This week, Heidi from Living Humble Bee has written the guest blog. Heidi is a blogger and artist, sharing her experiences with mental health and how it plays into her identity as an artist. Heidi’s story tells of her response to a recent eating disorder relapse and how she has managed this outside of her treatment centre.
If you are struggling with your own eating disorder, please take care when reading this in case any of the content is difficult for you.
I’m honored and excited to be guest blogging here at Seeds in the Wasteland! I’m going to dive right in and share my experience living with at eating disorder and getting back on track after a slip in behaviors.
Eating disorders are so vicious and relentless. Throughout this writing, I will refer to the eating disorder as Ed. It has been so helpful for me to personify my eating disorder as a different being. That way, I can separate my own thoughts as Heidi from the destructive thoughts of Ed.
This past year for me has been one of many transformations and exciting opportunities. I returned home from treatment less than a year ago, and that center was the perfect place to push me back into recovery and re-instill the motivation I needed. In the past 10 months since being home, I’ve endured a roller coaster of events and emotions. I can tell you with 100% certainty that living in recovery from Ed is not a perfect ride. It’s the most painful, exhausting, and challenging thing I might ever experience in my life.
Despite the pain, I was starting to build my life. I started an Etsy shop selling weekly planners, and getting that off the ground was so fulfilling and satisfying! I truly felt like I was worth something after the eating disorder worked so hard to demolish any self worth I previously had.
I was in school taking classes. From being in various treatment centers and programs, my school and college aspirations was put to the back burner. How could I ever finish a degree when I was struggling with these constant thoughts about food 24/7? I couldn’t focus or concentrate on anything. I couldn’t exist outside of my eating disorder and was losing all hope of ever being in school. But eventually I was doing it. I was in 2 classes, and actually was finding some joyful moments in the normal stress of school.
A couple months ago, however, my depression started to get bad again. And when depression is worse, it’s so much easier for the eating disorder to creep in. Slowly, at first. It started with my mindset around exercise. Instead of exercising for enjoyment, I began to exercise in hopes of losing weight.
Ed’s thoughts eventually merged and felt like my own thoughts. I felt trapped and like I couldn’t escape the emotional torture unless I ate less. I won’t go into details, but eating disorders are never pretty or fun. They are full of pain, and more pain. It’s a vicious cycle between the depression and Ed and they started to egg each other on. When depression got worse, Ed told me that listening to him would make the sadness tolerable.
Just when I was finally learning to let go and starting to find my own freedom, the eating disorder started to creep back in, increasing its volume inside my mind. But I’m here to tell you that the story doesn’t end here.
Even though I’m still struggling today, I’m reaching out and getting “back on track”. I started to tell my therapist I was struggling again, and I talked to my dietitian. I was honest, and that’s the main key to getting help. Be honest. Don’t let Ed steal your truth or your experience.
As much as Ed wanted to exercise to lose weight, I limited myself and found enjoyment in yoga.
As much at Ed wanted to eat less, I reminded myself that food is fuel, and that my body needs fuel to run properly.
As much as Ed wanted to lose weight and look smaller, I reminded myself that my worth is not in my appearance. I’m much more interesting than a number on the scale or how I look– so are you!
As much as Ed wanted to infiltrate my life fully, I reached out and reminded myself that life with Ed is so much more painful than even the HARDEST day trying to recover.
It’s worth it, friends. As much as this post might speak to you, it’s also a reminder for myself. A reminder that this life in recovery can be worth it. Do the next best thing, put one foot forward, and kick Ed to the curb. ♥