There’s a war in my head. Some days it gets so loud in there, it gives me a headache. A real one. The voice nattering incessantly in my ear is not a healthy voice. It’s a familiar one. It feels like a safe one. But that voice is an expert manipulator, liar and thief. There’s another little voice in the dark – the voice of reason and wisdom, sense and sensibility – but that voice is weak and timid. It has never learned to stand up to the manipulator.
And if as a society, we nurtured those in the earlier stages of illness, perhaps those “high functioning” addicts and depressives, those people with hidden and invisible mental illness, would feel okay about acknowledging their issues much earlier on. Because the earlier the problem is tackled, the better the outcome.
My psychologist talked about recovery, and I said (amongst other things), what’s in it for me? Which sounds appallingly self-interested – because it is! But it is the crux of my recovery issue. Everything I do in my life, is for other people – even my recovery. And without having intrinsic reasons to travel this rocky road, it is nigh on impossible to keep trudging along.
What my body didn’t know when it was born, was that it wasn’t the “right” shape. It wasn’t the “right” size. It wasn’t the “right” colour. That while it functioned in a beautiful, healthy and practical manner, aesthetically it didn’t conform to the ideal of beauty, espoused by those who raised me and the society in which they lived.
Today was a pretty good day all things considered. But tomorrow, I’ll try to eat nothing at all. Because this attempt to eat like a “normal” person, is a miserable failure.
I have been bulimic, on and off, for 30 years – although I developed anorexic behaviours during a breakdown earlier this year, and was (ludicrously) thrilled to bits. But my disordered eating behaviours began way, way earlier than my 20s. In fact, I have no recollection – whatsoever – of having healthy eating thoughts and behaviours, or positive body image and self-esteem. I’m (supposed to be) all grown up now – so casting blame is pointless – I am old enough to take responsibility for my beliefs and actions. But life is rarely simple. Developing my eating disorder was like a jigsaw – a whole gamut of pieces came together to form disordered thinking and maladaptive behaviours. This is how my personal puzzle evolved.