i-am-kaplan asked: How did you get over your eating disorder? I'm so stressed right now. I'm trying to build up more muscle, but every single time I put food in my mouth I feel so guilty. I've had anorexia since I was ten. I'm so lost.
TW: eating disorder
my eating disorder first manifested as bulimia/anorexia sub-type; i stopped binging and purging gradually, with so many hiccups in between. it took an entire year of me just trying and failing not to have a binge-purge episode, but the more i stuck to my resolve, the less i loathed myself after each one, and eventually i had fewer and fewer, until i had 0 for an entire month, for 6 months, and so on. i bet i will have another in the future; i have had 2 within the past year. BUT my day-to-day life is mostly free of the compulsive thoughts that kept me in the binge-purge cycle for so long (about 3 years). however, part of stopping the bulimia, for me, was diving into anorexia. if not one extreme, the other.
though i had managed to get my compulsion to binge and then purge under control, i hadn’t even addressed the underlying issues that were contributing to my intense hatred of my body. my big spring of body issues stems pretty directly from the river of gender issues WHEEEE. sure, i had a lot of internalized fatphobia and misogyny in me, too—and as i unlearn and unpractice these ideologies, i have a healthier relationship with my body and my body with food—but the fatphobia and the misogyny were just lenses through which i critique(d) myself: my issue is i’m a man; i’m transgender, and before i was on T and presenting and passing as male, i just knew that my body was doing some fucked up shit to me and i couldn’t understand why. i was holding myself to male standards of beauty and attractiveness and proportion and shape, but my body developed along the typical female secondary sex characteristics, and my only reaction was to starve it all away.
my recovery became real when i started dealing with my gender. finding the gym and learning about nutrition helped me take another step. i began eating to fuel myself, and learning what sort of fuel my body needed. instead of having those obsessive thoughts about not being able to eat that because of this or that reason and how much is in that and how many of what can i—instead of those, i turned the obsession into a tool. if i was going to have to obsess about what i was or wasn’t eating, i’d occupy that space with learning about what was good for me and planning out healthy meals for myself. i still had safe foods and fear foods, but i had a new regimen that included working out regularly and eating regularly, too. after about a year of being extremely regimented—think othorexia, and probably a bit of a douche—i lost my access to regular gym, and i began restricting again. i got really bad. i hit my lowest weight ever. for the second time, i almost died. i didn’t. whoop. i got back on my horse.
about this time, i had top surgery and got back on T for the second time (i had been on once, but i stopped when i got overwhelmed by shit). things were starting to feel right for me, i was embracing who i am as a masculine person. that was about 7 or 8 months ago.
today i had breakfast and lunch and i’m going to have dinner, which is a recent development for me. i’m improving every day, and it’s gradual, and these days i’m working fulltime and living with my longterm partner. we have a cat. we struggle with money and other life shit, so i don’t stress so hard about food and weight. also, i’ve been on T for almost 8 months(??losttrack??) and i pretty much pass 100%. i’m comfortable with my body in a way i never have been, so i feel happy to take care of it. i like knowing i’m working toward being the person i’ve always hoped and expected i would be. i have goals beyond ‘be thin’ because i got to thin and i had nothing, so i’m trying something different. also i flirted with death twice during the worst of my eating disorder, so i don’t really think i should try for a third chance at staying alive. and i like food, now. i don’t really know if this counts as recovery but it feels like it. i guess this is my recovery.
i can’t tell you how to recover for yourself; for me, it took figuring out my gender and taking steps to change my body in a self-congruous way.