Monday, 4 May 2009

Times They Are A-Changing...

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.


Cacti Don't Cry said...

I'm happy to see that your attitude IS starting to shift. I think we kind of have to move backwards to get to where we were before the ED ever existed, in a way. One of the first ED books I ever read was "Wasted," way back in the beginning of my ED... and at the time, I didn't find it triggering at all. I found it kind of horrifying in a morbidly fascinating way... like, Oh, that could never happen to me... I just don't understand her at all. Well. I still don't quite understand her, except that now I don't understand myself either! And I think that if I were to read that book now, for the first time, I'd find it maddeningly, horribly triggering. So for me to get back to a place where I CAN read things like that and feel, I guess, pity or sadness over anything else, would be a truly incredible thing. And you're doing it!

ElleMigliore said...

You have such a big heart, Ellie! I wish there was a way for that girl to hear your comment and input! I'm so happy to hear that it wasn't triggering at all because I can relate to exactly what you said in reference to reading something like that!! You've made it over the mountain top this time and will be a role model for so many others!! Remind yourself of that everytime you start to get down on yourself!

ElleMigliore said...

...but if you forget, then i'll remind you ;)

Stef said...

Whoa I can't believe a girl you knew in treatment wrote a memoir, intense! I'm so glad that you didn't feel triggered by it, but instead just felt rage towards this horrible disease! That is really encouraging because it means you are much healthier mentally than you knew!

Anonymous said...

Great to hear that this memoir did not have its usual triggering impact on your!
I love the picture.
I love your new attitude.
Take care!

curlytop said...


I agree with CDC. I can see your progess! I'm so proud. :D

Just out of curiosity. What book were you reading?

With Love,


Thinspired said...

I'm really happy to hear that reading the book didn't trigger anything for you. I'm sorry though, that it brought you pain :( It is so wonderful that you are moving past these times. Times are a true...and I love that song :)

Anonymous said...

hi sweetheart,
im SO happy to see that you dont want this life with ed anymore....your attitude towards it is changing and its so so great! im glad the book didnt trigger you, which shows how far uve come!
one of the main motivations for me at one stage in recovery was that i didnt want a life with ed anymore...i didnt know what life would be like without ed, but i knew anyting was better than the endless suffering.
youve come so far, its so inspiring and i know your going to keep moving forward :)
im so proud of you!
much love

Lexi said...

This post is awesome. I'm so glad that anorexia no longer seems appealing to you. That's really cool that that girl wrote a book! Gives me hope that I can too.

I can relate to reading a lot of ED memoirs - I'm glad you are reading more light hearted novels these days :)

Have a good one!

kali said...

ELLIE! who wrote it?(fb inbox me) if i remember correctly we were in the same place with good ole kay-anne (if i remember rightly) when you were that age... im glad it didn't trigger. this is a huge step forward babe. like cactic said, YOU ARE DOING IT. keep plugging on hun... it may not be the perfect ed totally free life you want but hell, TRUST ME it is one worth living and worth fighting for. 100% belief in you ellie. you flippin rock