Scratching the surface

I cried today. Finally. It has broken through the numbness I’ve been walking around in.

I went to the dentist. She hugged me, after she’d prescribed something to take the sting out of my red raw acid-stripped gums, and it somehow made the difference.

I have wondered, over the last year, why I didn’t start my blog until I was well into my purge-free recovery, and the past month has shown me exactly why. I have not really been here. Life has been squashed to one side while I go round and round in constricting circles and can’t look beyond me. I have become evasive, and curt, and stopped doing the things that I have come to love –

It sounds like I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m not. (Well maybe a little). It’s just been a rather painful reminder of how one dimensional life used to be. The hug, and then the tears, scraped the surface –

It is always, I still seem to forget, about what’s going on underneath.

This post is therefore not going to be about food – or relapsing – or the things that have helped; it’s going to be about what’s going on underneath. I’ll come back to the other things, if it’s helpful, at another time; but I want to create a space for the thoughts and feelings that the eating disorder is trying to blot out –

No analysis. No explanations. Just an acknowledgement of what the real struggle is.


The ED came back because I lost myself, not the other way around. I don’t know where I am at the moment. Nothing is as it was, and all my anchors have, for a variety of reasons, been displaced. It has been deeply unsettling and I haven’t given myself time to develop a new base.


The lack of base has made me scared. Stomach scared. Scared so that if you ask me to think about it, I can’t find the words; nor sit with the feeling. I’m not sure quite where I’m going, and the uncertainty has made me afraid.


I have never been good with farewell. I like to hold on to people and places, tightly, because they are the centre of my world –

My grandmother’s house was sold last week. It has been the centre of our family for as long as I have been alive. A beautiful 16th (I think) century house where we swung on hammocks in summer; and slept in beds with tight white sheets; and picked fruit in the orchards; and sat down to ‘proper’ Sunday lunch. It comes on the back of a number of other moves, each of which have been like knocking down a corner wall –

I know that the world moves on. I know that change is part of the process and can be exciting and healthy and all those things – but it’s also left me feeling quite sad.

Ironically, the most painful farewell is to myself. I am, for the first time, moving into a part of my life that has not been determined or shaped by the eating disorder – and while I’m happy, the letting go has been hard.


The sadness makes me feel lonely. I feel like I have been jolted out of sync. It is not the loneliness that comes from isolation but the kind that comes from being in a different place.


I think there is a touch of this going on too.

I have to keep reminding myself that none of these will be solved by food.

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4 Responses to “Scratching the surface”

  1. James says:

    So many things resonate here – the uncertainty, the sense of isolation, the SAD and the despair when life slips into being one-dimensional.

    I hope that putting this down in words – as hard and as painful as that might be – helps make shifts. Food won’t solve things for sure, but taking stock, reaching out and trying to express it may ease it and prevent that constricting circle closing in tighter.

    Just look after yourself, go easy on yourself as changes happen around and remember that you are a wonderful person who deserves to be happy outside of a one-dimensional trap.

  2. Becky says:

    I’ve never really thought about the concept of our anchors being gone and not being able to stabilize ourselves. Thats a very powerful statement and reminds me that connection can be powerful.
    I’m glad you’re sharing all of this — thank you.

  3. Helen says:

    Hi Melissa, just to say your words so often move and touch me – you seem to express so vividly and often so accurately how I am feeling or have felt. That might be little consolation, or any help to hear, in what you are going through, but I do believe you are worth the fight you are making to reclaim all the things that you hold dear – and that you know are worth being well enough to keep on building for yourself.

    It is hard to feel so torn – and stupid for feeling torn (I often feel that really it’s a no-brainer: eating disorder or a richer life of friendships and fulfillment and health…?!) but it’s not always that easy in practice…

    Not easy for me right now – but I’m trying to take the steps to make it possible – and I’ve only recently realised – partly through reading some of your posts here in fact – that I need every bit of support I can get (and that I know is from people who actually want to be allowed to give it – if I’ll let them!) – and, just as you are, I plan to keep on trying despite the setbacks.

    Thank you for posting again today. Best wishes.

  4. Evan says:

    I think when we leave the old behind and we don’t know what the new is yet, and we certainly aren’t used to it yet, this is an incredibly difficult place to be. Disorienting and fearful – and we want to go back to known ways of living, and not going back is really hard.

    I just want to say that I do have some feeling for where you are right now.