I can see the patterns, recognize the spiral, and remember how it felt to be SO in control and SO out of control at the very same time.
I can remember the things I used to hear inside my brain so vividly.
You are worthless. No, I'm not. Yes, you are. Ok.
You are lazy. But I exercise all the time. You're still lazy. Ok.
You are not worthy of another relationship. Any man worth my time would love me as I am. No, he wouldn't. Ok.
You don't deserve food. Yes, I do. No, you don't. Ok.
And as I was sitting on the couch tonight, watching a movie with my kids, I felt those same words come into my head. They were so loud tonight. And I couldn't just fight them off with a positive thought. Sometimes, when they're so intensely loud, it's extremely hard to fight them.
It's been hard lately. It's been hard to differentiate between the truths and the lies in my head. It's such a nasty cycle and I hate it.
I hate eating disorders.
I got up from the couch halfway through movie night and told the kids to grab their cups of ice cream and meet me in the garage.
I needed to get out of the house.
I hopped on my bike and the kids climbed in the trailer and we started riding. I rode up and down streets, past so many houses I've spent the last eight years driving past.
I ached and felt lonely.
I smiled and felt free.
Because that's about where I'm at right now---somewhere in the middle, somewhere in a confused state where sometimes I feel good about myself and sometimes I hate myself.
And as vulnerable as this is, it's honest.
And it's really hard.
A. Lot. Of. The. Time.
I can look back on so many memories from the past two years where I've hopped on that same bike in very similar moments of confusion and pedaled far away from my house to find a park where I could sit and think and write in my journal and cry and dance around in the grass.
Sometimes I'm hit with anger that this is my life and these are my demons to fight. I wonder why. I think about how inadequate I feel when it comes to opening up or helping others or fighting for myself---mainly because I'm overweight and I worry that people will think I'm making this all up---and then I remember that if I'm not opening up or helping others, none of this would be worth it and my anger would never subside.
I can blame the media or God or my childhood or my divorce or probably a million other things but really, this is mine.
However it started. However it continued.
It is mine.
Nobody can fight my battle for me. I get that.
I know you might read this and think I'm crazy or weak or dramatic but the truth is, I am the opposite of those things.
I am strong and brave and resilient.
I can remember back to a time a few years ago in therapy when my counselor had me acknowledging the different parts of me that make me into who I am. The sensitive me who wants everyone to feel loved and happy, the self-abusive me who gets so angry with herself for the tiniest mistakes, the fearful me who is afraid of so much more than I could ever type here.
At first, I felt a little schizophrenic for acknowledging that there are different components of who I am but as I was leaving that day, I felt this surge of energy to study each piece of myself and learn from that part of me.
That therapy session has opened my eyes and helped me not feel so crazy when I go from being super happy to angry with myself to lonely and sad. All of these feelings are valid. They are all me. And they don't make me crazy. They just make me human.
So today hasn't been the best for my recovery. I don't like saying that. I don't like the stigma of 'weak' or 'shameful' or 'unstable' that I feel often goes with knowing a person has an eating disorder.
Because when I open up, I feel like my people will start staring every time I eat or exercise or maybe that they'll wonder if I'm going to throw up later---and you guys, I just want to feel like me. And throughout this process the past few years of opening up, I've learned that MY people, the ones who really care and try to understand me, they aren't hovering over me and viewing me as unstable. They check in every once in a while but the rest of the time, they let me figure this stuff out on my own.
They treat me like their friend and I love that.
I love how beautiful it is to know that someone is struggling and to be able to treat them as equally as you'd treat a person who seemed to have it all together.
It takes an incredible person to be able to do that. And I have so many of those incredible people in my life.