This Brave Body: The Ali Story
When I was deep in my eating disorder, I was constantly worrying about how I looked, how much I weighed, and how much I allowed myself to eat. My eating disorder led to a lot of injuries and pulled muscles from over exercising. I didn’t know what it was like to eat and not think about the calories or other “bad things” that might be in the food. There were times in which I was crying over the food that I needed to eat. My eating disorder made me hide a lot. It was a lot of work to hide what I was doing to myself. I lived in fear of food and activities surrounding or even involving food, which is almost everything. There were times that I was extremely rude to my parents and we would get in big fights because I would not eat. I absolutely hated myself. I hated that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, fit enough, skinny enough. I walked around hating everything about me. I was living at war with myself. It felt like I didn’t have control over things in my life. To quote myself in one of my journal entries during that period, “I am ashamed of everything that I have gone through. What happened to me was my fault and I don’t deserve to eat. I’m tired of feeling like my eating disorder is a bad thing and that it isn’t justified because I lost weight and then gained all back.”
My eating disorder was my full-time job.
Recovery to me means enjoying going out to eat with friends. It means eating that extra brownie that you really want. It has meant stepping off that scale and doing my best to be comfortable in my own body, which isn’t always easy, and it is worth it. Recovery for me was a very difficult and confusing thing. I not only was dealing with my eating disorder, I was also getting treatment for Bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, as well as PTSD. Getting better meant focusing on the stuff that I was avoiding. When my therapist and I started working through my sexual assault, things got way worse. Both the trauma side and eating disorder side. Things got way worse before they got better. However, the important thing to take away is that things do get better. Having a therapist that specializes in trauma and eating disorders was a big help. Recovery can be a scary thing. Have you ever watched the show Wipeout? You know how they have those obstacles that the people are holding on to one object and have to jump to the next? That’s kinda what it feels like because, in order to move to the next, you have to jump and let go of the rope. There is a moment where you aren’t holding on to anything. That’s the scary part, taking that leap. I used to say that I wasn’t “sick enough” to recover. However, I have learned that at any stage of an eating disorder, you deserve recovery.