When Recovery Isn't Recovered

By , Anywhere, AL

My thigh gap is gone.
My collarbones have disappeared.
My butt is big.
And I am miserable.
I’ve spent the past 5 months battling bulimia.
I spent the year before that REVELING in anorexia.
It felt so good to be so skinny, to be so small, to run so fast and light and free.
Until it wasn’t anymore.
Until people began to get concerned.
Until I was cold, so cold that no amount of layers could protect me from the chill.
Until my hair began clogging the drain in large clumps
Until I got benched by my cross country team, told to gain 5 pounds in a week, or else I would be cut
But I wasn’t sad.
It was so GOOD to be so SMALL
I was so happy, so carefree – as long as I didn’t eat.
Now:
I eat. All I do is eat. And cry. And purge.
And I hate it.
25 pounds in the course of 5 months. Painful. Heartbreaking. Misery.
Some of it needed, yes, but not in the way that it came.
I used to be the “healthy eater”, the spinach and fruit and turkey slices defining my meals.
I always knew when to stop, was always under my calorie goal.
I was strong.
I was able to resist, in fact, the queen of the resistance. No sweet morsel could tempt me.
Now:
What used to be my daily total calories are now consumed in one sitting.
Cookies, cakes, ice cream, bagels, PEANUT BUTTER, candy, chocolates – everything “unhealthy”
I haven’t had a vegetable in the past two weeks
Every single day, I claim “this will be the end, I will never binge and purge and purge and binge again! I will eat only 500 calories each day, consisting solely of vegetables and fruit and goodness! My gap and my smile will both return!”
And then I go to bed, alight with hope. And then I wake up.
And it starts all over again.
The exhaustion.
The self-hate.
The inability to focus on anything but CALORIES and FOOD and EXERCISE and HOW TIRED I AM AND HOW UNFAIR IT IS AND WHY CAN’T I JUST BE SKINNY AGAIN.
And I turn to food.
“I’m already so fat.” I tell myself “Might as well make it even worse.”
So I eat.
Candy. Cookies. Cake. Chips. Peanut butter.
Anything and everything.
And then I cry. And purge. Cry some more.
And then promise to never eat again.
Until I do.
I stare at my body in the mirror, plucking at parts that are unknown to me.
Who knew that your wrists could get bigger?
Who knew that your butt could grow so much?
Who knew that your armpits had their own little fat deposits that jiggle and wiggle?
Who knew that this was all happening inside my head?
Who knew that I can’t even look at myself in the mirror without self-loathing, without fear and disgust and total humiliation?
“She got so fat”
They will say.
“Remember how beautiful she used to be? Small and petite and lovely?”
They smile and point, tracing my flaws with their cruel words.
Knives.
The edge of one scraping against the side of my skin, the quick burn, the sharp sting, reverberates through me. I watch in fascination as blood trickles down, dancing along, a river of torment and pain.
The knife moves on its own accord.
It doesn’t care that those words were never actually said.
It doesn’t care that people said “You look so much healthier, so much prettier, so much stronger”
Those aren’t true.
The food agrees. It tempts with promises of a sugar overdose, death by stomach bloat.
How can one fight against such sound logic?
You’re gaining weight, and you are unhappy about that, so eat more.
You’re said because you eat too much, so eat too much every day.
You’re in pain, exhausted from self-mutilation, so continue in that cycle.
Eventually, it will bring happiness.
Right?
I look at pictures from the past.
How tired my smile was, but how defined my cheekbones were.
I look at pictures now.
How tired my smile is, and how my chin blends into my neck just a bit more than it used to.
When will it end? I ask anyone, everyone.
No one knows.
I’m exhausted.
Battle-worn.
Self-inflicted pain.
What could be better?
Recovery at its finest.






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