What Getting a Cold Meant to Me in Eating Disorder Recovery
I’m experiencing this weird phenomenon now. I’m not sure many other people can relate. It all started after I recently got “sick” with a cold for the first time in years. I was recently discharged from a lengthy residential stay for the treatment of anorexia nervosa, a relentless demon I have been fighting for the majority of my time on this earth. Prior to my intake, I had been in the throes of a harrowing, two-year relapse.
Flash forward to now. I’m anxious, irritable, weight-restored and here comes this: the common cold. The fevers, the aches and endless stream of mucus flowing from my face all made me feel more alive than I have felt in a long, long while. This very normal experience brought me to a sobering realization. For the first time in over two years, I was no longer inhabiting a dying body.
Instead of living in a constant state of physical stagnation, my hair is now growing, my skin is supple and my immune system is responding to foreign invaders in an appropriate manner. This is bringing about feelings of confusion. Of bizarre grief over the loss of the dying body and of sadness thinking I existed in the state, unaware of the severity of my illness, for so long. A new self-consciousness has emerged. Others around me doubtlessly witnessed this overt deadness, while I flitted about in complete disbelief of it. At the time, I was in no mental state to comprehend this.
I am coming back to life in a way I have never experienced before.
The feeling is surreal.
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