So, I know it has been a while since my last post and the reason for that is that I have been loosing a battle. The last week or so, since I wrote the weight loss trigger post, I have been fighting a battle as vicious and terrible as some of the darkest ones I fought in the deepest clutches of my eating disorder. At one corner is me as I am now, or at least, how I was a week or so ago—not fully healed, but recovering with a passable relationship with food, and a most-days-are-good relationship with my body. At the other corner is a massive wave of hate for my body. A little bit of background might help understand why and where this came from.
In the midst of my eating disorder, I would get compliments on how thin I was becoming and for a few moments, maybe even a few days, I felt proud of myself—my dedication to restricting and over-exercising—and would look in the mirror and feel confident that I looked better without all that weight. This confidence—if you want to call it that—did not last very long and each successive time became shorter and shorter until eventually it disappeared entirely. For quite a few months the cycle of self-destruction continued—I get a compliment on my thin physique, I look in the mirror and like the thinner me better, and then a short time later, I look in the mirror and see all the flaws I had before the weight was lost, and hate my body even stronger and more than before. The flaws I saw in my physique seemed even more pronounced. It was during this cycle of self-destruction that I developed a passionate hatred and disgust for my body.
So, a few weeks ago when I received that compliment about having lost weight, it became the greatest trigger I have yet faced. I thought writing about it would be enough. I thought talking about it would be enough. But it wasn’t. I lost this battle—I succumbed to that hatred of my body, to that voice exaggerating every flaw, and to my tendency to compare my body to that of others. This trigger propelled me to begin anew this cycle of self-destructive.
This week, none of my mantras or images worked. I looked in the mirror each morning and felt disgusted each time I stepped away. At exercising each morning, I assessed the bodies of those in the room, and measured up heavier, and more disgusting than each of them. I kept changing clothes this week because I did not feel comfortable in any outfit I chose, no matter how baggy. And worst of all, I restricted, binged, and shamed myself into silence, simply proving to me that I was weak and powerless to fight.
The hatred for my own body surrounds me as icy cold waters. I’m wearing my finest and yet I am alone hanging only to a piece of waterlogged driftwood with no land in sight. The still night, with its cloudless sky and sparkling stars, betrays nothing about the battle I am fighting. The waters lap hungrily at me, beckoning me to enter their embrace. Just let go. Give up. Your body is disgusting and you know it too, so give in. You are weak. It will be so much easier if you just stop fighting it.
The waves whisper so seductively, but I scream back, at least, I think it is screaming for the force it requires from me to say it, but the piercing air makes it come out a squeak. Leave me be. You can’t have me. Stop it. I can’t do this. The tears streaming down my cheeks in frustration and anger and loss freeze before they reach the water. I splash my hands on the water’s surface in an effort to fight back and my driftwood disappears on the ripples. I’m treading water now, but my strength is near spent. My face falls below the water and I struggle to breathe. I take a deep breath and water fills my lungs; the moon bids farewell as I sink beneath the water.
WHAT TO DO WITH DEFEAT
This week I have felt such a hatred for my body. And yes, in a few moments, I could no longer fight the constant barrage of hate-bearing thoughts, so I gave in. I picked on every flaw I perceived, I tore myself apart, and in the end, I was defeated. The funny thing about defeat is that once I acknowledged it, raged at it, and wept for it, I was able to claw my way up from its watery depths and breathe again. I lost this battle, but not the war. Although I feel as if I have taken dozens of steps backward, I am still on the path to end this war for good.