Several blogs about my struggles with bulimia began as conversations with my husband out in the garage. One of the first began with, “I don’t know if I’ve told you this before…” He interrupted with, “you’ve never told me any of this before.”
That’s right; I’ve never talked about it much before. I got better. I moved on. It is the past. So why talk about it now?
Well, for one thing, 2016 was a pretty rough year. It was one of several rough years. But it was the one that left me with no more fight in me, not for myself, anyhow. So, I let the depression over take me. My kids needed me to fight for them, so I did, but there was nothing left for me.
I tried a new shrink. He changed my medicine, gave me a Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnosis, and charged me an arm and a leg. The medicine was a disaster, and I saw no reason to pay him once a week to write me different prescriptions.
Friends had been posting on Facebook about this crazy new gym they were going to and how sore they were and how horrible each workout was. Why this intrigued me, I don’t know, but one night, I found myself signing up for a 21-day trial. The part that sunk me was you had to schedule a time for your first workout. I don’t think I would have ever shown up if there wasn’t that accountability. I mean, I can let myself down and waste my money and just not show up, but something about having an appointment made the rule-follower in me follow through.
So, I start doing this exercise thing, which I’ve neglected for about 5 years at this point. My head is getting clearer. I have energy and am not napping through my days. I find myself telling my kids things like, Mommy deserves this time for herself, and Mommy gets this one thing. They are ready to call child services. Clearly, they are now being highly neglected because Mommy is spending 30 minutes on herself. The trauma.
I’m getting better. I’m getting natural, feel-good hormones to my brain, and I start remembering other times I’ve recovered from a dark time. I remember I have done this before, and I can do this again. But here’s the real kicker. It’s a gym; it’s a weight-loss facility. There are weigh-ins. There’s accountability. I’m eating healthy. I’m eating! I’m exercising. I’m doing things the right way, but my brain, my crazy brain starts getting confused.
See, I haven’t owned a scale since those dark days of my bulimia some 20 years ago. And now, I’m stepping on a scale every Friday, and going to my car and crying my eyes out. I have no idea why, until …you know, I do.
It’s like how a song can make you feel like you felt when you first heard it. How the smell of your grandma’s perfume, or Bengay, can make you smile and feel like you’re 8 years old again getting ready to sit down to her amazing apple pie. Yeah, stepping on the scale every week, was doing that for me. But of course, these weren’t warm fuzzy grandma’s pies feelings. They are scary, sad, worthless feelings, and here I am getting better and basking in the endorphins.
What’s a gal to do, but grab this past bull by the horns and use it for something productive. Pain is where growth happens. If this past demon wants to rise up, then I’m going to take that MFer and use him to remember how stong I am, because I’ve already slayed him. If my brain’s gonna go down this road, I’m gonna use these memories to become my power to keep moving forward. Because I am losing weight in a healthy way this time. I have no shame to bear.
I am putting myself first, and shaking off the shackles of depression. I know the “hot loneliness” is a normal human emotion, and I can feel it. I don’t have to numb. I can even open up and talk about my eating disorder for the first time in my life, because I am a badass. My pain is my power. I move forward. I look back only to see how far I’ve come.
“I have met my self and I am going to care for her fiercely. At least as fiercely as I care for everyone else in my life. I will not abandon, ignore, or lose myself again.” Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior