My brain is sick. My brain is sick! God dammit, my BRAIN is sick!!!
I want to scream this from the mountaintops. Maybe that could stop some of the nonsense people spew at me and my fellow recovery warriors day in and day out.
I am weight restored. I have followed my meal plan since the day I entered treatment. I am out of residential. I no longer exercise compulsively. I am not physically sick enough to need a feeding tube, be in the hospital, require urgent care, have daily blood draws.
The above makes others believe I am doing wonderfully, amazingly, fantastically awesome with all the rainbows, unicorns, and glitter. They see me and just know instantly that my eating disorder must be – poof! – gone. They compliment me on how great I look, boast how proud of me they are. They walk away assured they’re right. After a few weeks or months they forget the eating disorder ever existed in the first place.
What they can’t see, and sometimes won’t see, is that anorexia is still here. In fact, it may be here for a very long time. Some effects will last my whole life. It is not making itself known in my behaviors and physical appearance anymore, but my mind is in its control regardless.
The obsession, body dysmorphia, irrational thoughts, they all began long before I ever restricted my first time. In fact, by the time I actually started using behaviors I was fully in its grips. Once the weight loss became dramatic, when others finally noticed, I’d been dealing with the mental effects of anorexia for a very long time. This is because my body was never sick. I wasn’t simply behaving in a maladaptive way or following some extreme diet. No, my brain is and always was, the part of me that is sick.
Please, before you take a look at me, or anyone recovering form an eating disorder, remember that. Remember that outward appearance and actions can never explain what is on the inside. Remember that the brain is the last thing to heal and the first to become damaged in the first place. Before assuming everything must be okay now realize that it probably isn’t and we are still fighting against the thoughts every single day.