I’ve been writing here for a couple of years, and until recently it has been much more contemplation than doing much consistently ‘active’ in the way of recovery. I think my inactivity was fuelled by a few things. Mainly, genuinely thinking I didn’t have ‘enough’ of an eating disorder to justify asking for more help or making changes (‘not thin enough’, functional, being ‘fine’.).
When I did briefly acknowledge it to myself, it was ‘I’m much better than before, so I must be fine’. I functioned, so why should I want more than that? Perhaps it was also still serving a purpose. Perhaps I had a vague awareness that giving up restriction and properly untangling myself from anorexia would leave me, at least temporarily, feeling all the crap I’ve tried not to feel for a long time. It also leaves me without a yardstick to measure myself. I think this combination allowed it enough of a grip to keep me paralysed in spite of wanting something different.
But gradually over the last few months of support, the way in which I’ve kept things separate has started to break down. I still do it, but a lot less than before. One consequence is that I’m having more conversations about things with my husband, close friends, even certain work colleagues. Sometimes those conversations are helpful, sometimes they are repetitive and frustrating. Committing to therapy required an honest chat with my manager. Bumping into colleagues in the waiting room means it’s easier to just say where I’m going, at least to the people I trust. And when you start sharing, you can’t really control what people do with that information, so gradually it’s become less of a secret. This leaves me feeling I need to explain myself, to avoid any misconceptions (no, it’s really not about ‘looking good’ and no, I don’t apply my standards to others). I still anticipate judgement and I still feel ashamed. Not that I think of anyone else in this way at all, but I judge myself.
I’ve already explained elements of how this works in previous blog posts. But it’s possible to write, but still intellectualise things. So I hope to start writing more regularly, and use this to keep me on track (hopefully) with eating and weight goals. I have come a certain way, I’ve stopped running, made some ‘weight’ progress, quite a bit, really, but I have to find a way to continue eat more, more consistently, make ‘braver’ choices with food, and gain all the weight. People say it’s not about weight. And it certainly isn’t only about that. But you can’t recover from a restrictive eating disorder without weight gain being involved. And overall, progress has been a lot slower than I expected it to be [maybe I need to learn something from that…]. So, now I need to get a move on. I hope that using my blog differently will help me to do that. I hope it might mean fewer frustrating conversations for those around me, and that it will help me to begin to communicate a bit more freely in a way people can understand.
And since I’m now so spectacularly failing at keeping my recovery a secret, I may as well tell my own story instead of letting people guess at it. There is a line, there are things I won’t discuss here, but overall, my aim is to use my voice a bit more. It may be extremely dull and repetitive, but it’s my space, so maybe that’s ok.