I could feel myself slipping, the world sliding out from under me, my feet skidding on sliding ground, my fingernails scraping at empty air. I could feel myself falling, gravity sucking me down, my legs breaking, my arms flailing. It was terrifying, but I liked it–in a way. And then I came to my senses. I could hear my heart beating a little slower; I could see my thighs getting a little thinner; and I could taste that sourness again, that comfortable sourness, that deathly sourness. I was relapsing, wasn’t I? I was relapsing, and I knew it.
So I took a deep breath, pulled out my phone, and texted a friend. “I think I’m slipping back into my eating disorder.” I wrote. “What do I do?” She didn’t reply; she showed up at my flat with two cups of hot chocolate and told me we were going to Camden. We ended up getting ice cream and having a heart-to-heart. She said some really amazing things that I want to share with you:
- Calories may make you gain weight, but they also keep you alive. Food is fuel.
- Your eating disorder probably only defines you in your head and not in anyone else’s. People didn’t know you had an eating disorder until the end; they knew you as a person.
- It makes sense to not know who you are without your eating disorder, so think about who you want to be–and that is not someone with an eating disorder. Imagine that you left your eating disorder back at the hospital, and eat for the person you want to become.
It was incredibly hard to ask for help and it went against all my natural instincts, but I am so glad I did. Not only did it keep me in recovery, it brought me and my friend closer together. So my point is this: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame in it. It doesn’t make you weak, or a failure, or a bad person. It just means that you’re struggling, and that’s perfectly okay.