I am so lucky that I have the opportunity to reach out to so many people through social media, published articles, my blog and just from being vocal about my eating disorder.
Many of you have connected with me about your personal struggles, those of people you care about or just to offer me words of encouragement and love.
The one thing that people don’t understand is that if you are trying to recover you are trying. Trying is the hardest thing to do. Admitting you have a problem and doing something about it is the most important and difficult step. Working on recovery is tough as hell don’t get me wrong – but switching your mindset from being stuck in an Eating Disorder to wanting to get out of it takes so much effort. Acknowledging you want to change and trying to do something about it is the key to getting out of this illness.
I’ve been suffering for 20+ years. I’ve wanted to get out numerous times. I thought I wanted to get out but wasn’t ready. The first time around during my 20’s I didn’t want out. I liked it. I was good at it. I was getting the rewards I wanted. But eventually the illness took it’s toll on me. As I got “better” at it, I had to increase the quantities and that is when it became not only physically exhausting but emotionally draining. You can only keep a secret like this for so long.
That is a very hard part of this disorder. The secrecy. It’s not because we are proud of what we are doing and don’t want to share it. It’s because it’s embarrassing as hell. We don’t want to admit it to anyone. Admitting it would mean there is a problem.
I remember in September of 2014 – we were at my parents house for the holidays when I was in the living room with my mom, dad and two brothers. I broke down. I told them it was back. It had been back since April. I have been living with ED, again for five months. I was scared because I know how he can grab hold and not let go. So by this point I knew I was in trouble. As sad and afraid as I was, I vividly remember my family’s reaction. As always, they were supportive, encouraging, loving and made damn well sure that I knew they were going to be there for me. But I also knew their hearts sank. They had lived through this before and knew what was in store for them.
I have always said I am getting better for myself. And I am. But you should know that my family (which includes blood relatives, friends, acquaintances and anyone that holds a place in my heart) is the most important thing to me. I want to get better for them too. Because by getting better for me, they will be able to have me back. Have Lisa back. Not ED. He doesn’t belong in my life and most certainly doesn’t belong in theirs.
People have gotten use to me bringing salad dressing in my purse for lunch, drinking through straws, not being adventurous with food, being mindful of what I eat, commenting on the changes to my body and loosing the little spark I once had.
BUT…those things are changing piece by piece. If I still drink through a straw, that’s okay. If I need to bring my dressing with – that’s not the end of the world.
Last night I surprised my parents and brought the boys over for a visit. As we walked upstairs my dad said, “Your legs are looking better.”
What ED heard was “You are putting on weight. You are getting fatter.”
What Lisa heard was “You are winning.”
The smile on my dad’s face when he said that was priceless. It made me happy because I know my efforts mean I’m getting healthy. And it makes me happy to see my dad happy.
Of course there is a part of me that still struggles with knowing I have to put on weight and watching my body change. But I remind myself every day that if I don’t – I will die. If I don’t I will miss out on life. If I don’t my kids will miss out on having a mom.
My family has struggled along side of me for many years. And I sometimes forget how hard it can be on them too.
I found this article that may be helpful:
Tomorrow is a huge day in our house for baseball. Two out of three kids have major tournaments. Feeling bloated today I had a choice. Take laxatives and get rid of the feeling. Or deal with it and be available tomorrow for what’s important.
Guess what I’m choosing?