Reasons to Recover

I was thinking about my eating disorder, as I do, as I always do. I was ruminating, remembering the sensations of anorexia. I remember, even as I try to forget, to force the images from my mind, the memories of bony reflections. I try to forget these tainted memories, the lies that Ana feeds me, the experiences I am convinced were good, were wonderful, even as I am simultaneously aware of how fucking awful this illness was, and the toll it has taken, and continues to take, on my mind and body. I made a list. Because lists are great, and deeply satisfying.

Here is a list of things I need to remember, as I am trying to forget. These are my reasons to recover:

The good things about anorexia:

  • being thin and perfect
  • feeling powerful, purposeful and fulfilled
  • feeling good about my body (this one’s more complicated than it first appears: I have a love-hate relationship with my body, then and now. I hated bones, but I loved them too. I loved what they represented – success, achievement, and perfect and total control)
  • having a very reliable, way too effective coping mechanism
  • having a channel and outlet to suppress uncontrollable emotions by restricting and over-exercising
  • being incredibly fit, never sweating, and having no acne

The bad:

  • I was no longer able to run, I physically did not have enough muscle mass to sustain a sprint beyond ten or twenty metres, and I love running
  • Constant cold
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Constant preoccupation with food and exercise
  • Constant weighing, and a mood dictated by the number I saw
  • Constant counting, calculating and measuring 
  • Broken friendships
  • I looked like I was “dying”, and people constantly commented on my gaunt appearance and yellowed skin, which only increased my insecurities and need to hide my disorder
  • Insecurity in general, about weight, eating and appearance
  • Fear of being discovered and of Ana being taken from me
  • Isolation and social avoidance
  • Social anxiety
  • Regular anxiety
  • Eventually being excluded from social events altogether after constantly turning them down because I couldn’t allow any interruption to my rigid routine
  • … Being controlled by a rigid, completely fixed routine
  • Becoming extremely distressed if I could not follow my routine
  • Losing my childhood
  • Losing my womanhood
  • Losing my strength, muscle, and physical health
  • Losing laughter and smiles
  • Losing hope

Isn’t it strange how the list of bad far outweighs the list of good, yet I still want so badly to return? It’s a sign of the disorder that still pervades my thoughts, and taints my memories, and clouds my judgement until I can only see what Ana wants me to see, and nothing else, until I lose my reasons to recover altogether.

3 thoughts on “Reasons to Recover”

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