I have been recovered from my eating disorder for about 2 years now. I have my good days and bad, but for the most part it stays in my past.
“Triggers” are what people with eating disorders have come to know as little or big things triggering that anxiety in your mind. That voice in the back of your mind that has the power to ruin your whole day.
I have labeled my ED as “Ana” short for anorexia, originally because that word has always been so scary and daunting to me, but now it’s my way of putting a face on it and dealing with it head on instead of avoiding it out of fear.
Dressing rooms are a major trigger for me, even still. I dread going in there, it scares the hell out of me. It’s like a time machine bringing me back to a dark place of absolute self hatred and insecurity.
Today, I faced my fear and walked into the fitting room. I always have a little pep talk with myself, as silly as that sounds. I tell myself that it’s okay if the clothes don’t fit me. I try to be positive. I try to fill my head with self affirmations, a practice everyone raves about. But then, I try the first outfit on.
What do you see when you see this photo? A tank top? Some classic blue jeans?
My mind during this exact moment: “I hate this. God I need to get my ass in gear. I wish my hips weren’t so freaking wide. Why does this shirt make my belly look so fat? Why does my waist like look huge right now? I’m so bloated…”
I tear myself apart.
And why?! I go to the gym, I work out, I eat healthy. What’s the problem? I’m a petite girl, so people don’t understand why I struggle, but I do. It’s a mental battle.
So, you know what I did?I got back into my clothes I had walked in there with and walked back out into the store. I went and grabbed a pair of loosely fitting shorts, and turned to head to the counter. I’m fit, but wasn’t “fit” enough for the tight jeans in my mind. I wasn’t a tall stick figure so I talked myself out of the jumpsuit. I was about to walk up to the register, when a wave of anger came over me. I was so frustrated and upset. I felt so defeated.
I walked my curvy ass right back to that jumpsuit, and didn’t give myself the chance to talk myself out of it as I trudged up to the register.
The cashier looked at me and saw a girl with clothes. She didn’t know that it was the bravest thing I’ve done for myself in a while. She didn’t know the internal battle I had gone through. She didn’t know the sense of accomplishment I felt. But I did. That’s the thing about eating disorders, it’s a big dark secret, one that often stays hidden from the world.
I have good days with bad moments. I am strong and I have moments of weakness. I am scared but I am brave. Contradictory right?
I think we all have to experience weakness to learn how to overcome it and face it with strength. I think that we all have to feel those bad moments to learn how to compartmentalize and realize that it’s just a bad moment, not an entire day. I think that we have to fear things in order to become brave, because how could you be courageous without feeling the fear and doing it anyway?
I have struggled and I still struggle. I still have moments that I hate my body. My chest still tightens worrying about how “fat” I feel at times, but you know what? I am recovered and I am proud of myself for every dressing room I have conquered.
It may just be a dressing room to people who have never lived with an eating disorder, but to those who battle it or have in the past, they know this internal struggle to be more than true.
Face it. Overcome it. Buy that damn jumpsuit.
Stay golden 🌞