This post was written June 25th, but not wanting to hurt anyone I did not publish it. Today I will.
For years I never mentioned that I was an anorexic in my past. But as the years passed I slowly starting talking about why it happened and accepted that it was part of what made me, me. Years had passed so I thought that it meant I was over it.
I was wrong.
In the past month, my grandmother had a stroke, rats invaded my garage and started eating everything, bills are piling up, my small family is crumbling, my writing is falling behind, my sales are declining. Each day brought something new. It would be easy, so easy, too easy, to stop eating. Instead I am over working myself as a means of control, trying to get back on track. Yet the temptation is here. I am not hungry and unlike everything else, eating is something I could control.
It was a control.
When my anorexia started, it was merely something I could control. My then husband controlled where I went, who I hung out with, even what we ate. He did not like healthy foods, he loved fried foods especially fast food. It was an ultimatum that I went with him and often his dad. So we went out for cheap hamburgers 2, 3 or 4 times a week. The salad menu was too expensive and I’d hear about it for hours, so I never got those. Slowly I stopped eating anything greasy, then anything fried, until I was down to almost nothing.
Eventually I woke up, I told him we needed help and he left. While my anorexia was bad, it was far from being severe; yet, it still affected my health for years. There are still residual effects, especially when I get stressed. And while the past month would have made it easy to go back, I knew better.
It was still hard. I had to force myself to eat. Twice friends asked how I could eat the things I threw together to make certain I ate vegetables and meat. Then my grandmother died. Things went in mad rush, I was not hungry and had little time to eat, but I did at least once a day.
The breaking point.
Then just days later a friend started chatting with me. Her children went to visit their fathers, she was so depressed to not have any children at home. She was upset that her parents kept visiting and telling her to eat. She knows I have anorexia in my past. She was not hungry so she was just going to eat the minimum calories possible, so she was asking me how many calories were in coffee, creamer and sugar. I told her to just eat. She was upset. “I am not hungry!” Neither was I, but I was eating
In that moment I realized ex-anorexic was not correct. “Just eat,” I begged softer, she told me how she needs to lose weight and she is not hungry. (She is obsessed with weight.) I was not hungry either, but I want to live. I want her to live. It would be easy to stop eating, but I want to be strong.
I am a recovering anorexic. I choose to eat.
I choose life.
Thank you for sharing, MJ. It’s a powerful story you have here. Is there any way to get it out to an even broader audience than your blog? If there is, and I can help, I will.
Change happens only when we have the fortitude to face our demons. MJ you have faced your demons, met them head on, and continue to defeat them on a daily basis. Remember, what you do today is all that matters.
Yes, there is a sadness and frustration that shows in your writing but, my goodness, the strength and courage that you have grown into as you walked your path. To choose to make the decisions that got you here to the woman and person that you choose to be is sometimes far to difficult for most.
But, you did. And, now you are choosing to put yourself out in other worlds in an attempt to help others.
If I can be of any help with your mission, let me know.
Blessings, Elaine Ireland
The courage it must have took to publish this story! You’re amazing & I am proud of you 🙂
It’s on Ezine Articles. That version is just ever so slightly different. The picture I used here was from then. Weight: 98 lbs, wearing baggy clothes to keep warm, and keep anyone from seeing me. You met me at 128.
I would love to see it out there. Many people think anorexia as only body dimorphism, there are many who use it only as a form of control. Control what they eat. Control how they eat. Control the scale. You can make it move just by changing what you drink for the day. Numbers didn’t matter, it was making that scale move.
Thank you Elaine.
What happened in the past 2 months was the darkness before the dawn. What I learned long ago, was that others are often going through the same thing. Now, in the past and there will be others in the future.
The ones in the past, their course has been laid, but for those who have not yet gone through the valley, maybe they can read this and other stories and find a way to get out sooner. Perhaps they can find a way to not suffer as long or as hard.