Happy Marathon Monday!
This is kind of a necessary opener if you ask me, I mean it is the Boston Marathon after all Of course, best of luck to those running today, especially with the heat issue!
Does anyone else have the day off today? Because I DO, no classes and this means I am still home! I shall be returning to school later this evening, but for now I am soaking up my time here… possibly even venturing to the beach later…. I know tough life today.
Overall this weekend was quite pleasant- nothing out of the ordinary but that is just fine with me! Well I did in fact see The Hunger Games with MA on Friday and yep, it was pretty awesome. The book was much better (as expected) but I thought the characters were spot on and the different scenes and settings were fun to see come alive. One of my major complaints, and I am not sure if anyone else feels this way, was the rather excessive use of close camera views throughout the movie…. not a fan! Other than that though, good stuff…. oh and I am not officially re-reading the series
Alright let’s get right to the nitty-gritty here… I have some important (to me) stuff to talk about today.
*I think this is something I have been in a state of denial about for quite some time now. Although you will be reading this post tomorrow, it is actually right now, on a Sunday night at 9:00 pm, that I am sitting down to write… and I am quite stumped on what exactly I want to discuss.
It’s not that I don’t have any ideas. Noooo no that has yet to be the case with this whole blogging business, especially with what the main focus of what Amazing Asset is- my personal experience with recovering from disordered eating and the various components, hurdles, challenges, victories, losses, etc, that go along with this business.
In fact, the day that I run out of new post ideas having to do with my experience with an eating disorders and recovery, is the day that I will declare I have healed. That this illness is no longer a part of me, but a distant (rather horrible) memory from my past that I have learned and grown from.
Unfortunately today is not that day, hence the reasoning and thought process behind this post. A few events within the past few days have allowed me to understand more about myself and this whole illness situation. Nothing bad, sad or anything like that, but occurrences that really got my brain churning.
Last Friday at my internship, it was a rather special day because the author of Telling ED NO! Cheryl Kerrigan, came to speak to the group and I was fortunate enough to listen to her words as well. (**I know I haven’t talked about my internship much- I will soon- but for the record it is going wonderfully!!**)
Cheryl was a fantastic guest, great public-speaking skills, and her words really struck a chord with me.
She talked to us about her personal experience with Anorexia and the different tools, skills, and methods she used along the way in order to break from from the disorder. According to Cheryl, she truly officially recovered in 2006, just about 6 years ago. She revealed her age to be 42 and made it quite clear that after 37 years of living with Anorexia, it’s as if she has been re-born in the last 5 years of her life… describing the genuine fact that the eating disorder finally no longer manipulates and controls her every move in life.
Although Cheryl had been hospitalized and treated a number of times in her 20s for Anorexia, she did recover enough in her 30s to become a fully functioning person with a job, a relationship, friends, family… she engaged with others, went out, vacationed, dined at restaurants…. all “normal” stuff to an outside perspective.
However, Cheryl explained to us that the disorder was ALWAYS with her during these times in her life. Sure she looked physically fine, put up a front that everything was dandy, was able to make a living, and be with anther person in a serious relationship, but inside she was screaming.
As I sat there last Friday afternoon listening to Cheryl’s story, my mouth slowly started to fall open in shock…. oh my word, that is me. I am a functioning young woman who…
- is excited to graduate from college in less than a month with a BS degree in Public Health
- knows what I am doing post-graduation- beginning nursing school in the fall
- has a few different jobs for the summer
- hangs out with friends
- goes out- to restaurants, bars, clubs, and so on
- eats healthfully but does throw in the occasional treat
- am at a healthy weight and appear normal, much better and pretty much fine at this point
- overall appears happy to the outside observer
Okay enough already, you get what I am saying here. I have all of these things going for me and it’s fantastic and I have worked really hard for the accomplishments!
But here it is: I am a fully functioning person BUT I am still completely run by the disorder. Someone might read that and think “duh” but this is new to me. It’s really been the last few weeks that have allowed me to gain an understanding of all of this and then Cheryl coming to speak on Friday was the final piece I needed to hear.
