Friday, 4 September 2015

This doesn't mean I'm back

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve written anything like this. Looking back on these posts, I feel as if I am approaching blogging as a completely different person. I guess in a way I am. I have reached what I believe is recovery. I live a full life. I’m back in school doing something I am so goddamn passionate about I can’t seem to contain myself. I’ve moved to a new city. I have new friends, I continue to see old friends, I have future plans, and I know what I want to do with my life. I cook (a lot), write music, play my guitar, dance, exercise and eat. God, do I eat. I’ve been able to weigh myself without giving a shit about whatever number is reflected back at me. I am spontaneous, outgoing, and I’ve got tits again. I have a great relationship with fitness. I take time for me, and I’m selfish for all the right reasons. I love and am loved, and I truly believe I have made it past one of the worst possible things a human being can go through.

I am in school pursuing a career in holistic nutrition. Sometimes I find class difficult emotionally. As I learn exactly what happens to the body when it is not properly nourished I can’t help but want to tuck myself in bed, hold myself and apologize to my poor body for everything I put it through. When I am through with this program I am going to help others struggling with this demon. I’m going to finally write my story. I’m going to heal, and I’m going to spread a message of self love.

Looking at me, I doubt you could even tell I had been through an eating disorder. I know, I know, before you go off telling me you can’t diagnose somebody based on their looks think about it this way: when you see someone who’s genuinely happy, enjoying life, stuffing their face with vegan peanut butter cups and soy based gelato, laughing, singing, making jokes, looks genuinely healthy, has glowing skin, soft curves and full hair…  You wouldn’t necessarily think they spent years of their life poking and prodding, weighing, purging, hating. So based on that… looking at me, I doubt you could even tell I had been through an eating disorder. It’s a blessing and a curse. This is what I want to address so badly.

Recovery is awesome.

It fucking rocks my socks off.

It’s a hard road, but in the end it’s worth it.

There are hundreds of recovery stories out there. Usually it’s young women talking about how they starved, binged, purged, over exercised, contemplated suicide, abused drugs and alcohol and then eventually reached out and pulled themselves out of the black fucking hole that is ED when they were within inches of death. You see their photos, their progress. Skinny things with fuzzy hair growing all over their frail bodies. Brittle, cracking locks on top of their heads. Tired, sunken eyes. They look as if all of their limbs are made of concrete, awkward and heavy to carry around. Many people (myself included) cut all their hair off. They look like little boys. And then magically, one day, everything fell into place. They fought, tooth and nail, to make it out, to reclaim their lives. They tell their story. You feel their pain and think “holy shit, there’s no way anyone would choose this. Look how brave (s)he is”. You see their pictures, their recovery photos. Smiles. Bright eyes. Soft hair. You are left with hope that yes, you can beat this too.

And it ends.

I don’t see much of the aftermath of having reached recovery and living a recovered life. I like to call It “the fallout”. You look healthy, sure. That doesn’t mean the mind has caught up. That doesn’t mean that there are years and years of hard work still to come. All of the shit that ED left behind for you to heal.

Recovery isn’t always cupcakes and rainbows. It can really. Fucking. Suck.

There are days I wake up and I go straight to the bathroom mirror. I have curves now. I jiggle in all the right places. By the standards of many I am “thin, fit and attractive”. More often than not I see a hideous creature. I have no idea what I have become, how this happened. I grab my stomach fat, my womanly curves. I squeeze them and I hate them. I curse the “bra bulge” I have developed. Sometimes I don’t know who is looking back at me in the mirror.

Sure. We all have our days, right? That’s fine. I get over that shit pretty easily. But there are some things that you can’t ignore. It isn’t all mind games.

I am dealing with a lot of physical fall out. My periods have disappeared again, for one. It’s been the better part of a year. You might say “lucky bitch, you don’t have to deal with that every month!”. Let me tell you, it’s one thing to have a menstrual cycle and bitch about it, it’s another not to have one at all and not know why. You feel broken. Your period isn’t there because there’s something wrong with you inside. You feel like less of a woman, and it isn’t pleasant.

