I am mixing things up today and have decided to write my post this morning rather than in the evening like I usually would do. This is for two reasons, the first is because lately by the time it gets to around 6:30pm I am feeling completely done in. The strain of the day has worn on me and by the time I write at 8ish, you can pretty much guarantee that there is going to be a fair bit of complaining going on. Although all of that hurt may be a true reflection of recovery and the nightmare that it is, sometimes you need days where you don’t have to acknowledge it as much. The second reason is that in the morning I have such good intentions for the day. I may not be sleeping that great but I have energy, my mood is better and the world doesn’t feel like it’s going to explode at any second. In the mornings I can pretty much believe that most things are possible. I feel capable and I laugh so much more freely, I think it’s real laughter too not just one born out of anxiety or slight mania. Sometimes I feel like this person is the person who I really am. The only problem is that I haven’t figured out how to sustain myself past 10:30am yet.
So whilst I still have some concentration left, I think it might be useful to write something with a purpose. I think I was quite fortunate when I came in to treatment this time. I had already established some clear aims in my mind. I could see a future beyond this and how I wanted that picture to look. There was once a time when I had serious doubts about whether to recover at all, in fact a lot of days were like that but now I don’t have those doubts. I don’t feel like I want to keep handing over pieces of my life to the Eating Disorder and trying to scrape by with whatever remains after it’s done playing with it. I’m not exactly sure what it was that shattered the illusion of Anorexia or made me stop believing that eventually I would hit a low enough weight to stop hating myself so much. All I know is that it finally came to the point where maintaining my Eating Disorder wasn’t just killing me physically but it was also destroying my spirit. I think ultimately I just got tired. When you spend more than half your life, continuously arguing with this poison inside your head, you reach that point where you can’t do it anymore. It may have become your normal to be that way but that doesn’t make it easier. It still hurts to simply be alive.
With all that in mind I want to share with you some of the things that I have figured out, particularly in the last few months on why I won’t live with Anorexia sharing the same space as me anymore.
1, I’m not ready to die. There is still too much that I haven’t seen or experienced. I have lived a half-life at best and that’s not just because of how old I am but because my Mental Health problems have continuously stood as a barrier between me and want it means to be truly living. There are times when I may think that I am invincible, or I’ll tell myself that it’s not that bad or serious, that I’ll be fine but the truth is that I don’t know that. Nobody knows that. Do not make the mistake of believing that your weight is too high or your behaviours are not that bad for this to kill you. An Eating Disorder throws your entire body out of rhythm. It was not built to survive this illness. It will try it’s best but at some point even it will be too tired to keep sustaining and fixing you.
2, You may think though that you are actually ready to die. You may want it, crave it, need it because for some reason it becomes to be seen as the only thing that will ever bring you peace. As though it’s the only thing that stops the Eating Disorder for tearing your brain into pieces all the time. I have been there and it is unbelievably hard. In one way you stop caring because you have nothing left in you to make yourself care. As your mood begins to sink and the dreams start to fade out, it can feel that all you are left with is this disorder and that question of “Well if I let go of that, then what do I have left? I have nothing.” The thing is, if you let go of the Eating Disorder, then all the things that you lost through it begins to come back. If you are patient, if you keep fighting, you will eventually create new dreams, have new hopes, laugh, cry, feel and finally understand why most people would rather live than die. By re-nourishing your body, you have the potential to change those feelings of despair or hopelessness. You will have the strength to do so.
3, An Eating Disorder is a lie and I don’t want to spend anymore time listening to it. All those things that you thought would happen…they don’t happen. You won’t like yourself anymore at a lower weight. You won’t feel safer or happier. You won’t ever believe that you are good enough. All your thoughts get twisted up and it leaves you confused, unsure and I think that increases the desperation. You put more of your energy into the Eating Disorder because you think if you just get to the place that you want to be then everything will magically snap into place. You’ll wake up and be the image that you have created in your mind. You won’t be. That image is not real. You are real. Your laugh, your dreams, how you love, who you love, how kind your heart is or how smart you are…they are the things that are real. They are the things that make you you, but if you let this Eating Disorder continue to consume you, it will take those things too.
4, You get one chance in this life and you are allowed a million mistakes within that…but you are not a mistake! My life was not meant to just consist of being born, being unhappy and then driving myself in to a grave. My life’s purpose is not to continuously change my shape or lessen the amount of space I take up. I am here to love, to travel, to be a friend, to be a sister, daughter, colleague. I am here to discover different cultures, stretch my brain intellectually as far as I can, watch movies, go to the theatre, go to dinner. I am here to impact the world in some way. We are all connected.
I have reached a place where I know that a life can exist after and that that life has the potential to be wonderful. I think though I could only ever see it when I was ready and you, if you are struggling will come to that place in your own time too. It could be that you read a book, or see a photo, or even have some random dream that wakes you up in the middle of the night. I don’t know what your inspiration will be. I don’t know where you will get your motivation from but never give up searching for it…and when you do find it, hold on tight and fight your ED until it has no other choice but to leave you alone.
I hope you have a day that is good to you.