Breathe. Just let it out.
It’s been quite long since I’ve allowed myself to write – two weeks and two days, to be exact-. I have so many posts that are behind, my motivation is just not the same as before.
I’ve been dealing with myself since I got back, and it’s quite embarrassing to admit that I have been barely doing it -that’s not nice -. Breathe. Again.
Since I got back, I have been dealing with/facing my eating disorder, and it’s not embarrassing to admit that I haven’t fully relapsed -there, better-. By fully relapse I mean to say that I haven’t skipped meals, I haven’t hurt myself physically. I haven’t fully submerged on the urge to attack myself, to feel disgusted by what I see in the mirror. But that doesn’t mean that I am not slowly relapsing into those habits.
It’s a sneaky, creep-up-to-you-when-you-least-expect-it, kind of relapse. The one where you think you have everything figured out because, just six weeks ago -eight since I’ve been back -I wasn’t emotionally in the swirling slump of a depressed mess, that I now find myself in.
I was writing a lot more often, eating a lot more -even more chocolate- without any guilt, without counting caloric intake vs. workout achieved. I was happy. I was at peace. I was stronger.
I came back with a strong, positive, motivated mentality. Full of projects, most of which are a jumble of ideas, not even jotted down yet. Others are limited to an outline, few are halfway written. One is still on the “research” phase, somewhat of an outline, mostly bullet points. And none of which have been dealt with. They just roam around somewhere in my consciousness, pressing, bubbling to get out and be in a tangibly-written-form.
I came back with the desire to implement what I learned during my time in Sedona: the eating habits, meditating, yoga -in addition to my workouts, the happy-giddy-laugh-frenzy that I was so easily in tune with. I pictured myself a lot more organized. Instead, I crumbled back, slowly, into a state of blah -slowly disconnecting from myself, until I started feeling empty, anxious, sad, sluggishly unmotivated. Soon after that, I started body checking, paying more attention to my distorted image. Unhappy with the way I looked, with the way I felt. And yet, I kept her secret. I pretended that I wasn’t body checking, I was simply reminding myself of what I “needed” to change. I pretended that I wasn’t being negative, just demotivated. I pretended I didn’t feel guilty when I ate. I pretended I didn’t want to eat chocolate. I reasoned that I had eaten enough sugar back in Sedona, it was time to get strict. I pretended I wasn’t working out for fear of gaining more fat, more weight. I pretended I wasn’t forcing myself to work out because I had eaten late or allowed myself to eat frozen yogurt with my boyfriend. I hid behind the secrecy of it all, distracting myself with anything. My laptop sat heavy in the corner, I kept avoiding it. I felt as if I was sinking.
I didn’t understand what was going on. My anxiety kept rising. I felt so irritable, so cranky, and my body dysmorphia was higher than it had been in a while. I was keeping myself together, wrapping my secrecy around it all; a bandage over a wound that was about to burst. I was barely getting through the day -just ignoring negative thoughts, not really counteracting them, not really doing anything about it -. Allowing it to slowly take over. I was losing patience with myself.
Is it an excuse? No, it’s my reality, I am choosing to face it.
My Anorexia – in another time I would refer to it as Ana, today I’m trying not to give it so much power- was disguising itself with a lack of motivation; mainly because I allowed it. I let it convince me that the problem was my dull environment. How could it be my eating disorder? If I was in recovery. If it hadn’t been giving me a problem? The truth is I was just ignoring it.
I am blessed enough to not be facing this on my own. I am blessed to have a strong support system –thank you to my family and my partner -. They help me in a million ways and more. Sometimes just by listening, other times they call me out. Overall, they are there for me, despite my mood, despite me pushing them away –thank you amore, for being patient -.
So, what now?
Though the past two weeks were filled with frustrating, unfair, borderline desperate moments, I am happy and proud to say that I pulled through -once again-.
Today I remember I have a choice. Today I remember that I have an eating disorder and that some days are/will be harder than others. Today I remember that I have years, and years of self-inflicted hatred and pain to make up for. Today I remember to be patient with myself, to be kind to myself. Today I remember that I am still discovering myself, working to be my better version. Today I remember that I. Love. Myself. Today I choose my recovery.
So, I allowed my hair to flow free, curly frizzies and all. I got dressed in clothes that were not baggy, making the decision to stop hiding, and I faced the mirror. I saw a beautiful woman, with a strong conviction of change -positive change- in her eyes. They are more trusting, the scared, hurt girl inside smiles at me now. I know she’s been waiting quite some time for the peace that slowly fills her heart. This woman looks back at me with trusting, happy eyes, and she breathes thank you. I look back and we say, “I love you.”
I remind myself that this is not the last time I will face triggers. This is not the last time I will have to call myself out on relapsing. I consciously remind myself that my recovery, as challenging and difficult as it may be, it is what I want to choose.
Am I done? Nope, it’s only the beginning. A life-long journey ahead.
