Living with an eating disorder is mentally exhausting. Its difficult to explain to others what its like to constantly have thoughts about food going round and round in your head, day in, day out, like a broken record. The continuous bombardment of these thoughts and urges completely envelopes you, so much so that it seems you have little space left for anything else. So much so that it feels so much a part of who you are. But this is dangerous territory, and you know how important it is to always be aware of the distinction between the illness and yourself. Unfortunately this is not an easy task, and although you don’t want it to, the line between the two can become distorted and less clear. And this is where the eating disorder gains its strength. The thoughts are often so loud, that it feels almost impossible to dismiss or ignore them. The more you fight, the louder and louder the eating disorder gets until your head is screaming.
Some days all I long for is a clear mind, clear from thoughts constantly obsessing over the next mealtime. Clear from one that is not frequently at heightened levels of anxiety, stress and worry. I often ask the eating disorder: “Why are you still here, ruining my life, when I don’t want you?” Momentarily, I feel empowered that this isn’t a part of who I really am. And although recovery isn’t a straight and easy path, its hard and each day brings new challenges, I know I can pull through this if I keep fighting. I sometimes like to imagine those unwanted thoughts on a piece of paper, folded up, being placed in a bottle, the lid sealed tight, and thrown as far as possible into the sea. I then imagine myself, stood by the shore, watching it float away in the waves, never to return. This imagery gives me hope that I can move on with my life and that things will get easier. One day, that bottle will be hundreds and hundreds of miles away in the middle of the ocean, so far away that I will have forgotten it ever existed.