Saturday, February 21, 2015

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

  I am a survivor.

Every day, I am a survivor.

I am a survivor of my eating disorder.

Not every day is easy. In fact, most days are really hard. I have to fight the lies in my head all of the time.
 They tell me I'm not good enough. They tell me not to eat or to purge after I eat. They tell me I will never be loved if I'm not skinnier.

They tell me lies.
 For NEDA week, I will be wearing something purple every single day. This fight is so close to me. A year ago, for the very first time, I opened up about my past struggles and how they've affected my current struggles.
A year ago, I was dying. I was killing myself physically and mentally. Every day was consumed by the numbers on my scale.
But the numbers didn't actually make a difference. If they had gone up, I would continue on with my eating disorder habits. If they had gone down, I would feel proud that I was making progress and I would continue on with my eating disorder habits.

Recovery was something I feared. I didn't want it. Because to me, recovery meant weight gain and weight gain meant worthlessness and worthlessness meant loneliness. There was hardly ever hope during that time.

I put myself through nine months of hell. I take full ownership of all of my decisions. I can remember when I started the divorce paperwork that my decision to stop fighting my eating disorder was conscious. I felt trapped and I believed that control would feel so good.

But that conscious choice turned into an addiction and that control I had felt at first disappeared and in it's place, I found myself bound by something much more powerful than I thought possible.

I was hanging on, telling myself I was invincible to the death my friends were claiming would become my reality. I couldn't possibly die.

And the thing is, I didn't die. {obviously...} Oh how grateful I am to be alive and healthier than I was a year ago.

It was on a late Saturday evening a little less than a year ago that I knew this had to stop. I was staring at the grey walls in my family room filled with pictures and memories. I had failed a class and barely passed the others. I had disconnected from my friends and family. I had passed out on multiple occasions. I had stopped my counseling appointments. I was done creating more messes.

So I grabbed my scale and I walked out the back door...
 and I smashed it over and over with a hammer. And when the hammer didn't do the job well enough, I grabbed a shovel and finished it up. I couldn't take it anymore. In that moment, I didn't want to weigh myself ever again in my life! Because at the time, I was weighing myself upwards of 8 times a day. It was ridiculous.

As I said goodbye to the piece of plastic that had given me such a sense of security, all the while entrapping me into believing that my worth equates to a number, I was so afraid of the recovery process. I didn't think I could stop.

It took a while. It wasn't easy at all. I was a mess for a while as I tried to figure out how to eat like a semi-normal person. I made goals and charts and tried to conquer each week, day, hour, or even minute at a time. I wrote positive affirmations on my mirrors and started giving myself personal pep talks in the mirror.

I could do this. I WAS doing this.

It was hard to notice the weight gain. It's still really hard. And I'm actually not in recovery yet. My physical actions have changed immensely but the voice in my head hasn't. My beliefs haven't.
But I'm working on that. I'm working on exchanging what I once believed to be truths and exchanging them for real truths.

The real truth is that I am a worthy human being. I am capable of greatness. Any man in this world would be lucky to have me. I am an incredibly person. I am smart. I am compassionate. I have so many qualities that make me amazing.
And my body is already beautiful. My body has given me two beautiful children. My body has danced and tumbled and can still do some pretty cool stuff. My body gets me where I need to go.

I have worth because I am me. 


Did you know?

 We are all fighters. 

Whether this is your personal fight or not, will you join me in wearing purple this next Wednesday to celebrate life and love? To make others aware of the seriousness of eating disorders? To help the ones who are struggling know that they are not alone?

There are so many reasons to join me.

If you do decide to wear purple on Wednesday {or another day this week}, will you send me a picture? My friend, Letice, is making a video collage for NEDA week and is going to use all of the pictures.
 Everybody knows somebody. 

This fight is real and it is scary. Please remember that your worth is not determined by your physical appearance. You will always have worth. No one and nothing can take that away from you.

And with that, I leave you with a beautiful poem I read today that gave me goosebumps.

“eat, baby.
I know it hurts. I know it doesn’t feel good.
I know your hunger is different than mine.
I know it doesn’t taste the same as mine.
imagine you could grow up all over again
and pinpoint the millisecond that you started
counting calories like casualties of war,
mourning each one like it had a family.
would you?
sometimes I wonder that.
sometimes I wonder if you would go back
and watch yourself reappear and disappear right in front of your own eyes.
and I love you so much.
I am going to hold your little hand through the night.
just please eat. just a little.
you wrote a poem once,
about a city of walking skeletons.
the teacher called home because you
told her you wished it could be like that
let me tell you something about bones, baby.
they are not warm or soft.
the wind whistles through them like they are
holes in a tree.
and they break, too. they break right in half.
they bruise and splinter like wood.
are you hungry?
I know. I know how much you hate that question.
I will find another way to ask it, someday.
the voices.
I know they are all yelling at you to stretch yourself thinner.
l hear them counting, always counting.
I wish I had been there when the world made you
snap yourself in half.
I would have told you that your body is not a war-zone,
that, sometimes,
it is okay to leave your plate empty.” 
― Caitlyn Siehl

1 comment:

Margaretta Cloutier said...

You are indeed a great person, Suzanne! For me, being a good person is more important than looking good. Other people can only judge you for what they see, but you know yourself better deep inside, and that's why you don't have to mind what they say about you. Every one of us is worth it. I wish you good luck, and I hope that you're now on your road to recovery. It may not be easy, but I'm sure you'll get through it soon enough.

Margaretta Cloutier @ Aspire Wellness Center