March 2, 2016, 7:59 p.m.
You learn to live a life half alive. Merely existing amongst the living. Entrenched within your own mind, spinning a weave of angst and uncertainty. Making more problems for yourself than there really are. Wandering, unaware of the beauty that surrounds you, kind words being spoken to you and how your body is shouting within to notice the damage you are causing. It’s breaking, and you don’t care. This place is dark and blurry and the only thing that comes to mind daily is “When is all this pain going to end?”
As you walk down the street you can feel a complete disassociation from your body, the eating disorder is lying to you every step of the way. Standing in front of the mirror, you see a person you barely recognize standing in front of you, you stare harder with a look of confusion, It’s the dysmorphia that really gets you. There is one thing though, one thing that you can see that everyone else can as well; Your eyes, they are dead inside. The mirror to your soul with the inability to hide or lie, they will incessantly be screaming for help even when your lips are seemingly smiling. You live within this world that no one else is allowed to be a part of, you can love, but you can’t feel love. You don’t understand why you can’t connect on a deeper level, you feel it’s not a choice.
The thing is...
It’s all a choice.
One day you start to put one foot in front of the other. You get out of bed quicker than you used to. You walk to the kitchen and make breakfast without giving yourself time to negotiate it. You may cry, you may throw things and hate yourself in the process, but you keep fighting. And maybe you keep fighting for you, or for someone else, or because your therapist told you that you have to, but you do it. And then slowly your mind starts waking up a little bit. You realize your body starts to feel like your own again but it feels like total garbage, and it’s reacting to the way you have been treating it. It fights back like hell and feels very physical. But you keep fighting.
You start to notice things around you that you never had before. Simple things: buildings, trees, the smiles on a strangers face as you pass them by. You are actually looking at people, desperate for some kind of connection if even from some gentle person you don’t know. You start to realize there is beauty and love and kindness in the most unusual places. You realize it’s your choice to live a life fully alive. You start to see a difference in the way people respond to you, more openly, and actually wanting to be around you. You start to see a difference in the way you respond back to people. Social anxiety, what?
It’s still not easy but you realize that the hardest days in recovery are still better than your best days in relapse. Even when you are bawling your eyes out over the fact that your body is slowly changing, it’s still not enough to make you stray from your recovery plan, because you know, it’s not about the body, it never truly was. There are deeper
issues, things you have suppressed for years that your mind now knows you can handle. So cry, throw temper tantrums, and hug the closest person to you as you deal with them. Your pain wont kill you, it will get better. And then one day you realize it’s been nearly six months since you started recovery and you wonder where the time went. You realize sitting down to meals isn’t so scary, that the eating disorder doesn’t have to be bigger than you. You realize that you have people who love you, who have come into your life at the exact right time because you are able to move forward now. And when you call your girlfriend at some obscene hour bawling over something you can’t control, she will make you laugh till your tears turn to happy ones and kindly remind that you are the happiest you have been in years, and those thing are priceless.
You keep fighting.
Melissa lives in Toronto, Ontario and is a graduate from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. She hopes to use her experience in her recovery to empower and inspire other women to be their best possible selves, while living their best possible truths. She’s a new found lover of life, yoga, and cooking delicious meals at home.
Melissa wrote this piece six months into her recovery about her experiences along the way. She is now happy to say that it's now been a couple of years, and recovery is stronger than ever!
May 25, 2018, 8:52 p.m.
Jan. 5, 2018, 8:13 p.m.
April 11, 2017, 9:35 p.m.