As a guest blogger for Eating Recovery Roundup Day, I was asked to comment on the topic #DontMissIt.
Don’t Miss It
Miss what? What did I miss? I missed so much. I missed me.
How does one miss oneself?
I missed the insidiousness of anorexia. I missed how quickly anorexia highjacked my daughter. I missed how quickly anorexia made itself very comfortable in our home. I missed how much anorexia had me by the throat as well. I missed my family. I missed our lives before anorexia.
When anorexia first entered our lives, I was blindsided by it’s strength. It quickly invaded our lives and took the very soul of my daughter. I missed her.
What I did not realize was how much I would lose me. How much of me I would miss. What happened to the laughter, the sarcasm, the happiness that was a part of me? What happened to the things in life that had brought me contentment and comfort? My marriage was compromised. My husband and I were constantly bickering. What had happened?
What happened was that I missed how much I allowed the eating disorder (ED) to take away from me. I allowed ED to take away the things I enjoyed. I allowed ED to drive a wedge between our family. I allowed ED to isolate. I allowed ED to call the shots. I allowed ED to insist we walk on eggshells. I allowed ED to to make me afraid. Very afraid. Afraid to cause a conflict. Afraid to set boundaries. Afraid to challenge the very core of the ugly that was present in our home.
I remember one particularly bad day. A horrible, no good, very bad day. I was hosting a pity party for myself and my sister-in-law called. We talked. She understands, as she, herself, battled an eating disorder. I cried and vented and, oh my gosh, poor me. She listened and then said some very powerful words to me: “When are you going to stop being the victim here?” What? Me? A victim? Her words were a huge “AHA” moment. I wasn’t a victim, yet I had let myself become one. I realized that I had missed me. I had allowed myself to be consumed by the chaos. The chaos had become my normal.
At some point, I decided to stop being afraid. I was tired. I was weary. I was done. I stopped allowing ED to intimidate me. I chose not to engage. I chose not to react. Choices. Choices helped me to see what I was missing and ED got angry. I didn’t care.
I chose to bring back the “me” I had missed. I took my power back. I had missed my power. I had missed me. I started to take care of me. Self care? That sounded counter intuitive. It is not. If we do not take care of ourselves, you will miss yourself. I sure did. I realized that by not nurturing my own soul, my own wishes that I was giving so much to ED. Self care was difficult to define. What did it mean? It meant to reengage in all that I had missed doing. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot be strong enough to stand up to ED. Self care is not selfish. Self care is healing tears and knowing, deep in your loving heart, that this is not your fault. Stop carrying that burden. Stop being ED’s victim.
I stopped being that victim and I did not miss her at all.