Two years and 12 days ago, I got up on a "chilly" June morning, stripped down and stepped on the scale. And for the first time, I was shocked and horrified by the number that wavered before my eyes. So much so that I had to weigh myself another three times to believe it was real. It was on that morning, probably purely from the shock of it, that I saw myself for what I had really become in just two months after a nine-week inpatient stay.
It was on that morning that I realized I was going to die from anorexia sooner than later. I was given the ultimatum - recover, or be put up in a motel room and wait to die.
It took weeks for me to even eat enough to keep a stable weight and process food properly. The first month of my homebound adventure in recovery - I shifted up and down between a three pound gain/loss. I get lots of questions about how I knew what to do or how I ever allowed myself to recover. And to this day, I have no definitive answers. The only thing I could do was to stop thinking about it so much and just eat. And every week, eat more. I stayed on bed rest at home - read numerous books, completed large 1000+ piece puzzles and indulged in Golden Girls reruns. I sat in the sun and drew the flower garden while drinking milkshakes. But still, I didn't start gaining weight til sometime in July and I had gotten up to and over 2500 calories a day. Then my mom returned to work. Being home alone all day was too much for me to bear and I had started taking walks and skipping my morning snack - cutting my calories down to around 2000. After a week or so, I managed to increase back up enough to prevent weight loss, but I was scared of being alone with myself and my eating disorder every day, and I feared continuing to gain weight, alone. I did what I thought was my best for several weeks. I was only XX pounds when I turned 20 years old in October. By November, I had developed stress fractures in my feet just from taking walks to the park and around the neighborhood. During the Thanksgiving Break, I set myself on bed rest again and healed up. With the support of my mom, we increased my calories every day from the end of November through the beginning of December. I had finally gotten up to 2800 calories a day. By the beginning of March, I was consuming 3600 calories a day and had only just gotten up to XX lbs. It took another 11 weeks for me to gain up to a minimal BMI of 16.5. And from that day in April, it has taken me another year solid to gain 8 pounds.
Has it been a long, treacherous road? Yes. Have I had my setbacks? For sure. But in the past two years I have done things I was told I would never do. I turned 21 and am at a mostly-healthy weight (and still aiming on up!). I have eaten pizza and chocolate because I enjoy it. Just the other night, I had Wendy's for dinner after work, sat around a fire and roasted marshmallows with some new friends. And you know what? I had NO FREAKIN IDEA how many calories were in the chicken sandwich I had. I was not aware of, and still do not know, what a serving size of marshmallows is. And I really don't care. And when I came home at 3AM I ate a granola bar because I was hungry. Today, I went shopping with my mom, tried on a dress and LOVED how it showed off my still-blossoming curves, had lunch at Panera Bread and got coffee ice cream for an afternoon snack.
Ever since I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, I have been told that I would never be free from its clutches. I've always been told that my brand of AN was too severe to be treated, that I was too stubborn and too intelligent for any program to be successful. And you know what? They were right. I was stubborn, intelligent and crafty like no other. How many people do you know that can hide an 8oz cup of milk without being noticed? I hated being in treatment. I hated being treated "special" because I was anorexic - like that somehow was the root cause of all my issues and that all of my problems were the trigger for the AN. How does that even work? I don't know. But I could not recover the way they wanted me to. I just can't stand being told what to do (lolz I know!) and even worse - I hate being told that I CAN'T do something. In my head, every time I was told "The next round of this will kill you" - I took it as a challenge instead of a warning. So every year, the weight went lower and lower. I had to make the realization myself for it to become real. I had to do it all by myself to make recovery real. Not everyone is like me though. Some people truly do flourish in an IP environment and find it very comforting and helpful. I found it to be stifling and pressure filled. I did what I had to do for me, for the first time two years ago. It was hard to actually admit that I needed to do something for myself. For me, admitting a need or want or desire is still the hardest thing. But I AM overcoming it, day by day.
So, I guess what I really just wanted to say is - Never let ANYONE tell you something is impossible, or can't be done, or that you are not capable. As long as you stop trying and start doing - you can achieve anything.
The Ebb and Flow
2 months ago