Eating disorders are thieves.
They’re thieves of joy. Thieves of our time. Our Happiness.Relationships.
They take things.
Thinking back on what my eating disorder took from me, my head spins. Literally, It spins. If I wrote out all the things that come to mind, I would probably be blogging all day. But I can’t do that because grad school. lol
What I lost:
- My sense of self. Any & all aspects of me were torn away. I couldn’t see anything past what I was going to eat that day, the next day, & how and when I would get my exercise in.
- Money. During the 15 years I struggled with an eating disorder on & off, I hate to even fathom the amount of money that was wasted. I can honestly say I did my part in keeping the economy alive while in the throws of my addiction. The gym visits….the shakes (all.the.different.shakes), exercise videos. Lean Cuisines.Workout clothes. Etc, etc! The dollars I’d save to down another box of chocolate laxatives gone….literally down the toilet.
- Happiness. When you’re consumed with a constant dedication to disappearing, it’s pretty hard to be happy. When you’re living in an eating disorder, your rose colored glasses have been taken and stomped away. Your happiness & any sense of self-worth depends on one thing….the blinking numbers on a scale.
- Time. Free time? What’s that? What about workout number four? Are all the meals & snacks planned for the rest of the week?? Have you double checked?? & lets not forget all the research that went into my disorder. Or the doctor’s visits & trips to the ER for fluids.
The list goes on. Once I stepped-who am I kidding, HIKED-up the long hill of recovery, I also gained quite a few things (that didn’t involve pounds). I learned a lot about food & even more about life in general. For more on that, I wrote a post a while back on what my eating disorder gave me: https://disorderlylove.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/what-ive-learned-about-food-life-after-my-eating-disorder/
Above all else, two of my favorite things I found once I said goodbye to the life of numbers & scales were my need to be perfect & a sense of purpose.
I don’t need to be society’s unhealthy idea of what a physically perfect body is. I don’t need to be a size 0, or 2 anymore to be happy with who I am as a person. That doesn’t define me anymore.
Now that my main goal doesn’t lie in the act of disappearing, I can put it somewhere else-IN LIVING! I can transform that energy into something positive-like help others.
But that doesn’t mean my life is completely free of eating disordered thoughts. Like anyone who has ever suffered an addiction, it is something that will be with me for the rest of my life.
&, sometimes, it still wins. It still clouds my lens & makes my world dark.
Two weeks ago, I started my practicum for my last year as an MSW student. When getting ready every day, it seemed I’d have to try three different pairs of pants on before the button would finally meet its mate. NOTHING fit. Again.
Two years ago, I had already given my, “sick clothes,” away. They were boxed up & given to someone they were actually meant for…middle schoolers. I’d bought new clothes during that time…& yet, here I was again with these once well fitting clothes that did not fit.
& sure, the thoughts of “What is wrong with me?!?!” “Why don’t these fit, I just bought these?!” & “Am I getting fat?!?!?” stormed my mind.
When sharing this with part of my treatment team, an idea was born. As she was currently serving on the PTA at her son’s high school, she was aware that it was an economically depressed area that needed supplies, donations, & the like. Further, she even offered to transport the clothing to the school if I brought it in to her office the following week.
These beauties are no longer stacked in the corner of my bedroom staring me in the face every single day. They aren’t here to whisper to my insecurities anymore. Instead, they’re lining the shelves of a resource center at a local high school that holds many disadvantaged children.
Something beautiful came out of my newest challenge in recovery after all.
Sometimes what we perceive as great disappointments are really just blessings in disguise.