What I didn't seem to take into account, though, was the fact that, despite all the achievements and improvements I had made, there were still many small and barely noticeable habits and behaviours which I had, which, looking back on them now, were most certainly obsessive and unhealthy in their nature, and which testify that, on the contrary, I was far from being fully recovered. For example...I still insisted on walking for about 90 minutes a day. And if something occurred which meant I didn't get this exercise done...well, that would mean anxiety, irritability, and a firm resolution to "make up" for that less time spent exercising on a day which I had more time to do so. And then of course there was my weight. I had gained, but I was still underweight...but as far as I was concerned, I didn't need to gain anymore. I was out of danger, right? I was no longer dangerously thin. Nothing at all was wrong. I could walk miles and miles without feeling any pain or discomfort or tiredness whatsoever, I never ever got colds or temperatures or viruses, I was never even cold - in fact, quite the opposite, I was always warm and would be walking around in a t-shirt when everyone else would be huddled up in wooly jumpers. I was perfectly healthy, I told myself reassuringly. I was over my ED, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me.
Even though I still hadn't even had one period.
Even though I was still underweight, and my Mam, despite having told me that she was so, so proud of me for having made so much progress since May, was constantly reminding me that she still maintained that I was too skinny, and that I would look much better if I gained a bit more weight.
Even though I still couldn't really concentrate, focus on anything for long periods of time. Even though I was, unconsciously, constantly thinking about food...fretting just in case Mam gave me a large piece of fish at dinner, hoping Daddy would remember to offer to make me hot chocolate before bed - for if he didn't, of course, I certainly wouldn't bother to make myself one instead - ; ruminating on how much peanut butter I should spread on my toast at breakfast on any particular morning.
Even though I was still afraid, to gain any more weight...I believed I had reached my healthy set point. I had made myself a new world, a world which, unbeknownst to me, was still one which I was in the control of an eating disorder. A world in which I felt comfortable, safe, and happy. I was oblivious to its imperfections; to me, it was my everything, and there was absolutely nothing about it which I desired to change.
But then, in autumn 2014, something happened which changed everything; which destroyed this ideal little world in which I blissfully inhabited forever. Having reluctantly attended my college doctor over an injured foot, I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder in November 2014, and subsequently forced to drop out of college. And, once again, the world which I had constructed for myself had been torn apart in front of my very eyes; eyes which cried tear after tear of desperate wretchedness as I stood and fully acknowledged the error of my ways, and that I was, after everything I had done and overcome and dragged myself through, in the grip of an eating disorder.
But autumn leaves do change, and fall, and break apart forever. And then winter comes and everything seems barren. But then, those very same leaves will, having been turned into humus by the nature's natural processes, provide the vital nutrients needed to make new plants grow.
And in the same way...my old world did change, fall apart. But from those little broken pieces that remain, another world, fresh and beautiful and new, can be grown. I just need to nurture it, allow it to bloom and blossom and flourish, just like the snowdrops that are now pushing their tender little shoots through the hard ground beneath the eucalyptus tree in my garden. :)