So as depressing as this post might sound…which is not my intention..I think I need to highlight how as amazing the journey through recovery is, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Infact far from it. It’s a scary and intense emotional rollercoaster, and whenever you think you’ve overcome one hurdle you’re smacked straight in the face with another.
There’s a period I think we all experience when we ‘see the light’, the epiphany of recovery I refer to as ‘the eye of the storm’-where you’ve made the decision to recover which in theory is the hardest part and from this point on life will be happy and everything will fall into place as if nothing ever happened right??
Well not quite.. I fell under this false illusion for a merry few weeks where I almost forgot about all those painful years..but then consequences of all the damage I’d done started coming back around to remind me-the second part of the storm that we all have to deal with.
Firstly the random flash backs/bad memories: It’s funny how simply a smell or sound can bring back so many feelings..there were some terrible sleepless nights and somewhat traumatic experiences in various inpatient units..seeing things a naive 15 year old should never be exposed to..spending days on end crying in grimsby feeling afraid and alone-missing my family who were over 80 miles away..
Years of feeling exhausted, cold, aching from wasting muscles and bruised from ‘unpadded’ bones. Listening to my parents cry themselves to sleep when they thought I wouldn’t make it through the night. All these feelings became easy to push to the back of my head at the time but now and again they come flooding back..and part of recovery is learning to deal with them all.
Secondly the ‘physical aftermath’…again, I’ve been getting my hopes up as I’m feeling so much better from a physical point of view, perhaps being lured into a false sense of security and forgetting how ill I have been (and not all that long ago) as results started coming in. My liver is still damaged, I’m still not regulating my blood sugar properly (frequent drops in blood sugar despite feeling fine), and my recent bone scan has shown i have severe osteopenia, right on the border of osteoporosis which would be irreversible. Considering bone health begins deteriorating at around 40-50 years old…for a 20 year old this is terrible news. This also doesn’t bode well for my chances of regaining my fertility-as female reproductive hormones and bone health are very closely connected.
There also may become times where you begin to miss your eating disorder. As bizarre as that sounds it became a comfort and a coping mechanism. So in times of stress, when you dont have anorexia anymore, you don’t know where to turn. There will be days when you’re still stuffing your face despite feeling physically sick, still not putting on a great deal of weight and you’ll just think ‘it would be so much easier to go back to how things were.’ And you’d be right, it would be easier, but you can’t expect to reap the rewards without putting in the work and if you want something bad enough you’ll be willing to work for it. And I want to live, not barely survive. So I’ll happily take this ‘storm’ with a pinch of salt if that means coming out stronger on the other side.
Keep fighting everybody,
Lots of love,