Does it ever cross your mind why you developed an eating disorder? Like, of everyone in the whole entire flippin world, VERY FEW PEOPLE truly suffer from real anorexia nervosa. Sure, plenty of people use retarded weightloss methods like veganism, kimkins, cabbage soup, HCG to starve themselves but they don’t develop a debilitating eating disorder. They don’t get that pointless, dwelling, insecure, empty and secluded obsession with starvation. They don’t get ‘high’ off seclusion and loneliness, all the while feeding on it, but at the same time maintaining hope and desperately wanting real life back. When you suffer, and even throughout recovery, life is not real. If you’re in recovery right now and you think life is real, you’re not actively recovering and providing results, sorry nope. Nothing about it is pure, with raw emotion. Sure, there’s a ton of raw hate, fear and misconceptions along with a kids first Christmas list length of rules and regulations you set for yourself, but NONE of that is real. When you are diagnosed, and told you should be dead or momentarily you WILL be dead because your heart, BMI, blood pressure and insulin are tanked beyond belief…shit gets real. It’s like a quick glimpse. Shit, you fucked up. But where in the hell was reality the long extended period of time it took you to get where you are?
What the fuck happened to reality while you were jogging 10 miles, bloating yourself full with celery, calling half a slice of deli meat a protein sufficient meal, throwing away meals because no one was around, chugging 4 bottles of zero calorie Gatorade, and coming up with these bizarre ass lies about yourself, your life and not to mention your food. Did you ever just straight up lie? I did, I use to do it all the freakin time. I would create lies so big that by the end of it someone should have slapped me for trying to pull off something so stupid. I would tell my parents I ate at the cafeteria on campus, that I was ‘going to the mall’ when I really went and walked the 7 mile perimeter surrounding the mall with no desire to ever step foot in the establishment. I told them I had a sweet potato and burger at work(Logan’s, worked their while incredibly anorexic) so didn’t need food, however when I got home I had to complete my daily ritual and make a slightly burnt bag of fat free 100 calories popcorn. God forbid someone ask why I needed popcorn if I had just had dinner, bag would be in the trash and I would be lividly pissed, to the point I had to leave the house. But don’t worry mom, I had already eaten dinner. Would you daydream and ponder that something was off with you in the midst of doing the very disordered actions that were causing it? Lifting at the gym while pondering about how to restrict. Dozing off in class dreaming of food. Starring mindlessly at the food network channel while feeling this pride in the ability to starve. ‘Challenging’ yourself and your control by baking obnoxious amounts of cookies and calorie laden junk for other people and getting off to seeing them consume it. Lying in bed all night preplanning the next day’s routine (weigh, shower, workout, class, walk, workout, walk around random stores to stay away from home). Weighing, and thinking continuously dropping weight just might not be as good an idea as it feels but damn you’re strong and controlled. WHERE WAS REALITY WHEN I NEEDED IT???
My hair fell out and stuck to the side of the shower, my upper arms and stomach were full of blonde fuzzy hair like a polar bear, my eyes were so sunk in and empty looking I was a walking dead person. I couldn’t have a conversation because I didn’t know how to think in the moment. Everything that was said to me just passed by like a breeze. I couldn’t reply because I had no idea what you said. But geez, ask me what I did that day or what I ate, I would ramble on for 20 minutes justifying every single step I took that day. I didn’t just justify life to others, I spent my days and nights justifying everything I did to my other self, everything I was going to do, and everything I thought about.
But in comes recovery. Really, nothing good comes out of the first 6-8 months of recovery. The entire time frame blows ass. When done correctly, you hate your parents, you hate your doctors, you hate society, you hate those who question when your baby is due(all the weight is in your belly/face/arms), you have a love/hate relationship with God or you even lose all faith, you scream into pillows because you can’t go fucking walk 15 miles, you can’t plan a day of celery or carrots, you can’t see what you weigh, you can’t have your fat-free liquids, you can’t spend the day by yourself away from your family and society, you can’t just have ‘2 weeks to ‘get it right.’ Ever try that one? Someone steps into your ED territory trying to burst your bubble. You swear up and down with your life that given just 2 weeks you’ll get it right, you’ll change and no one will have to worry about you. THIS, THIS IS THE BIGGEST CROCK OF SHIT that an anorexic can try and pull because guess what…2 weeks wont prove you anything and you won’t prove anything to anybody. It doesn’t work like that. Putting yourself on recovery death row for 2 weeks to ‘get better’ is like telling someone without a leg it’ll grow back in time. You’ll get it back don’t worry, walking in no time…
Most anorexics develop the disease without really knowing what it is. I had no idea what anorexia nervosa even was until I started googling when ‘dieting’ in college. I knew what bulimia was, because sorority girls did it in college, we learned about it in health class. But anorexia was a classification totally new to me. I never knew an anorexic. The simple fact is that with such a misunderstood disease, no one in the entire world will ever be able to experience what you do, what you went through, how starving in times of coping and stress is the best brain dopamine agonist in the world, like a line of coke to an addict. No one will ever be able to make decisions for you, tell you what will work, what is right, how to cure yourself. That’s not possible. If someone lays out a recovery plan for you saying do X Y Z and eat A B C… they are wrong. They are absolutely hands down 100% wrong and you should run away from them. No one knows how to recover from this mental illness besides you.