How do I know that I will not relapse again? Honestly, there is no black and white answer. I have realized that I am more prone to relapsing when I don’t counteract old patterns that increase my chances of relapsing -body checking is a big one for me-. I have also realized that just because I face a trigger and I don’t immediately relapse, it doesn’t mean I have dealt with it. It just means that said trigger was left unattended, somewhere in my mind, hovering, with the opportunity to encourage my illness to get stronger. Similar to having a hidden bottle of cognac, or a stash of my drug of choice, somewhere in the house. Why such analogy? Because my addiction is my eating disorder, and all my insecurities that are intertwined with old, hurtful patterns and choices that come with it.
How do I deal with triggers? How do I keep them from affecting me, from reaching my eating disorder and unleashing a chain of events that send me down my swirling spiral of my Anorexia?
I don’t quite have that figured out. For now, I realize I have to keep an eye out. I have to learn to recognize it. And most importantly, I must counteract it. Constantly. Daily. Sometimes more than once in the same day. And there is no shame in that.
Long overdue. It’s about Self-Love.
I’m sorry for all the pain I have put you through. I’m sorry for all the hurtful, hateful, degrading things I did and said to you. I’m sorry for letting the opinions of others, their comments on our physical appearance affect me to the point where I told you that you were worthless. I’m sorry for allowing society’s standards, and ideas on what beauty is tarnish myself love and promote myself hatred, myself destruction.
When I think back to all the things I have put you through, a wall of embarrassment hits me, I deny it, and I trick myself into not doing anything to correct it. I figured if I just ignore it, things will get better. And that is just not true. Why do I get embarrassed? Because the cause of all this pain was so stupid. I thought that if I lost weight if I was skinny, the bullying, the comments -from family, teachers, students, everyone -would stop. But the truth is, it never will, people will always comment, they always have opinions, but there is no reason for that to affect me.
Today I thank my legs for carrying me around, for holding me strong when my mind attacked every aspect of my reflection. I thank my hips, that dance happy to the rhythm of music, for keeping me grounded when I hated myself. I thank my belly for being patient, for taking most of my hate, for forgiving me when I couldn’t even stand to look at it. I thank my belly -and my digestive system- for being able to still scrounge some sort of nutrients while I was starving myself, and for working strong and healthy today. I thank my arms, my chest, my back, for carrying the weight of my depression, and all the darkness I put myself in, when I barely wanted to deal with it myself. I thank my head/mind, my heart, and my soul for-despite it all- finding the strength to overcome this and re-connect with myself; for starting the healing process.
I thank my body for all the amazing things that It allows me to do -such as learning, writing, laughing, eating, dancing, bouldering, climbing, working out, living-. For getting stronger every day, especially now that I am choosing my recovery.
Remember, please, that this is not the end. Remember, please, that recovery is an everyday choice. Remember, please, that it’s ok to eat chocolate, or popcorn, or anything that you want; always with moderation, of course. It’s not about not eating, it’s about intuitive eating, listening to your body, mind, and soul. Remember, please, that mind, body, and soul is a sacred relationship. Respect it. Choose it over anything else.
Dear me, whenever you find yourself caught in that swirl of anxious confusion, where old patterns begin to lure you more, take a moment. Breathe. And remember that you have a choice. Remember that “to be free is very sweet.”
Damn, this was long. Thank you for getting this far. Recovery is a process, respect it.
I write to unload my mind. To re-rout, and just start again. I write to get rid of the secrecy that gives strength to my eating disorder. I write -feeling raw and exposed – to remind others that there is always a choice. It’s not a “you just wanted to be skinny”, or “you just have to eat”, or “was it a vanity thing?”. An eating disorder is a serious illness, it’s not a vanity thing, and you don’t just get better if you eat. It’s an illness that according to the Eating Disorder Hope website, has a high mortality rate. It’s an issue from within, that you face every day.
If you stumble upon my words, I thank you for reading, and I hope that my words
remind you that you do have a choice. Remember that reaching recovery, is only the first step, and it’s an everyday challenge. A beautiful challenge that teaches you that self-love is beautiful, and it is the only way to be at peace. Remember that it’s not about what your body looks like, it’s about what it can do. Remember that your body listens to you, so counteract the negativity. Don’t stop trying. Even if you take a few steps backward. Even if you have a tough day. Follow your soul, listen, reconnect, give it the time it needs to heal. And respect the process you’re going through. Give it the importance it deserves.
It’s about nourishing that “new me” and choosing that new me over everything else. Choose yourself over your eating disorder, even if you slip up, regardless of how long it takes you to come back to yourself, choose you; no matter how many times you have to do it.
It is worth it. You. Are. Worth. It.
Alcuni pensieri Essays Long reads Rants, political or otherwise Recovery Anorexia Anxiety Choosing Recovery Eating disorder Eating disorder awareness Enough Happiness Life in recovery Mental peace Recovery Self-acceptance Self-love Self-worth
An incurable passion for writing; a poet and storyteller at heart. I am a writer on the road.