At 60, I have finished anorexia. Life had pushed me into a corner, no exit sign. I’d come a long way on my own but the roots of my ED remained alive within me. Inter-generational trauma proved to be the fertiliser for my ED. I was sub-clinical. The world saw me as normal, even enviable.
I lived a life that didn’t belong to me.
Winter brought illness. August brought respite, a trip to Africa. In Africa, I integrated seven months of therapy. Bouncing along the road, looking out the window; I gave myself time with me. In the process the shadow, my anorexic self slipped away. The revelation blew my mind. It would be rosy from here on, right? And that’s when I began living with a gap.
On the last day of my 59th year, I attended a Body Esteem Educator Training Course run by the Butterfly Foundation. The irony of the situation wasn’t wasted on me, a recovered anorexic learning about body esteem.
What was I doing? What was I looking for? Food for thought here.
Good Friday morning, a quiet time… The shops are closed and the neighbours quiet. Time to reflect. Lately, I’m checking in with myself these days. Easter, the full moon and the past five months; a lot has changed…
The process of change is for the courageous. To change you have to meet yourself honestly which takes determination and patience. Struggling with a rampant inner critic, I view myself harshly, expecting perfection. Nothing less.
Stress triggers coping mechanisms and perfection is a coping mechanism. Perfectionism is common in those living with eating disorders such as anorexia.
Over the years my ED lay dormant, a salient spore. I knew stress triggered me and I coped by setting unrelenting standards for myself. Enter the perfectionist. But which perfectionist? Was there more than one?
I employed three:
- The punitive critic
- The demanding critic
- The guilt inducing critic
Slippery and deceptive, I have just begun to honestly face them.
Food, arghhh! It’s complicated isn’t it? I love food, I really do. Even at my most vulnerable, as a restrictive anorexic, I loved food. I loved watching people enjoy food. ButI loved chips and chocolate. My mother’s ongoing sabotage of my love of greens, probably helped to keep me alive.
Mama always kept treats in our pantry. It smelled delicious, like a deli. And it was. Treats included chips and chocolate. I caved time and time again gorging and then self-flagellating. It gets better right?
Thank you for reading my blog. From my heart to yours, I wish you inner peace at Christmas. May the festive season fill our hearts with happiness and generosity. I hope to be gracious especially to those I find difficult and rekindle the optimism I’d allowed to pale this year.
I’ve been writing. I’ve re-entered my profession. To date, I’ve decided to own my ED and seek resolution by digging deep into its roots. I’m grateful interested in my blog. It is as haphazard, as the process of learning self compassion, acceptance and love. I’m being honest and sharing the process with you.
My resolution of my ED has been a lifelong journey, I’m nearly 60. The decision to write about it was driven by an incessant internal nagging. I resisted it for a long time, knowing that behind the recovered physical body of the anorexic, lay unresolved emotional misconceptions.
Then I began.
I smashed the experience out quite quickly 45,000 words of undecipherable me. My best friend gave me valuable critique. ‘It’s too confusing,’ she said. At this point, flashing neon doubts arose. I wondered what people would think. Where is the line between wellness and ongoing mental health issues?