Thing is, YOU cannot recover yourself, but all the while YOU are the only one who can repair what’s wrong. That probably makes no sense. But it’s the acceptance. To accept recovery is a calming aspect only because the worry, fear, and justification is ended- and this only happens is you allow it. You accept recovery and the weight you carried on your shoulders and the justify-every-move-in-lies life has to end. You accept that yup, life’s gonna suck for a while but 6-8 months(hell even a year) is NOTHING compared to the time it took you to get this way and the time you have left to live a healthy minded existence.
Recovery isn’t what can I eat
Recovery isn’t now I can eat _____
Recovery isn’t what I cannot eat
Recovery isn’t a meal plan
Recovery is establishing a reality. Throughout recovery you work towards ONE THING, reality. When you start living everyday as it comes, in society without limitations and rituals, no justifications and food times. No restricting all day or preplanning. That is reality. The reality in the beginning is that that others need to be the ones running the accountability in your life. If you don’t surrender to anorexia, you will never recover. You can’t be tough your whole life, you’ll die. Understand your will power isn’t going to change, just allow it to go elsewhere. Understand your stubbornness isn’t going to change, but you cannot justify it with food and rituals any longer. Life is now recovery, not a bubble. When you wake up, someone has made you breakfast. Doesn’t matter WTF it is, sit the fuck down and eat. If afterwards your ‘recoveree’ (person in charge of your every move, action, intake) goes to the store your ass is going, not staying at home to tally, ritualize or workout. If he/she asks you to pick out dinner, you’re picking it out and EVERYONE will be eating it.
There’s reality throughout recovery and there is no doctor in the world who can tell you how it is. It is about weight. Your weight is dependent how how f*cked your body is. Restricting, binging, purging, food choices, restrictions, exercise…all of this plays into how your weight drops, increases and flaunts on different parts of your body throughout recovery. You gain, you lose, you bloat, you piss your ass off… all parts of recovery. You shit and pray no one wants to enter the bathroom for a few hours, and you become constipated and AGONIZE over why you’re not ‘going’ and considering every route to getting shit out of you. All normal. You didn’t treat your body correctly so please, don’t expect it to act correctly. You’re going to over think everything, that’s your personality.
You will fuck up in recovery
You will make good choices in recovery
You will reconsidering many choices afterward and consider how good they really were
You will convince yourself you’re going crazy
You mood will wildly fluctuate
Everything will be based around fear
You will snap at people, and yourself
AND LET ME TELL YOU from experience, one of the worst feelings in life will be post first binging episode. Holy wow. I have never felt so bad, wanted to run and workout the rest of my life, cried more and been angry at the same time ever. Expect it, shit happens. It’ll happen more than once. You’ll be full and then swear you want to nibble on food. You’ll go crazy if and when you attempt to calculate those calories you just ate. You’ll try to back out of some plans, but the good ol recoveree will drag you along.
At the same time, you’ll mentally restrict your entire recovery. Regardless of whether or not you gain weight, if you’re in recovery then damnit you’re gonna gain weight. But damnit at the same time you want 100% say in that weight gain, total control of it- aint happening. You will restrict somewhere, somehow. You’ll try to count up calories and your brain is GO_GO_GO until that magical weight where people will get off your back. But it doesn’t stop; you didn’t shut down your brain your entire weight gaining phase and when everyone is happy for you at the magic weight they determined, your brain is STILL moving a million miles an hour and still feeding off of your restrictive obsessions and the damned fear. The fear, it’s so real and there’s so much. The first thing you’ll attempt to do is to control your anxieties and that means immediate social withdrawal. You’ll be swarmed with so many irrational fears and behaviors. It’s always the next fear, the next step, the next choice, the next critique.
