Hello amazing and beautiful lifers,
I’v e been postponing writing this post for quite a few weeks now. And as I sat down to write this post right now, my heart started beating fast and my hands got shaky.
I haven’t been ready to publiclly update you on my life and on my recovery, but I guess the time has come.
This past month in Washington has been the hardest in terms of my recovery–and not for the reasons that you or I would think.
I for sure thought that when I moved out here, it would be a challenge to stay on my meal plan and eat.
Even my family was worried about it-E was worried about it. We all were concerned that moving to a new place alone would give me a clear cut path to find comfort in the restricting arms of Ed.
Well, I have found comfort in Ed, while figuring out how to adjust to my new life, new friends and new job, but not in restricting. In quite the opposite.
I have found comfort in emotional eating, and 5 nights out of the week, emotional over eating to the point that I am not mindful and not even really tasting anything.
That is still Ed, but he’s taken on a different form.
I haven’t wanted to write this because I have felt so guilty, and so bad, and so ashamed.
The girl who used to starve herself for years is now emotionally over eating? The girl that used to work out every day is now barely working out ? The girl who used to fit in the tiny sizes can’t even fit into two sizes bigger than what she was 2 months ago?
I feel like a failure to Ed and I feel like a failure to myself.
How could I sit here and write on a recovery blog from anorexia that I am now fighting a fight of not learning how to eat and nourish myself, but instead, learning how to be mindful and not overstuff myself?
I mean, I read that line and I still don’t get it. It feels like something is wrong with me.
So, my secret is out now. And now you all know.
I wish I would have wrote this earlier, because I know the support would have helped.
But being so brutally honest with you all, would mean being brutally honest with myself, and it’s taken me 6 weeks to be able to face the truth.
It’s no secret that Ed comes in many forms-sometimes he’s restricting, sometimes he’s overeating, sometimes he’s alcohol, sometimes he’s drugs, sometimes he’s sports-Ed can wear many hats for many different people facing different struggles.
I thought that being so busy with my new job and work would make it easy for me to not focus on my body or food, but its the opposite.
Being so busy and stressed has led me to focus on food because its become comforting. When I am home alone at night and watching TV it just sounds good.
Not everyday is bad. A lot of days are good.
Some days I am so happy with the work I am doing for my job as a reporter I don’t care about the weight I gained.
Some days, like on the day a man I wrote a story about wrote me a 3 page hand written letter saying how that story brought him healing and filled a hole in his heart, the food I ate was meaningless.
And on the days that my friends are over eating and drinking with me and when my mom and sister were here sharing this 9 pound cinnamon roll with me, I think to myself, “who really cares?!”.
But, on the other days, I do care. I care a lot.
Every day when I get dressed, I hold my breathe to see how my clothes will fit.
I wait to see how much tighter they are. Sometimes, the jeans don’t even button anymore–and those are my new “recovery” jeans.
Today, my old ring didn’t even fit my finger anymore. It was devestating.
I try to tell myself that this is OK and that I am just figuring my life out and that soon it will all even itself out, and I still think whole heartedly that is true, but I am kind of losing my patience on when that will happen.
I’ve been so exhausted trying to fight this chaos inside me with this emotional eating yet trying to find the self love in me that is trying to make myself not feel bad about it-the battle between the two has just tired me out.
There was a time in my recovery where things were balanced. Life was balanced. Food was balanced. Work was balanced.
And then I graduated and got my dream job in Washington and the balance beam just toppled over , and rightfully so.
How could there be “perfect” balance between a life changing move, career choice, and experience?
At the end of the day, I am done fighting my new self. I am done fighting this bigger version of myself.
Yet I am also done accepting that emotionally over eating all the time is OK, because it’s not-not because it leads to weight gain , because that’s not what bothers me-but becasue it doesn’t show self care and respect for my body, and that bothers me a lot.
I deserve to eat what I crave, nourish myself, eat the cinnamon rolls and have the friends over, but not make myself feel so physically uncomfortable.
The new bigger sized jeans I ordered online barely even fit. They were a whole size bigger! I even ordered them online so I didn’t have to go into a clothing shop and try on all the smaller sizes, and yet my plan backfired.
I always bring yummy snacks for my friends when they come over and yet I am the one who eats the majority of it-again, backfired.
I have been feeling defeated.
But, there is something that I did that I need to share with you guys.
Two weeks ago, I had to go to the doctor here one day, and the doctor had told me that I could not leave without standing on a scale since it was my first visit with her, she needed to document it.
I looked at her and I so didn’t want to say “I am in recovery for an eating disorder,” because no matter how many months or years into recovery you are, that line never gets easier to say.
But I had to say it.
“I’m in recovery for an eating disorder and I cannot stand on that scale and I can’t see that number. I worked too hard to get here,” I told her.
And for some reason, totally unexpectedly, I started crying.
I was terrified that someone would force me to give up everything I worked for.
And that day was not a good body day for me either.
My jeans were so tight, my tummy was hanging over it and I was not in a good space. I could have gave it all up.
But somehow, even in the darkest of my days, that fighter in me somehow appears.
The doctor said I had no choice. I felt so powerless. Like she didn’t even hear my concern or feel my pain in my tears. But , she did help me.
She held my hand as she helped me stand on the scale, since my eyes were closed, I could not see it.
Then she directed me when to step down and when the number had went away so I could not see it.
She even waited until I left the room to put the number in the computer.
That number is in my past visit information and if I wanted to, I could somehow find it. But I never will.
That night of the doctor visit, I ended up eating more than I can even imagine. It took me a while to figure out why.
But now I get it.
I felt powerless and without a voice-the same things that used to lead me to restrict–had led me to eat instead. And eat. And eat.
But I would rather eat and eat any day than have stood on that scale and looked at that number and give everything up.
I actually would rather sit here and write a post about emotional overeating, than ever write another post about starving my body.
But, the guilt that comes with the overeating is the same guilt that comes with restriction. The disease and the addiction is the same. The struggle is the same.
And the way to overcome this is the same: and that’s being true to myself.
My entire recovery has stemmed from finding my own truths and re-connecting with who I am without being a number on a scale.
I have to learn how to do that here in Washington.
I will have to find out who I am without a number, who I am without being able to say I am still X size or I still eat this X amount of calories, and who I am without my comfort food to make me feel better.
For now, I am the reporter that filled that man’s hole in his heart.
For now, I am the reporter bringing light to injustice here and give those who’ve been silenced a voice.
For now, I am a finalist of an award that could possibly win $10,000 to turn this blog into a non-profit organization to help others. (I will find out later in May and will of course let everyone know).
For now, I am just like you or anyone else in this world who is trying to find their true selves filled in a world of a hundred different Ed’s trying to distract them.
If I thought this journey of finding out who I was without food, calories or a scale was over after one year, I was so mistaken.
And I won’t lie, because a big part of me thought this battle was won for good.
It’s not. And that’s ok with me.
While the Ed in me tells me, even after writing this post, how ashamed I should feel for a recovering anorexic to write about over eating, I will publish this post anyway because it speaks truth.
It speaks my truth and while it’s not easy to face this truth, and realize that I am still fighting this fight, the secret burden that I was holding in for these 6 weeks is finally out, and there is healing and power to move forward in that.
My secret is out. I overeat now. There. Out and in the open.
And now with that burden no longer being mine, I can move forward.
May we continue to heal, fight, and grow together, fighters.
And as always, thank you to every single person who is a part of this journey.
Every email, comment, and bracelet order reminds me of the very first lesson I learned from this blog: we are never alone.