It is amazing how life changes so much every time. My life anyway. I hited rockbodem again somewhere in November last year, being very bad in my anorexia, i was starving myself again and exercised to much, first time i discovered i had anorexia and did all of this was after my first long relationship around 2014 i think . I remember i asked for help in July last year but all centers in Belgium were with long waitinglists. My eatingdisorder started to take my whole life over again. I was working in the house that time to keep busy. Painting things, putting everything ready to start renting out the house. At the same time i went hiking, i prefered doing the bigest and most challenging ones of course. If i did not hike i went to run in the gym.
So i worked, exercised and started to eat very ‘healthy’ again. I got scared again from food, so i ate almost every day the same things that i measured, these things were not much more than a lot of vegetables. My body became very tired but my eatingdisorder took over and i couldn’t stop it because i runned out of energy to fight. I pushed myself in the morning to go run in the gym and to the supermarket to buy all my particularly food. Food became again a big distraction,my obsession, to ignore my emotions. And the exercise helped me to not feel anymore also, it made me feel numb exhausted and helped me to be able to sleep instead of feeling anxious. If i had energy i spend it in working in the house that i was renovating that time with my ex boyfriend. I started to get very low and did not see the point anymore of being around but a little sparkle in me kept me alive. I think because with my cancer i also felt close to death but after i felt how amazing it was to be alive. I kept holding on on that feeling.
I had a relationship that i finished that time. I think relationships are a big trigger to my eatingdisorder. Because the controlling comes up if i don’t have self-respect anymore and lose controll about how i am in life, and if i don’t set my boundaries and give my opinions. I realize how i crossed many times my own boundaries again to people pleas. I think a part of me helps other people, because i need that feeling that i am wanted and useful to others, to feel accepted. I know this is wrong because i don’t need to be accept from everybody,not everybody needs to like everything i do or say, it takes a lot of work to try to be ‘perfect’ for everyone around me, and it is very exhausting so that is why at the end i always prefered to have a lot of time for myself. It was so bad that i even sometimes became angry inside on the other person because they are crossing my boundaries, but they don’t know that and even me, i didn’t know why i felt that anger.
I hurt people being like this. In my last relationship, i did it again. I didn’t say always when i disagree or when things were bothering me. I acted impulsive, jumped into something without thinking i need to do it slowly because i don’t know to much about relationships or i am not the best in connections. Like a relationship, do it slowly so the decisions i make are the ones i do for myself. i just focused on what i needed to do to make the other happy. Than i even don’t know anymore if the choices i make are made for myself or not, i do this already longtime living like this so i even don’t realize it, it happens automaticaly. I will say nothing bad about the men i was together with, i know whatever i do and what i make out of my life is all my own, he also never putted pressure, i putted pressure on myself. He even did not know all of this was happening inside of me, because i even don’t know it myself as it is automatically, until all becomes to much and i don’t have energy anymore to give. But i know that it all happend to fast to me, moving in together, buying a house…without thinking or taking time to feel what all of that is doing with me, i don’t say on that moment it is something i do against my feelings but probably it is what i want on that 1 little moment and i don’t think about the biger picture how it will change everything in the future, that i need to give up my plans i was having for myself. i went to treatment and i am learning again to change my behavior…slowly. try to build healthy relationships with people i have now around me. Be mindfully of my behavior and try to make the choices in a way that they are mine. Starting with friendships, connections but no couple relationships, because i know i am totaly not ready for that yet.
In November, after waiting for 5 months to go in treatment, i was so weak and could not function anymore. I was living alone in Spain, i rememberd when i drove the car my reactions where very slow, even when i spoke to people i spoke very slow and couldn’t think very clear anymore, i became also very fast angry in traffic and started to isolate myself as all my time went to my eatingdisorder. Again , my father together with his girlfriend helped me to find a solution because i couldn’t keep going down like that. They talked about a treatment center in South Africa. A center with many rules, very strict, nothing where i was used to, i was all about no routine and freedom. But i did not care the only thing i heard was , finally i will get help to get out of this. I got an intake trough zoom, fysicaly i was on a fine line to be accepted, because this treatment center is not a clinic so i had to do some fysicaly tests first to be accepted.
