Lately, I’ve been out of touch with my blog. In fact, I’ve been out of touch for pretty much the last year and a half. I apologise for that. It’s been a rough 18 months and I’m managing to slowly clamber back out of this ED hole I tripped back into – so here we are. Blogging again. Hopefully it starts to become a regular thing and can be of use to people! Plus, I’ve missed chu guys. Given I’ve not been writing as regularly, I’m a little out of practice at skilfully stringing sentences together – I apologise in advance for that too. Let’s see how we go, shall we?!In these last few weeks, I’ve been mulling over where I want to be in 2 or 4 or even 5 years time. I’ve also been thinking about WHY I’m doing what I’m doing right now – that is, putting in all this effort to recover from anorexia, why I’m consistently placing myself in a position where I have to feel some pretty uncomfortable feelings – that is, physically AND emotionally – if I don’t seem to be reaping the rewards of recovery in the here and now. And I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’m pretty sick and tired of the eating disorder taking everything it can away from me and holing me up in a treatment centre, and so I’d like my life back please and thank you.
In 2 or 4 or 5 years time, I will be back studying – or working, perhaps. I will be seeing friends regularly for good coffee and delicious cheesecake. I will be going to church and thinking about things I genuinely desire to know more about; thinking about the things that matter most to me. I will be reading long books, watching DVDs, doing Sudoku and finishing crosswords – all because I will be able to concentrate well on what I’m actually doing. I will be going for walks on the beach because I WANT to and lazily swimming laps in a pool because I find it relaxing – not because I’m being weighed down by guilt about every morsel of food that’s gone in my mouth that day. I will be singing at church regularly again. Instead of spending my days revolving everything around food and exercise, I might be learning an instrument, or a new language. I’ll be journaling; expressing myself creatively. I will be eating a diet that contains variety – no longer will I be eating the same foods day in and day out – but I will have created flexibility around that, not caring if some days I eat more than I have others, or less. It won’t be relevant. Maybe I’ll be travelling somewhere, taking that trip to Cambodia that I was hanging out for last year or mindfully walking the streets of Melbourne, book in hand and pursuing the best flat white the city has to offer. On days that I feel tired or unwell or I just don’t feel like it, I won’t be forcing myself to exercise. Hopefully, my medical status will be stable. I won’t be seeing my GP so regularly. I won’t be needing such intensive treatment. I will be wearing clothes that make me feel good about myself; not feeling the need to hide my body under layers of clothing and not caring about what size is written on the label on my jeans. Perhaps I will be in a relationship – or perhaps not. Either way, I won’t be allowing that to dictate my self-worth.
In 2 or 4 or 5 years, maybe I won’t have foods that scare the heck out of me. Maybe all the urges to engage in ED behaviours will have dissipated or quieted down, somewhat. Hopefully, I won’t be arguing with those closest to me about what and how much I’m eating; about whether or not it’s adequate. All things going well, I’ll still be writing. I’ll still be connecting with those who are on their own path to recovery from their eating disorder. I’ll be speaking to people and hopefully educating people about the nature of eating disorders. And I’ll be thinking better; I’ll be appreciating food, my body, relationships and MY LIFE all the more.
THIS, my friends,is what I am working towards. And that is why I am still here, still doing this and still fighting. Yes, it’s shit. It feels so shit. It feels so wrong, and at times it feels unbearable. Some days, I won’t achieve what I would have liked. Some days, I will feel the need to compensate in some way, or I will probably freak out about something I’ve eaten. I might feel too afraid to go a day without exercising. Perhaps I’ll have days where I’ll want to curl up in bed and stay there because I’m struggling to accept who I am, what I look like and how my body appears on that particular day. I won’t always be flexible with what I eat. The number on the scales might affect my mood. There are days that I will feel as though that none of this is worth it, that nothing about recovery is worth it at all. There are days that I will want to throw in the towel and fall 100% back into my old eating disordered ways.
There are many, MANY days that I am sure will look imperfect – and I need to accept that.
The thing is though, that it IS worth it. It WILL be worth it. I wholeheartedly believe that one day I will look back at this and think man, look where I was. Look how far I’ve come. Look how different my outlook on life is now. Look how meaningful my life is, without the ED casting its enormous shadow over everything. And look at all these delicious things I get to eat now, without feeling such guilt. Look at how my anxiety around food has shifted. Look at where I am now. I’ll be proud, I know it.
So how about you? What gives your life meaning? What helps you to keep fighting? Where do you want to be in 5 years time? Breaking this cycle hurts like hell, but it’s gotta be worth it. It WILL be worth it. And so I’d just very much like to encourage you to push on, regardless. To sit with those uncomfortable feelings even in those moments you feel as though you can’t tolerate them any longer. To remind yourself of why you’re doing this, what you value, and what you’re getting back to.
And my wish for you is that you’ll get there, in time and realise that you very much deserve to have that life that you desire – a life full of what you love – one that isn’t dictated by what your ED wants, but by what YOU want.