*contains strong language*
I’m at the stage in my mental health journey, where I’m starting to reflect on the part of my life where I finally got hit with my Wake Up Call. Here I’m referencing mainly addictions and mental illnesses that take the forms of additions and dependent cycles.
I remember going to a counselling session for my eating disorder where we were discussing the possibility that I may be suffering some more serious health issue. I remember being sat their in those spongy seats that were always a little too soft and practically watching as my world ran like sand through my fingers and piled up at my feet.
That was the moment I saw how out of my depth I was and how out of control I was becoming. I cannot put into words how painfully alarming it is to realize that the disorder you have relied on for years and years to support and validate you, has, in fact, been an enemy rather than a friend.
If you can imagine looking in the mirror (ironically, something I had avoided for the previous years before this collapse) and seeing someone that you no longer recognize or relate to at all. That is what it’s like when you push your eating disorder or addiction away.
If you took away my mask, I’m not sure who I’d be anymore.
We can all pretend that eating disorders are solely about body image and weight, but i ask you this: what does it take for someone to restrict their nutritional intake to the point where you could count the number of months they have left on the earth, on one hand? Bad body image? I don’t think so.
But when you let go of an addiction, you have to rebuild your self out of papier mache and learn how to think for yourself again. Nobody who has an eating disorder chooses to have this disease:
It’s a disorder, not a decision.
But when you have that Wake Up Call that will sweep your feet from under you, you have a choice. You can choose to give up, like so many have done, and let go of that last image of life and love you used to know (potentially ending up as one of those dreadful statistics). Or you can choose life and recovery. Recovery is not the easy way out. It is harder and it is brutal and it is frustrating and at times even a disaster. But you will get there if you don’t want to carry on living in that war zone that you’ve been stuck in.
Recovery and rebuilding your life means you will almost certainly relapse. It’s okay. Relapse if part of recovery. It’s the necessary step you need to prove to yourself that a blip in your life is just that, a blip. It won’t erase your hard work and success.
And finally, I cannot lie to you and say that you will heal completely, two years on and I’m still relapsing and stumbling. But whenever I’m sat down at the dinner table, and every forkful is becoming for like an ocean to swim through, I ask my self what I’m fighting for here. I ask myself who the hell is my disorder to tell me what to do. Who the hell are they to me from growing into the Emma I want to be. They will not take away my life any more. Sorry. So to my eating disorder and to everyone else’s: Fuck you.
The dinner table is a battlefield where the warriors defeat the the eating disorder one bite at a time.