Eating Disorders and Evolving Identity

It's a tricky spot of rope I'm walking now.  The first time I went into deliberate, purposeful eating disorder treatment was in 2003.  I was still a student, still single, still utterly living my own life, about and for me and figuring out who I was.  I wasn't a pre-teen or high schooler with an eating disorder fogging up my view of my own reflection, but in retrospect, I was closer to that kind of ED patient than I was closer to the ED patient I am now.  Life is never simple, and eating disorders don't fall into the "simple" bin at life's store of complexity; still, recovering basically on your* my own and (on the surface) for your myself was relatively simple.  It's just you me.  (And your my parents and your my friends and your my concept of the future and your my concept of your myself, and and and...  But my point stands.)

The second time I went into deliberate, purposeful eating disorder treatment was in 2008.  I was married for just shy of a year, and starting to marinate the idea of pregnancy.  What with one thing and another, we never ended up trying, which worked out for the best.  But the concept of a pregnancy, of an infant, a toddler, a child, acted as a spur in my flank.  For about five months there, I was the healthiest I'd been since November 2001.  For some reason, that spasm of recovery didn't require much thought.  I made up my mind one day to go back on Lexapro.  I made up my mind one day to find a non-traditional therapy group.  Then in January '09, everything kind of really hit the shit.  By March the recovery period was over for me, and since then it's been a slow downward slide, in terms of weight, sure, but more importantly in terms of living with and in an eating disorder.

So now I am in my third deliberate, purposeful eating disorder treatment stint.  I've been married closer to four years than to three, and the idea of recovery is an abstract.  I'm finding it harder.  The questions are more complex.  I'm no longer the single 21-year-old ignorant of her own possibilities.  I'm no longer the newlywed with baby on the brain. There is this whole, permanent part of me that's grown in since 2003, and knotted up since 2008, and I have no idea who that part is, or how it fits in with the rest.  I revolt at the idea of connecting with the idea of recovery for an other (say, a hypothetical baby).  I can't connect with the idea of recovery for me, yet, either.  Which I suppose isn't terribly surprising, given that I don't actually know who I am just at the moment.

Eating disorders (like addictions) like to whittle you down to their own perfect idea of your identity, until they leave you only with your body and your food.  I am absolutely not there.  I am more than my body and my food.  But unless we're talking in list form, I'd be at pains to tell you just what I am.

* Went back and changed that from second person to first person because, imagine, my experience is not universal and my second person description might be seen as belittling to younger or single or student eating disorder patients.  Which is not what I meant by my use of second person, of course.   I have a bad habit of slipping into it, when I do not mean to generalize or assume others' experience, but more when I'm edging into my tendency to distance myself from something.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Get rude, get deleted.