Recovery is Worth the Wait

I once said that numbers set my life back—bringing me back to my child years. Numbers now dictate my life. They are everywhere and everything. They are in the food I eat, they surround my room, they are the miles I walk. They follow me everywhere and I do nothing to stop them. That is the worst part. I choose to let them have control. I put myself through this and I am the only person who can get myself out. Maybe I do not want to let myself out.

Each picture I look at shows a different person: thinning hair, gray skin, fake smile. Most people can relate to that on a certain level—looking at yourself a few years ago and wondering why you chose to style your hair or do your makeup the way you did. The main difference is that those were all choices.

The most frustrating part of this experience used to be getting stuck in a loop in my mind. Spiraling thoughts telling me what to stay away from and what I was allowed to have. I think what people do not realize is how irrational these thoughts become. When the mind is not functioning in a healthy way—in the way it should be—it reflects in your actions. 

I was once at a point where I was afraid to drink water. When you deprive yourself of something and suddenly allow yourself to have it, you will end up binging. To this day, I cannot drink from a water bottle without chugging it all. This kind of stuff sticks with you.

As I said, racing thoughts were once the most frustrating part of this experience. Now it is the people. Everyone is so afraid of saying the wrong thing that they treat you like a child. You have to get used to those looks of sympathy, even if there is no real reason people are giving them to you.

I have been told many unnecessary things in the past few years, but the words that stuck with me are the ones that came from people close to me. One of my closest friends had told me that they felt like they were “walking on eggshells around me” and immediately proceeded to ask me how much I eat in a day. These are not normal things to ask your friends. I am still not sure if they understand that.

Facing a loss of control is demeaning. Living in a false sense of independence only to have that stripped away in seconds feels like being knocked down, it is like falling off of a high cliff—you are on top of the world one minute and buried below the earth the next.

Losing something you have always had makes you fight against everything to get it back. I lost the ability to make my own decisions, to choose what I got to eat, to make my own food. I found out the hard way that I had to earn these back. They quickly became privileges, not rights. 

The way to cope with this is finding other small things to control. Your hair, your clothes, your daily routine. Unfortunately, most of the new sources of control you’ve found are not healthy.

Last year, I wrote down my struggles in a very detailed personal essay. It is my favorite thing I have ever written. I cannot say the same for this. As time goes by, you find new ways to cope, which is what happened here. Writing still stands as one way to cope, but writing about my problems might not anymore. I’ve become prone to shutting down when brought to talking about this topic, which I could not even bring myself to name in this piece. Funny, as I did not think this would be one of the harder things I would have to write.