I have been thinking a lot about happiness and the difference between my happiness before versus during the eating disorder.
Before, I was truly happy; it was an in the moment, beautiful kind of happiness. I would wake up each morning excited for a new day and I would go to bed content. I ate intuitively, I moved intuitively, I did not wake up to self criticize and abuse myself. I noticed things: the green of the grass, the intensity of the rain, and the laughter of my family members. I craved learning and knowledge for the pure enjoyment of it; I read and wrote for fun.
I swam and ran and danced without a care in the world. It was never with the intent to lose weight, but rather to move my body in a healthy and mindful way. I laughed until I cried, until my stomach hurt. Before the eating disorder I was present and I was truly alive.
During my eating disorder I had momentary highs but I also experienced my lowest of lows. I was good at faking it, and I could sustain a happy facade for days on end before I would break. I was constantly trying to convince myself that I was happy, and I nearly managed to do this. I no longer moved for fun. I moved to lose weight and to change my body. I deprived myself of food so that I was constantly distracted and never fully present. I lost my sense of humor and soon, my will to laugh. I no longer woke up excited for the day: In fact, most mornings I woke up already prepared to go back to sleep.
The times that I felt joy were few and far between. Maybe when I glanced in the mirror and noticed my shrinking body or when I got a comment on my dropping weight. It was a false sense of happiness, it was not real nor was it sustainable. The joy wouldn’t last long and within a few minutes or hours it would vanish.
This lifestyle was not fulfilling but it was addictive and it took incredibly hard work to break the cycle. Each day in recovery I am fighting against the cycle. I am interrupting it because my primary reason for recovery is to get back my happiness.