So says Chris Martin in the Scientist, just one of the many Coldplay songs that I love. And that very sentence was what ran through my head, over and over again, the day after I was diagnosed with an eating disorder; and many times since then too, of course. I suppose that is one of the most frustrating things of all...that recovery is just so, so god damn hard. Time and time again - especially on my bad days - giving up, giving in to the ED recurrently appears to be the easier option, by far. constantly, it appears as if I haven't really achieved a great deal at all since the day I decided to fight my eating disorder. Yet I know, deep in my heart, that that is not the truth. I tried; I know I tried. And I suppose, one of the hardest pills that I have to swallow right now, is the fact that perhaps, I didn't try hard enough. I was determined upon defeating my eating disorder, facing my fears, and reaching full recovery, alone. But now, it's not just me. I'm now in the hands of the professionals; and I know the next few months are quite possibly going to be most difficult and challenging of all. I'm know full wel I am going to be pushed far, far beyond my comfort zone; all those reassuring boundaries of familiarity are going to be cruelly and savagely broken in front of my very eyes. And I know, that it is for the best...and I know, it is enormously, massively difficult, to even attempt to recover from any eating disorder without outside help. But saying that to myselfdoesn't make it any easier to accept, of course. It doesn't serve to eradicate the crushing sense of failure which has been bearing down on my head, ever since that day I first went to the doctor's at Trinity, and my doctor told me, in frank, honest terms which made me want to weep on the very spot, that he strongly suspected that I was still suffering from an eating disorder and this completely explained the inability of my injured foot to get better on its own.
I remember it as if it were yesterday...that beautiful morning in October when I walked out with Benny, amongst the hawthorns on the lane which were glittering with their blood-red berries, the mellow notes of a solitary blackbird calling from the hedgerow, filling my ears with almost breathtaking sweetness. I was so caught up in the radiance of that one single, fleeting moment - it was like I was walking upon air, in some place of otherworldly nature - until then, suddenly and horribly, I felt - something. That something being in the instep of one of my feet - the same feet which had carried me, miles and miles and miles, all those days I was sick and overexercised to the point of exhasution - and, of course, beyond that; since the day I decided I was going to put every single fibre of my being, my heart, my soul, my whole entire body - into clambering out of this dark, depthless hole which was my ED. But that day came and went, and I realise now, with bitter resignation, that I wasn't truly free in Summer 2014 - I wasn't even near fully recovered. And it was my overworked, delicate, weakened little feet which were going to bear the brunt of my shame.
I hobbled home with Benny, struggling ever so slightly to keep up with his bouncy, brisk steps, reassuring myself that it was nothing; it was probably just a little sprain or something which would go away in a couple of days. I was as wrong about that, just like I was in foolishly assuming you can just recover from an ED - which you have had for almost half of your lifetime - in the space of a few months. I was as mistaken for thinking that as I was in declaring myself as fully recovered.
Two weeks later I found myself at the doctors in Trinity. The achey pain in my foot hadn't gone away, and as I sat in the surgery I could feel my instep throbbing with every beat of my heart. But that wasn't the reason why I was crying, that day, of course. Rather, the gentle words which the college doctor spoke to me that afternoon were the cause of this unstopable flow of tears.
I think, Emily, that you are suffering from an eating disorder. I knew, when you stepped into this room. Your skeletal system is weak and quite possibly damaged. It's a small wonder your foot won't heal by itself.
Nobody said it was easy....
but does it really have to be this hard?