When You Find Yourself Missing Your 'Sick Body' in Eating Disorder Recovery
If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.
There, I said it. I miss my “sick body.”
It’s the body I put through hell, the body that was malnourished, the body that almost gave up on me and ultimately the body that landed me in the hospital.
I still miss it.
I miss my sick body for reasons other than the ones you’re thinking. I don’t always miss the fact that I could fit in smaller clothes or that the number on the scale was one I hadn’t seen since elementary school. I don’t always miss the compliments, the judgments or the people asking me for weight loss tips.
In treatment and throughout the road to recovery, they teach you body acceptance, ways to appreciate your body and reasons to nourish your body. They have you restore weight, then they talk your ear off about how important it is and slam you with the nutrition and reasons behind your meal plan.
Why do I still miss my sick body after all of this? And why is that OK? For now at least.
I’m brand new to this whole recovery thing, and I’ve never felt more at war with my eating disorder. As I said, that malnourished, frail and smaller body isn’t necessarily what I miss (don’t get me wrong though, sometimes I miss that too). But here are the things I miss more:
1. The Ability to Hide
In my mind, by making myself smaller and smaller I felt as if I could hide. I felt like I could hide from people and hide from life, and I liked the thought of just being able to disappear for awhile.
2. The Ability to Numb Out
I’ve never been good with my emotions, often pushing them down until eventually the bottle bursts. In a smaller, malnourished body, my brain was not able to feel or process any emotion. I was just numb. Now I feel emotions as they come. Some are good and some are bad, but I don’t like expressing them. And I’m working on that.
3. Feeling Physically Sick
Now this is a hard one to explain to those who don’t struggle with eating disorders, and I never tell anyone this because why would anyone want to feel that way? Well, often times I didn’t (or don’t) feel like I deserve to feel or be healthy. Sometimes I feel like it is my job to punish myself for making mistakes. Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, weak and in pain reinforced the fact that I don’t deserve to feel good.
All in all, after years of back-and-forth sickness, in and out of treatment centers and finally in the hospital, I still miss that sick body. The difference here is now I have the skills to tackle those feelings. Sure, they aren’t perfect and sometimes I find myself crying in front of the mirror, but I’m pushing though. You can too!
With my new body (and new mindset) I am able to enjoy my time with friends, family, coworkers and dog. I can comprehend things better; I can be a better teacher, daughter, sister and friend. It’s important to note and acknowledge the feeling of missing your sick body, but now it’s more important to be able to fight and push forward.
My eating disorder took years of my life away, and I’ll be damned if I let that monster take any more.
Unsplash photo by Sasha Freemind