inspired by another blogger.
To “the me” 2 years ago
Hey…you….sitting there with your legs and arms crossed. Let’s chat.
You don’t know it yet, but the shit storm is about to hit.
You’re about to feel broken. Repeatedly.
But I promise you, it will be okay.
Sure, you’re pissed that you’re sitting here in this facility unsure of what’s going on. You look around at all the other girls in the room. You’re not supposed to be here, right? You’re not as sick as them, right? You are too fat to be here. You just have an “eating thing,” right?
I hate to be blunt, but it is an attribute that you will learn about yourself. It will become helpful in the future, but right now you’re really pissed that I’m saying this. Get over it. You need this.
Don’t think you belong here?….
You feel strong? What about you right now is strong? Is it sitting in front of 7 pretzels crying because you’re unsure how you will manage to get them down? Is that strong? Maybe your definition of strong is slightly different than mine.
Oh, so you feel in control. Really? Are you? You’re in control when you are avoiding food and over exercising….. oh, I see…. So I guess “you’re in control” when your body is so hungry you can’t stop picking up the food that is in front of you. It must be control when you’re screaming in your head to throw it down, but your body is physically disobeying you. Yeah, I guess you’re right….. you’re in control.
Take a moment to think about all the eating disorder has taken from you. Your humor, spontaneity, pleasure, running, relationships, health….. that’s just the start of the list…. You can finish it.
So, you’ve been in therapy and you’re sure this won’t work. You’ll get some anxiety meds with that therapy. It’ll help. It will help you crawl out of the big cloud of overwhelmedness you will feel. But you won’t need them forever.
So, your therapist told you that this is the easy part. She’s right. Sitting here and eating these meals are NOTHING compared to those damn feelings you have to feel. When she said the hard work starts when you leave this place, she was right. It will get hard.
It’ll be okay. I promise.
You will meet a treatment team who is proud of the work you do. You will hate them on a regular basis and they know that. They are okay with you hating them, because hating them means you’re doing the hard work. You will scream and cry and they will just sit with you. You will try to break up with the team, but always get back together. You know you need them. The only way out of this is with them. That will piss you off, but it’s okay. Everyone needs help with something.
Physically, this process sucks ass! Buckle up and get ready for one awful fucking ride. Things will happen to your body, and you will hate it. You will cry and you’ll be sure the weight gain will never stop. It will. One thing you need to learn is that you’ve been doing this for a long time. To be blunt, you have fucked up your body. It doesn’t trust you so it is going hay-wire.
Body image will be your downfall. You just take it a day at a time. It’s just easier that way.
You will meet all sorts of people because of this problem, and their true selves will be revealed. You’ll learn that some people just suck. Some people mean well but should keep their mouths shut. Some people are kind but sometimes clueless to what you’re going through. But you’ll learn that most people, at heart, are good. This process will help restore your faith in mankind again, and again, and again, just in how they respond to you.
You will spend the next several months wondering how you got here. I know what you’re thinking. How did I get here? How did this happen? You kind of get used to asking that question over and over again, but at the same time, you will never get used to it. It will be this feeling of constant surprise when you sit back and think about it.
Your therapist. She’s going to make you work. You’re going to get sick of the process on many occasions and want to quit. It’s okay to feel tired. She won’t let you quit. She will understand where you’re at, and then call you out on what you’re doing.
In the next few years you will learn to be a fighter. You will find strength you never realized you had and overcome many fears. You do this because not doing this is not an option. Not doing this means you stay sick and you could possibly die. You know this is true. You’ve seen it. Look at your medical appointments, do you really think you can maintain this?
There are going to be many days when you think you can’t go on. Days when you are sure you can’t do more. But you’ll do it anyway. You have no other choice. You’ll sit and cry for a while. Once you’re done, you’ll realize that you have to go on.
You will learn to hate this disorder. You will want it away so badly that you don’t know what to do. You will wish it away and pray it away but you will come to realize, the only thing that will make it go away is the terrible work you are going though. Accepting this will make it easier.
Not everyone is as strong as you. You’ll meet others who say they want to be healthy, but their actions speak louder than their words. Stay away from them. If you connect, you will not make it.
Relapse. It’s real. You will feel that overwhelmedness and you’ll want a break from the hard work. ED seems great to go back to. That calming feeling that comes immediately when you entertain the thoughts. They’re scary with how fast they come. You have to fight them.
I can tell you right now, this process is going to be painful. There is no getting around that. I promise, promise that it will be okay. You will survive it. It won’t feel that way in the midst of it. After many tears sitting in a room talking, it will start to feel okay. This process will quickly go from something scary to something to be oddly grateful for. You will realize you have hope. You’ll get really good at saying, “this too shall pass” because it will. As much as you think it won’t, it really will.
