Well…weight wasn’t down today and so I am still in relapse. It’s ridiculous…we have all read how much this disorder is taking from me and I am desperate to break free…but I am letting a number control me. Luckily, had great therapy session today and two big things came out of it for me. One, was the inspiration for this entry which is that my disorder did serve a purpose for me….I’ve just come to realize it no longer serves those purposes and thus it’s time to let go. The other I am just gonna touch on briefly.
I have realized that my disorder does provide me a sense of accomplishment. For some reason I think the only thing I have to offer this world and to be proud of is my ED and the ability to lose weight. But when my nutritionist asked what my goal weight is and I had to tell her 86.2 I didn’t want to. I felt ashamed because I knew it was wrong. In my ED mindset I think getting to that weight is an accomplishment. Somehow I don’t see my 4.0 or service work or research or anything like that as an accomplishment. Why? Because those things come easily to me and in my mind getting to this low weight takes a lot of work. But the reality is….recovery is a lot harder. And recovery is something to be proud of.
You know what will make others proud of me. Seeing me fight this thing and seeing me gain weight. It’s hard for me to equate weight gain and recovery steps with pride because I have been in such a driven pattern to lose weight. But this is the start of a new me and a new mindset. In reality gaining weight and recovering is a good thing. Part of it is I feel ashamed that eating a cookie or eating with people or getting fro-yo is something so hard for me and thus something I feel I have conquered when I do it. So I don’t want to feel proud of it.
But I realized in our session…for some people making an A is very hard but to me it’s something that comes easy. Yet when one of my freshmen make an A I am super proud because I know how hard it is for them. I never once think: “Well an A is easy. How stupid that they are proud of that.” And people know eating and gaining weight is hard for me. So they will be proud of me and I deserve to be proud of myself. Because just like those people fight for an A, I will be fighting for recovery. And it will be much more of a fight and struggle than giving into ED is. And it will be something to be proud of. It won’t be like losing weight and being in ED which is just misery and something I am ashamed of, but recovery will be something I want people to know about and want to share. I will feel proud, and I will fight.
Now onto this post. Looking at how my disorder served me when I was little and developed it and how that plays out now.
Then, I needed a friend a feeling of love and ED gave me that. Now, I have friends and a relationship with my father that is built on love. I have also found God and his unconditional love. Honestly…all ED does is steal me from those relationships. Make me too scared to be with people. And the love I feel when I am with them…it’s better than how ED has made me feel. It’s basically like ED is an imaginary friend…but I have real life friends now..so ED isn’t needed.
Then, ED distracted me from life so I could survive. As a young child I couldn’t cope with the emotional stresses of the abuse and bullying I was enduring. Now, I have a life I want to live. A life I love. All ED does now is make me too tired to experience this life. Makes me too focused on numbers and weight to even focus on life. It served a purpose when I was young to focus all my attention on numbers and weight and food because I needed to distract, but now I WANT to be a part of life…so that distraction is only doing harm not good. I have a life I want to live, so ED’s distractions aren’t needed.
Then, I came to college I clung to ED to distract me from the fact I was following a career path I had lost my passion for. Now, I have a burning passion for my pursuit of my new path to animal-assisted social work. I love my classes, love the grad school I applied to, and love my idea of my future career. I don’t want to be distracted by ED or let ED steal my health so I can’t go to Denver. I don’t want ED to keep me from recovering which I need to do in order to be a social worker. ED is not helping me distract from a path I don’t want to take, but is standing as an obstacle to the path I want to pursue.
Then ED gave me something that made me unique. Something no one could make me change. Something I had control of in my life. Now, I realize ED controls me and I have much more control over recovery than over ED. Case and point: the fact I didn’t start new plan even though I am miserable all because ED deemed me to have a certain weight. Plus, there is so much in my life I do control…my grades, my path, my food choices, my relationships, what I do with my time. I am independent now. Not living under the rule of my family…so I don’t need ED to make me unique. I am just me. Plus, recovering from an ED is much more unique than suffering form an ED. Especially with the high relapse rate disorder of anorexia.
Then ED was the only way I could cry out for help. The only way I could express emotions. Tears weren’t accepted and secrecy was key. So I sent flares the only way I knew how…through food or lack thereof. IT worked…people paid attention either through putting me on diets or sending me to hospital. Now, I don’t want to be on diets or sent to hospital. Now I can let myself cry and use my voice. So basically again, ED serves no purpose. It made sense in an abusive household that I would form my own secret of binge-eating to give me comfort. I couldn’t say I was scared or needed a hug or tell what was going on in my house. Not to the outside. But I could do it through food to try and feel the void. I could make my own secrets like the adults in my life did. Later on in life, I could tell people I was scared or sad or whatever by getting smaller and smaller so they would notice me. Instead of just seeing an all-A everything is good Jessica and instead of me having to let them down by telling them I wasn’t perfect, I could lose weight so they would notice. But now…now I have learned to open up with words. Now, sadly, my ED is just a normal part of life with me and nobody knows if I am in it or out of it and it doesn’t scare people anymore, because it’s just how I am. Instead, I use my words and its so much more effective. And it keeps me out of the hospital which is where I don’t want to be. I don’t need ED to steal my emotions anymore because I have learned it’s okay to cry and it’s okay to not be okay. And there are people around me to love and support me and all I have to do is ask. I don’t need ED to tell people I’m not okay, I have my own voice.
So back then ED made a lot of sense. My life was spinning out of control and I was too young to know how to cope. I developed binge-eating disorder to fill the void I felt for love and comfort. As I gained weight I hoped people would see everything wasn’t okay. By it being my little secret it was something no one could take from me. Something I had control of. By focusing on food and what I would binge on next I didn’t have to focus on life. And then when I switched to anorexia…people were proud of me. It was something that made me unique…the ability to lose weight. I found a sense of pride and accomplishment in it. The obsession with calories still kept me distracted from life and my uncertainties. The time it took to spend with ED gave me a sense of companionship so I didn’t need relationships which could hurt me. And as I lost, people paid attention, and they sent me to hospitals and finally saw something was wrong.
But now…now ED doesn’t make sense. I have a life I love and want to be present in so I don’t need distraction. I have healed relationship with my family and have relationships with friends..so I don’t need comfort from ED. I have learned it’s okay to say things aren’t okay and my family and friends will be there, so I don’t need ED to do the talking for me. I have realized ED only steals my control and that there is so much in life I do control..like my future and recovery, so I no longer need ED’s illusion. I have found pride in my passion, my walk with God, my service….I have found that anorexia RECOVERY will make me unique as will my AASW profession..I don’t need ED to provide false accomplishment.
I am happy now. I have a life I want to live, people I want to love, a future I want to fight for. So yes..ED..you did serve me a purpose..you did protect me for some time, but I’m older now, wiser now, and with God I am stronger now. I have family and friends and a future and a life I love…and you just don’t fit. So thanks for protecting me when I was younger..really..thanks. But now you have become the thing that is hurting me and holding me back. Just like I had to move on to school without my dear stuffed animal by my side…it’s time to let go of you too. So thanks, it’s been real, but it’s time for me to move on.