Nothing is as simple as it seems. There’s no black or white, good or bad. There’s various shades of grey and many forms of “okay” that exist in between both these things. Ideally this is the same with a beautiful painted picture. Behind it is dirty paint brushes, messy hands and stained clothing. These are simple examples that can be used in a sense to briefly underline an eating disorder. It is not as simple as “eat normal again,” “well just don’t purge” and “well just stop.” Nor is it as beautiful as media describes it. Behind the “pro-ana,” “pro mia,” “skip dinner to get thinner” and all this other bullshit is complete misery. What starts off simple becomes complex and this eventually leads to an on going addiction you can not rid yourself of. Maybe earlier in my Bulimia Nervosa I could tell you stories of the pure bliss I found in my bulimia. I could glamourize it and paint a gorgeous picture that anyone would want. Until they truly can not escape it; until they know the ugly truth.
The past eleven years for me have been filled with various treatments centers, several attempts at recovery that would last for several months or up to a year periodically, slips that transformed into cycling relapses, severe dental problems, follow by physical and mental health issues and so much more. It’s a hell I won’t invite you into and a hell I still struggle to fully get out of. This isn’t “to lose weight” nor does it only have an impact on those of a certain size, gender, sexuality or race. Eating disorders are one of the few things that won’t discriminate against you. Make no mistake as weight is not even the actual issue let alone food truthfully. An eating disorder is a pure form of control and a way to manipulate food in order to not deal with the current issues and/or emotions. It is a cycle that in the end can and will happily break you. Most importantly it’s something you can not out run because it follows you wherever you go. Even into a new home you moved into with your boyfriend. So when I tell you nothing is going the way I need it to and I can’t control it so I look for something to control and it just so happens to be food in excessive binges that lead to the compulsion to get rid of it, believe me when I say it’s not as simple as just “stopping.” Would you believe me if I told you I spent countless times crying after purging simply because I no longer want to do this, but feel I have to? If I told you I am currently in the process of treatment once again and that each time I purge I actually end up hating myself a little bit more? How bizarre is it to do something to gain control only to discover it controls you and how bizarre and sinister is it to discover that your addiction literally lives and sleeps within your stomach? How the demons so to speak crawl up your throat periodically and escape out of your mouth? That hell and all those demons exist within you and this sinister addiction isn’t something you hold, but a part that sleeps inside of you? Is this the definition of irony because it screams “at it’s finest!” Nothing is ever as simple as it seems nor as beautiful as you may believe it to be. Hell is often not what we expect it to be especially if we created it. There is no uncreating hell, no running from it and the only way to fully get out alive is to finally face it. Often this is where the problem sleeps; after all how does one face hell if gradually they’ve grown use to living in it? If after all they are the creator and the demons lay sleeping inside them? Certainly not alone and certainly not right away; only progression, only within time.
Maybe I’m in way over my head. Maybe I’m falling head first in the water without seeing the sharp rocks at the bottom. Maybe just maybe there’s no way for me to truly know how much it will hurt until my body hits the water.
Have you ever felt like your head was a little off? Maybe that it was crooked or even that everything around you was crooked? Did it cause you to see crooked? Did you ever see straight again? Did you find sanity in insanity or did you lose yourself completely as you attempted to find yourself? I have gone through these many motions as if they were a movie plenty of times and even when I was doing well all I could see was crooked.
My head is on straight, but everything looks crooked and it has been a few months since I could say I haven’t purged at all. However, within those few months it almost felt like years and the two days I have without purging seem so difficult to the point it is keeping me up at night. In a sense this on going obsessive thinking has lead my mind to roam in dark places. Perhaps when my mind begins to roam in dark places it begins to see things crooked and gnarled. Despite all of this I am clenching on to the fact that I see my eating disorder nutritionist this Wednesday. I can’t help, but feel relieved, which is ironic considering in both my first and second time in treatment I was far from any word called “relieved.” Maybe that’s what eleven years can do to someone, maybe that’s addiction. I miss being told “it’s okay,” as strange as it sounds I routinely went over my food journal with my nutritionist just for the sake of her giving me permission to keep my food down. In a sense I needed someone to tell me it’s okay to eat and to not purge. That the world wouldn’t end and nothing horrible would happen if I ate something, enjoyed it and did not get rid of it or ate so much of it until I was literally sick. I miss being reminded that everything is okay and perfection is just a unrealistic horrible idea that no one should listen to once it speaks, because right now all I feel is this world crashing in on me along with the constant burden of perfection and the many lies it whispers in my ear.
