I would consider myself a professional avoider. If something makes me uncomfortable I run away. Fast. With 24 years of practice, I'm pretty confident in my avoiding skills.
After a somewhat intense session with my therapist, I left feeling irritated, hopeless, and exhausted. Most weeks I am able to suppress my eating disordered thoughts just enough so they don't control my day to day life. However, the second I sit down in my therapist's office, all of that pent up emotion comes pouring out.
Over the past few weeks we have started exploring exactly what caused my eating disorder. My least favorite topic ever. Growing up with a loving family, a roof over my head, no traumatic experiences, and pretty much everything I could ever ask for as a child, there is a still big fat question mark in regards to what caused this illness. I hate thinking about it. With everything I could possibly need in life, there is a lot of guilt surrounding the disorder. Without an obvious answer, I have found it much easier to avoid the topic completely. Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more difficult to run away from.
My therapist's philosophy is that every eating disorder has a disposition; a starting point. It's frustrating for me, (and her, I'm sure) to look back on my life and not be able to think of a specific moment where I decided an eating disorder was the answer to all of my problems. I mean, really? I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that concept.
After completely gutting my room upon returning home from treatment a couple months ago, I found piles of old diaries and journals. At the time it probably would have been smart to burn every last page of them. Surprisingly, however, after going through some of them yesterday I found a diary entry from March 2000. My 12th birthday...
"Today was a good day. I love my birthday. My mom made stuffed shells and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. My favorite. I'm so full. I hate this feeling. I won't be eating anymore cake for a long time. What if my jeans don't fit tomorrow? That stupid cake ruined my birthday."
At twelve years old I didn't even have a clue what a calorie was, but I was still concerned with my weight. For quite sometime I have blamed my first diet at age 15 for the start of my disorder, but it seems to have developed much earlier than I realized. Finding this diary entry was upsetting at first, but maybe it was the missing piece I needed to stop avoiding this shameful topic. Maybe my eating disorder developed before I even knew what it was.
Most importantly, maybe I can start learning to forgive myself. It's going to take a ton of work, but this might be the first step to uncovering the root of this stupid illness. Yes, I am ashamed of this disorder, but I don't think I need to run from it anymore. It might not be my fault after all. Being a professional avoider has served it's purpose for most of my life, but I think it's time to change career paths and face my fears.
|Larsen & me on my 12th birthday :)|