*Trigger Warning– this post contains a vague description of an eating disorder relapse*
Lemme take you back 3 1/2 years.
I ran my fingertips along the cold tile bathroom floor. It was kind of dirty. It was a college dorm, so we weren’t exactly on our A-game with cleaning. I didn’t care. I continued running my fingertips, tracing the tiles as I went. Weighing my options.
It’s a humbling moment when you find yourself sitting on a dirty bathroom floor in front of a toilet.
Eating disorder are lonely.
Sometimes relapses start with a split second decision. I need to do this *right* now. You don’t think about it, it just kind of happens. Other times, the decision is a slow build up. You start to lose yourself a little bit more each day. You flirt with the idea of relapse, but you don’t make any rash decision. Until eventually, it seems like you can’t go on without it. You feel like you have no other option. It’s too overwhelming not to relapse.
The latter scenario is what I was experiencing. The slow build up culminated with a moment where I saw something I never wanted or needed to see. I promised myself I’d scroll through Facebook quickly, and then start preparing for finals. So I opened my laptop, typed the address for Facebook into my browser and waited for it to load. Of course, the thing I did not want to see was the first post to appear.
Had I been in a good head-space, I would’ve vented to a friend. Instead, my mind went blank, my body was numb, and I felt myself walk to the bathroom without thinking.
Eating disorders are lonely.
“What am I doing?” I asked myself. I couldn’t answer that. I didn’t have an answer. I sat down in front of the toilet, half thinking, half numb. It was a *long* semester. That Facebook post did not cause my relapse, it just tipped me over the edge and gave me an excuse to shut down even more.
As I sat on the cold tile, I thought about everything. It felt like every bad thing that had happened in the past few months was swirling around inside of my brain and mixing together to create the perfect storm. It seemed obvious to me in that moment that there wasn’t another option.
Eating disorders are lonely.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you I logically weighed my options. I didn’t. What I did do was think about the release, the rush of endorphins, and the feeling of emptiness I’d experience once I made the decision to give into the eating disorder. It’s been 11 years and I still can’t distinguish between whether that was my own voice, or the eating disorder talking.
I stopped mid tile trace and decided that there was no real option here. No decision to make. I physically could not face the rest of the day without going through with this. So. Although it’d been over a year I did it.
And yeah, the endorphins and the numbness are great. If this was was three-years ago I’d probably be romanticizing this even more in my head. I’d like to give you a clearer picture. My eyes were tearing up, my throat burned, my fingers were cut up. The taste, the smell, the clean-up all take away a piece of your dignity.
…Eating disorders are lonely.
Flushed, washed my hands, tried to make my eyes look less red, and walked out. Told myself it would just be this one time. I just needed the instant gratification of feeling better. That decision costs me the next two years of my life.
Eating disorders are liars.
If you need help: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/contact-us NEDA Hotline: 1-800-931-2237