It feels like a century since my last blog post. Earlier this week, my boyfriend unexpectedly broke up with me. I loved him so much. He meant everything to me. I woke up every morning looking forward to his smile, his jokes, his energy, his hugs, his calming words and presence… all of that now gone forever.
The reasons behind our break-up are complicated; they involve things that I don’t really want to rehash here. However, the main problem that caused stress in our relationship early on was the onset of my eating disorder. I went from being a confident, bubbly, fun individual to a severely depressed, moody, and withdrawn person with a broken self-esteem and low self-worth.
When I kept spiraling down further and further into my depression, he sat down with me privately and we had a talk. He didn’t know what was going on; all he knew was that I was definitely no longer the person he had first met. I finally released my shame. I finally revealed to someone for the very first time that I thought I had an eating disorder. He had never heard of binge eating disorder and didn’t exactly know what to make of my announcement, but he knew that I needed to get help. If we were going to continue on together, I needed to get help. If it weren’t for him, I may have never started recovery.
Things were never quite the same. It made him question who I really was. I wasn’t who I had represented myself to be. I had lost my former self. Now I was fighting to become that happy, secure, confident woman again. I am still fighting to find her within me.
It’s so hard not to blame myself. So, so hard. I know intuitively that my eating disorder is not my fault. Mental illnesses do not discriminate. But at the same time, almost all of the problems in our relationship stemmed from my failure to be something or my inability to do some things. I know that blaming myself isn’t going to solve any of my problems or make me happier or bring us back together, but this tendency for self-blame is so ingrained within me.
He told me, when we broke up, that he was so proud of me for how well I’ve done in recovery, and that he never told me this enough. Hearing those words meant a lot to me.
When I started recovery, I was doing it for him. I didn’t feel like I deserved it, but I would give it my all for him. Over time, I began to see how important recovery was for me. It was critical that I realized this because now that we are no longer together, I am still just as determined to make a full recovery.
However, I also say this because even if you don’t feel worthy of recovery or self-care right now, then do it for the people you love and care for. Take care of yourself for them. I realize that this goes against what any counselor will tell you (“you have to do it for you!”) but I am speaking from personal experience. Give it your all for them, and it will come back to you.
I still feel so much pain. I can barely get through a few hours without breaking down in tears. But I don’t want this pain to set me back in my recovery. I guess this was the dramatic upheaval I asked for. I guess I should be careful what I wish for.