I weigh 128 pounds in many, many pictures that were taken during this past summer. I have never weighed that much in my life before, and I had an on-the-spot total melt down for hours after I saw that number. I hated every single picture of myself at the time it was taken because I knew how much I weighed in it. The problem was that I was viewing the pictures through an eating disorder lens. When I look at those pictures now, I look really healthy. I don’t look massive like I thought at the time and I even like many of them, now. I was also actually in decent shape, and stepping outside my comfort zone with a lot of things–food, different exercise, getting out–and it was really fun. I think the main reason I was still so distressed during this fairly healthy time, is that I was over-stimulated with anxiety that was caused by anticipation of everyone leaving. And then they all left, and I have slowly fallen apart since. I thought it was going to be fast, like in March. But it has been painfully slow. I have been up and down and losing more control with each down. I have been unable to come back up and stay up for long enough periods of time to be completely ok.
This is the craziest, most unproductive (health-wise/weight-wise) roller-coaster I have ever been on. I have never, ever been stuck in limbo for this long. It is as if I finally realize I can’t be so destructive whenever the fuck I want to be without some major consequences, but yet I cannot fully make my mind up to just stop thinking like an eating disordered person. I know all the answers and yet I can’t figure it out.
What I do know, very deep down, is that I am completely capable of moving forward. Over the summer, I read a book that suggested that you can always come back to your eating disorder. Maybe just put it on the top shelf–out of immediate reach–but no need to panic, it is still there. You can get it whenever you want to. But for now, it is put away. I used this way of thinking in Sweden, and I am going to use it this weekend. I am shelfing it. And maybe I will have to keep shelfing it for a while. Maybe the entire time I am alone. But hopefully, eventually, it will remain on the very top shelf and I won’t need it often, if ever. Hopefully it will collect dust and be mostly forgotten.
Everything about a trip like this can be very terrifying for someone struggling with body image/food issues…but everything about this trip is exactly who I am. I grew up on the lake and in the sun. I crave water and I want nothing more than to soak up every ray possible, wearing as little clothing as possible. I want to be in Spain so badly, I can hardly see straight. I will not let this take over and ruin the trip or the way I feel about myself.
You are on the shelf.