Thursday, March 31, 2011

A funny little thing called an eating disorder

Recovery is a funny word, isn’t it. For something so sought after, one often asks, does it ever truly become part of ones constant vocabulary? For my part, having denied the existence of my disorder for so long and genuinely believing in its non- existence, its difficult to know when disorder ended and where recovery began. I have lots of questions; did it really end? Has it actually begun? I still question whether or not what I had could be really and legitimately classified as “an eating disorder”, or if it was a mere right of passage thing that every teenager goes through. Indeed, whats the difference between what “those girls” have, and what ever person seems to struggle with at some point in their life? No really, I want to know what that difference is.

Should I give a back story? One seems necessary but sounds long and uninteresting. I suppose I’ll try it out and make it as briefly sweet as can be;

It all began innocently enough, when I was diagnosed with a series of food allergies and other health concerns. These diagnoses quite literally saved my life. I who had been bedridden for over six months had new life breathed into my weak and weary bones. I also lost fifteen pounds. I gained a low level anxiety disorder. And thus my fear of food began; at first I was afraid it would make me sick and bind me to the couch yet again. It ended with me afraid to gain a pound or an inch.

I had whispers of realizings, but it wasn’t until a fateful talk with my friend that knocked some much needed honest sense into my brain. I rambled on “I didn’t have full blown eating disorder or anything… but it got pretty bad… I’d go for a long time without eating… then take laxatives…” She looked at me with such niceness in her eyes and said kindly “I’m pretty sure that’s classified as something…”

For something so obvious, how, you ask, did I deny it for so long? I didn’t believe I was skinny enough to be anorexic. And I wasn’t making myself throw up. So obviously I was good to go, right?

The road to recovery is a hard one to describe when you didn’t know you were traveling down its way in the first place. It all began, I suppose, when I took my first nanny job and was awake a full day’s worth of hours; enough to eat three meals a day (its easy to survive on an apple and a piece of toast when you sleep till noon, lay on the couch, work at Luna’s, then go home to sleep somemore. entirely different story unfolds when you must be at work by 7:00AM). I wasn’t eating unhealthy, I was still adhering to my allergy rules, but I was eating. And I gained twenty pounds.

With mere months to go before the wedding I began wearing my husbands shirts in an effort poorly planned to hide my new figure. These were not happy days. However, it was my first move towards a better lifestyle, for as I stared down at those numbers glaring back up at me, I realized I had two choices; I could go back to my old eating habits and loose this weight, or I could choose to be normal and healthy. I chose healthy. It sounds like I did know I had a problem after all.

Times have changed and I am now anxiety free and living in a happy, healthy, luscious body of 150 pounds. I see some things I’d like to introduce to my life, mainly exercise. I’m careful to focus on how I want to alter my lifestyle and not my weight. I’m careful to focus on why, to lock into my carefully chosen reasons and look neither left or right there after. I want to exercise so I can hike half dome. So I ride in a cyclocross race. So I can have muscle tone when I’m fifty and satisfactory bone density all throughout my life.

Why am I telling you this? Because today was a terrible day. Today triggers were firing all over me. Duck and cover. Bob and weave. Today your thinspo’s went too far, leaving my fingers inching towards the tape measure, my mind devising plans to clear the pantry before my husband gets home. I start eyeballing my jump rope in-spite of the hour well past midnight. Snapping me back, I slip further down the tunnel, that tiny light growing tinier still till all my progressive footprints are erased. I’m telling you this because today was a disaster. And I needed to tell someone about this. This has been, I fear, a horribly unpoetic post, full of poorly strung together thoughts, words clashing. Thoughts, fragmenting. If you stuck with me thus far, I feel eternally grateful to you.


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