(A follow up post to part 1.)
At that point it dawned on me – if only I was thinner everything would be better. I would be liked, wanted, special. I would be happy. Although this was the biggest lie I could have every told myself at that moment I wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe that my life could be turned around, that I could do something to “fix” all this. Maybe what I really wanted was not to feel anymore – not to have to feel lonely, unwanted, forgotten, and worthless. So I decided to try it.
So began my journey of dabbling in the world of dieting and extreme exercise. However, dieting didn’t seem to work for me, and it started a vicious cycle – go on a diet, “fail” a diet, resort to self-harm to deal with the ensuing feelings of guilt and sadness. Around the same time I moved countries and I did better for a stretch – mainly because of the positive support and reinforcement of some of my friends. Unfortunatly, along with the positive voices, there were a few negative ones. A particularly slim friend of mine gained some odd sadistic pleasure in teasing me about being “chunky” and “fat” and the fact that I needed to exercise. Although I had pretty much put a hold on my dieting at this point, I was exercising every day without fail. An although I tried to pretend that her comments didn’t affect me deep inside they chipped away at my almost non-existence self esteem bit by bit. I put on a brave face – but inside I was feeling more empty and undesirable then ever.
Then my friends moved, and in their place I met someone else. Someone who made me feel on top of the world. Someone that made me feel beutiful and special. Someone that filled that aching void that I felt to be “wanted” and loved. That part of me that was crying out for something, anything to make me feel like I was worth something.
Maybe that’s where I went wrong – I put all my hopes and dreams on one person. And humans are humans – they aren’t perfect ad they often end up hurting you. But I can safely say at the beginning this guy was good for me. I stopped self-harming because he asked me to and I would have done anything for him, I was happier and more confident then I had felt in a long time.
After a while though, I began to feel insecure in this relationship. I kept thinking back to my last one that I was promptly “exchanged” for someone thinner and prettier. And I couldn’t imagine loosing this relationship. I couldn’t image life without this guy. So I started dieting again, just to prevent the inevitable from happening. He didn’t help much, because he always encouraged my dieting, and even started doing the same himself. He would keep pictures of models on his desktop, and I used them as inspiration to push myself even harder and further.
I started crash dieting – under 1000 calories a day. This would work for about a week, then I’d go back to eating normally for 2 days, and beat myself up about it and start crash dieting again. I found some pro-ana blogs and decided to try some of their tips. I’m truly ashamed to write this now, but I was so desperate to do something that would work. And I guess it did work – I lost weight. I ignored the dizziness, the costant lack of energy, the fact that I was having less and less of a social life, because the feeling was addictive. I was accomplishing something I ALWAYS wanted – something I craved. Every time I saw that number go down and felt better and more confident then I ever had. And that confidence was something I desperatly needed at that point.
The novelty of my relationship had worn off, and we began to see the ugly side of each other. I guess he discovered I had eating disordered tendencies, and I discovered he suffered for untreared chronic depression. He became abusive, both physically and emotionally. He made me feel lower then dirt, and some of the things he said to me ring in my ears till this day. One thing he made clear numerous times was that the only thing he found attractive about me were my looks. Of course once the heat of the moment had passed he would apologize, but I could never find it within myself to believe that he didn’t mean it. The pain he caused me was indescribable, but I loved him so much I couldn’t let him go. He threatened me that he would kill himself if I were to ever leave him, and I couldn’t bear the thought of that. So I suffered, day in and out, a victim of his moods. Day and night I worried about him – would today be the day he snapped and hurt himself, or someone else? Would it be my fault. I was ravaged by guilt and a feeling of helplesness.
My eating and exercise at the time had become my coping mechanism – the way I dealt with all the craziness around me. It got more and more extreme – people noticed and started commenting on my bizarre behaviors. I started withdrawing from everyone and everything, because I didn’t want people to know what was really happening. I felt I needed to deal with all my issues myself -so I locked everyone else out – my friends, my family, the people who meant most to me. My world began spiraling out of control, and I was clining to any shred of control I had – and at this point my diet became more then just a diet – it became an ED.
(As a side note I want to say for anyone in an abusive relationship – please reach out to those around you, and get their support and help with how to deal with this situation. You do not deserve to suffer or be hurt. You are precious and you deserve much better then what this person is giving you. Whatever you do, please don’t be ashamed because you are not alone. There are many of us out there who understand, and there are people that can help you. You are worth it!)