I thought recently that perhaps it was important to make a post about my intent of this blog as I don’t think that has ever been clear. Blogs of the journal variety could be seen as a bit narcissistic. Please understand that I do not carry an inflated sense of self-importance. I initially set out to create a public space where people could choose to follow my progress in my recovery from an eating disorder and nothing else. Soon, I discovered that as my thinking really started to change, my life was becoming whole lot more pleasant and I realized that I had the ability to share the changes I was making in a bit more detail. I am finding the words to explain myself – my past, my present, and what I can see as my future. I also realized that a lot of the changes I was making were not specifically ED related but that they are related to a pattern of thinking that fuelled my ED that so many people struggle with without manifesting with anorexia or bulimia or compulsive overeating. The examples I use to illustrate my thoughts are often ED related because that is the journey I am on, but I can also see how they expand to encompass so many aspects of life and issues related to control, negativity, and most importantly, the need for hope in every life.
Hope, that’s a big one. For a number of months here, I was referred to as being an inspiration to some people. That weighed heavily on my shoulders as I didn’t see myself progressing and changing for a long time and “what if” I wasn’t successful? I still held onto the idea that my life was of little value and that I could never actually be inspiring. I thought that I had abandoned the one way that I felt I could affect the world and that was through enabling people to learn from my death. Then, when I really accepted that this was it, that I was going to make it and really be okay, I realised that yes, I have the ability to inspire people to keeping fighting. Despite all odds, I wasn’t just going to be alive, I was going to live and love life. I’m not saying I’ll be everyone’s inspiration and I don’t want to be. However, I have a voice and I have the experience now to say loudly how important it is to never give up. I’m getting better and I’m ready to talk about it. So, for the ED population, there is always hope. I’ve been that person who people were waiting to become a statistic of the mortality of eating disorders and lived to tell the tale.
So in that sense, I feel I have a bit of an obligation. Some days, I don’t want to talk about my story. I want to put anorexia/bulimia/self-harm behind me and move on to different things and just forget it but I can’t do that. I know I can’t save the world, but if I can reach one lonely, scared, and quiet person out there who is privately googling “recovery from and eating disorder+is it possible” when maybe no one in their life knows they are suffering so much then it will be worth it. If they can read what I write here and see themselves even for a moment and let it in and know that all things are possible and be given a bit more flame to the wellness fire, then I am so happy.
Lots of people will recover and live their lives and not share their stories. I have been blessed with the gift of honesty ability to express myself in writing. I have healed from the shame surrounding my past, I have walked through hell to get out of the hole I was in before I got here, and if I can be the mouthpiece for someone else, that’s great. If a parent can find this and see their child in me and know that there is always hope to be had, then this has purpose. If my family and friends can have a more intimate experience of my journey despite the physical difference between us, then that can be a purpose of this space too.
Sometimes I look back on my entries and notice what was important to me in that phase and think, “Oh boy, did I really put that out for the world to see?” In speaking with my sister yesterday, I said how after each visit with family throughout the program I usually thought that it would have been better to wait a little longer before seeing them. That I was still doing x, y, and z, and now that I’m not it could have been more enjoyable to be with them. In both instances, I nearly immediately let go of any embarrassment or hint of regret I might have and understand how important it is to involve people in every step of this progress. Many people watched me dying and I wasn’t quiet about that so why should I wait to tell people how I am getting better?
That’s another thing, the How of all of this. I always wanted to get better but the big question was How. I digress, for a lot of this, there is no How. It just happens or you just Do but for some things, some very important things, I can explain How and that’s another thing I want to provide for people: the insight to how to get from dying from an eating disorder and drowning in negativity to coming out the other end. Some aspects of this have been extremely phasic and that’s okay. I did what I had to in those times. There is no problem with being honest about that. At times I was very convicted about certain things and when I did go through those phases, it said a lot about where my head/thinking was at. Al I can do is explain the How that was real for me.
Many recovery stories sort of go from A-Z without any inbetween. That was something I really struggled with. The “I’m very sick and have to go to hospital” to “after xx months in hospital and xx pounds, I am better. It took a lot of therapy and effort but I’m better”. I usually thought, “Well, good for you! But that’s not happening for me. I will die if I gain weight. It’s impossible for me”. Or the stories end with, “I still struggle today but things are a lot better and I will never go back but I’m always fighting” and that, as explained in my post about recovery, was not what I wanted. Oh yay, I could gain weight and act normal and still struggle every day? No thanks. I wanted the nitty gritty of people’s experience. What really worked for others? I found it very difficult to find. I spent long hours searching the internet for how people dealt with their bodies, clothes shopping, meal plan changes, etc. and couldn’t ever find much that didn’t always lend itself to ongoing struggling. I wanted to know if other people felt that they couldn’t handle getting better and enduring the therapy that would be necessary. I wanted to know what exactly changed in people’s minds to make them move from simply “wanting” to get better to actually getting there. It’s not easy to find those details and when you’re walking through the abyss of self-destruction and looking for something to hold onto, one wishes there was more out there. There’s certainly no guide book but I can do my best to illustrate what the process has been like for me.
On that note, I open myself up to questions. I believe the comments section of this is no in English and I am happy to write my thoughts and experience on almost anything. You don’t have to identify yourself, you can just ask. I don’t believe for a moment that what works for me will work for everyone and I can only share my subjective experience of this journey (that is ongoing) but I know, as different as I feel at times, I’m not that different from everyone else. No two stories will be the same but I believe there is a lot to be learned from each other. Plus, there’s no right answer in this process or in life in general and sometimes it’s important to try out a few ways of thinking before you find one that works for you. Here, I can explain what’s working for me and maybe someone else can try it for themselves and see if it helps. I know that I am living a delightful life. I love my life! The grass is greener on the other side? Pfft, the grass is pretty darn green on my side, actually! And how does the rest of that go? The other side must be fertilized with horse s**t? Exactly.
So, I hope this gives you, the reader, a bit better idea of my intention here. I said at the beginning of this process that if I actually got better, I was never going to stop talking about it and I’m sticking to that!