“SAFETY IN NUMBERS” excerpts through the years.
I became obsessed with my one and only friend: ED. I didn’t really understand what an eating disorder was. I knew I was weird about food, but I didn’t see it as a problem. But I was wrong. My habits were slowly taking over my life, yet I accepted this. At least I had something to focus on other than my unhappiness. I couldn’t control my future, but I could control ED.
Yeah, forget journaling with Mom. She can’t know what I’m really thinking. I know she wants to help and get closer to me, but I don’t trust anyone, not even myself. I know I’m slipping back, but part of me can’t help but get a high off it. I am doing so great, and I’m going to beat ED! Ugh – I just completely contradicted myself.
I felt like my life was being put back together. I was happy with myself. ED was there, but didn’t really have a say.
The year 2006 started out better than ever and ended in disaster. I started working out more at the gym and, although not addicted, made it a necessity in my life. I finally gathered enough confidence to face my old high school again. I returned feeling full of confidence, but it was quickly crushed.
Happy Thanksgiving! Today, however, has not been so happy for me. I stayed in bed until 6:15 in the evening, and then while my family and relatives were eating Thanksgiving dinner, I was out driving to the gas station to get my Diet Sunkist soda. I am absolutely out of control with my behaviors. I really need an intervention or something. I can’t stop myself! Clearly I’m depressed, too, and have a bad case of OCD and anxiety.
Dad told me that I must eat everything or he will get a conservatorship over me. Sure I’m skinny and want to be skinny, but who am I trying to impress? I’m ruining my life, and each time I do this to my body the longer it takes for it to recover and the more permanent damage I do. There will be no second chance. If I die, that’s it! Who cares how skinny I was or how good at anorexia I was if I’m dead? Please make it stop! I am going to bed at 5:00 a.m. and will get only 4 hours of sleep before class. I just don’t understand! Am I really this addicted to eating and staying up late, or am I really that scared I will die in my sleep? I really shouldn’t forget to mention that I pace around the dorm hallways late at night while everyone is asleep. We are talking 1 hour a night of walking circles around the dorm hallways with my headphones in!
I still can’t grasp the fact that I can’t get out of bed, change my clothes, or sit down on the ground for a second without help. Oh, what I would give to be able to think clearly again and at least be able to sit up from the damn toilet by myself! Yeah, so glamorous, right? I just need to go for it and gain weight! How can something so simple be so impossible? It’s awful … I can’t stop thinking about food and what I want to binge on next. Why can’t I ever eat normally? As soon as I go past X calories, I feel as if I’ve blown it and therefore need to binge up to at least X calories. Who would have thought that in the same year I would go from my deathbed with anorexia to a freaking fat camp?
I’m so fat – I just hate this! How did this happen? How does a person gain 165 pounds in 16 months? I actually need to lose weight now, but that seems so contradictory to my mind since losing weight has previously always been my downfall. I slept in this morning and did absolutely no exercise, which was a nice break, but why do I need to binge to justify letting myself relax. I guess because I have a reason to give myself permission to chill as opposed to doing something more productive. But still, how embarrassing to gain weight at a weight loss program! What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just be normal? I am either too strict or too reckless. How can it be that hard to find a happy balance?
That’s the problem I’m realizing – eating disorders really are all about your mind … my changing shape is merely a symptom of my behaviors that stem from my destructive thinking. I want to believe once I reach a healthy weight I’ll magically be free and recovered, but again, that so clearly won’t be the case unless I address the underlying issues. I fear that because I don’t look sick nobody will take me seriously. Everywhere I go brings back a memory. Every gosh damn thing is a reminder of some idiot who supposedly is me! I don’t know who I am anymore. I know it’s going to have to be me who saves myself, and that’s what scares me the most.
I took 11 laxatives this time. I did so partly out of magical thinking that it would undo some of the calories, partly out of punishment, and partly to symbolize the end of my binge and a way to start over new. Why can’t I get through my head that anorexia, binge eating disorder, and bulimia are all driven by the same eating disorder? The same core issues! Sure, they are different forms, which result in different behaviors, which therefore lead to different appearances, but I can’t keep fooling myself into thinking anorexia was so different from what I’m going through right now. It’s still the same damn eating disorder trying to kill me. So, why can’t I let it go? Enough is enough! Deep down I know … I know the truth. I’m smarter than this. To give in to ED is a familiar fashion to me, but I can’t deny my secret wish of wanting to be free, happy, healthy, and alive.
This is just so tough, but I know I’m not alone with these feelings. But I am stronger than this, and I deserve to live and be free. It’s time to leave the past behind. It’s time to become me. I am recognizing that an eating disorder was not my fault, only a way to self-medicate to make my mind feel better. I’m finally using my voice and not feeling weak or vulnerable because of it. I feel empowered. I feel brave. Much of what I realize at the end is what I have actually known, or been told from the beginning. What it really comes down to is an internal choice that comes from within, and one that can be made only when one is ready. My past has shown me things in life, others, and myself that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, but I can choose to pick up the pieces and build a beautiful life for myself and help others to do the same.
👇🏻2013 – 2018/19
Sequel to come💜