Monday, 31 January 2011

After Anorexia

I'm going through a bit of a rough patch, thinking wise.

I'm trying to deal with my flatmate who is seriously anorexic. I feel so helpless and at the same time pissed off that I am trying to help and it's not getting through. I know that's inevitable, but a part of me really thought that I could be useful in that way, but I'm not.

It hits home how far away I am from my own illness. I've had a tough time with depression related binging and weight gain, to the point that I am now quite overweight, but even that doesn't bother me in the way that it would at one time. For most of my life I whole-heartedly believed that being thin was the only thing in the world worth caring about and that being fat meant being weak and disgusting. Losing weight was the only thing I would ever be good at, the only thing I would ever achieve, the only way I would feel accopmplishment or contentment or pride.

Now I don't feel those things, of course I would like to drop the excess weight and be healthy again, but for me that's not something I want to happen dramatically and quickly. I'm happy enough to try and reduce the binging behaviours, get more active now I feel motivated to do stuff and let time and nature take over. I've thought about diets a lot and have come to the conclusion that they're not an option for me. I'm not willing to do something drastic that is going to give me a short-term result, I want this to be for the rest of my life, to get healthy and back into shape for keeps, and that means not losing a huge amount of weight or not eating enough or counting caloires. Just healthy choices and exercise that are part of my life, not the whole, sole purpose of it. I have a genuine love for food, for going out with friends to eat and going to the supermarket. But it's no longer an obbsession. It's not something that I really think about. I don't feel guilty about eating.

I accept that I've had a shit few months that have taken a toll on my weight but I'm not willing to invest all of myself into changing that. I feel better when I eat right, whether that's making sure I eat enough or not binging. I don't feel any pleasure in eating less or throwing up or binging. I don't want those things in my life. Trying to get back on track after this latest bout of depression has made me all the more determinded to make the most of life, and to make the most of myself. I feel like I've got a bit of myself back and there's no way that I'd give that up 'to be thin'.

I don't even feel like the same girl I was when I was anorexic. I've remoulded my entire appearence way beyond size and weight. Different hair, different make-up, different clothes, tattoos, piercings, dye.. Everything has been reconstruced and most of the time I am happy with what I've built. I have ugly days, bad hair days, but I'm more confident with the way that I look and take a lot more time looking after myself than I ever did when I was skeletal. I am more attractive. I'm not saying that I feel attractive but that I can see the difference in my non-size related appearence and that it looks a million times better now than it did a few years ago.

This weekend marked five years since I got out of the Eating Disorder Unit.

For a long time I didn't have any real sense of what things were like back then, mainly names and places and a fuckload of numbers and weights and calories. Recently I have started to remember things as they were, not through that horrible nostalgic haze where you're convinced that everything was better then, but how things truly were. I think this is mainly where I'm struggling;

These memories are mine, I know that, but at the same time they're not. I have burnt things and shredded things until nothing was left, so how can I reconnect to that life that I've delibrately and painfully destroyed.

It scares me to remember all those near death experiances. Prehaps that sounds melodramtic, maybe it is, but I can remember those moments of not being able breathe or stand or walk. Remembering how my Dad used to come into my room all through the night to check I still had a pulse, how I'd pretend to be asleep but really listening to them making endless phonecalls to the psychiatrist or my sisters or just arguing or crying.

It no longer matters about numbers, what I weighed or what I ate. I no longer look back and see it through those terms. I see everything else, and the everything else hurts like fuck.

I am a different person, if not wholly recovered from food/weight demons, they're still there, but in terms of anorexia and low weight and restriction, I'm a different person.

The trouble is, there's a living, breathing, moving version of that girl sleeping in the next room, and being around her makes me feel vulnerable and desprately sad. I know that I could wake her up and talk to her like I'm talking now, but I know that it wouldn't make any difference, it wouldn't make her stop, and I'm not coping all that well with that knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. You can't save another Emma.
    Though I appreciate that desperate need to.
    You have to think back to the times nothing got through to you.
    Even in recent months it has taken a lot for you to find the stability of sorts you have now, regardless of what others said, it was something you had to find in yourself.
    I am glad to read you are "beyond the Anorexia" but it is evident from your posts there are still ED demons there, which is so often the case when people try to recover from Anorexia and "flip" the other way.
    But recovery is a work in progress and you are working on that.
    So although you can feel, care and worry for your room mate, you can only truly help others when you can help yourself too.
    A way I manage others pain, and seeing them struggle, is this whole lead by example.
    If she can see you healing and caring for yourself, it may well inspire her to do the same xxxx