Webster’s Dictionary defines nostalgia as “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.” Recently, I have been struggling with a nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me that I miss being very sick in my eating disorder. The voice has been diligently working to convince me that going back to that time is desirable. It tells me that I was happier and that relapsing back into the disorder is the answer to my problems.
Deep down, I know that walking back in the direction of my eating disorder is akin to lighting myself on fire. I know that I do not actually miss feeling exhausted, cold, spacey, achy, and disconnected. I know that having space in my mind to think about more than food/calories/numbers feels amazing. Sitting in a hospital bed, too weak and dizzy to stand is not a life and anorexia has stolen too much from me already. But, these feelings just will not subside. I am still finding myself constantly romanticizing that time in my mind.
When I was extremely sick life appeared to be simple…albeit in a very distorted and unhealthy way. I threw all of my physical and mental energy into my eating disorder, and as a result, I was able to numb out and ignore everything else. I “lived” solely for the purpose of losing weight. I rose in the morning and went to bed at night with one singular goal. It kept things neat and tidy. It made life predictable, and it gave me a false sense of security. Even though relapse and the resulting path back to treatment are not desirable, I know the way well, and I have walked it a record number of times.
As someone with severe anxiety, I struggle with the idea of the unknown. I like knowing what is coming next and anorexia thrives off of rules and routine. Getting better and recovering means facing the world that comes with so much unpredictability and that can feel overwhelming and scary. It can be hard to remind myself that anorexia is a false sense of control. It can be challenging to debate with the voice that tells me I can have all of life’s answers if I run back towards being very ill.
I want to end this post with something positive or insightful, but I do not really feel like I have anything that really fits the bill. But, the words above are honest and sincere. It is part of navigating recovery and something I am trying to explore instead of simply running back to the disorder. I am just going to do my best to take it all day by day and bite by bite.
Thank you for listening ❤