Since it is now 2014, I am coming closer to celebrating the 4th anniversary of my diagnosis and the start of my recovery. I have now spent almost 4 years learning about myself, my disorders, and what it means to be healthy. I have learned a lot. I have learned that when I’m stressed/anxious I suddenly become lactose intolerant. I have learned a fair amount about the human body, how it functions, how to destroy it, and how to get it to optimum functioning capacity. I have learned what works for me in terms of nutrition and exercise. I have learned how my emotions are not always under my control, and just how much that frustrates me.
I have also learned that no matter who they are and how invested they are in your recovery, they will never understand what it is like to have depression and an eating disorder. They will never understand what it is like to live with that everyday. No matter how long they’ve been with you; no matter how educated they are on eating disorders and depression, they will never understand because they don’t have to feel that stuff working away in their heads as you do. My husband has been a huge support, but after almost 4 years I can feel that support starting to slip away. Because that’s just what we’re taught. People get sick and then they get better, but the thing is, with what I have I’ll never get better. I’m going to be “sick” for the rest of my life, and I’m having a hard enough time making peace with that myself. He helped me out through so much in the beginning. He’d help me eat, no matter how many hours it took to get through one snack or meal. He’d listen when I talked about it and try to help me through it. But it’s been almost 4 years now and our lives have started to move on. We’re not in the “help Aja recover” phase of our lives anymore, because you can’t devote that much time of your life to help someone recover from something no matter who you are. I know. After spending every day in the hospital for a month with my mom I just couldn’t keep doing it. I couldn’t listen to her complain about the hospital staff or how weak she feels or her arm which suddenly looks like raw meat because of an allergic reaction to a drug. I couldn’t keep going there. I swear the hospital staff knew me by the end of all that. They stopped looking at me wondering if they could help. They knew I knew where I was going and what I needed I’d been there long enough.
My mom never tried to understand why I didn’t want to eat, or why I cried myself to sleep every night for years. My husband, then boyfriend, tried as best as he could to help me, and he still does, but there isn’t much room in his life anymore for my disorder. I love my husband, and I am so grateful to him for all the help he’s given me and continues to give me, but I know. I know. At some point you can’t deal with it anymore and you just have to move on. At some point everyone will move on, which is sad and it sucks, but it’s life. At some point they will move on and while you’re still struggling they will look at you and wonder why the fuck you can’t just get over it already. It’s been X amount of time, you’d think they’d be better by now!
They will never be able to understand the pain that you feel. How looking in the mirror can make you cry because you can’t see who you really are. You can’t see what you really look like no matter how hard you try, and you know you’ve been trying your damn hardest, because your ED is just wired into your brain. That’s how you think. That’s how you see. And you hate it, but it’s still there. You’re fighting against your own brain, and when it wins instead of you, jeez, what a failure you feel like! How can you not be strong enough to get over this? Why can’t you just be normal and eat, you wonder. Why can’t that sunny world outside seem happy to you instead of scary? Why can’t your eyes just show you what you look like instead of the fat person you think you see, even when you have a BMI of 10?
When I started this blog I was a few weeks into my recovery. I’d started it for my writing, but it quickly became a kind of diary to write down my experiences while in recovery because I’d found blogs by other people with EDs and they were just so helpful. When everyone was telling me that I was “sick” and that I wasn’t normal, and while my mind was spiraling and screaming at me “why can’t you just fucking be normal?” I found their blogs and it was such a relief to find someone else who’d lived it. It was such a relief to find someone else who knew what I was feeling. Who would never look at me and wonder why the fuck I couldn’t just “get better” because they’d been there, and probably still are there, and they know. There is no “better”. We can learn to manage our disorders but they can never go away. And all those “normal” people out there, they will never understand this because they see themselves when they look in the mirror and not a monster.