So I’ve set myself a huuuuge challenge. What feels like a full-time job after my 11 months (and counting) of gainful unemployment.
I’ve never been very good at sticking to things. I start multiple projects, the excitement of possibility spurring me on, always to abandon them before they even get off the ground.
Like that Kombucha scoby I trekked across town to pick up 6 months ago, that’s been festering resembling some strange shrunken fetus in a jar on the kitchen counter ever since.
Or the herb garden I was convinced I’d create when I moved into my house…4 years ago.
Or my first blog of travels in Ghana, when I had my sights set on entering the world of travel writing, which I gave up after 2 posts, and my second, whilst living in Guatemala, marginally better at 3 posts.
But this one I am determined to stick at. This one has a purpose. And I must not abandon it.
As challenging as it will be for someone with a list of failed ventures longer than my 32 years to commit to regular writing, the real test starts with the greater goal of this blog – the goal of recovering from my eating disorder.
Of ending a lifetime of inner conflict, and beginning the rest of my life living in freedom.
I feel that documenting this challenge I have set for myself, the highs and lows, the deepest darkest depths and the just about managing, will be cathartic and healing in itself, and hold me accountable when I am tempted to stray from the path.
The seeds of pursuing creative and spiritual recovery were sewn whilst spending time in the Alps. Enveloped by mountains, their beauty and intensity and the sheer unpredictability of them reminded me daily of the power of the Universe, the insignificance of myself and my petty monkey-mind thoughts.
Peace, tranquillity… and the stillness – such stark contrast to the interminable internal conflict between myself and my eating disorder.
I crave that peace and that stillness.
For me, yoga is integral to finding it. It is the foundation of my recovery journey. To building the real ‘me’, that for too long has been shrouded in guilt, shame, fear, running away and hiding beneath a cloak of obsession with food.
Yoga helps me to connect, for the first time and on a visceral level, with myself. Yoga helps me to find gratitude for my body, to release stagnant memories of a buried past, and I hope, in time, the hardest thing of all, to love and accept myself as I am.
The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.Yogi Bhajan
If you are reading this then I wonder what brought you here.
Maybe it’s because you are curious to learn more about this misunderstood disease, and I hope to offer that insight. Perhaps there is someone in your life who is suffering.
Or maybe it is you who is trapped inside the cage of an eating disorder. If so then please know that you are not alone.
I too have lived a life defined by my dysfunctional relationship with food.
Me, you, and the countless others whose lives are being snatched away by the ED thief.
I have shared my life with an eating disorder since I was 12 years old.
I call it ‘the Gremlin’. He is the horrifying creature that sits on my shoulder, whispering words of destruction into my ear. He is the black little monster with slitty yellow eyes and teeth so sharp they can pierce my soul and knaw at me until I feel as though I will break in half. He breathes sweet nothings into my ear; you can’t eat that…you don’t deserve it…you don’t need it, you don’t need anything or anyone… you have me.
Sometimes he leads me to the kitchen where, with the crazed eyes of a starved beast that needs more and more and more I tear through the cupboards and stuff myself until he makes me crawl to the bathroom and throw up over and over… He cares not for my fragile financial situation when he takes me to the shop and helps me wrack up eye-watering credit card debt on food to feed a family of four for a week.
He laughs in the face of my shame.
And sometimes I have to laugh at myself, at the ridiculousness and futility of it all, to stop the shame overwhelming me.
Like any destructive relationship we have experienced a merry-go-round of love and hate, back and forth arguments, addictive, hunger-fuelled highs, and desperate, pain-ridden lows. I have lived in uncomfortable comfort with the Gremlin for so long that I couldn’t imagine life without him – ever.
But on the morning of my 32nd birthday I realised this.
I am fed up with living what feels like a half-life, arid and empty like the endless nothingness of a desert.
I am no longer the little girl that was snatched away by the Gremlin. Beneath its blanket there is a woman with dreams and ambitions and the fire within to go and grab them.
I am tired of being controlled by my eating disorder. I am bored of being hungry all the time. A different kind of hunger is starting to emerge – a hunger for life.
It’s time for me to take control of my recovery, and tell the Gremlin to leave me the fuck alone.
This blog, I hope, will help me, and help you, and build a community of those whose dreams are being eaten – or starved – away.
We are so much more than our eating disorders, and, as utterly terrifying as it is, I’m sure we can live a life without them.