When I ask if I can meet you at this particular cafe or that specific restaurant, I am only trying to be polite; I’m not posing a question. It is an offer to go to a place I have meticulously researched and probably visited before. Spontaneity is a word that will never be associated with my character. I consider myself “recovered”, but I do not like the term.
I suffered from a mental illness for about four years, gripped in a stranglehold of control, starvation and numbers. I am now at a point where I manage my disease. There will be days when restrictive impulses fail to intrude my thoughts, but there will be times when they resurface. I try hard to fight against them. Check myself. Breathe, think, rationalise.
Some former anorexics are bombarded by remnants of their disordered-eating pasts. It can be a silently screaming deluge that other people fail to notice. After all, who really reads into a moment’s hesitation at an offer of chocolate cake or the double-check with the barista that it was indeed skinny milk in your latte?
Echoes of my illness can be found in my attempts to retain control of eating situations. I’m not necessarily counting, but neither am I completely free. I cannot suddenly freefall into a frenzy of burgers, burritos and buttermilk pancakes. Returning to normality has to be done slowly, meaningfully and enduringly. Recovery has taught me that wellness goes beyond food and body shape. I eat now to nourish my body and I yearn to be strong and healthy. My concept of elegance has transformed. I hope society’s will one day follow suit.
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