I find that it is very easy for those who are not mentally ill to write off triggers and ask those of us who are mentally ill to just “get over it.”
This isn’t entirely their fault – I mean, we could try to be happy for them that they have not and probably will never face mental illness. That’s awesome. I wouldn’t wish my depression, anxiety, or eating disorder on anyone.
Let me start off by saying that I am a feminist and I love makeup. I wear makeup because I love it, I think it’s fun, and I like having different colors on my eyelids and lips every day. I don’t think I’m ugly, unattractive, or unworthy without it on, and I do not think that I’m better than anyone who doesn’t wear makeup. I don’t wear makeup because the patriarchy tells me to, but rather because I choose to. And I’m still a feminist because I’m choosing to wear it. Being feminine doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist.
But the other day, my partner’s 13 year old niece asked me to show her how to contour and fill in her eyebrows just after opening up to me about having low self esteem and insecurities. And I panicked. “You don’t need to do any of that” was my response. But I filled her eyebrows in with powder anyway, because that’s what she wanted me to do. She didn’t want to hear my self love mumbo jumbo. No one does at 13.
Ever since I began recovering from my eating disorder, I’ve had a very strange relationship with exercise. A large part of my eating disorder was over exercising and using it to compensate for eating (kind of as a form of purging?) – I mostly swam, ran, and did ab workouts.
In the four years I’ve spent in recovery, I’ve cycled between periods of exercising and not exercising. This is because when I do begin exercising again, I have a bad habit of beginning to indulge in disordered eating and other disordered habits – restricting, over exercising, mostly, but also criticizing my body more.
Lately, I haven’t been feeling too great about myself. Every time I look in the mirror, I find myself unhappy with my reflection. This has been causing my depression to kick in, my anxiety has been telling me that my partner is going to leave me and is not attracted to me, and the best part – my eating disorder has been trying to devour me. And I’m trying so fucking hard to keep my head above water.
A few months ago, I became single for the first time in eight years. During those eight years, I developed and began recovering from my eating disorder – a disorder that left me with a very, very complicated relationship with my body.
The first time I had sex was relatively close to the start of my eating disorder, just a few months before I reached my lowest weight. I was sixteen and sex was awesome. At first.
I’m writing this post for two reasons: to help me better understand my thoughts, and to help my partner better understand my thoughts. Although, I’m not sure if I’ll ever ask him to read this.
There are three things I’m worried about: my partner’s well being, my own well being, and our relationship’s well being.
My partner and I have been together for a few months. He recently lost a lot of weight and I recently gained a lot of weight – the reasons are more complicated than black and white. He knows that I am recovering from an eating disorder, but I’m not sure he understands exactly what that means.
[This is a pretty personal post, reflecting my own thoughts and experiences]
A few days ago, I made another failed attempt at opening up to my partner about my eating disorder. The failure wasn’t necessarily on my part, though – but I guess I can’t really blame him for not understanding the situation at all or how to respond or handle it.
I ended up noticing this horrific fact:
My life is going great. I have just graduated from college with two bachelor’s degrees, I got into graduate school, and I landed an awesome graduate assistantship position. I have a partner who loves me, a handful of supportive and amazing friends, and a family that I wouldn’t trade for the world. My first nibling is even joining my life in the next few months. And yet I am not happy nor am I proud of myself.