I read a fabulous post from Lana about the meaning of recovery — more specifically the word recovery. This is a topic I’ve pondered often – especially because I am a wordophile…(Hold on, let me google. There might actually be a word for that….) logophile. Hmm. I like wordophile better. ***
For Lana, Recovering is more about Discovering. I relate to that. I accept my experience with ED is an integrated part of my life – one I can’t erase, forget, or deny. Yeah. Part of recovery for me IS discovering who I am now. Ex-post facto. My experience and struggle changed me (in good ways and bad). Now that I no longer starve myself into a stupor, I need to discover my place in the world again.
But for me, Recovering has even more to do with Uncovering.
You see, anorexia pretty much buried “me.” It pushed “me” into a deep hole within myself and filled it with so much sludge I was stifled. Suffocated. Eventually, silent. If you didn’t see it happen, you wouldn’t know I was in there.
Hard to describe what this long process was like — particularly because at my worst, around the time I was hospitalized, I have swiss-cheese brain. I have little recollection. Starvation will do that. I DO remember crawling up stairs, being so weak I could not press the gas pedal or steer, going to the gym only to have the manager call the ambulance 5 minutes later for a very public “intervention,” and one time I overheard teenage boys laugh and call me ‘skeletor’ in Target…AWESOME.
I didn’t do anything for fun. I had no idea what ‘fun’ even was. I didn’t dance. I didn’t socialize. I didn’t date. I didn’t do yoga. I didn’t make any friends. I lost the ones I had. I spent birthdays alone. Thanksgivings alone. In fact, I was ALWAYS alone. Even though I had invites all the time, my acquaintances and friends at work, the neighborhood and gym — many who I love dearly — could not penetrate my inner world (guarded by anorexia). I was living in Austin, TX — far away from any family. My relationship of 6 years had failed. He and his friends were estranged. I began to “sanitize” my life– obsessing with keeping my apartment immaculate, my clothing ironed, everything just “so.” Gone were all the kitschy, funky, fun wardrobe items and home decor. No more glitter nail polish. I gave away a lot of Sanrio stuff (for shame!), I remember that! I wanted everything to be “plain and clean and simple.”
BUT. There is TOO much about “me” that is not plain, clean, and simple!
As I am starting to do this work of recovery — clearing out the sludge bit by bit — I am uncovering “me” again. I am able to breathe. Like emerging from underwater. Or ice, more apropos.
Yeah. For me — recovering is all about uncovering the girl I left behind. I miss her.
I’ve had an eating disorder for decades and it was a gradual disappearing act…it was at rock bottom when I was all but gone.
I miss the me when anorexia was something I rode like a bike. Even when I became tethered to the pedals, then bound by chains. Anorexia eventually threw me from the seat, took control of the handlebars and Iwas left, still tethered, dragging behnd on the concrete. When you are that beat down, it’s hard to think about anything else but survival.
But I’m back in the saddle again and learning to rip the covers off, unpack some of the sludge holding me down and let “me” breathe and BE and come alive again and —sigh. This just feels so good!
Perhaps this is the time for me to lose the c0coon and unleash that inner butterfly of mine.
***Entirely unrelated but worth a peek is this website I just found. Labeorphily – the collection and study of beer bottle labels. Who knew?***