I am broken. I am sick. I have body dysmorphic disorder. I didn't even know that was a thing until two months ago. I am bulimic.
I don’t really know how to get better.
I have spent nights sobbing on my bathroom floor because of a scale number. Hours pulling at what I perceive as flab on my naked body. Measured my waist, hips, and around my bellybutton hundreds of times. Been near tears during tap because my thigh has to jiggle to do a nerve tap. I have taken countless photos of:
My stomach from the front to see if it’s smooth
My stomach from the side to see if it’s flat
My profile so I can check on my double chin
I don’t really know how I got here. I feel like it probably has something to do with my ex – more to do with him than I probably want to admit – and then something to do with my brief summer romance, and something to do with comments other people make. And it probably has a lot to do with my fear of not being good enough.
Not being good enough.
Events that aren’t really necessary to go into at this very moment convinced me if that I were “thin enough,” I would feel better. I would feel more worthwhile, less lonely, and that maybe someone could fall in love with me again.
They would fall in love with the Shiny New Chloe, version 2.0
Completely rebuilt and redesigned, untarnished by bad relationships and past hurts and mistakes.
Yeah. That sounded good.
So I cut my calories down drastically (about 900 a day) and worked out like crazy. I was probably spending about 2 hours at the gym and biking about 2 miles a day. And that didn’t work. I gained more weight. So I tried that Fast Metabolism Diet.
Which worked. I lost the weight, all the way down to my goal weight. And it didn’t work: I was terrified to gain it back. I still felt like shit. I can’t even pinpoint the day that I thought purging was the solution, I really can’t. There were a lot of desperate days where I was stepping on the scale every hour or less.
I probably had just eaten something deliciously unhealthy, and felt so guilty about it that I had to get rid of it. I had to get it out of my body. I never sit down and decide that I will be throwing this meal up. It always hits me about 10-15 minutes later, when I think about it, and I decide, “Nope. That was way too many calories. Let me get rid of this, and I’ll eat something more healthy next time. Clean slate.”
I purged two nights ago because I ate a package of Sour Patch Kids, as dessert for my salad. I was so excited to eat these Sour Patch Kids and they were perfect – not too hard and not too squishy. And I knew as I ate the last one, that I was going to have to get them out. My stomach was churning and I cried and cried because that night I lost.
Some days, I can eat whatever I want and it doesn’t even phase me. Other days, I eat mostly what I want and it’s a battle to keep that chai tea down, but I remind myself that I work out and dance and there is no reason to not have that chai tea in the morning or the iced chai tea in the afternoon when it’s 90 degrees. I manage to beat that inner bitch and shut her up. And other days, that inner bitch hits me with a baseball right in the face and I lose.
And I guess that’s part of recovery.
The days I lose are hard. I don’t wake up knowing that it will be a losing day. I try to think that every day, I’ll win. I might be feeling great and wearing the cutest red and white shorts ever. And then some girl (and there is history between us – long story short, I am her punching bag) says, “Oh, somebody needs to put her thunder thighs away.” And that throws me into a tailspin.
Body dysmorphic disorder means that you perceive a flaw in your body and you cannot see past it or see any improvement in it. Meaning I can intuitively see that I have a thigh gap and that my legs are muscular and toned, but emotionally it is really hard to register that.
Am I always going to struggle with this? Because one summer of my life, I lost that battle with my critic and now this is how my life is always going to be? I am never going to be content with what I see? I am always going to fight this fight?
When I am lying flat on my back, I can stick my fingers well up into my rib cage. Intuitively, I know that that is probably not good. Emotionally, all I see is the pooch on my lower stomach. These two things overshadow and battle each other for my attention and that makes for a very conflicted, confused me.
Am I always going to fight this?
I can honestly say that I have no idea. I don’t know that it will ever go away, if I will ever have the easy relationship I had with food and my body again.
But I am on the road to recovery. And it’s a twisty, tricky, narrow, dark road. But I’m on it.
I finally told my parents the whole truth. And it feels so good and so safe to have them holding my hands through this.
I have a whole army of prayer warriors and people who love me walking alongside me.
I saw my counselor for the first time on Monday.
I am trying to let my raw throat heal, and my new voice teacher gave me some soothing sprays to try, as well as informing me that meditative prayer and affirmation were a required part of my warm-up.
And I actually have the desire to write about this. It is about 1:00 am and I cannot sleep because I so needed to get these words out.
And I know I have God leading the way out of this darkness.
An image that is very profound to me – and I have not a clue where it came from, a dream, a story, I don’t know – is the image of me. I’m on the floor in the bathroom, vomiting into the toilet. But I’m not alone. Jesus is kneeling beside me, holding my hair back, rubbing my shoulders, and then holding me as I cry. And he’s crying with me. Even in the darkest time, Jesus is there, suffering with us.
When we are hurt, He is hurt. His love is unconditional. And that is so comforting to remember and lock onto.
It would be so hopeless to be trying to get through this and think that there was no master plan. No big picture. But there is. Even if I have no idea what it is.
That is my life right now. And that’s ok. Because God has a plan for me. And I’m going to have one hell of a testimony to share when I kick bulimia’s butt.