Today I put away the scale, that hated instrument that
I have been a slave to for at least a decade.
I will no longer be defined by a number (one of my therapists is going to keep track of my weight to make sure I am going in the right direction and not losing weight or leveling off until I reach my healthy goal weight as set by my doctor, not me.)
I am finding it difficult to put down in words what I am feeling right now. There is a strong sense of loneliness since my husband and I separated. I struggle with ongoing anxiety about the future. I am in the beginning stages of refeeding my body, and it is a time of feeling bloated and constantly full. I am writing and thinking and praying, and constantly learning ways to recover. I have an odd sense that this is my last time at recovery, that I must recover this time.
I am different this time. I refuse to even consider a relapse in my future. As far as I am concerned, I will fully recover from anorexia and then put all the pain and hurt caused by it behind me.
My moods have been swinging from anxiety and fear about the future to raging anger at anorexia for every coming into my life. I am working my way through "Life Without Ed," a recovery book by Jenni Schaefer that has many exercises in it to help people overcome their eating disorders. I find it very helpful to read and work with a book that focuses on recovery. However, I am stubborn about one exercise that has you in one chair and your eating disorder seating in another chair, then you talk back and forth as both yourself and as your eating disorder.
I look at the chair each night, give it the finger, and tell my eating disorder it has had a voice for four years and now it is time to listen to me. I then proceed to tell my eating disorder — no more name for you, as I have finally decided that gives you too much power — how much I hate it for entering my life and almost totally destroying it.
Right now, I am so very angry at anorexia it is almost frightening. Anorexia would already be dead if it was a person. Too bad I can't just put a knife through the evil heart of anorexia.
I wish I didn't have to do this alone. I have learned that having David here made this house a home, and while it still is my home . . . the emptiness sometimes becomes so hard to bear I break down crying.
My husband and I talk frequently. At first our conversations were pretty depressing, and he finally told me that. I was feeling the same way — crying during each phone call — and was grateful for his honesty. It is just I am not sure where our relationship stands right now, it all feels very strange and new and difficult to negotiate.
This is I what I know: we both still love each other very much. He has said he does not want to sit here and watch me slowly kill myself through starvation. I know that I hurt him by almost immediately restricting my eating when he returned home. I have assured him that it is not his fault. Instead, anxiety and depression came roaring back and I struggled to talk about the things that were bothering me.
I was feeling isolated and lonely because I was in the process of joining the Catholic Church and I didn't realize how much I would miss being with my husband at worship each Sunday. But I felt trapped; trapped by the work done to get David's first marriage annulled. I felt trapped by what I thought I wanted, not realizing how lonely it would make me feel. I felt trapped and like I had to continue the process even though my heart ached to be at church with my husband.
I finally told them last week I can't go through with it. I will remain at our church, which is the Episcopal Church and the one thing that was driving me toward the Catholic Church — the belief in the true presence of Christ Jesus in the body and blood of the Eucharist — is shared by both churches. David sounded...well, actually happy that I would be staying there. He said he felt that by joining the Catholic Church, I was isolating myself further from him.
Anyway, that is the past. I must learn to embrace the now. I wish I could be certain . . . well, certain of many things. But I have learned that I can't change the past nor control the future. I also have learned I can only control my own actions. And finally, I have learned that God is in all this and any illusion of control is just that — an illusion.
I must trust in God. I must go to Him whenever I am frightened and lonely, and I must thank him for His grace and mercy. Most of all, I must build the foundation of my recovery on Christ Jesus. Before, the seeds of my recovery were strewn on rocky soil and thus did not take deep root. I must allow the seeds of recovery to land within the soil of my heart, creating strong roots that stay with me the rest of my life. This will create the healthy me, and I will become the person I was and will be able to live a full and joyful life. I will be free!
Beyond that, I pray for this painful period to past; painful for many reasons. I pray that springtime comes to my soul and I become less angry and anxious, and more the healthy me I was before anorexia took over.
I pray, and each day do something toward recovery. I continue to work through "Life Without Ed." I write and ask myself what does loving myself really mean? I am trying to discover who is this person underneath the layers of anorexia? I sure I will find lots of surprises. It does feel strange to be 45 and doing this work, but if not now, when?
I pray, and I repeat to myself often: Believe and it will come true.