Eating Disorders Impact Loved Ones, Not Just the Individual

I’ve been told, more times than I can count, that I need to “get mad at ED.”

The crazy thing is, I just can’t get mad at his impact on my life. It helped me cope, for years! Gave me something to cling to.

Would I go back in time and change it all? No, I’ve learned a lot.

Would I voluntarily go through it all again? Not Likely At All.

I am annoyed though. For the hell and havoc it put the people close to me through.

Unable to go out to eat with my best friend. Her standing outside the bathroom door while I puke on the cruise. Her concern for me and watching me day in and day out run and abuse her best friend. Watching me pick at the salad during our family dinners, or the look on her face when I make eye contact after I come out of the bathroom, ashamed of what I had just done. On our beach trips, when I would still get up and force myself to run, or would leave the hotel room at ten at night to go to the gym in an attempt to burn off what I had consumed.

To my brother, who no longer went on sushi dates with his sister because I was no longer able to keep it down. Fear of rice, cream cheese and by this point, foods in general. I never meant for this to get to you. You would ask me when we would go out, I would make up any excuse in the book. Please know, I was never avoiding you, I was avoiding food.

My dear sister, I hope you learn from my mistakes. Our 5k races were the highlight of our weekends. Do not run and work out because you “have to”, I want you to love and enjoy it. I hope and pray I never pushed you too hard or too far.

Mom, we had our ups and downs, many downs. You didn’t want me to go to treatment, I know this, you made it clear. ED became more important than you, or even life. I skipped Thanksgiving this year, and it meant a lot that you were understanding of it. Knowing I was in a good place, but didn’t want to put myself in that situation.

YOU, on the other hand, I’m not sure if I can ever forgive you. As long as I can remember you were my life, I was your princess. Grandma, you supported me when, at the age of 5, I wanted to be a vet. You believed in me at 13 when I wanted to become a lawyer. Thrilled, when I decided at 19 to pursue dentistry.

Then, practically disowned me at the age of 21, when I went into treatment. That was when I needed your love and support the most. We still haven’t talked and I’m not sure if our relationship will ever be the same. I think you hated ED more than I ever could. You were angry with my eating disorder and took it out on me.

To my professors, I never meant to worry you. Commenting on how I’m getting smaller, passing me on campus while I’m running, even though you just left the class of yours that I skipped- again. Some of you went so far to physically drive me to a restaurant for lunch just so you could watch me eat and help. I picked at the veggies. There was the time you offered me your lunch, “as long as you’ll actually eat it.” I declined your offer. Your support to keep me on track while doing school while in treatment. The shock some of you had when you realized I hadn’t dropped my classes, and was still scheduled to graduate on time. Yet, you guys believed in me and sing my praises to current students.

T, the times I was doing well, and the times that kicked my ass, you were there. You are so supportive, encouraging, and my biggest advocate. Sometimes it’s all I can do to not call you just crying, so unsure of myself and decisions. I fear you will think I’m too wishy-washy for recovery. ED has dug his claws into our relationship too many times. I visualize you doing the dance and cheers when things are good, and a disappointed lowering shake of the head when it’s bad. It is scary to question you own (well, seemingly own) thoughts and doubt your own capabilities.

You’ve seen the scars, the tears, the successes. We’ve gone on walks, gone to breakfast, lunch, given me reading material. ED still wants to fuck with you and I’m sorry.

There comes a time where you have to want recovery for yourself and your life- I’m there. I want a happy, fulfilling life, without an eating disorder. I’m scared to be given up on, lose faith in me. One day you will wake up and no longer care. ED will pipe up and blame my weight for the reason you left.

I can’t even write down the words, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cover it, and guilt doesn’t fully describe it.

When I take a step back, it hurts me to see how much ED has impacted you all.

That is what bothers me the most.

I was unable to hide it and protect you all from the ugly wrath of ED.

Left only to my imagination of the exhausting feelings you are left with after an encounter with my eating disorder and I. Being annoyed and hurt by my blatant snarky sass. Wanting to help while simultaneously wanting to throw your hands in the air in defeat. The uncertain feeling of helplessness. Wanting to help, to make it better, wishing it to go away for me. Yet, unable to do so. Knowing that through it all, it is left to me and my decision.

When your support and influence impact my next decision, I hope you feel a glimmer of hope, knowing I’m still under there.

 

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My Facade of Resting Bitch Face. Recovery

To the untrained eye I could be the epitome of resting bitch face who takes no shit and is in charge. I am loud, quick to respond, quicker to sass and with the mouth of a sailor. I am a very independent, tough, stubborn and, at times, even angry person. I’ve worked tirelessly for many years to accomplish such a façade that one could deem unfavorable or covetous- depending on who you are. I take pride in the fact I work to the point of exhaustion, try my damnedest to never rely on anyone or need anything because “I have it handled” and, “Just get out of my way, I’ll do it.”, is my constant mentality.

So what happens when I am faced with something, such as my eating disorder, which seems to be insurmountable? When the humbling experience of realizing that no, I really don’t “have it handled”, creeps into my mind slowly, then all at once. When my perfunctory routine that I had claimed as “living” in becomes so exhausting but comfortable simultaneously.

There are many times and many days that I have no faith in myself. I question my recovery, my own determination and my own willingness so many times. The mindset that has been with me for many years is one I still fight, being leery of anyone who tries to become too close; certain they will either fuck me over, or just want something. Opening up, being vulnerable, these things are more terrifying than just handling whatever life throws at me on my own.

I desperately want, yearn, and strive to be good enough in the eyes of my mother. To be good enough for her. Feel worthy in her eyes, and get credit and acknowledgement for my accomplishments; which I know will never happen. Indentured to her wishes and expectations at the age of 8 when my brother was born and the bar of perfectionism seemed to be raised higher. When I don’t even have confidence and faith in myself and my abilities, I am so thankful for the people in my life that do believe in me and my recovery efforts.

To the people in my life that are there for me, words cannot ever express the importance you play in my life. Through the peppy/happy times and the discouraging/disappointing times the love, help, support is staggering. I sit on the edge of my seat, waiting for everyone to concurrently stand up, pack their stuff and remove themselves from my life. As if my life is indistinguishable from a theater, waiting for the end where everyone gets up together, lining up to leave in a line and promenade their way out into the streets; finished. My mother would be in the very back of the line, sauntering her way towards the exit too. She would watch everyone leave, looking back towards me, as one last stab, so she could bring up the rear, reassured that I was left alone in the empty theater of my life.

That, has yet to happen though, even with my bitchy avail to those who don’t deserve it. I feel unworthy to those people in my life who do care, I always fall back on the one question, “Why do you care?” and “Why me?” It is an instantaneous jolt of guilt and love that I feel wash over me along with an immense amount of appreciation towards these people. (I’m babbling, and my writing is going downhill fast).

The ability to look someone in the face, be 100% honest, candid, hold nothing back, be unable to lie to them because it doesn’t feel right. It is one of the most nerve wracking and freeing things. Knowing that what I did isn’t beneficial to my recovery, having to fess up and be honest. Also knowing (and hoping), that they are concerned out of love and not just to reprimand me. Being understanding and not critical. Doesn’t mean it is easy to sit there and openly admit when you fuck up, but having that as an option with someone.

Sitting outside with me, eating something scary with me, the hugs, tears, laughs, stories. These are the things that have impacted my relationships with others, as well as aid in my recovery. From motherly figures to best friends to support teams and roommates; I love my space and my independent nature, but it still feels good to have someone there.

(There will be another entry about this soon, just way too tired)