Today I took a shower, and as I was walking into my room with a towel on I saw her in a full length mirror. I use the pronoun because at first I literally did not recognize her. I felt like I was seeing myself for the first time since I came home in December. I mean ACTUALLY SEEING my body. It was horrifying. Up until now I've just seen numbers on a scale and complained about them, never actually facing the reality... I am large again.
I didn't cry, although I got that lumpy strangled feeling that often precedes crying. I just sort of sat and shook. I remembered being thin, I remembered fitting into my clothes, I remembered compliments and being pretty. It was painful. Like no way out painful. I was so mortified I didn't even scramble to find a coping mechanism. This next part is like a scene from a movie: I started digging through my desk drawers frantically throwing papers and stickies over my shoulder in search of my journal from when I was in program. I figured I must have written something in there that could provide a way out or some sort of explanation for whatever was happening. And then I found it scribbled in towards the end! Right next to my doodle of wheel of cheese! I learned a great deal during my stint in eating disorder recovery program a couple months ago, and I would hasten to say that the most useful piece of information I left with is not a skill, which is nice, so you don't have to practice it. It's a fact. It's a fun fact! And I would like to share it with the world. If you are already aware of the fact then please keep in to yourself. I like to pretend that I know things first. It is as follows: Intense or unpleasant emotions, no matter how unbearable or scary they may feel in the moment, cannot be physically sustained by the body or mind for longer than fifteen minutes at a time. Isn't that wonderful? The best part is, it's not a mantra or an inspirational quote that might carry different meanings for different people in different situations. It is a biological fact. It is evolutionary fact. In fact, human beings would not be as advanced as they are today if this fact weren't true. Think about it... how on earth would our species remain extant if an emotion or a terrible thought just persisted forever? Self-preservation is ingrained into our DNA!
Sure enough about ten minutes later I remembered who I was and where I am. I'm Eliza, just in a bigger vessel. It sucks to look this way and tomorrow I might feel the suckage again but you know what? Eating disorders suck.
Not everything is permanent though.
DISCLAIMER: This fact is in no way intended to minimize or make light of your painful feelings. Take the loss of a loved one for example. Couldn't one argue that if a mother sees her children murdered before her own eyes she might never be entirely whole or happy again? Totally. But the truth is that grief comes in waves. No one has ever cried and mourned constantly and forever without stopping. We all have an emotional baseline that must be returned to at some point or we simply could not be.
Okay I'm done. Hopefully that made sense. I was putting away all my tests and quizzes from that BU class I took and it put me in an anthropological mood.