I used to bury myself in every eating disorders memoir I could get my hands on. Partly because I could relate to so much of what was written, partly to trigger myself and partly hunting for some sort of answers/resolution to my own struggles. Over the last few years, my concentration/memory have been affected badly and I had pretty much stopped reading altogether. I've always enjoyed losing myself in books and this has been something I've been trying to get back into lately. I'm mostly reading light-hearted novels, setting small targets of reading for 20-30 minutes a day of funny/easy-to-read 'chic lit'.
On Saturday, a book I had pre-ordered a while ago arrived. It was an autobiography of a girl I met in treatment when I was 16. I felt obligated to buy it, having gotten to know her fairly well but wasn't sure if I wanted to read it and risk getting triggered right now. Curiosity got the better of me and I sat down on Saturday night and started reading. The book is pretty graphic and descriptive. There is a lot of mentions of numbers, tricks, etc...the kind of thing my brain used to store up as ammunition and set the wheels in motion for things I hadn't tried/stuff I should be doing that I'm not right now.
I read the whole book in less than 24 hours. It didn't trigger me. It didn't make me feel guilty or worthless. It didn't give me ideas about how to carry on down some path of self-destruction or make me feel differently about myself, my body or my meals.
I felt sad. I felt her pain, her torment, her anger, her internal fight. I wanted to reach out to her and hold her hand. I wanted to help her- to go back to the period we spent together in hospital and talk to her, listen to her, validate her. I wanted to tell her to "hold on"- to paint a picture for her of what her life could be like (IS like) this many years on. I didn't, for one second, want to be her. I wasn't jealous of the weights she mentioned or the events that occurred. I didn't feel ANYTHING except sheer hatred for this disease and a deep sadness for what she went through.
I think this is the first time ever where I've felt nothing more than sadness reading about someone's struggle with this disease. There has always been this part of me that is insanely jealous- the sympathy and concern has always been there, but I've always felt, on some level, envious and triggered hearing other people talk about how their disorder has affected them/their lives. It makes me crave the safety and security of hospital- of being sheltered from the world, of having nothing more expected of me than to eat my grilled cheese sandwich and recite affirmations. It makes me miss the numbness, the feeling that nothing matters except weight. It makes me yearn for the days when I had nothing to think about except what excuse to give to get out of eating dinner. It makes me long for the times when I could stay curled up in bed and not have to take any responsibility for my life- I didn't have to figure out things like work, bills, rent...all that mattered was numbers and what I would and wouldn't eat.
I just wanted to share this because I think it's a sure sign that my attitude is really starting to shift. I don't *see* the appeal of anorexia anymore, on any level. Up until now, there has been one side of me that has clung to the hope/belief that anorexia has some sort of purpose/meaning/answer for me and this is the first time where that 'pull' seems to have faded into nothingness.
I don't want that life anymore.