For the past ten months I have been dealing with a chronic daily migraine. It has been undiagnoseable. It used to send me to hospital several times a week. I’ve been on so many drugs I lost count. So many I gave up and stopped them all. Things have improved ten fold, but it’s still there, and it still gets bad. What is our best diagnosis? Which makes the most sense? A taxed immune, endocrine, and detoxification system so riddled by malnutrition and starvation that it has hoarded all of the toxins in my organs. Now that I’m a healthy weight, my body can finally detoxify. Migraine is one of the biggest detoxification symptoms. Yeah, it’ll go away… someday. But that isn’t the point. The point is that I feel like I fucked myself into this situation. I blame myself and feel like it’s my fault. The guilt comes back, and guess what? You can’t go numb and block everything out the way you used to. You can’t starve. You know it isn’t worth it. How do you deal? I’ve yet to figure this out.

The last straw happened on Wednesday. I visited the dentist. I had a tooth giving me some trouble, so I went in for a check up. I walked out of that office with the information that years of malnutrition has caused my teeth to begin to decay from the inside out. Thousands of dollars of work to be done (and to make things worse, I’m border line phobic of dentists). The work started today on the bottom right part of my mouth. In the end, it isn’t the fear, it isn’t the pain, it isn’t the money.

It’s ED.

My teeth. My teeth are his. My organ systems… they’re his. My reproductive organs, they’re his too.

I am a recovered individual. I live a life that is full, but today… this week… I can’t help but feel that my body belongs to ED. I put him behind me. We had a break up so epic Taylor Swift wrote a song about it… But here he is. ED is popping up in my life in all of these physical ways as if to say “don’t forget me. Don’t forget what you did. I am still here”.

So… yeah, recovery is worth it, but it doesn’t end when you gain your weight and can eat a cookie without crying yourself to sleep. You have to fucking work for this new life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I am here. I am HAPPY… but I am tired. I hate that I can’t put it behind me for good, and I hate that I am fighting a brand new battle that has nothing to do with eating. I’m ready for it, I don’t have much of a choice, but I’m really ready for it to be over.

Recovery is a life long choice. It’s ten seconds of insanity that leads to a lifetime of beauty. It truly is a gift. You experience in a few years what many don’t even experience in a lifetime. You live, you learn. So yeah, keep fighting. Keep fighting and don’t you fucking stop. Just know that it isn’t over when you can fit into “normal people clothes”. It isn’t over when you can eat whatever you want and not exercise yourself to death because of it. It isn’t over when you stop counting calories or giving a shit about who is around when you treat yourself to that cappuccino and piece of cake on a Thursday afternoon. You have to be ready for the fallout.

I am a fighter. I survived. And I’m ready to keep surviving. I just needed a space. I needed to write. I needed to feel… because feeling is something you can’t really avoid. I made it, and I plan on continuing to do so. SO fuck you ED. Yeah, you’re still messing things up… but I don’t belong to you. I haven’t belonged to you in a very VERY long time.


  1. You are definitely not alone hun! It's that exact place that pushes me into regression, despite experiencing the benefits of living a much fuller life and handling it. I'm still not satisfied with myself, and feel my recovery won't be complete until I can be content with what I see, no matter what it is. I've been experiencing a big fallout moment lately with my broken elbow and ribs. My biking accident shouldn't have resulted in anything more but a scrape, but my bones are so brittle. I've had so much difficulty healing stress fractures in my feet, can't shake my anemia, and this is turning into an overwhelming nightmare as my dietician and therapist immediately put me on strict plans and are requesting to see me weekly for the next while to make sure the Ed thoughts and behaviours around this don't result in a full blown relapse. This feels like a big blow after graduating to Bi-Weekly to Monthly appointments. Taking mental ownership of your body is the last thing to happen, and can take years. In the meantime we need to love ourselves, and forgive ourselves. Much love to you! You are a rockstar!

  2. You rock Heather! I admire you and keep up the good work :)

  3. Holy guacamole! (pardon the food pun.) That was the BEST post on recovery from ED that I've read. Ever. I ... I can't even. Speechless. Beautiful creature, you just made the LIVES of so many people.