Here’s part 2 of my (adventure?) of being angry at my eating disorder. This is where I really thought about what ED made me miss out on, especially here at school. I think this post is one of the best representations of where I’m at right now: a little disorganized and confused and just really angry. This was a lot harder to write and I had to admit a lot of things to myself that I didn’t want to, so of course I just wanted to stop writing, which made me realize that I needed to keep writing, so that’s what I did. 🙂
I didn’t think that I had missed out on that much before I left for treatment. I really thought that I was able to pretty much be myself with my friends and family and yeah, I was “weird” around food but no one could really tell and I still went out with my friends so my life really was okay. Yes, I knew I had a problem; I knew what I was doing was unhealthy, all of that stuff, but I felt proud of myself that I was still allowing myself to “experience” life. Since coming back I’ve seen how wrong I was and it makes me so mad. I’ve been able to think about how much I missed out on because I was too busy slaving over school work to get perfect grades, or because I hated how I looked that day so there was no way I could allow myself to go out or because there would be food involved and I had broken too many of ED’s rules that there was no way I could allow myself to go out and not gain a million pounds, or work out for hours or whatever. Those were all incredibly valid reasons in my mind, in fact, they still make sense to me. I don’t consider them valid but I can definitely relate to my reasoning behind them, and because I was so good at faking things I thought that missing a few social events was fine, which it is, but looking back it was more than a few and I felt guilty the whole time I was alone anyways. Subconsciously, I knew it was a worse punishment for me to miss things and feel like I let people down than it was to go out and break whatever “rule” I was afraid of breaking. So I stayed, felt miserable and continued trying to reach ED’s unattainable standards.
I used to think that “missing out on things” only counted if you physically weren’t there; even in treatment I believed that. A majority of the time, I did hang out with my friends, and I probably had a super enjoyable time every time because my friends are awesome, so because I had fun and made memories and whatever, I wasn’t missing out. I was still living my life and ED and I could coexist perfectly. Coming back has shown me how wrong that was and that’s what infuriates me the most. Sure, I was physically there hanging out, but I was so far off someplace in my mind that I couldn’t remember anything that was said or what we did. I was so busy counting calories, and worrying about how I looked to everyone else, and what I had eaten that day and what I was going to eat tomorrow to make up for what I had eaten today, and how much schoolwork I had to perfect so that no one would realize what a fraud I was and so many other things that I might as well have been at home by myself.
I rarely experienced what “being in the moment” was like until a few months ago. I could probably count on two hands the number of times in my entire life that I remember being genuinely in the moment. That’s it. Out of 20 years of life, I can count less than ten, and a lot of them occurred before my eating disorder, so before middle school. That makes me sad. I hate feeling sad for myself, but that makes me really sad. That’s when I realized how much I’ve lost out on. I have so many great memories. I’ve been blessed with a great family, great friends, and some super awesome opportunities, and I’m aware of them. When I look back at my life, I feel so incredibly grateful for all of the memories I’ve been able to make, but it makes me wonder how much greater they could have been.
Now I know. I know what the other side is like and I love it and I’m so angry that it took me this long to get to experience it. I can’t help but imagine how much richer and joyful my experiences could have been. What would prom have been like if I wasn’t so focused on the fact that we had pizza for dinner beforehand? If I had actually let myself enjoy dancing and taking pictures and getting crowned prom queen instead of counting calories in my head over and over and over again or constantly running to the bathroom to make sure that I looked “acceptable” because there was no way I could look any better than that. What would slumber parties and being fourteen have been like if I knew that my friends weren’t judging my body? If I had let myself be a part of the silly fashion shows and selfie photoshoot sessions? If I had let myself enjoy the candid photos that no one really looks great in but that really capture the moment? If I hadn’t compared myself to pretty much every single girl I knew? How different could my life have been without this stupid voice in my head?
It would be really easy for me to get caught up in the “What ifs”, so I just pretended they didn’t exist, but what I didn’t know is that it’s okay to think about yourself sometimes. It’s okay for me to be angry and sad and upset. It’s perfectly okay for me to feel and express emotions that are uncomfortable. Everyone feels them. Every single person I know which means that I can feel them too. A revelation that I am just recently coming to, like today recently. So yeah, once I realized it was okay for me to feel angry, I’ve allowed myself to realize how much ED had taken from me and it’s infuriating.
I don’t really know what comes next. I’m angry and frustrated and I can admit that but I still don’t necessarily like it. It’s very different for me and I can already feel myself wanting to ignore it and minimize things, but I know where that gets me so I’m trying to do something different. So yeah, anger is a thing. Screaming in my car for 20 minutes and punching my steering wheel is a thing…and it’s okay. It’s okay for me to be angry for a while, and I’m not going to fall apart because of it.
Do I necessarily like where I’m at? No. Is it awkward and uncomfortable? Incredibly. But one thing I’ve learned to embrace is that sometimes you just have to swim in the awkwardness and accept it. So I’m accepting that I’m in an incredibly awkward time in my recovery, but that’s where I am so I’m going to be okay with it.
I’m going to keep allowing myself to be angry at ED, because he sucks. A lot. And now that I know how much he’s taken, I can’t wait to get him out of my life and make some new awesome memories that he doesn’t get to be a part of.
Peace out Ed. You’re not welcome here anymore.