It’s 3AM. I’ve hardly slept. I am hungry; painfully hungry. I turn on to my side and feel my ribs. I am relieved to feel them pushing through the skin more than they were some days before.
How wonderful it is to feel my bones. I tell myself this is success. The success I’ve deserved for so long.
But I’d been “successful” for many months now. It had been brewing for years, like dark storm clouds slowly rolling in; blackening the days. This is what I’d always wanted, I told myself. To fade away. To be elegant. Lighter. Take up less space.
At that time, I thought the years of self-hate and school-yard teasing were behind me. My thinness was proof that I had overcome it all and was far stronger than anyone, or even myself, had ever thought. But all this – my shrinking body, dry skin, depression and silence – was proof it had affected me far more than I’d ever know.
It was some days after that sleepless night that it came to a head. I felt like I was going mad. I was sick of lying. My outgoing, food-loving, always-laughing self had been replaced by a husk of someone overwhelmed by anxiety, control, anger and sadness.
The weight of my secrets came too great to bear. I broke down in front of my mother. We already had a broken house. She was carrying so much more than she deserved – and yet – she gave me the strength and hope I had lost. She had always cared and listened, with that night no exception.
The next morning, I had cried myself dry. There were no more tears, only acceptance. There was a fire in me desperate to get better – mend the relationships that had soured, feed myself and free my mind.
It’s been over a year now since that night. It’s been a bumpy road but I am well on the road to recovery, with the help of my wonderful psychologist. While there’s disordered behaviour that rears its head occasionally, it doesn’t control my life.
I’m now in the process of rediscovering my body – all the things I love, and those I don’t. I’ve gained much of the weight that I lost, and while that’s one of the hardest things to deal with, I feel blessed to have had a second chance. As painful as my ED is to remember, I’m glad I’ve been through it. Now I know just how black it is on the other side, and how dangerous, lonely and consuming Anorexia is.
I know people who have tried to get better and haven’t been as lucky – much as I’m sure you do. The last thing I want to do is to shame them or make them feel like a failure. Who am I to judge another’s journey? Each person with an ED is tackling a different set of challenges, circumstances and emotions.
But what I do know is that you have to believe that you can get better. Without hope, we as a human race have nothing. You have to believe you’re worthy of a happy and healthy life. You are worthy of love. Friendships. And food. There is hope for you, and there always will be.