If no one has ever told you I’m going to tell you now. Relapses and lapses are part of recovery, but there’s a huge difference between the two. Relapsing is falling completely back into old behaviors and lapsing is participating in that behavior, “slipping,” with no intentions of discontinuing treatment/recovery. So when I say my “lapse” lead to frequent “lapses” which lead me into a spiral of relapses that later lead to a relationship ending because well I guess it’s slightly uncomfortable dating someone who will purposely vomit and it may be even more uncomfortable if you see them doing this and later attempt to confront them, but it backfires. For the record I was all ears and compassion until he mentioned words/phrases such as “disease,” “out of control,” “sickness” and “denial.” Until that moment I was extremely patient and nice, but to give him the benefit of the doubt he was patient until I began quietly laughing. Looking at that situation now me explaining to him that I was fine, everything was under control and that it wouldn’t happen again even though we both knew it would I guess proved his point and in a sense proved the conclusion I later grasped. An addiction no matter what your poison is doesn’t just poison you. In a sense it poisons those around you as well. Your intention isn’t to hurt them, it’s to make them happy. My intention was to protect him from myself, but sometimes things don’t always go as we plan and we never intend to turn into what we never wanted to become in the first place. Even after our breakup I never “stopped” nor went back into treatment like I planned to. However, I was honest with my therapist and she was well aware of my frequent relapses that I called “slips.” I guess she didn’t think that crying in the bathroom while listening to David Bazan after purging was a productive thing to do after work nor was baking various things and binging on them, oops. Despite all of this believe me when I say I never wanted this. I didn’t want to be sitting here almost eleven years later choking down my pride and being politely forced by my therapist to call my eating disorder nutritionist that I’ve avoided for months and schedule an appointment. I didn’t want to admit defeat, I didn’t want to reach out and I thought I could do it on my own. I thought I could gain control back or maybe I thought I never lost it. I’m not sure, but for a few months I delayed scheduling an appointment because in a sense I believed it would be an indication of me admitting that I was powerless over my bulimia. Who wants to truly admit they are powerless? No one because humans are proud creatures and as for me I am probably one of the most prideful human beings you will ever meet; this is my problem. This is the problem that I finally said to Naomi in her office as I was looking out the window. I told her of my uncertainty of treatment and that I wasn’t sure if I was fully ready to tell myself that this isn’t something I can do alone. That exact moment lead me to an appointment with my eating disorder nutritionist on the 24th. Believe me when I tell you it is not admitting defeat when you ask for help. Think of it as going to war, does one person go to war or do hundreds-thousands join together to conquer their enemy? When you go to war with your demons you don’t need to be a one-man army; you don’t need to go to battle alone.
No one ever said putting yourself back together was easy let alone that there wouldn’t be pieces missing. My job in the chef world has been extremely rewarding and in a sense I now grasp why so many say it is not a job for the sane. Sane civil people could not do what I do and I grasp that now. However with this job came many lapses in my recovery, but I can not blame it all on my job when some of it has to do with the fact I was in an extremely stressful relationship that I could not cope with emotionally. It was tiring and draining; even if I did like the person I was with, in the end we ended up hating each other. I genuinely believe him being fucked up didn’t fuck me up more. What fucked me up more truthfully was the fact that I could not take away his pain. No matter what I couldn’t make him happy no matter how hard I tried, but if you were to ask him he’d tell you I wasn’t trying hard enough. There was no smiles just me wondering why I couldn’t make him happy and him pointing out every thing I’ve done wrong. I learned that in the end that everything about me was wrong because I truly believed I could fix him and make everything better. In reality you can’t fix people, nor make them truly happy. You can either continue pouring your heart out loving them unconditionally or close yourself up, turn to stone and learn to hate them to keep yourself from breaking. I didn’t want to break to pieces and become nothing so I went with the second option and taught myself to hate him to the point we could not be in the same room together without arguing and I made sure of that. We were just two toxic people; I was gasoline, he was a match and together we lit each other on fire constantly to the point all that was left of our poor excuse of a relationship was ashes. If you haven’t caught on yet you’ll catch on now when I tell you the word “sorry” can not bring back to life whatever you chose to set on fire because you can not mend ashes; they’re remains of what once was and you can’t fix that.