Hoping to find something useful for this collection, I looked through old journal entries and Stepwork from Overeaters Anonymous. The result was horrifying and eye-opening. I apparently have been kidding myself about how long I struggled for this last time. My entries were from late 2011 and 2012, and they were full of disgust and self-loathing. I wrote about my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood riddled with eating disorder behaviors. If you ask me, I can tell you I have had my ED since childhood, but reading my own words regarding it brought the pain back to life.
I wrote that I hated myself. That I was using diet pills during a period I conveniently forgot I had used them. That I would, at times, rather die than continue to live the way I was living. I wrote that I was angry and irritable with the most precious person in my life, for no fault of her own, because I was in active behaviors. I wrote things that brought tears to my eyes today, when I’m feeling confident in my recovery. I can’t imagine how I felt when I wrote these things years ago.
Except I can imagine it. Because I lived it. Over and over, I put myself through the same cycle. Binge, guilt; restrict, anxiety; pills, numb out. Hurt those around me. On and on, as long as I can remember.
Today, I am not perfect. I struggled with thoughts of restricting because I binged last night. But today, I am working on myself. I’m not taking pills and numbing out. I’m not hurting those around me. I am building myself up at least as often as I tear myself down. I feel hopeful, for the first time in years.
My eating disorder no longer has to define me. It no longer has to be part of a tape on repeat. I am learning to live a new life, an imperfect one, one day at a time.
Debbie is an addiction counselor and yoga teacher in Indiana. She is an avid reader of any genre, and has published fantasy short stories; she is still working on the elusive novel. Recently, Debbie has ventured into non-fiction writing, in hopes that discussing her life with an eating disorder will help someone in need. Debbie’s loves include her niece Lillie and her girl-cat, Emilio Estevez. She is passionate about mental health awareness, especially related to addiction and eating disorders.