What I’ve gained throughout my recovery of anorexia can be measured by more than just inches or pounds.
I’ve gained back a life that I once thought was lost. I’ve gained back my confidence and rediscovered happiness. I’ve gained back the ability to walk, stand, or skip, and not be so dizzy when standing up too quickly. I’ve gained back the will to live, something I couldn’t even comprehend a year ago.
The sickest part of my life was approximately one year ago. I was going to school full time, working double shifts at the hospital, and bar-tending until 1 AM on the weekends. Life was buzzing on all around me, but I was barely hanging in there, hanging on by a thread. There would be days in a row where I wouldn’t eat. I restricted so severely, I would pass out getting up in the morning. It would only be six in the morning, and I couldn’t even stand.
I don’t know how I managed going on like that for so long and survive, but I did. I thought I was invincible, and sometimes, on my bad days, I still feel that way. I now can laugh at the thought, because I was nowhere close. I was actually the opposite. I was broken seven ways to Sunday. As my girl Taylor Swift puts it, “You’re tied together with a smile, but you’re coming undone.”
These were two terms I became all too familiar with, when I was at the worst of my eating disorder.
Imagine waking up every day and hating what you see, hating what you’ve become.
That’s what my eating disorder did to me. It had overtaken my entire being, the best parts of me. It was as if I were a used tissue or a wadded up piece of gum. Useless, insignificant the scum of the earth. That’s how I perceived myself.
I was silently crying out for help. The people at work were so worried. Strangers on the street stared at me with gaping mouths. My family would beg me to “simply eat.” I would sigh and look at them with dead eyes. “I wish it were that easy.”
I don’t think anyone really knew how heavy the chains I wore around my shoulders were, weighing me down every day. Trust me, to this day, I wouldn’t wish them to feel what I felt, not even for my worst of enemies.
Imagine getting robbed, blindsided. A gun held to your head, 24/7.
That is what life with an eating disorder looks like. It’s miserable, and lonely.
“So how could she even think about relapsing?” you’re probably saying to yourself.
I say the same thing to myself every day, don’t worry.
But that ED character. He’s a sly son of a bitch, that will suddenly reappear on your weakest of days, and crush you.