[[Side Notes: Denial
(Warning: Numbers are included in this post
so if you are easily triggered, please do not read this post)
I get many emails from readers and other bloggers about my steps in recovery. It has been a very long journey going on for over 8 years, with it’s ups and downs all over the place, but the question I get asked the most about recovery is the first step. What did I do? Who did I go to? What happened?
I have written previously about how I first got help, with a hall mate of mine confronting me about my weakening figure. We went to a counselor at my college together to get some help in hopes of getting me healthy again and away from feeling guilty about food and my body.
That’s just one part of the first step towards my recovery though. All in all, yes it was essential that I got help to help me get better, but I had to accept something first:
I HAD A DISEASE.
I HAD AN EATING DISORDER.
I HAD ANOREXIA.
For the month leading up to this event, I thought I was just “getting healthier” and “avoiding junk food” to reverse the effect that going to college and have so much food at my disposal had created. I thought I was doing everything right and was just losing the weight I had gained since I had arrived. I ended up losing a lot more than I gained, but at that point it became an attitude of well, maybe just a few more pounds. It was no longer about those initial 10lbs I had gained, it was as far as I could get.
I remember vividly standing on the scale at the gym after a workout when I was in college as a freshman. I had just been to a counseling appointment and had lied my butt off about how I was feeling. I was always ashamed going to those appointments, like I had let down everyone in my life by developing this problem. There was so much guilt in having this disease that it just made everything else I did feel just as guilty. It was a big circle of self-destruction.
I remember seeing the number on the scale and feeling so pissed. I was so angry that I had gained a pound in a few days and immediately starting working out how I was going to lose it. I sat on a stretching bench, beating myself up on the inside and it finally hit me: I WAS SICK. There was no way that I should be mad that I weighed 102 pounds at 5’6” and that I had gained one in a short matter of time. I had never felt like this before and IT WAS NOT NORMAL OR HEALTHY.
I remember several discussions with my best college friend at the time, talking about my recovery and I could not for the life of me say the word ANOREXIA. It left such a bitter taste in my mouth, made my heart jump and hands shake. I could say EATING DISORDER, but something about saying the “A” word was super bothersome. I would literally stand in front of the mirror in my room and try to say it out loud. In my head it was doable, but out into the air it seemed impossible.
It took me a very long time to say it out loud, I think almost two years. I remember talking to the same friend and we both cried as I slowly but without a doubt said out loud, “Yes, I am sick. Yes, I have an eating disorder. Yes, I have ANOREXIA.”
It was such a liberating moment and I think one that is quite essential to recovery. Why is this essential? If you’re in denial of your ED like I was in the beginning, there is no matter of counseling or talking with people that will help you get better. You have to admit and believe that you have a problem and that you have to do something to figure it out. Without this admission, you’ll probably end up doing a lot of what I did: LIE. I lied so much about my emotions, how I felt physically and mentally that I could have written an entire book on the lies I told. It never helped that I didn’t tell the truth, and in the end made me feel worse because I was lying to the people that I loved. Who ever wants to lie to their friends and family?
So take home message: in order to start your recovery, you cannot be in denial. I think it’s such an important step to take and after admitting it, will make you feel so.much.stronger; that you will be able to defeat the disease and move past it living the life you were supposed to. It also does not mean that you are any less of a person to admit this, it means that you are ready to start recovering. ]]
I”ll be back tonight with a real food post! I’ve actually been taking pictures of my foods; aren’t you proud of me?! Until then, this is life: