When I woke up today everything seemed different. I was divided between some new hope and fear.
I fear of remaining in this no-living and also fear of the long road ahead me. That is what yesterday’s experience has taught me.
This morning I had accepted finally how sick I am.
I understood that I suffer from anorexia since day 1, 12 years ago. I have since then experienced guilt, anger, rebellion. But I never used those emotions to do something meaningful.
I enjoyed lived with guilt because then I could live as a victim too. I could bring the attention of some, my family, and make sure they were always there to remind me I should care about myself because they cared about me. That I should at least love myself because they did. That I was worth living because not doing so would be too painful for them.
It guess burying anger and rebellion them was just more convenient than acknowledging them as what they are: a can fertile soil for change. But recently I have been having trouble controlling them. They didn’t want to be pushed anymore and I have directed them as the people close to me, eventually hurting them, and to myself, eventually bringing new guilt and fear.
I am in a bottleneck. I have tested this technique of self-avoidance, self-punishment and they are not better than self-starvation. They are just a new expression. They just feed each other, and every second of nurturing one of them just keeps me more stocked into life as an anorexic.
Yesterday evening I kept reviewing the episode and I was terrified of seeing how the eating disordered thoughts prevailed in my thinking patters. I had been trying to convince myself that maybe healing was no so crucial, as more or less I could properly eat, in an quantity and variety that was enough, much more than anyone would expect from an anorexic.
But that I the problem. Those thoughts are only the result of a 12 years long starvation. Certainly a controlled one but control is only just another pattern of my disease.
Where has controlled eating brought me to a body that could be gently described as a sack of bones with a cute childish that I always there to remind me that it is not worth to fight because anyway, I already lost too much and that 12 years will never be back and so I can spend another 12 and 24 and… Maybe I should stop counting. Maybe… would I die, like so many anorexic before? and
My identity has surrendered to the anorexic one. Because even if I was not aware before I started trying to live mindfully, all my behaviours , my lack or overflow of emotions, my illusion of control, all belong to the eating disorder.
So if my mind belongs to my fake friend anorexia, if my body is barely a corpse, if my soul is whatever (I never thought I also had one, I thought that was an privilege for those fool enough to believe in esoteric stuff).
Who I am? What is left of me?
I can If I have to describe who I am I don’t know what I say. I say where I live, my age, where I come from. I don’t like to talk about my personality because I have understood that is not my real one, it is only the resulting one. I don’t want to think of myself as the bad tempered, the impatient, the forgetful, the rancorous, the obsessive flatmate, the boring wife, the ungrateful daughter, the controlling sister…
I also couldn’t show a photo. If a picture is worth more than 1000 words, from my photo they would be able to guess how painful is that moment in the yoga class when we have to lie turned to one side, and how the most pleasurable moment of the class becomes an agony for me, as my bone hits the cold ground, as my skin becomes chicken skin because I stopped moving, maybe they could even hear from the photo my roaring stomach.
It is so painful to live stuck in the past and only imagining a future that I can hardly believe could be mine.
I can still remember that strong laughing and caring child I was.
I can also see who I would be if I woke up without my eating disorder. Obviously I would still love reading the news, and breakfast would still be my favourite meal of the day. So I would have one or more coffee, with colourful fruits, a grilled croissant! then, if this wonderful was tomorrow, I would go to my neuroscience conference, excited about all the fantastic people I could meet, all things I could learn from them. If it was in 5 years, I would head to the school to submit my thesis. I would present 5 years of hard work, but work that I enjoy doing. I would be proud of me and amazed by my achieve. If this day was in 10 years, I would go to check if my baby is still sleeping, I would look into his eyes and have mine full of tears with that treasure. A treasure coming from my body, a symbol of love and fight, the reason to always fight for. If it was in 20 years, I would go to my office. I could be editing an article to publish in my magazine, about some new discovery in neuroscience, bringing maybe the final solution to Alzheimer’s or maybe, a full understanding of the neurobiology of psychiatric diseases. In all cases, my day I would a moment of calm, to read on the sunlight, a moment to call my loved ones and ask for news, a moment to get some sweet, a moment to watch some series, a moment of meditation, a moment for cooking and plenty of other little moments of other pleasures of life.
I am very confused. Today I feel sleepy and weak. My legs are heavy, my stomach keeps bloating, I am terribly hungry, I can’t think clearly… I am a mess.
I can only see the world blurred. I have a different perception of the world. The world is new. The world is terrifying. The world is exciting. The world is full of possibilities. The world is there, right there, for me.
My soul is aching, my body is aching, my mind is aching.
My soul is tired of fighting to be recognised, my body is tired of being neglected, my mind is tired of being divided.
So what is the plan?
The plan is to live now. Every second.
Remembering the tools I have, the goals, the ideas. Thinking on what is the impact of the action I mean to take, noticing how harmful some thoughts can be if I let them spiral, eating and eating and eating until my body is honoured, and forginving and being grateful until my soul is not too scared to come back.
I am not changing myself. I am only removing the dam, that has prevented the seconds of my life to flow. I am not tearing my anorexia, as I have learned from it, and I believe I can be a better person after it.
I don’t need to change, as I am in the right place to be. My present is my gift. I only have to unwrap it and oversee it delighted with curiosity, calmly, gratefully.
I am happy that I am trying. Two months ago this blog would have been unbelievable to me, as I had never spoken out about my disease. Who months ago I had no idea on how to notice my thoughts, I had no idea they even existed all the times, beyond right before and right after meal times. I saw myself just as an ugly person, because I didn’t know I was still starved and that then all my thoughts and biological processes were determined by it. If this concept still sounds strange to you, check the Minnesota starvation experiment and you will realise how diseased we become when our food is restricted.
For the past 3 weeks, that I don’t weight myself, count calories anymore (ok, almost never) I live more calm. I have a new fear, a new very powerful beast, but that I can notice and soothe much easily than anxiety. And I am actually grateful to the fear, because it wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t because I am changing and making progress. The fear, is my ED screaming, is the true L. asking herself if it is finally true that she is welcomed back.
If I keep going having enough of being grateful for my present moment, my mind, my body and my soul will be reunited again, to live as one, united by who I really am.
Today I decide to be myself. I give L. the permission to be herself, because that is enough.
Being L. is the maximum aspiration I have.
“Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.” – Albert Camus