15 September 2010

De-romanticizing anorexia (Ten Days)

"Many miles many roads I have traveled / Fallen down on the way / Many hearts many years have unraveled / Leading up to today." Madonna, "I Deserve It"

I sit here and think that in ten days, you could be home and real life can begin again. I have been half frozen without you. I have been cold and lonely, and I have cried many tears while on my knees begging God to bring you back to me.

But . . . I have survived. I have not sunk into despair nor have I turned to anorexia for solace. I have fought hard and emerged victorious with each bite of food and drink of Ensure Plus.

I have survived, and at times even felt joy and happiness. The wind and the sun have blown through my hair, the fading warmth of fall a promise of a better tomorrow. I am able to dream again, and in those dreams are you and I, one once more, healthy and happy and content, learning and loving and growing in this life.

At first, I railed against this separation. That is lessening as I realized that each one of us face many things throughout the years, and this is what God has chosen me to face at this time. It has hurt and has made me cry and become angry, and perhaps that is what I needed to do.

At first, I was angry with God. I didn't really understand and I was caught in a maelstrom of emotions and pain as I contemplated a future without you.

Then hope was offered. I began to believe we would have a future together. I didn't know when, and that was hard, but with each kiss I felt your love and longing, and remembered your promise.

Now I am beginning to understand why I needed to go through this. I needed to learn I could survive and recover from anorexia, that I have the internal strength and that it won't kill me if I only draw upon that strength and fight back.

I needed to learn that recovery from anorexia nervosa is a lifelong process. I will constantly need to draw upon my strength and resources to fight and overcome this inexplicable and evil disease.

I have survived. No one can ever take that away from me. Anorexia cannot take that away from me. This part of recovery, this victory, is mine.

This doesn't mean I don't need nor want your support. It will be ... My breath catches in my throat and my heart races as I think of it ... for us to be together again, to hear your encouragement as I continue to move forward in this journey.

But in the end, it is my fight and I will need every ounce of internal strength to win. Anorexia is a formidable foe and doesn't give up easily. But I will recover and learn to laugh and dance and love myself again.

For too long, I gave up fighting for myself. I started to believe I really couldn't recover and that was okay. I began to believe lies, lies that told me I was not worthy nor able to recover, lies that said I didn't deserve to eat, lies that enticed me to forever become thinner. Lies that I allowed to define me solely based upon a number on a scale.

I have learned since you have left that numbers mean nothing and that anorexia was really in control. There is nothing beautiful or graceful or delicate about being emaciated and starved. I have looked at the pictures, at my stripped-down arms and stripped-down body and no longer wonder why you were so afraid and frustrated with my belief that was an acceptable way to be and live.

But I wasn't really living.

I did romanticize anorexia, as much as I denied it. I was caught in a web and couldn't find the weapon to cut myself free. And therefore I moved forward, trying to escape and yet feeling so trapped ... I felt as if I were in a jail cell, left forgotten and broken, left to die.

Every morning I prayed to God to either release me or let me die. You see, I couldn't live with anorexia anymore. I wanted out and I believed the lie that only death would free me.

The lion's share of my anger has been directed and aimed at anorexia. It is evil and has destroyed so many lives. It took almost everything from me; body, soul and spirit. It has scarred our lives and me and for that I am sorry.

I struggle not to cry as I write this. It feels like it has been a long journey toward wanting to live and recover from anorexia. To move from one mindset to another in the space of two weeks is both exhilarating and exhausting, and my emotions have veered from despair to hope and everywhere in between.

It has been two weeks since you left, and each night I still turn and reach out for you. You are not there, and yet this morning hope entered my mind and whispered soon, soon . . .

And I smile. 


Bailey said...

this is so beautiful.

Eating Alone said...

I'm glad you are learning to stand again. It is a hard road and you were so far away. I've been concerned for you and want you to know I'm wishing you all the best.

Carrie Arnold said...

Beautifully written, Angela.

I Hate to Weight said...

this IS beautiful. may you keep on this wonderful, healthy path.

you are wonderful.

flaweddesign said...

i have also had a very long road to wanting 'recovery' and that is like...a stepping stone. the journey from here looks endless and just might be, but i want it too.

you're so strong. keep it up.

Angela said...

I'm so glad that you have found hope. This is a beautiful post:)

Marge of Lake LaBerge said...

I'm so sorry about this separation Angela. Though I think you are on the right path in combating Anorexia alone; only you can do this.


I have been watching this clip (from the movie Network from 1976) over and over again this week. Although this primarily has to do with the economy and insubordination, it really speaks to me on all facets: "First you have got to get mad! You have got to say, I'm a human being Goddammit! My life has value!"

I'm really happy to hear you have taken up archery.

Kate said...

this is beautiful. this is the first time i've visited your blog, but you are a lovely writer, and i'll be back. thank you for this reminder that we women are strong. and that the battle is worth it.