Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Doesn't {but almost} Kill Us...


My last blog post I wrote about my own experience with anorexia. I’ve often referred to this time as surreal, like a story I read or a movie I watched…completely detached, as if I was not the protagonist. I guess it’s sort of a defense mechanism on two fronts. One being the embarrassment of having allowed myself to almost die right in front of my parent’s eyes, with no ‘good reason’…a typical white girl from a typical middle-class family, starving herself to death for what?? Even I didn’t know.
My first full day in Charter North Inpatient Hospital (1987).
The second being my embarrassment over the fact that if you met me you would see there is no physical evidence of this illness. To hear me tell this story in the body I have now doesn’t compute…at least not in my head. It’s easy to disassociate myself because the dots just don’t connect. How could someone who ‘dieted’ from 125 pounds to less than 80 pounds in a matter of a few months now struggle to lose (and keep off) even 5 pounds?

What I have managed to hoard away are snippets of distorted eating and thinking…sneaking food, guarding my plate, trying to stretch calories, abhorring any discussion of my food while I’m eating, and a tendency to eat in a structured way (vegetarian, vegan, raw). Intellectually, I know that I still obsess about food, exercise and my weight. I often wonder if fluctuating between the extremes is really all that much better-as if eating half a bag of Doritos is really a healthy way of thumbing my nose at anorexia or dieting in general (only to later “pay for it” by a day of green smoothies, shakes or all veggies and no carbs).
For years now I’ve claimed to be completely recovered from anorexia, and looking at the scale that would be more than true. But, since part of this disorder is about everything except the weight I can see that I am not truly recovered…not completely.

Like a lot of people I know who battle with eating disorders ranging from bulimia to binge eating, healing the exterior doesn’t always mean the inside is fixed as well. In turning to my yoga mat and meditation I find the bandage being ripped off {again} and the pain being exposed. It hurts, it’s raw…and yes, it might seem easier on the surface to let it hide in the dark corners of mind. But I’m ready to heal…face the intermittent sadness and self-doubt (or hate or loathing) that is truly at the root of all of this.

I’m ready to own the illness that that almost killed me rather than pretend it happened to someone else. Twenty-five years of battling my mind and body is long enough.

2 comments:

  1. ....healing the exterior doesn’t always mean the inside is fixed as well.

    Very true, indeed. Having been on the other side of the spectrum (killing myself WITH food) I can certainly understand the complexities of that sentence. Even though I have been maintaining for over 7 years I continue to obsess about food and will readily admit that I have to fight myself at times in order to keep my weight stable by use of healthy means. Why is it so hard to love our bodies by not punishing them? When the illness cannot be seen, its easier to pretend it doesn't exist. I commend you for taking this stand and re-evaluating what it means to be healthy. You are one of the strongest people I know, and I am confident that you will get to where you need to be.
    xo

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  2. That was beautifully honest! Thank you! Keep talking and walking and it too shall pass <3

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