I recently met a lovely, bubbly person, Anne-Sophie on the Net. She is blogging from Switzerland under the title Fighting Anorexia and sharing about her battle and victories over an eating disorder that had her in its gloomy grips for fourteen years. Anne-Sophie also travels abundantly, leading an intercontinental life – the title of her second blog. Her communication is clear and inspiring. She starts her podcasts stating “they are about life”. And surely they are – a life where we dare to feed ourselves so that we can go out and do things that really matter. With no degrading, accusing or insulting self-talk.
Anne-Sophie put up a challenge. Writing out reasons for recovery and about the sparks of hope that keep you going. My disordered eating started when I was a fifteen. My ballet teacher told me to lose weight. All of a sudden, food became my enemy. The less I ate, the better person I was. Entered self-hatred and frustration. The result: binge eating. I would eat uncontrollably, afterwards feeling sick and so painfully ashamed. I never vomited, but “controlled” the situation with fasting and hours of sports. This was my horrible secret for fourteen years.
Then came happy changes in life and I was able to eat normally. A stressful situation, a need to tone up for a fitness exam, slowly but surely brought my old demons back. From 2005 to 2010, I gradually ate less and less and subsequently became severely underweight. My body mass index was 15, the anorexia limit being 17,5. In the summer of 2010, I didn’t want to put on a gram. But started recovering anyway, merely because I was afraid to lose my husband. What man would love a sack of bones?
In one and a half years I have put on about half of the weight I should. It has been a rocky road, with ups and downs. Today I am becoming positively fed up with this eating mess. I want to have energy to do what I want. I want to be healthy and be done with cramps and pains, constantly wondering what the heck is wrong with me, and deep down knowing that if I just fueled myself the way I am supposed to, all the troubles would be gone.
The sparks of hope on this roller-coaster ride back to a life are important to remember. When the bad day comes and I feel like the fattest person on earth – how petty and not-so-true Susa does that ever sound – I pull these precious drops of gold out. I feel strong enough to go out and do sports for a longer time. I get that lovely boost of fresh air and the pleasure of a good jog. When you are anorexic, you never know when your energy levels could plummet. Recovery means being able to go eat out and have a social life. This can do wonders to your couple, too. Sharing food is such a normal part of our life. I can have a body that doesn’t make people uncomfortable – when you are sickly skinny people start making open, rude comments. Now men are noticing me again. Flirt has returned. This feels soothing. I am able to think about other things than food – disordered eating takes so much energy, counting calories and worrying about maintaining the routine-filled system.
I also carry a timid hope that one day I could truly love myself and body the way I naturally am. I would love to go back to take a ballet class. Ballet gave me an eating disorder – now I want to claim my life back, and have ballet too. But just as a way to celebrate Susa!
I am writing about this very personal issue – now in detail – because I hope that by doing so I could be of encouragement to others. That my suffering – and now I am actually in a better place health-wise than in years – would serve a purpose. I never wanted an eating disorder. It is no one’s fault. It just happened. Presently, I am tackling the final obstacles to break out. I would like to be a fighter partner to whom ever needs one. We’ll exchange messages and support! Just write me.
Here is my story… handle with care. What is your point in life needing some freedom ballet?
Art by Susa