Hello my lovelies,
It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post, and to cut the crap – I had no motivation to sit down and write about a subject close to my heart. This is mainly due to the big changes that have recently occurred in my life (for the good and the not so good); which I shall discuss in a future post. Therefore, my mind and head space has had to reset, reboot, take a moment, so that I don’t go completely insane.
However, through the painful anxiety, depression, and physical setbacks with my fibromyalgia, I’ve still made significant improvements in my journey of eating disorder recovery; which has led me to want to reflect upon the way that my disorder caused me to be abusive to my own body for nearly 3 years.
Trigger warning disclaimer: eating disorder behaviours, trauma
Dear body (me),
I don’t know where to begin, mainly because I’m talking to myself as if my physical and mental presence aren’t synonymous.
Firstly, I want to say that I completely understand why after trauma I turned to the main aspect of my life which I had personal control over – food. But I also want to take responsibility for this action without harbouring any regret or guilt, because at the time I was oblivious to the dangers, and in all honesty I was past caring.
I want to apologise for the constant self-deprivation regarding my weight and my diet, along with the thoughts that I had surrounding my image as a result of my disorder. At this stage in my E.D recovery, I realise clearly that I viewed my weight and self-worth as being synonymous with each other.
I belittled your purpose by regarding you as something I can mould to suit a particular image to feel a sense of achievement, or simply to find a shred of self-satisfaction which I was severely lacking. I am ever so grateful for the spectacular spectre that my body is, and everyone else’s. How intricate different systems work in unison, or so one hopes. Although, with the damage I imparted upon myself through torturous dieting, bulimia, attempted exercise, and purging, restricted these marvellous functions, causing hypoglycemia, strain on the liver and immune system, severe malnutrition, and dehydration.
And I’m sorry that I valued my physical appearance in accordance with my then-warped perceptions of what beauty is, over the systems behind my physical health, you.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the significant steps that both mind and body have allowed me to make in my E.D recovery:
The C Word: Calories
The fear that I have experienced surrounding calories has plagued us for coming up to 3 years. Why? Well in the mind of an anorexic, the higher the number of calories within a particular food item, or within your daily intake, the greater the weight gain; which is a massive no-no.
However, no longer do I punish us for eating something which I would once class as ‘high calorie’. No longer do I equate calories to health and weight gain, yet prioritising dietary balance. Do I calculate the approximate number of calories I’ve eaten in a day every so often? Yes, and I’m not going to deny that or feel shame, because I understand that overcoming these behaviours takes time, and as I’ve made great progress within the last couple of months, I don’t expect to be freed from these behaviours or from a relapse in E.D thoughts anytime soon.
Body, I’ve reached a point recently where I don’t feel fear around our waist and thigh measurements, I don’t experience large triggers when my clothes are slightly tight, I don’t feel the constant need to weigh ourselves whenever I see scales.
However, I do still have slight fears surrounding being privy to my BMI and weight – not because I’m concerned it’s unhealthy, but because I’m worried that it would could trigger a relapse.
At this point in my recovery journey, I recognise how warped and twisted that social media is towards people who don’t fit the desired aesthetic or blueprint. Now, I can even empathise with models who have highly demanding and strenuous exercise and diet regimes just to look ever so slightly different from they would otherwise, yet realise the little gain that is achieved from such distressing regimes – which allows me to see the absurdity which such a mind-set harbours; a mind-set that I experienced for years.
Do I oftentimes look at our stomach from a profile view? Yes. Do I sometimes find myself fearing the possibility of weight gain? Yes. Do I have a better day the less bloated and more confident I am? Of course, however only because my disorder is still resonating in discrete ways in my everyday behaviours, and not because of comfort.
Ways to Move Forward
Now that I have made realisations which are crucial to help me understand my behaviours and the reasoning behind them, I have learned through trial-and-error strategies to overcome certain barriers.
Firstly, I remove the control that I have over my diet by handing this over to my mum (but to be honest I had no choice I can’t even work a kettle as of late).
Secondly, I encourage my parents to purchase foods which weren’t on my shopping list, so that I can improve my feelings surrounding food in general, and turn the focus away from the calories, but the nutritional content alongside dietary balance and E.D recovery.
Lastly, I talked about it. It took a long ass time for me to be able to openly and shamelessly talk about my personal experience with eating distress, and communicate my worries with those around me when I experience a challenging thought or emotion surrounding our body image. Through doing this, I’ve helped to release a burden that has been sitting on my shoulders for far too long, as well as to inform my loved ones of triggers, to open the doors for communicating about my E.D, to help remove the potential barriers triggers impose on one’s recovery, and to make it a less personal and daunting illness .
In summary, I hereby acknowledge that I want to continue to prioritise our health over our physical appearance, and embrace who I am as a person both inside and out, so that each aspect of my being is as equal as the last, and to treat this body as a home, not a prison.
Lots of love,
– Lori x