The IS recovery. These are all accomplishments and they need to be seen as just that. But at the same time, this IS LIFE. You need to accept that. When you get a dose of the real world, you understand how out of reality you are. It’s not food or weight. It’s about people, a job, a family, it’s about DOING FOR OTHERS. It’s about learning to budget your money to pay off loans, it’s about your car dying and not getting a used car loan to replace it, it’s about being laid off from your job, it’s about always having bills to pay, it’s about getting a flat, it’s about tripping over your own feet, it’s about hitting the 5pm rush hour. But its also about getting up and looking presentable and confident with yourself, making breakfast because it’ll make you happier and relatively more sane when the a$$wipe runs a stop sign in front of you. It’s about packing a lunch or going to lunch with coworkers because spending an hour away from the desk and in the park makes you feel good. Sharing food in the company of others makes you socially happy and confident. It’s about calling a husband or friend after work to hang out, cook dinner, sit around and complain or watch TV. It’s about picking up right when you get off work because someone asked you to go shoot pool. It’s about spending an entire weekend somewhere besides a comfort zone, taking plans as they come.
How do you do it? How do you get back the sane drive and success in emotions and relationships you once had? How do you end the self destruction and sole ‘purpose’ in life being everything you plan out?
You need to tackle fear. You need to tackle anxiety. You need to allow the overwhelming flood of fear to be resolved in a healthy manner. That takes other people. You need to direct your thoughts and actions toward other people, not yourself. You surely don’t think as irrationally about others and their lives as you do your own. It needs weight gain. You can’t tackle fear without weight gain. I think to date I have gained 40-45lbs. I still need to gain. Did you read that correctly….I AM STILL WORKING ON RECOVERY AND GAINING WEIGHT. I still fuck up. I still get caught up. I still do not have a menstrual cycle, 6 years and counting. I still stress. The difference is I don’t attack food, I don’t starve myself, and I don’t perform rituals and analyze food. I don’t preplan meals and I don’t obsess over food. As I have said from the get go, eat real food. There is some sort of medicinal purpose and healing in real food. Does that mean I have no problem overeating everyday to get the results I desire and need? Hell no but nothing is going to come of my complaining about it any longer. Accepting myself at a stable weight, normal BMI, and all health factors(save the period) in superb check pluses does not help me want to gain more weight. But this isn’t about what I want. This is about what I need. I am strong and confident enough not to need anyone on my back following my every move any longer.
Right now, this is where shit gets real. This is where you show how strong you are. Recovery is nothing, absolutely NOTHING until you are left with yourself, and your ability to maintain what you have accomplished and flourish with it. You no longer have anything to prove to anyone BUT yourself. You have to find self pride and self confidence because without it, you’ll resort back to rituals and bad food habits. If you don’t have the clarity to accept this and CONTINUE to provide yourself results, then you will resort to destructive habits. Remember what your goal is. Remember you have support. Remember you have belonging even when you lose sight of it.
It’s no longer that now I have to gain weight or now I have to provide results. I am no longer in recovery for other people. I no longer need to prove anything to anyone besides myself. No more my parents want this and that, the doctor expects these results…all that is gone. I am with myself, and I am in charge to acting like the 25 year old adult I am and dealing with life as it comes and on top of that working towards fertility. I do not want to disappoint myself or those who love me.
It seems a lot of people get into this stuffing their faces full of calories at night ritual in recovery or after weight gain. I don’t understand it. It makes no sense when you think about it IN reality. But I do suffer the same weird ass ritual sometimes. It’s like a hole you dig yourself into and it just keeps getting deeper and then you’re stuck. I can tell you the only way to get out of the habit is to break it, face the fear, and continue to face it. Accept it makes you miserable in terms of emotions, digestively and absolutely affects your ability to sleep and wake up refreshed. Accept that. Write it down. Remember those feelings. Wake up and remember it. Because you sure as hell do not want it to happen another night, not one. As stuck as you think you are, you’re not. You can change it, you just need to tackle your fear. Which decision is going to end better? Which decision is better right now? Really, reality…think about it.
So have at it. I have no one expecting anything out of me…I KNOW what I want. I want a husband and children. That means looking and acting the part. No one will ever date a woman who doesn’t look capable of having children, nor will anyone be able to attach themselves to you until you learn to attach to yourself, show confidence with that self and provide that spark of mystery you once had- what kept people coming back for more.