Some moments in recovery are more challenging than others. Although I wish I never developed bulimia in the first place, I have had it for a little over two years and it is scary to imagine a future without the security blanket it provides. Many books on eating disorders like Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer compare an eating disorder to a friend or a partner who lures the sufferer in with promises of happiness, perfection, completion, and significance. I, however, am reluctant to refer to my bulimia as a completely separate being. It is a part of me, but not my whole, yet for years it has consumed me.
Lately, I feel as if I am losing a part of myself. I am losing the part of myself that is independent; if I was sad or lonely, I could rely on my eating disorder, but now, I am reliant on friends and family. In theory, that sounds positive, and it is, but people are not always reliable. People have their own lives–they may be busy, they may die, they may abandon me, or they may get angry. Bulimia was never busy, could not die, and was a part of me and therefore could not abandon me or get angry with me. Yes, bulimia made me tired, anxious, physically sick, dizzy, and depressed, but it also gave me a sense of belonging, security, reassurance, and hope. For instance, if I failed a test, at least I could be “perfect” and restrict my calories, and if a friend mistreated me, at least I could purge out my anger.
Recovery is healthy, and in the long run it will be positive, but I still need time to grieve. I am not grieving the loss of a friend or a family member, but I am grieving the loss of my old self.