An eating disorder stole a lot from me. It didn’t just take fat. I mean, for a long time that was all I could see it taking. And for a long time that didn’t bother me because hadn’t I been trying to lose that weight for awhile? Those extra pesky few kilos?
The first thing I noticed was my hair. But I had extensions in at the time and the bonds held the lost hair in so I didn’t notice until I took them out. I have a photo of the hair that I lost that day and it was terrifying. I literally had a panic attack on the floor of the shower. That was the first outside sign.
My breasts lost their fullness. My hips protruded. I found myself staring at my ribcage below my collarbone because I had never seen it before. I fingered the bones there and wondered at them. The knobs on my spine became prominent and my legs – they held out to the last but yes, eventually they gave themselves over…the gap between my thighs widening.
Next was my skin. All the toxins that were locked in fat cells ran free throughout my body as it survived on itself. I broke out and broke out. And on top of that because the fat in my face was reduced I started to notice fine lines I never had before.
After that was my teeth which meant I knew it was also effecting my bones. I’m scared to get a bone density scan. I’m scared they will tell me it moved beyond what can be fixed. My toddler leant on me and snapped a rib. She wasn’t even being rough, just climbing on to my lap and I heard it snap and my daughter’s friend beside me heard it and stared at me. So I’m scared they will say that the damage to my bones is irreparable.
I lost my mind. Hours of my life spent in crushing anxiety.
It stripped away so much more than fat from me.
But after hours of therapy and hundreds of dollars I am getting better. I’ve put on half of what I need to. I cannot see those ribs below my collarbone anymore, hidden away under a fine cushion of newly laid fat. Slowly I get better, day after day. Clawing my way back. Fine hairs regrow all over my head like Spring returning after winter. I’m amazed at my body and the way it recovers. I’m ashamed by how poorly I treated it. That’s probably my most crushing symptom these days. The guilt of what I did to myself. The other day I went to the dentist for the first check up i had had in two years and confessed to the eating disorder like she was a priest. Then I lay back and let tears leak from my eyes while she completed her exam because I was so guilty over what I had done. So I think that’s part of my next step in recovery. Forgiving myself. Knowing that this was not my fault and I am doing the best I can.
The other day on Facebook I said that I have a bangle with “She believed she could so she did” on it. But that a more accurate one for me was, “She wasn’t quite sure if she could but she gave it a crack and got half done so good for her.” And I think there is bravery in that too. Because I DON’T always believe I can. But I ALWAYS try. I don’t always win. But I always show up. And that is worth something too.