Good morning everyone,
Wow, I truly had the most incredible day yesterday, and before I say why, I need to give you some background information so everything can make sense.
Having an eating disorder is mainly associated with the concept of not having a healthy relationship with food. Often times, I have written about my eating disorder and how it caused (and sometimes still causes) me to restrict calories and strive for an unattainable weight.
But there are so many other parts to an eating disorder, some of which I have spoken about a little bit here and there. Besides controlling my food intake and my obsession with weight, my eating disorder also took over my social life. Actually, it washed away any social life I had with its long list of food rules and regulations.
When I was fully immersed in Ed (my eating disorder), I would almost never go out with friends, I would almost never go to restaurants, and I would try to never put myself in a situation where I needed to eat with others.
I would stay exactly where Ed wanted me to stay, and that was home, away from other people. Home meant that I did not have to be tempted by any “bad foods.” It meant that I could eat what Ed allowed me to eat and it meant that I was safe, and therefore my body and weight were safe. Home meant that no one would see me looking unhealthy so no one could ask me questions-no one could reach out.
My eating disorder literally kept me confined to a few walls-the walls where it was just me and him, and no one else. Within these Ed created walls, there were no outside people trying to peer inside our destructive world, no outside food trying to sabotage our hard work together, and no life outside of the life that he had created for me.
Being stuck inside this box that Ed created for me for so long is one of the worst parts about having this eating disorder. It is suffocating,isolating and lonely.
I spoke with E yesterday, and she explained to me that learning to step outside of this box and back into the real world, with real people and real food is part of recovery.
Yesterday, I did just that.
I can say, that not only did I step outside Ed’s box yesterday, but I jumped outside of it.
I enjoyed frozen yogurt yesterday with a friend. We actually sat together and ate. I didn’t just get samples and then walk out. I didn’t get the practically zero flavor, low carb, no sugar added flavor. I got what I wanted, and I enjoyed it.
After that, she, one of my best friends since middle school and my twin sister all sat together at a lounge, and we laughed, we shared stories, and we ate dinner together.
The fact that I ate food that I did not see how was made, or that I did not know how many calories it had, was a huge deal. But an even bigger deal was the fact that I was amongst friends. I was actually laughing, smiling, and being amongst other girls my age who love life just as much as I do-something that never would have happened before I started my recovery.
Everyone was so happy to see me eat-and I know it was not about the food, it was about the fact that I was simply taking care of myself. But for me, it was the fact that I was able to enjoy a meal amongst other people-I did not have to sit and eat alone with my eating disorder talking to me the entire time.
After we were done eating, one of my friends looked at me, knowing that conquering that meal was not an easy task for me, and asked me how I was feeling.
All I could do was look back at her and say, “This is what I mean when I write hello life at the end of each blog. This right here, this is it.”
She smiled and replied back, “Yes, this is hello life.”
I truly meant that when I said it. That last night–the laughter, the connection with my friends, sharing a meal together-that freedom-that is hello life.
More than that, I was able to talk about my eating disorder to my friends and my sister last night. Something that was once so forbidden, so taboo and so secretive, is now out in the open. Ed is exposed, and therefore, he cannot be as powerful. Our once secret life made up of rules, restriction and self deprivation is now broken.
And yes, eating the meal I ate last night was indeed scary-not necessarily because of the amount or the calories, but because it was new; and like anything in life, new things are scary, but they are also exciting and exhilarating.
Now that I’ve jumped outside of the rigid eating disorder box that I was living in for so long, I do not want to jump back in-I don’t even want to take a step back in. And yesterday, when I stepped outside that box, I left Ed inside.
I am sure he will try to climb out that box and chase me with all of his lies and try to coax me to come back in, and I know I will have to fight his tempting offers with every ounce of strength that I have.
If I had a glass of campaign right now, I would make two toasts.
One toast to Ed never finding a way outside of his box, and one toast to “hello life.”