I went to a Body Gossip workshop today, well more of a talk, which suited me. I was terrified I was going to go and be forced into expressing a love of my hips or bum or thighs or just...me. That didn't happen, which meant I didn't cry or lie or put on a mask.
Natasha from Body Gossip was bloomin' lovely. She was funny and laid back and didn't sound all 'woe is me' when she talked about having had Bulimia. She didn't go on about how ill she had been or sensationalise it or anything. Wonderfully she did not mention weight. (The kind of thing that makes me go 'oh well I'm not THAT ill, I must be fine, I can't get help')
She talked about advertising and how ludicrous it is... she talked about a lot of things to be honest and most of them I can't remember. I was, for the whole time, terrified we were going to do some sort of activity. Additionally the sliding doors weren't central and I had only walked for one hour before the workshop SO CLEARLY THE WORLD WAS GOING TO END.
However, the one thing that did stick with me was that she had Bulimia for eight years and it really sucked but she got better and is successful and pioneering and funny and seems generally happy and 'together'.
Which made me feel like I could have a life without an eating disorder. I've been diagnosed now for over 5 years. I've been ill for almost 6 and I've had 'disordered eating' in the form of food phobia/ hiding food etc. since I was about 5. From 14-16 I was in hospital more than I was out, I did not have the normal milestones of adolescence. But I do feel like I could move on.
This isn't me jumping headlong into 'recovery', I am not for instance about to go down to the dining hall and eat a normal meal with my friends. But it does mean I want to.
I WANT to go out for a meal and not throw it up, I WANT to stop seeing H&M bags as good because they are sturdy enough to throw up in.
I WANT TO STOP THROWING UP.
I WANT to see food as food, not another thing to plan and organise and colour-code into smaller and smaller boxes of 'safe', to see it as food and not a number of calories. To feel comfortable eating a normal diet. To see myself how other people see me. I felt huge and uncomfortable when I was 15kg more than I am now, I felt huge and uncomfortable when I was 15kg less than I am now. I still feel huge and uncomfortable.
I don't know how I'm going to go about 'getting better', I don't fit neatly into any of the city mental health services. I am too Aspergic for Eating Disorders, too high-functioning and crazy for Asperger's Service and too high risk for psychotherapy. But I feel like it is possible, somehow.
I want to feel okay with my body. With me.