I rolled over onto my stomach in my sleep last night, and woke up briefly when I moved my arm. Draped over my side, my arm allowed my hand to brush against my belly. “Fat! I can’t eat anymore!” I remember promising myself I would do better, that I wouldn’t allow this to continue. For so many years, I had dreams (or nightmares?) about being “out of control” and eating, only to have to “make up for it” later. Of my parents yelling at me, and me yelling back, about some altercation surrounding food. (This never happened in real life, but to me this is an obvious sign of me wanting to please my family, knowing how much I was hurting them as well as myself.) How deeply this illness runs in me. How it has power not only over my awake self, but also my dream state. Ed is like Satan. Maybe ed is Satan.
Once I woke up for good, I didn’t have any hesitation about eating my breakfast. After years of starving myself, I relish each meal. I marvel at how stupid it was, to see my husband eating regular meals, but I had to wait. I couldn’t have what he was having. I couldn’t have what they were having! Why? Nope! Don’t even think it. Stop right there! Not because I was afraid of getting fat. No. It was guilt holding me back. Guilt and fear. Fear of my own reaction. Fear of having to live with myself after consuming fuel. Fear of the unknown. Guilt from having dirtied my body with food. Guilt because I surely didn’t deserve to feel full and good. Guilt for no reason really. It feels like guilt, but the logistics aren’t there. That’s because eating disorders aren’t logical. They are like taking a knife to a wound that is already bleeding, and driving the blade of that knife in so deep. The pain you are trying to cover up with a bandage just gets worse. Obviously. Because no one ever healed a wound by wounding themselves further.
I don’t have the constant thoughts about food and my body like I used to. I don’t get anxious because I need to mail a package, and I need to do it now otherwise the world might stop spinning. If I need to do something, I do it and usually everything turns out fine. Even if I don’t do it right away. I do think about food quite a bit, bit not in the negative way I used to. Yes, sometimes I think about food negatively, as in “I want it but I won’t have it”. Those thoughts will probably stick around for a while. The point is, I don’t dwell on them, or act on them like I used to. I wish so much that I could bottle up the formula to recovery, so others could take it and thrive. I know that everyone has a different journey though, and that is a beautiful thing.
The sad thing is, if I were asked how I came to be where I am now, I would answer this way: I had to struggle and fight with myself and ed so much. I had to be ready, and choose this path for myself. No one else could choose it for me. Sometimes I get morose and regretful about not doing this sooner. But then I realize that I had chances. All of those days, nights, weeks and years that I chose not to change…those were all on me. Not fully and totally, I knew what I was doing, but I was addicted. I still am. I know that, just like any other addiction, if I taste that sweet taste of it again, I will slip back. Thankfully, there’s these beautiful and delicious things called Sara Lee Party Cakes that keep me grounded, so if I ever seem to be losing my grip on recovery, shove one in my mouth and it will revive me.