I’m not sure why I’m fighting recovery so hard right now when this is not how I want to live my life.
The Physician’s Assistant asks, “when was the last time you didn’t care about what you weighed?”
When I was 10.
“What did that feel like?”
I was free.
She is asking because I admitted I’m basically falling apart in the doctors office because I’ve seen my weight and I am there to talk about recovery but all I can think about is not recovering because that is what happens every single time I see my weight, no matter what the number. We are supposed to talk about starting an anxiety medication and now she has to start all over with convincing me it’s the best thing for me. In this moment I am afraid to stop all the obsessive behaviors because that equals weight gain in my head and I want nothing to do with that. Twenty minutes later, I come around. I have a prescription I have not picked up. I am terrified of it.
It takes 52 minutes door-to-door to get from the house I live in to the house I spent the first 12 years of my life in. In this house and in this neighborhood, I was the most free from eating disorder thoughts I have ever been. In this house, though, are my very first memories of turning on myself.
I remember seeing a teenager consistently run around the block and I remember thinking, “why is she doing that?” Maybe a couple months later, I found myself also running around the block. And then joining the track team. And then the cross country team. All of this was because I decided my body was too big.
In this house we got the internet for the first time. The dial up kind that took forever and robbed the phone line. I don’t know how exactly I wound up in a chat room for teens with eating disorders but nevertheless I did. I would go there whenever I was home alone because I found comfort there. There were other people who felt like I did, and I didn’t have to admit anything in real life to anyone.
In this house was the first thanksgiving I remember being terrified of. I remember excitedly helping my mom in the kitchen and at the same time I vividly remember all the chatter in my head saying I couldn’t enjoy any of the food I wanted very badly. I think I was still able to ignore most of the chatter but I remember feeling so guilty.
In this house we had a scale. When I was very young, I remember my dad putting my brother and I on it to see how much we gained and it was a celebrated thing because it meant we were growing. At some point I started to enter my parents bedroom when they weren’t around to see how much I weighed. The first time I cared I was 86 pounds. Athletic and (now looking back at pictures I can see) not an ounce of extra fat anywhere. I was naturally thin and being athletic meant muscle on my bones. But I saw only fat and thought I needed to lose weight. I remember wanting to be 78 so bad.
I have been wrapped up in numbers, more often than not, since I was 11 or 12. ELEVEN. Eleven is so little. I would have still chosen to play on the playground if I had the opportunity and to not be judged by my peers (because by then it was not cool and I cared immensely what everyone else thought). I would have chosen to play with dolls or make a fort or read The Boxcar Children if I didn’t start to have a flood of obsessive thoughts that one day, I decided I couldn’t shut out anymore. I started to run around the block and spend hours connecting online and one thing led to another (although this sounds fast it was very very gradual) and boom now everything is out of control.
Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell that little tiny girl she is perfect the way she is made and then send her to therapy so all of this could be avoided.
Keep feeding the good wolf. Please please please keep going. Just. Keep. Going.