"An eating disorder appears to be a perfect response to lack of autonomy. By controlling the amount of food that goes in and out of you, you imagine that you are controlling the extent to which other people can access your brain, your heart." - Eating in the Light of the Moon
It made me feel invincible, doing things that others could not. Willpower and control glamorized the truth of restriction and isolation. The distorted part of my brain was growing larger, slowly overtaking any semblance of my old patterns. In time, this whole new world seemed better than anything I had done in the past. It all seemed "worth it." At least, that's what it told me. I had been using symptoms for so long that my altered brain waves were actually convincing me that this was the way. Nothing seemed powerful enough to talk back, fight back, see the other side.
Without knowing, it became a protective guard. Isolating me from another conflict, removing me from possibly emotional situations, keeping me from experiences with uncontrollable factors. Yes, it was hurting me, but it was simultaneously saving me from all the parts of life that I didn't have the capability to deal with. The disorder shrunk my body and decreased my heartbeat, but it also shielded me from my feelings of abandonment. It distracted me from the fact that I wasn't making new friends and I wasn't working towards my dreams or fighting for my passions. By this point, I didn't care about those things.
"Your intention was to become superhuman, skin think as steel, unflinching in the face of adversity, out of the grasping reach for others." - Eating in the Light of the Moon
For some reason my subconscious was able to figure this out years before I did - if I was so focused on myself, focused on lowering a number that was not supposed to change so drastically, and focused on a surface level attribute, it was easier. It was easier than thinking about my future, and how scared I was that I would end up in a career not suitable for my passions. It was easier than acknowledging my dad was getting remarried and he was moving on from his old life, a life that I was a part of. It was easier than falling in love - something I was given the opportunity to do multiple times, but fucked it up before I ever let myself truly get there. The eating disorder wouldn't let me depend on anything, let alone another human being. It was too unpredictable, too scary, too threatening, and too offbeat from my very rigid lifestyle. As Maryana Hornbacher spoke o her experience: 'Thinner it said, you've got to get thinner."
I rarely paid attention to the side effects of my behavior and I was very good at lying to myself - without even knowing it. Convinced that the night sweats and lack of energy and irritation and anxiety MUST be from something else, anything other than my food choices. There's a chance that the oblivion was due to this other part of me. The bad part, the monster, the greedy and controlling distorted imaging that started making decisions without consultation. The voice inside my head that knew this 116 pounds was 25 less than a year ago but didn't stop me from losing 10 more 2 months later. I would avoid any situation, person, literature, or opinions that did not support my actions. I needed a constant validation for exercising without energy and eating the cleanest of foods. I surrounded myself with the same ideas so I wouldn't begin questioning the lifestyle I had formed. When I thought about leaving it, terror flooded my mind and weight gain was always the greatest fear. I had put in an extraordinary amount of effort to decrease that number, how could I possibly just let that go? I had let in for too long, let in its harmful comments and destructive tendencies. I had honored its urges and put its needs first. I was in a relationship with my eating disorder. No wonder I had little time to worry about anything else.
My mentalities were destroying everything. Pulling me away from life, friends, school, and a future. It was torture that made me feel safe. The type of hurt that you thought you needed - a push. I never thought I was truly hurting my body, I guess it was good at keeping that fact a secret. Not even a doctor with a 10-year degree was enough to make me feel gaining weight was worth gaining a life. I had successfully made my own corner, my distracting space, a hideout from the real world with real problems. There, where my weight was irrelevant.
I didn't want to step outside. I wanted to pretend like this was good enough, I was good enough, I could stay here, I could do anything,
"The idea of my future simultaneously thrilled and terrified me, like standing at the lip of a very sheer cliff - I could fly, or fall. I didn't know how to fly and I didn't want to fall. So I backed away from the cliff and went in search of something that had a clear, solid trajectory to follow, like hopscotch. Like a diet." - Life Without ED