Day One

A friend mentioned that the eating disorder is back in my eyes. She didn’t need to tell me. I can feel the glazing over, even if I can’t see it.

I am stopping today.

I decided, a few weeks ago, that I needed a date because that was how I did it last time. I know that it doesn’t work like that for everyone; but for me, bulimia has always been all or nothing. I need clear rules and high boundaries or I spiral quickly out of control.

And so, I am writing this to mark the moment and capture the learning. There has been some, even though the lesson was hard.

I have learnt that…

  • I need to be prepared. However recovered I am, the eating disorder may always be the default coping mechanism, and I need to practice other ways of working things through.
  • It is physical, I think, the addiction. It does not take long for me to get hooked on sugar, and it confuses how I eat. This gives the cycle momentum: it creates a hunger for bingeing and a fear of food that is harder to extricate myself – or my emotions – from.
  • I need to stop it quickly. It is very easy for once to become twice to become normal and then I have to start all over again.
  • I become someone else, when I’m under the eating disorder. It consumes my thoughts and my time, and erodes the things about me that I am beginning to discover and starting to respect. This reinforces the cycle: it starts with a niggle of inadequacy, then the eating disorder quickly removes any doubt.
  • It is lonely. Horribly lonely. Even when you’re as open as I am, there are still things you can’t say, particularly to people that you see on a daily basis. Walls appear. There are secrets. Lies. Shame. Excuses for why you can’t go out. Skimming over of what you are doing. Questions motivated by the eating disorder’s search for the next opportunity…
  • I liked where my life was going. Stepping backwards emphasised the progress and showed me just how far I have come. How I have, in fact, created a life which no longer revolves around food and where I am not identified by my illness, but by all the other things that I have become.
  • There’s some self esteem stuff I need to figure out still, otherwise I will keep flipping back into self destruct.
  • I am not my eating disorder. This was a thorny issue for me, for a long time. A person can not be an eating disorder but their identity can hinge on it, or mine did anyway. That’s not true anymore. It took going back to see how much I have grown.
  • I am heading in the right direction. This seems a paradox given how far I have crashed; but the ferocity with which I have responded to suggestions of moving a little slower or maybe trying something else, suggests that I really want the changes that the eating disorder is resisting. I really want them.
  • There are some pretty special people out there. Okay, I didn’t need a relapse to realise this; but I have been touched, amazed, inspired, overwhelmed by the amount of support and love I have received. It has been a lifeline and given me the motivation to turn this around.
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    13 Responses to “Day One”

    1. Jo says:

      Hoorah. That is all! I have the utmost respect for you Mrs! And I agree, it is every bit a physical addiction, not just sugar, but that endorphin release. I am detached until the point of breaking, and only after a binge would realise that I have been cracking up under stress and anxiety all day. Mostly dreading the moment I might binge, but pretending otherwise. Oh the flipping irony.

      Here’s to a new life, new opportunities, adventures and to new friends. To being authentic :)

      Jo xx

    2. Megan says:

      Good on you, Melissa! I think you hit on something really key here: the need to sort out self-esteem issues. For me, choosing to love, accept and respect myself unconditionally through my anxiety, depression, and disordered eating and exercise behaviour has been the single most important act in my journey to wholeness and health. Even though I don’t know you personally (beyond reading your blog for a few months now) I can clearly see that you have so much wisdom, and such a strong desire for your own wholeness and health. I feel very confident that you will triumph over bulimia.
      All the best to you.

    3. James says:

      So true, inspiring and useful. Thank you for writing this and putting this down in determined, powerful words (and not just for you!)

      There’s a world of difference between ‘one day’ and ‘Day One’. Here’s to Day One and the future (life, love, peace, positivity, so on…) that follows…

      Best wishes and thanks again. :) x

    4. WG says:

      Good luck matey, we believe in you.

    5. Chloe Cook says:

      Am with you every step of the way sweetie. Phone me if you need me. xx

    6. Melissa Anderson says:

      I’m also touched and humbled by your openness and honesty, especially during this difficult time. Thank you for being you and being real.

    7. You’re right that vigilance is always required. I spoke about this with someone this week. I shared a photo with her — it’s a black and white photo of a field and tree… very tranquil… in the foreground, there is a barbed wire fence. I said it reminds me that no matter how peaceful or comfortable things feel, I have to always be mindful and vigilant because going to extremes (too much or too little) is always a threat. I have to remain vigilant. She suggested that the tension between the peace and potential danger kept it from being boring… very interesting.

    8. Lots prayers for you tonight, love.

    9. jes says:

      I’m needing to end the binge/vomit cycle also. You’ve helped me through some big changes thus already…..I’m going to change this one too…..tomorrow, I commit to caring for myself and not binging or purging on food or exercise.
      Thank you! Another reminder of how important it is to face my feelings rather than hide from them.
      Love and wishes for your new year x

    10. Afterglow05 says:

      Melissa – you are such an amazing woman. Your list/bullet points speak to me(and many others, I’m sure). It’s almost as if I could have written most of them myself. You have the courage to voice(or type) what I haven’t been able to.
      As you said, you are headed in the right direction and the most important thing to remember is that’s where you want to head.


    11. Evan says:

      That is an amazing list. So detailed and specific. It’s great, wishing you every possible success.

    12. j says:

      This: “I am heading in the right direction. This seems a paradox given how far I have crashed; but the ferocity with which I have responded to suggestions of moving a little slower or maybe trying something else, suggests that I really want the changes that the eating disorder is resisting. I really want them” is why I have such faith in you.

      You are more than your ED and more than you even know yet. I feel honored to be here watching you discover all the awesome that you are.


    13. Melissa says:

      I have slipped up since writing this post. It meant that I didn’t know how to respond to the comments and that I have been beating myself up for being dishonest. Screwing up.

      This is part of the process.

      The line is still there – and I’m still sticking to my stopping policy. It’s just been not quite the same as last time. I am, instead, learning to spot where the ED creeps in so that I can plug the holes.

      Jo – you know you features pretty highly in that special people point, don’t you? And yes, endorphins – need to find a natural way of replacing that fix.

      Megan – so much comes down to that doesn’t it. And the nre you focus on bolstering self esteem, the less energy the ED can take I think. Thanks. xx

      James – we’ll get there. Already started, right?) :)

      WG and Chloe. Love you both. And thank you xx

      Melissa – it’s been a hard call working out how much to share so thanks for this. Being honest and open has become one of the things I now value most about myself – and wouldn’t have discovered (or learnt) without the ED.

      Thanks Sanabiturania. xx

      Jes – I think a date helps. It’s an opportunity to take back control and own the process, I think. Happy New Year to you love – wishing you all the very very best, xx

      Afterglow – thank you for such a lovely comment. And for reminding me, as I read it again, that the important thing is to keep going. To get up again and point myself in the right direction and move forwards. xx

      Evan – think I need to print it out and pin it on my wall for a bit :) Thank you.

      J – thanks so much. I have spent far too long compromising myself and my life for my ED that I guess I’m not prepared to anymore. This recovery is a bit different to last time as the context is real. Active. Unknown – and as exciting as it is scary. Much love. Your enthusiasm for life has been a huge inspiration in the past few weeks. xx