In recovery, I often stumble across days where I find myself thinking “I want to go backwards”. On these days I crave the security that Anorexia provided coupled with the safety of an increasingly low weight.
The further I progress in recovery from my Eating Disorder, the more infrequent these days get; with time I’ve come to train myself to look at the bigger picture of what relapsing into my eating disorder really means. At times where my head yells “You were happier when you were XXkg”, I look beyond the clothing size I once wore and remember the girl Anorexia Nervosa turned me into…
“I hate you!” I screamed. Blood was coursing through my veins at one hundred miles an hour and I truly believed the venomous words that spewed from my mouth.
In all honesty, I was filled with hatred.
I hated my parents for fighting to save my life when all I wanted was to be dead. They were selfish for not understanding that by forcing me to live they were essentially subjecting me to a life where each day was mental torture: what sort of parents did that make them? How dare they!? Every fibre of my being was self destructing; every day I had to listen to a monster in my head that screamed the most unimaginable things at full velocity, every day I had to force myself to put food into my mouth even though it felt like poison. Each second that I had to go on breathing was one second to much and I HATED my parents for prolonging it. They were selfish for wanting to keep their daughter alive.
I hated the professionals for their patronising words; “it’ll get better”, “just take one day at a time”… It felt as though I was screaming and they continued with their therapeutic script regardless.
I remember sitting across from my consultant during my inpatient stay and interrupting his jargon by saying “I don’t want to waste your time but my death is inevitable”.
I’d lost hope and as he sat there talking about “alternative therapeutic approaches”, medication and meal plans, I tried to stop myself from screaming. At that moment I felt complete certainty that no one could prevent my death. I had these diagnosis’; “Anorexia Nervosa”, “Generalised Anxiety Disorder”, “Depression” etc , they could all be “treated”; but the thing was that it wasn’t those labels that made me a hopeless case. It was me- I was broken and unable to be fixed. Therefore, how could I not hate those who insisted that THEY could mend the unmendable and fix the un-fixable.
Most of all, I hated myself.
I hated myself for not stopping myself at nine years old when I first made myself sick. For not getting help when I first fainted from malnutrition at 12. I hated myself for spending years fighting against the system that was trying to help me, because now I’d run out of “fight” and my illness was winning.
I hated myself for the days out I missed with friends because I was petrified that they would want to grab pizza in the city centre because now I was isolated and alone with no one who could possibly understand. I hated myself for the days I spent refusing food with an NG tube crammed up my nose instead of eating popcorn in front of girly movies.
I hated myself for letting this illness take over me because now there was no “me” left and my illness was inevitably going to lead me to my grave.
I don’t think I ever realised how much hate I was filled with, nor did I see how powerful an emotion hatred can become. For a long time I became my illness; I said the most incredibly unthinkable things, as though the world had turned against me and the only way to protect myself was by spewing venom.
I hurt those that loved me the most, rejected those who tried to protect me. I became my illnesses and in a life where I was embodied by illness, I lost everything but my own hatred.
On the days where everything seems too much and I wonder if all this fighting is worth it, I look around to see how much happiness recovery has brought.
I am now ME. I make mistakes but they’re MY mistakes and I can stand by them without constantly feeling like my illnesses invalidate my decisions. I have passions, dreams, plans and ambitions; all of which take work and perseverance but I thank God every day that I no longer aspire only to equate to a certain weight, percentile or BMI. But most of all, I am no longer the girl who hates.
I look back at the time of my life where I was governed by an internal voice and I look at the person this voice made me become; when I think of that person, I am reminded of why recovery is worth it.
So, thank you to my parents for never losing sight of the “real” me, despite the fact that your daughter seemed to be consumed entirely by an evil internal monologue. My illnesses hated your fight to keep me alive, but now that I can think for myself again I couldn’t be more thankful for you fighting for me when I was fighting against myself. I love you.
Thank you to the professionals who spent their days searching for the right treatment option despite my certainty that I was incurable. These treatments are a huge part of my day to day life now; I’ve learnt how to fight my illness and fight for myself- so thank you! Thank you to the nurses who talked to me about the future even when the concept felt out of my grasp- you held my hope for me when I wasn’t strong enough to hold it myself and for that I am forever thankful.
Most of all I am thankful to have the opportunity to dictate my own future. Anorexia may have once manipulated the person I became, but it has no longer got the authority to dictate the person I grow to be.