3 days later i took a plane to South Africa. I was in such a bad space that i even don’t remember to much about leaving and flying. The people from the center picked me up at the airport. When i arrived and they started to explain me the rules i realized that this was not a treatment/little holliday but a place where i will need to work hard on myself. I arrived with my bikini and hiking shoes but realized that i will not need all of this. The first thing they took was my exercise and they tried to limit my movement as much as possible. I could walk from the table to the sofa or therapy and that was about it. We got a rule about how much water we were allowed to drink. Finishing our food until the last crumb . Getting weight and giving all control to the therapists and nurses. Giving the control away was a scary thing, my eatingdisorder became sometimes very angry and made my believe i should leave, that the treatment was not working for me. But the healthy part of me realized that, if my eatingdisorder get scared and wants to run away, it is helping me, even that part of me doesn’t like it.
My body got nourished again so i started to feel my emotions again. I felt scared, angry, disappointed on myself and many other bad feelings. Me, the positive smily person i am, i felt depressed and sad and lonely. We had group therapy and also sessions with a therapist in private, so i got support to deal with all of this because i wouldn’ be able to do this alone. Because i am a busy bee, they also didn’t let me join the outings in weekends for long time and she shoppingmoments to buy toiletries. I always had to give them my list and i had to stay inside, so i could sit,sit with my feelings, but also because i needed to get physically stronger again because it went so bad again before i came in. The 7 weeks i was in treatment i basically didn’t came out. I was angry i had to sit every day but i also realized i was so busy the last years, i fighted cancer , tried to start a business, i never really took time to recover. I had a lot of time to sit alone with my feelings and had to find things to do. We only had phonetime once a week, what looks scary but was quiet nice after a bit. Having no phone, no distraction helps to focus on real important things. I used the time to reflect on the last years and to process some things that happend. The treatment center is a hard one, but i think a very good one, they helped me a lot. One of the things are that i hated routine, they made me apriciate routine.
After 7 weeks i felt it was time for a bit more freedom again. I moved to a halfwayhouse. A house where you live with people together who are in recovery from different addictions. Because an eatingdisorder is an addiction, a search for controll like with any kind of addiction. The house is a place where you slowly integrate again in ‘real’ life. I live here together with amazing people, i feel really safe and home in the house. I am doing some voluntarywork for the moment in a house where abused womans are living with there children,i do yoga and we still have some groups together where we speak about our feelings. I also learned to work with a 12step program here in South africa, i started to learn about this in treatment, it is different than in Belgium i didn’t learn to use this there. It is a program with 12 steps to help you to stay in recovery when you leave treatment, you follow meetings online or in-person if there are meetings where you live. You get a sponsor, someone who is working already for longer time with the steps, that helps you working on them and later you can also sponsor so you keep working the program. It is a very strong and good program, and it shows you that you never have to stand alone, that many people in the world are struggling with the same things as you.
I am going for the moment to meetings in-person and online. In the meetings we are introducing ourself as an addict followed by our name. In the beginning i found it weird to call myself an addict and i was not sure if i was in the right place with my eatingdisorder. I also couldn’t focus and if somebody shared there experience ,my head went everywhere. I kept going anyway because many people from the house went and i didn’t want to sit alone. After some time i started to actually listen to the people and what they shared and i started to recoignoise that i relate a lot on stories and behaviour. I started to look back at my life and saw how i was sensitive to all kind of things, alcohol, drugs, eatingdisorders whatever helped me to live with my feelings.
Next to my voluntarywork and yoga, stepwork and meetings became part of my weekly routine because i know i will need to keep working on this even if i feel i am on my best, especially then i should work my steps. Because a little thing can happen in my life and before i know i go back to my old behavior, but if i keep working my steps and talk with my sponsor ,i will , hopefully never go that deep again. And the steps are learning me to deal with my emotions in a healthy way, without anything else that helps me to live and feel my emotions. I learn to apriciate emotions, even the sad ones, i am learning to show and share them because they are not that scary if you can share them with other people who can support you whenever you need to be supported. I think i learned the last months that my 2 points to work on are: connection and setting boundries.
Living in the soberlivinghouse is also helping me a lot. I live in a house with people i get to know and where i make connection with, i try to show myself as i am, also my weak side. I learn to make healthy connections without running away if i feel scared, disappear. Of course it helps that the people living here are also in recovery and are understanding my struggles. That makes it a good place to practice on setting my boundries, or sharing my struggles. I don’t say i am doing all of that very well now, but i try to practice at least. It really feels like home for the moment, a safe place to go back to. I will miss it if i leave. I will miss my bakerhousefamilly, but i don’t want to think to much about that yet.
At the same time i also feel happy that i will see my family back and that i will be able to enjoy moments together instead of worrying what food they will put on the table. That i can spend time with all my little nephews and niece. Another thing that will happen soon is that i will move to Asia, build a life there but this time with the right intention, not another country i use to escape to but one i actually choose myself to start a life in.