Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Help Me Remember

This past week has been insanely busy for me. Between starting a new job, interviewing and receiving another and packing up and moving, I have been really busy. Most days have started at 7 and ended after midnight. Any "free" time has been spent either sleeping or showering. Last night John and I decided to take the night off. There is still some moving left to do and plenty of unpacking but after working all day and moving all weekend we needed a break. As we laid in our new living room, surrounded by our family ( 2 dogs and a cat), while watching the Olympics, I couldn't help but stop for a moment to take it all in. For a few seconds I was taken back. As a smile shot across my face I couldn't help but think "Is this really my life?".

Shortly after, I saw a comment on facebook talking about how quickly July had flown by. I then turned to John and said "Is it really already August? Where did this summer go?". He replied, "ED" and I was instantly overcome with sadness about the truth in this statement.(even while typing this sentence I felt a tightness in my chest) Although I have come a very long way in the past few weeks and am definitely moving forward, the last 3 months have been marked by my struggle with anorexia. There have been happy moments as well as moments of clarity and I have had many big realizations that have helped my recovery progress but the impact the eating disorder has had on me, my life and those who care about me is phenomenal. It not only has stolen my health, but my time and a lot of other aspects of my life. To be quite honest, the past few months are a bit of a blur and it pains me to realize this.

Having struggled on and off with an eating disorder for 10 years, I am no stranger to the lapses in memory and time and it's very upsetting to think about. Recently I read the post (Forgetting to Remember: The Key Obstacle to Eating Disorder Recovery ) by the lovely Lori Lieberman and it brought me to tears. When trapped in the grips of the eating disorder, it's easy to look past the negative, to forget. We choose to remember how it is serving us at the current moment and not it's downfall or consequences. As she stated so eloquently "You get so used to living in a substandard way, not functioning at full capacity, that you forget what life could be like-the potential you truly have to make a difference, to even one person you care about." Although I could easily relate to almost every line of the post, this one really hit home hard. When consumed by anorexia most of my thoughts and time, at least internally, are spent thinking about food, weight, calories, numbers, rules and the scale. Although I may be participating in outside activities, my mind and heart isn't there. Instead of remembering the things I value like relationships and the things that I am passionate about like children, helping others and making a difference, I am consumed by rules and self-hatred. I lose my personality and myself in the process. The obsessive thoughts amp up and I start to isolate or drive other people away. Let's face it, no one but the eating disorder wins.

I will never be able to get back the time or memories that the eating disorder has robbed me of. Although I have repaired some of the damage that has been done, not everything is fixable. I can't erase the destruction that the eating disorder (and myself) have caused. Some people are not willing to forgive me and rightfully so. I can't change the past. But I can focus on the present and try to keep history from repeating itself.

Every day is a struggle. Anyone whose life has been affected by an eating disorder in any way, knows how grueling the recovery process is. No matter how painful the cost, it's not simply something that you can just snap out of. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears and is full of a lot of ups and downs. It requires patience, vulnerability and a lot of uncomfortable moments. It doesn't happen quickly and there isn't anything simple about it.

As I lay on the floor last night surrounded by love, I was reminded of the reasons why I continue to fight. Yes, this is really my life and I am truly blessed. Remembrance really is a key aspect in life and recovery. 

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