Saturday, September 10, 2011

Twenty Months

It has been twenty months since the last time I purged.

Twenty months since the self-hatred and fear took over so powerfully that it seemed my only option was to seek temporary relief.

It was not my only option. It has never been my only option. But five years ago, I started to believe it was. I started to believe that controlling my body was a reasonable solution for controlling my life. If only I could get this area under control, than everything else would soon follow. Starving didn't work. Binging and purging didn't work. Yet, I kept trying, because I'm perseverant, you see. I'm a go-getter. I don't give up that easily. No, I was going to accomplish this goal even if it killed me.

I re-read journal entries of that time and she scares me. She isn't thinking clearly, logically, or rationally. She's not all there. She's so narrowly focused on this one thing (control) that she's missing just about everything else.

She spent hours exercising and seconds eating.
She meticulously calculated calories and pounds.
Hoping for the day when everything was under control.
Everything was calm.
Everything made sense.
Hoping that when at last, after all the self-hatred and abuse, she would finally feel good enough. Peaceful. Content.

I've learned that feeling good enough and being good enough are very different things.

Worth is not a feeling. It's a fact.

Worth is granted to each and every one of us from the instant we are conceived to the moment we take our final breath. We don't usually start labeling the worth of human beings in the maternity ward. Nah, we usually wait at least until pre-school. Then we start labeling the "good" and "bad" characteristics of human beings and from then on it never really stops.

We judge people based on their grades in school, the behavior on the playground, the cookies they did or did not eat, who they date, what they say, how they walk, how they dress, who they are. This labeling of "good" and "bad," "satisfactory" and "needs improvement" isn't helping anyone. Because at the end of the day, we are still what we were at birth and what we'll be when we die: worthy.

The dream is to realize this and believe this as soon as possible. Because some people never do.

Some days I believe in my worth. Other days I don't.
On the good days, Heather is talking.
On the not-so-good days, Helga is talking.
And let me tell you, Helga is a bitch.

Healing has meant giving Heather more stage time.
Telling Helga to take a back seat and "Please, if you don't mind: Shut up. Now."

Healing has meant giving myself a break.

Healing has meant learning that fear is not of God. So when I am afraid, Helga has had too much freedom.

Healing has meant taking deep breaths.

Healing has meant seeking help: from friends, family, and counselors (yes, plural).

Healing has meant sharing my story with others. Turns out I'm not the only one with problems, we're all just too-dang talented at hiding it. No more hiding.

Healing has meant committing to accountability. When I fully agreed to honesty, that meant that anytime I threw up I promised to:
tell Jeremy
tell my counselor
tell my parents
tell Ben and Ashley
and write a blog about it.
Strangely, throwing up seemed much less appealing. Quickly.

Five years ago, I was over my head in eating disordered behaviors.
Three years ago (in Cambodia), I was purging. Daily.
Twenty months ago, the eating disorder won.
Since then, I've won.

There's actually a really good chance that I will purge again. Let's be honest. It's not out of my memory. It will never be totally gone, beyond recollection. But healing doesn't mean finding perfection, nor does it mean giving myself permission to be self-abusive. No. Healing means accepting imperfection. Heather and Helga still get into arguments about the best way to manage my stress. There are still days when I look in the mirror and think, God, you really could have done better. But alas it's less about healed and more about healing.

I read a story the other day about a 94 year-old man who said, "The most important lesson I've ever learned is that I still have a lot left to learn."

Girl, you're only 23. Take a deep breath. Be proud.



Emily Star said...

You are pretty great. And I sent a note with your boyfriend (who looks so much different from the last time I saw him!) for you! Let's talk soon.

Anonymous said...

I Jeremy am proud of this girl Bo.