If you were to look at me, I seem 100% better from when the disorder really took hold several years ago. While I am MUCH healthier than my lowest point, I am certainly not at 100%. I will say this again, if a stranger were to look at me, I seem care-free and fine.. and that’s what kills me because I am still suffering so much. This eating disorder continues to manipulate me in countless ways- every decision I make, every thought, every plan that is made… always has to be analyzed, calculated, made safe, forbidden, accepted… according to the eating disorder.
I mean for God’s sake, the momentous decision I made to take time off of hard core exercising drove me to restrict as soon as possible in order to compensate. Well that COMPLETELY defeated the purpose of the “rest” I was giving myself. Oh and we all know how long this break lasted- about two weeks because I couldn’t take it anymore. The stress and fear of gaining weight was too difficult for me to handle, so I began exercising again… so much for giving my body a break.
Let’s see what else! I…
- constantly think about my weight- whether it’s higher or lower, in between, upside down, whatever- constantly
- think about the next meal/food I will eat no matter what time of the day, how satiated I am, or if I have just eaten
- exercise still= permission to consume certain foods. Otherwise not going to happen
- body weight means everything
I will give myself some credit though, I really have made enormous strides in my recovery and have challenged myself at every point along the way in order to get better. From my lowest point, I managed to gain nearly 20 pounds on my own, I am much less obsessive than I used to be, exercise a whole lot less, eat more than I ever thought I would, PHYSICALLY and so much healthier, and MENTALLY as well… but the latter of these is falling behind.
My disordered self is complacently resting on a plateau. I think it’s something I have been aware of for a while now- that I am stuck, really unsure of how to move forward, appear normal and recovered, but am actually yelling on the inside. Every thought, action, decision is made based on the questions of, “will this make me gain weight” and then how that weight gain will make me miserable in all aspects of my life.
I equate my happiness with my body shape and if that goes to shit, well then I am screwed. Not normal.
Also, this realization has been nagging me- somehow this entire illness is NOT about the weight. Something(s) is going on in my past or in my current life that is enabling me to cling to the disorder and not let it go. So what else is this disorder about? Right now I do not know the answer to this but I do plan on pursuing the question, as this is needed.
*In conclusion: I am a WHOLE LOT BETTER than I have been in years, BUT, the eating disorder remains a significant aspect of my daily life, of my existence.
This is not okay. I am saying this hear and now, I simply refuse to have this illness be a part of me anymore. I refuse to be a fully functioning person in society who appears to have a normal life- one filled with memories, hopes and dreams, BUT always has this festering illness lurking beneath the surface… This incessant voice constantly whispering to me, inhibiting any sort of carefree life.
Again, I refuse to allow this to happen. I will NOT have a life that is dampened down in anyway by this ‘thing’ that just will not go the heck away. I am terrified of the idea of the years slipping by…. getting older and looking back and realizing how much of my life has been ruled and regulated by an eating disorder that I had no choice in obtaining.
Please no, this is just not okay. I do not deserve an existence plagued by such an illness, in fact NO ONE does. I have worked incredibly hard to become the person I am today and I will be damned if anymore of my life is wasted on the sickness. The eating disorder is a part of me, heck it’s a MAJOR aspect of myself that has latched on and is holding on tight. However, it is not ME… I am not an eating disorder.
Today I don’t exactly know what else it’s going to take to shake the ED off for good, but I swear to you, I will figure it out, I will do whatever it takes. This is the year, the year that I become myself again, a normal, functioning woman who is free of the constricting and terrifying hold of an eating disorder.
*Steps down* Phew, that felt good to get out, to acknowledge the plateau and sense of denial.
-For anyone with ED experience or just wants to chime in here, do you think it’s possible to really and truly recover from this illness? Or do you believe it will always be there to some extent no matter what? I personally don’t know the correct answer to this, if there even is one.
-Have you ever felt emotionally or physically on a “plateau?” How were you able to overcome this and get over the next hurdle?
-Are you able to see or feel when you are going through the motion verses genuinely enjoying your life? How?
-Have you ever heard an author speak (or read a piece of literature from them) and have it really effect you?
-Do you have the day off? How was your weekend?
Again, good luck to the Boston runners today and I hope everyone has a most lovely rest of your Monday