I began to address my eating disorder when I was in adolescent treatment in Malibu. It has been a very difficult journey and sometimes it has been very hard not to lapse into old behaviors. In the last year, I have really dedicated myself to staying committed to recovery and have recently seen a big change- I’ve gained weight! In the past, this would have destroyed me, but since I have been working so hard to get healthy, I feel pretty good about it. Mostly. Honestly, this week I had a bit of an emotional meltdown when I went to try on a bathing suit I hadn’t worn for three years. It didn’t fit. Later that night I went to put on a favorite summer dress. It didn’t fit. My jeans didn’t fit. Like, overnight my clothes stopped fitting. It’s one thing to talk about the work, to write about the work, to intellectualize the work- and an entirely different thing to actually have it happen. In my brain, I am very pleased to have some success in this very difficult area of my life. In my eating disorder’s brain, I am losing my mind. It’s horrifying. I feel like I shouldn’t be so upset, but of course I am. This old way of thinking has dominated my life for years and years. Of course I will grieve.
My sponsor and my best friend both suggested that I get rid of my old clothes. They will never fit me again as long as I am healthy. I took their advice and began to bag up my eating disorder clothes and cried the whole time. It was intensely symbolic for me to say goodbye to them, and to my eating disorder– to acknowledge that I’m not going to be that underweight again. That I’m going to stay healthy. I felt like I could almost hear my eating disorder yelling “Noooooo!” as if it was a villain being shoved off of a cliff in a movie. Sometimes those ceremonial gestures are important, like I’m showing myself what is really happening.
This week has been kind of heavy for me, but now that it’s over I feel a certain levity. I know that there is still a lot of work to do so that I don’t lapse in behavior. I have to power through this challenging time. It was hard to say goodbye, and I know that this is part of my grieving process. It may sound weird to grieve something that hurt me so much, but it was my greatest comfort for many years, and it’s scary to let go of it. I know that I have a lot of love and support around me, and that I don’t have to go through this alone. And hey, I get to go shopping.
Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment In Malibu