The Last Time I Was Truly "Me"
I was thinking the other day about the last time I felt truly like “myself”. For those of you who know we well, you’ll know that I’m someone who loves to be silly and have fun. I don’t take life too seriously, I love to joke around, and I think that laughing is one of the most incredible feelings.
Recently, though, I haven’t been feeling like myself. Actually, I haven’t felt like myself in a couple of years. You see, the eating disorder has a way of clouding all your thoughts and causes extreme obsessions with food, weight, and body image. Incessantly worrying about food and weight gain prevents me from participating in some of life’s beautiful moments. While physically I may be present, mentally, I am often not there.
When was the last time I was truly happy? I think I have it narrowed down to November 2015. At that point in my life, I was finishing up treatment in New York, and I have vivid memories of galavanting around the city with my best friend from treatment. Yes, I was extremely pre-occupied with my body and my weight, and I won’t say that life was a breeze. But I was also able to concentrate and focus a lot more, especially when experiencing moments in the city that I still remember to this day.
Now, my thoughts are consistently and continuously clouded by my eating disorder. I am constantly thinking about what my next meal will be, or what kind of food will be served at a social gathering, or what my weight is doing, or how my body is changing. These thoughts happen at work, when I’m with family and friends, and when I’m at home alone. Part of the reason I obsess so much is because I am underweight, and my brain is just not capable of functioning properly. My mind is always pre-occupied, making it difficult to concentrate on everyday life moments.
So the last time I felt like myself? November 2015.
I remember singing karaoke and having dance parties in treatment in New York.
I remember acting silly and yelling “boo!” as the staff at the treatment centre would enter the unit every morning.
I remember walking the Brooklyn Bridge and eating rainbow bagels.
I remember getting drunk and causing shenanigans in Washington Heights with my best friend.
I remember applying for jobs and getting excited about concert tickets.
I remember laughing. Truly laughing.
You may be wondering what changed, and I think I have that answer for you. I was at a healthy weight in November 2015.
I’m really scared to admit that. The eating disorder makes me think that I am truly living my best life at my current weight, which let’s be honest, is a complete lie. As much as I want to believe that I am doing just fine, I get sad when I reminisce about the last time I was truly me because it is so far from what I am experiencing these days. I have clear and concrete evidence that eating disorder pre-occupations and obsessions become less frequent and less intense as I approach my healthy weight. Sure, they are still there, and I’m not saying that the journey to obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight is without obstacles. But I do know I am able to focus SO MUCH MORE on the positive aspects of life.
Since November 2015, I haven’t been at my healthy weight. I’ve been close, but haven’t hit the benchmark yet (mostly because I have been choosing to leave treatment early, which to be perfectly honest, is a decision that always backfires).
I am currently working towards gaining some weight as an outpatient. My anxiety is through the roof, as is my guilt after meals, but I’m trying to keep in mind that life was a whole lot better when I was at my healthy weight. I’m still hesitant to make my way up to that number on the scale, but as long as I move in that direction at every weigh-in, I fully believe that life will get a little bit better each time.
It’s worth a shot, at least.