It was all going so well. I had gone through therapy, weaned off antidepressants, and quit smoking. I was learning to deal with emotions, hate my body less and treat it better. But gradually, I started to feel more tired, have pain in my hips, ankles and feet, until walking up the hill to my home left me in tears.
In the words of Alanis Morrisette, “Isn’t it ironic?” All those years of treating my body with contempt, yet it had served me well. The moment I started trying to respect it, it stopped working properly. I sometimes joke that it went into shock and doesn’t know how to work on nutrients and fresh air…
More symptoms have joined the party over the last 3 years or so. The migraines are probably the worst, because they leave me bed bound and nauseous for a day or two at a time and out of sorts before and after, which is how I am today.
And through all of this I have had to work on recovery from a lifetime with an eating disorder, with all that that entails. Learning to feel and process emotions while grieving and angry at the loss of my health and energy. Learning to be kind to a body that sometimes doesn’t do what I want it to. Learning resilience while fatigue and pain strip it away. Even struggling with the urge to binge to compensate for not being able to eat during a migraine.
In some ways lockdown has been helpful. Everyone has been stuck at home. I haven’t missed out on anything. It has given me time to rest, take stock, work out what my body is capable of doing. I started to exercise a little when my body allows, stretching and strengthening to support those aching joints. It gave me the opportunity to start writing and coming to terms with everything that has happened.
As I write, I still don’t know what is physically wrong with me. I have had a number of tests, but am waiting to see a new rheumatologist. I am hopeful that there will be a treatment which improves my symptoms and my quality of life.
But whatever happens, I know that I will find a way to overcome it and not let it define me. Because I have survived everything so far. Because I have shown time and time again that I am stronger than I ever thought possible. Because I deserve recovery, and I deserve happiness. And so do you.