child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Thursday, May 31, 2012

breaking the silence part 1

It has been a while.  I have struggled and grown, fought and been stretched.  I didn't intend to do any of those things, nor did I intend to do them alone.  The budget was tight this month and the tv/internet was the least important of the bills and therefore, I had no internet and ended up growing and stretching without you, my dear friends and sounding board.

I have to say this month has been one of the hardest and one of the most rewarding.  I had to come to terms with the diet talk at work.  Someone mentioned the person who had taught the class about "the diet" and I know her.  And the "diet" isn't a diet at all, it is a healthy living lifestyle class not a "I'm fat and need to lose 20 pounds" fad diet.  Here's where I had to realize my own insanity.  This class is a really helpful and informative class.  Much of what it entails I had already been doing in my own efforts to live healthy (before relapse) before I even took the class. The problem with it was in my own brain.  I took those healthy living steps in that class and made them into hard. fast. rules.  So though I was already mostly living them, suddenly they were RULES and I would rather not eat than break them.  I am the one who went too far, not the program.  It was my brain not the class that distorted it into what it became for me.  For most people I would recommend it in a heartbeat, just not for me or anyone else prone to eating disorder struggles.

My first three weeks at work were filled with tears.  I loved what I was doing, I loved the people when I saw them in their cubicles or in the hall or mail room just not when they were all gathered together.  I cried more in front of people in those three weeks than I think I have in years.  I just couldn't stop the tears from coming no matter how hard I tried.  I was tired.  I was lonely.  I didn't know where I fit in this tight knit group of people who all already know each other and have a history together and know each others stories.  I tried so hard to make conversation.  I would add something to a conversation and get a polite head nod and then they were back in their own little lives and the conversation went on as though I had said nothing.  They weren't trying to exclude me but I felt extremely excluded.

And then there was food.  Ahhhh, my old bitter enemy.  Rephrase, food isn't the enemy, how I feel about it is, how I interact with it is, how I use it to avoid my feelings is the real enemy.  I wasn't eating breakfast and barely eating lunch.  All I could think about was how I was going to cope in this very lonely place that I now work in four days a week.  Restricting was just the easy go to.  It felt wonderfully terrible.  I cannot think of a time before that restricting made me feel so guilty while still delivering the physical euphoria that I longed for.  I knew I wasn't taking care of myself but for the life of me I couldn't remember why I needed to move forward.  All I could think about was that I don't think I was really that sick EVER.  It couldn't have really been that bad or I would remember why I couldn't go back to it, right?

I have one vivid memory that is the only thing I can see in my mind as proof to myself that it was worse than I ever thought it was.  When I was in the hospital a very overweight woman looked at me and said, "This is what self hatred looks like, eating a weeks worth of calories in a day."  I pulled up my shirt and said, "It also looks like this, eating a days worth of calories in a week."  Three people in the room gasped when I lifted my shirt and showed my ribs.  The face of one person in particular is etched in my mind with the reaction given at seeing my ribs.  It is the only thing I have to remind myself that though maybe I couldn't see how bad it had gotten, it really was that bad.

I tried to remember the feelings but I couldn't.  I couldn't remember what being sick felt like and it really did start to glorify in my mind again.  Since I couldn't remember the feelings, I forced myself to remember the facts.  I may not remember what it felt like to wince in pain when my kids hugged me, but I know that I did.  I may not remember how my body felt when it hurt to just lay down and sleep, but I know that it did.  I thought about my mom-in-law smacking me with a newspaper and telling me I'd lost too much weight.  I thought about the clumps of hair that were constantly falling out. I thought about the worried and sorrowful looks Hubby would give me when he thought I wasn't looking.  I thought about the look on that persons face while I was in the hospital.  I thought about the friend who stopped me one day to ask how she could help because she knew of my past struggle and could see the current struggle getting worse and worse.

I never did feel it, but I forced myself to remember it, even as just black and white facts.  I never did FEEL why going back to sick was bad.  I just had to trust that I knew it.  And that right there friends, was when I realized that I can do this recovery stuff.  I couldn't feel a single reason to pursue recovery or to at minimum to hold steady enough to not relapse and yet I knew those reasons.

The next post is the kindness that I needed in the moment I needed it, the panic attack at work in front of my entire team, the words of wisdom that bring me back to you only a little shaken but not completely shattered.  But for tonight, I'm tired.  It's good to be back.  I've missed you guys!


  1. i am so glad you are back! i was wondering how everything was going. i am so sorry that you have had such a rough few weeks, but through this post, i can see that "YOU" are still here. the tough times might have knocked you around but they haven't kept you down and i love that!

    i totally relate to what you said about restriction and the feelings you get from it because i used to feel the same way - terribly wonderful... and its hard because sometimes today even when i am feeling stressed out sad or lonely or scared those feelings come rushing back that if i restrict i will feel so much better. but i have to remind myself that it doesnt make me feel better. it might for the moment but it doesnt last. and it's not healthy.

    i hope you are doing okay ; )

  2. i'm glad you are back too, Dawn!