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I Am Me…Not My Eating Disorder

I am…

A friend. A daughter. A sister. A writer. A lover of books and all things word-related. An intelligent, engaging person. A mom to my furry cat, Aliena. A curious, lively person who believes in learning.

I am me. I am not my eating disorder.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that.Last week, I wrote about my ongoing struggles with anorexia. My eating has been slipping for months, threatening my recovery. I felt myself going back to the way I was.

Hungry.

Desperate.

Alone.

Unable to think.

Sentences became simply letters without meaning. My mind became obsessed with food. I thought of chocolate ice cream and cherries and warm bread with butter.

I began to haunt food blogs, eating with my eyes the food I wouldn’t allow myself to have.

Everything felt like it was falling apart.

I even became dehydrated as I wouldn’t allow myself to drink water.

Why? Water doesn’t have any calories.

Anorexia is not really about food or weight or calories. It is about hating oneself, and when you do that, you don’t practice any form of self-care.

I didn’t even wash my hair for a week.

I was terrified to leave my house. Food and reminders of food are everywhere.

But I needed to pick up a prescription. I waited almost to the last minute — the pharmacy closed at 9 p.m., and I left my house at 8:30 p.m.

I didn’t want to confront food in real life. I was too afraid I would break down.

I stopped by the hand soap aisle. There were many varieties of soap. Plum-scented. Black cherry. Pomegranate.

Ahhhh!!! Even the soap reminded me of food! I inhaled the plum-scented soap, wondering if it would taste of the juicy fruit. I was reminded of summers past. We would gather in the backyard, eating watermelon, the juice running over onto our faces and hands. It was such an innocent time, a time in which I was not afraid of food or life.

I quickly paid for my prescription and practically fled to the parking lot. Then I started crying.

I was fed up. Fed up with being hungry. Fed up with being obsessed with food and numbers and calories.

Fed up with losing myself to anorexia.

I was not me. I was a desperate, starving, raving mad anorectic; slowly killing herself because the internal voices would not shut up.

But I am stronger than those voices.

It was terrifying. I talked to myself for ten minutes before going into a restaurant to finally eat a meal. (I knew if I went home and tried to eat, it would all end up in the trash.)

I ordered a virgin pina colada to celebrate my liberation. I was not only starving, but parched.

I could think again.

I may have eating disorder thoughts, but that doesn’t have to define me.

I am…a writer, a friend, a beloved child of God.

I am me. I am not my eating disorder.

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