So I am back in the same old place: knee deep in my eating disorder for so long that it’s not so much a relapse as normal service being resumed. I don’t think you can relapse when you have so thoroughly given up on recovery. I have spent most of this week bent double in pain feeling that fat-heavy-dirty feeling of too many binges in the last month. I want to stop. I literally want to lie down in the middle of my life and say – enough. No more. Please let this go away. I don’t want to work at it. I don’t want to try. I don’t want to be in recovery. I just want it to stop.
Despair is exhausting. I am looking for a get-out clause at the same time as convincing myself there isn’t one. I am bone tired, tired of the helplessness and the guilt and the shame and the dread I feel every morning thinking about how much I am going to eat that day. I have convinced myself that I am letting everyone down. That more is expected of me – that I do not live up to everyone’s high hopes and deep dreams for my life. I wonder if I will ever live a normal life. I spend hours on the couch scared to move in case I am redirected to the kitchen cupboards. This is the reality. I want to tell you that it’s getting better but it isn’t – I am on a downward spiral that seems beyond my control.
To borrow a cliché: it’s always darkest before the dawn.
Because the sun is coming. This week I watched Mighty Heart Theatre’s beautiful play “When I Feel Like Crap I Google Kim Kardashian Fat” again. And oh. Oh. It got to that part of me that is so often silenced by one-more-mouthful of food. It showed me what I have suspected for a while. That this is no life – this is no way to love myself. That there is something else, somewhere else. A place of hope. A place where you can talk honestly about it all, make jokes about your relationship with food to women who get that it’s not just a joke. I am making my appointment for treatment on Monday. I am getting back on the merry-go-round. I am eating bran flakes for breakfast. I am going to reclaim my digestive system. And yes, I am fucking terrified of the work. Yes, I am sometimes fucking bored of the recovery. But more than the fear what I want is next summer to go see that play in Edinburgh and say to Lisa and Sam and Esther: look what you have helped me to do. Tell them that I am holding their mighty hearts in my mighty heart and took them to every appointment with me. Tell them that my going out routine no longer involves thinking up comebacks to insults. Tell them that I have a new story. Maybe I had to hear someone else tell it before I could realise how much better I would be without it.
So here I am: rock bottom. Again. But this time I can see people waiting for me further up, I can see people climbing up with me. This time I don’t want to come back.
All it took was a mighty heart.