This will teach you more about yourself than you could ever imagine. I promise that. In fact, there are so many people walking around who have no idea about who they are, or what makes them happy. This will eliminate that problem for you. At the end, you’ll reach true happiness.
This place/process . It sucks, and it gets tiring. You will get frequent flyer miles at the doctor’s office, therapist and dietitian’s office. You will collect cards of all sorts of medical professionals. You will learn which blood lab does the best and fastest blood draws. You will also know that as much as you’re dealing with, you’re grateful that is all you are dealing with. Because there could be more, it could be worse. Your organs could have shut down on you.
You’re going to do a lot of hard things. You’re going to experience a lot of hard things. They will make you step out of your comfort zone all the time. It’ll be okay. You will get angry with what they ask you to do. It’s okay to get angry. You have the hardest job in this partnership with the treatment team. They don’t understand what you’re going through, but that’s why they can help. They can pull you back to reality.
You will find a way to ground yourself. In this, you will be forced to find your faith again. You’ll find it and when you do. When you stop being so angry at God. It will get easier. In fact you will have more and more moments of hope that you will beat this.
You will find out that there are people just like you. You’re not alone. So you’ll start your own damn support group. It’ll be called “Who wants to go for coffee?” It will be great.
You will learn to view yourself in a stronger light. You will stop and think about how hard this is, in the middle of the day. You will pull yourself together and not cry at work, but later on, there will be some tears.
You will find humor and make some hilarious puns about the eating disorder. Keep doing that. It makes this process easier.
You will feel so very alone with this process. Sometimes, at home, at night, other times, in the middle of a crowd. You will feel a cold wave of loneliness that you’re certain no one else will ever really understand. This will be the hardest thing you are going to do. You will feel like nobody is in your corner, but do you remember that treatment team? They are in your corner. You might not realize it in that anxious moment, but they are there. They are always cheering you on too.
You will feel jealousy, of other people who you think could be farther than you. You will think you’ll never get there. But you will. In fact, you’ll fancy the idea of writing a book someday.
You will write hate mail to your treatment team. You will feel terrible for doing it, but they get it. They can handle it. Keep the hate mail going.
You think the only way to deal with this is to stop yourself from crying. And you do. You will suck it up and deal with it as best you can. And you will do so with a smile on your face. Because crying is never an option… right? You’ll learn that isn’t true.
You will be so proud of the little things you do. You will be proud of all the meals you have eaten in a row and you will feel elated. You will want to tell the world, but they don’t understand. Your treatment team will be just as proud. Share it all with them because it is a big deal.
You will find strength in holding yourself accountable. In those moments when you are scared and you feel yourself slipping, you will find strength to send a text or email stating that you will eat your lunch. This will empower you. You will have a hard time giving this up, but you will. Those texts and emails will take the choice of the eating disorder away. As long as you stay true to yourself, it will work.
You’re going to knit. Knit a lot of shit. In fact, you’re going to be one bad ass knitter – take pride in that.
There will be these “ah ha” moments that your therapist tells you about. Moments when you actually think you like your body. They will come. Far and few between. But they will come. They come when you least expect them – trying on jeans in Old Navy, or watching a friend run a race. Grab them. They will make you want to cry because you feel a moment of peace. It’s okay to cry. It hurts not having that. But it will come.
You will write and blog about this topic. And in doing so, find a whole slew of people out there who say “I live in this world too” and “Thank you for writing exactly how I feel!” Somehow, you will become a voice for others and you’ll realize that you’re completely inadequate when it comes to saying “thank you” and still are lousy at accepting compliments. Work on that, okay?
You will discover that while you are still slightly ashamed of this eating disorder, you find yourself becoming an advocate for freedom, women’s rights and actively speaking out against the media’s pressure and those who suffer from dieting. You will wonder more than once how you ended up on top of a soapbox. Don’t worry, you’ll be okay up there.
You will learn that the guy you chose to marry…. He’s a great choice! That man will be the one helping you pick up the pieces when you shatter. He won’t judge you and only wants to help. Accept it.
It’s going to be the proverbial emotional roller coaster, these next few years. You’ll have moments where you’re feeling so high, only to crash back down into the reality of what this is. In the waves of fear, the unknown, anxiety, being overwhelmed and feeling completely shattered. Know this –
You will grow.
You will amaze yourself.
You will let go of fears.
You will cope.
You will embrace the now.
And you will never be more proud of yourself than when you conquer something in this process.
Hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. When this is all said and done, you will be fucking awesome.