to understand that what was wrong with me could not be fixed by changing who I was on the outside. Anorexia although still seductive became something ugly. Yet what I never quite grasped was that all of that would not set me free from my eating disorder until I accepted that I was hungry and that I was allowed to be hungry.
My recovery needs me to stop being ashamed for its basic needs.
I am a person and I have a body and that body has needs. I need to stop denying that.
I need to call a truce with hunger. It is not my enemy anymore…it never was. It is time that I opened up my eyes and ears and heart and just listen to what my body has been trying to say since I was a child. Listen to what I tried to silence.
I have to…I have to if I want to get better.