Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Find your reason

My namesake boy, at least two and a half years ago

My namesake boy, at least two and a half years ago

Here’s My Little Name Sake Boy, as I call him.  From my hairstyle, this is from at least two-and-a-half years ago, but it still remains one of my favorites.  Just looking at the pure joy in his face makes me smile and I want to jump in my car and drive the 1,000 miles to see him as soon as possible.

He was my reason.  In the beginning, he was the only thing that kept me fighting for recovery.  Because whenever I was tossed that all too familiar phrase “You’ve got to recovery for yourself,” I always retorted, “I don’t care about myself.”  And I wasn’t lying.  An eating disorder is a slow form of suicide (it too me a long time to admit to that), and I saw nothing of worth in me to save.

But look at this child’s face.  I’m his ‘Ame Lexie.  How could I take myself out of his life?  Did I want him to watch me repeatedly waste away and then have some doctor hospitalize me so he could then come visit me in the hospital?  He visited me once in the hospital.  Christmas 2005.  He had only just started calling me ‘Ame Lexie.  He shoved his animal crackers underneath the art room door and I had to go get the nurse because we had animal crackers for evening snacks and I didn’t want anyone to get blamed for hiding food.  He learned how the sign for Peace there, thanks to my friend L.  And he learned how to say, “Peace Out!” if you gave him the peace sign, although it sounded more like “Pizzzaaat!”

Cute memory.  But I really hope he doesn’t remember it.  I don’t want him to remember that visit at all.

So he was my reason.  I never wanted him to visit me in a hospital again.  I carried his picture with me wherever I went.  And even after I was discharged, he was still my reason.

Yes, I do believe that you have to recover for yourself.  But in the early stages of recovery, that’s nearly impossible.  We put ourselves down for so long, treated our bodies and minds like crap, and a lot of us see nothing inside of ourselves worth saving, because all we can see is the eating disorder.

There are things within you worth saving.  But you will not be able to see them at first, not when you are fighting through hell to finish each meal, to sit with the food in your stomach, to not run miles to work off an apple.  The eating disorder voices are still too strong.  And your bodies are not strong enough–your brain isn’t getting the energy it needs to fight these thoughts.

So find your reason.  A nephew or niece.  Your own child.  Your academic goals.  Your career goals.  Your friends, who will be at a loss without you.  The fact that you want to have a child someday and want to give that child a healthy role model, not a sick one.  Your pets.  Music.  Knitting.

It doesn’t have to be a big, miraculous reason.  It just has to work for you.  It has to get you through each day.

And eventually, you will see that you are reason enough.


October 7, 2009 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. sweet! =)

    Comment by lindsey | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’ve been thinking and talking about this lately as well. After spending a number of years on “the other side” only to discover that recovery wasn’t all that I fought so hard to find, I have since found myself in a liminal position with little fight in me to move far from where I am (given that both anorexia and recovery seem to both promise ends that never come, at least for me).

    Comment by Emily | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. this is powerful to me for a couple reasons. i had that ‘oh my god i didn’t realize what i was doing to the people around me moment’ when i was in the hospital in high school and my aunt and uncle came from NY just to see me–not holiday, reunion…just because they cared. haven’t once had more than a passing thought of suicide since. that moment is crystalized in my brain–it’s not going to budge.
    but now things seem so much grayer. most of the ‘not so healthy’ things i do are subtle and quiet and minor/not life altering and most of the people in my life have no idea those little stumbling blocks exist. even P isn’t aware of some. i know the people around me aren’t dumb…and i do have to say there is very little i get away with with pat, but living in different states as most of the people who KNOW know me–there isn’t possibly a way for them to know. THE THING IS….i would curl up and die if they were to find out some of the ugly details. My stomach turns just thinking about it.
    So why isn’t that enough? I KNOW that i don’t want my family to see me at my weakest; why would i jeopardize the strenght and stability that i’ve managed to maintain?
    Having rambled far too long, Lex…i’m thrilled that you have that connection to your nephew. No one can truly understand it but you, but I appreciate reading about your experience. maybe one day i can write my own similar story–one that exceeds my teenaged ‘oh, holy shit’ moment.

    Comment by slzu | October 13, 2009 | Reply

    • I can completely relate to the “subtle and quite and minor/not life altering” things. They are easier to justify. Easier but not easy, and I still fight them. I have never once, I hope, led people here to think that I’ve got it all together and that I’ve figured every single thing out. If that were true, well, then hell, <I'D be the therapist rather than the one in therapy. Life is a process. For people with or without EDs or mental illness. We learn as we go, I am finding out. Some of us just have a bumpier time of it than others. I’m glad your aunt and uncle came that day. For the longest time, family was NOT one of my reasons, as you know. But now they are.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | October 14, 2009 | Reply

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