My worst fear used to be that one day the whole world would wake up and see me the way I saw myself.
I thrived off feeling small and empty, it allowed me to place a physical symptom on the emotional opinion I had of myself. It is less scary to feel mentally empty and worthless if you physically make your body feel the same too. 'I'm not mad, I'm ill' became a justification for a string of increasingly dangerous habits and for a very long time I pushed away nearly every person who had my best intentions at heart.
My mind tricked me and lead me to believe that everyone wanted me to get fat. Every irrational thought in my head wanted me to get fat. Anyone who offered me food wanted me to get fat. What I failed to realise at the time was that not one person was concerned with how fat I may or may not have been. They were concerned with my mind. They wanted me to be healthy. Not fat. Yet in my mind those two were one and the same thing. I would rather have been skinny and unhealthy than strong and alive.
Weight is a strange concept. Calories even stranger. In reality, neither really exist, yet I allowed both to take such a strong control over my life. My emotional state every morning was completely and solely dependent on the weight shown on the scales, a gain of even a quarter of a pound could send me into a panic; a refusal to leave my room incase someone remarked on my weight gain. At the minute, this is a fight that I'm trying very hard to win. Over the past 8 months I have gained 20 pounds, taking myself from a severely low weight to a healthy one through numerous diet and lifestyle changes coupled with 6 months of progressive training in the gym. I've weighed this much before. And I was extremely unhappy when I did. But just because I weigh the same it doesn't mean I am the same. Last time, my hair was so thin it was falling out. My skin was grey. My body was covered in bruises. I was severely anaemic. My bones were weak. I was dehydrated. I was anxious and worried all the time... but this time I can deadlift much more than I weigh. I can do press ups on my toes. I can hold a 25kg bar over my head and lunge. And most importantly, I can actually walk up the stairs without feeling like passing out. I can lie in bed without the pain of my bones digging into my skin. And I can smile, in the knowledge that my incredible support system were right all along. I am not fat. I am healthy.
Healthier not heavier.
Recovery isn't black and white. It is not a case of being unwell or not. There is a huge patch of grey with small amounts of black and white at either side. I started very much in the black, but that doesn't mean that I am now in the white. At times I still cry because that voice still rents a space in my head. Yes, it's downsized… moved out of it's big detached house in my head and moved into a small bedsit in the corner, but it's still there. I am learning to accept that maybe that is where it will always be. Recovery at times was harder on my mind than when I was in the depths of my struggle. Fighting a never ceasing internal battle between wanting to get better and not wanting to let go of what has become so normal and comforting for you. But ultimately you have a choice: to feed yourself and fight your illness or to feed your illness and fight yourself.
You always have a choice… please make the right one.