Just over a year ago, I allowed myself to relapse and reach my lowest weight ever throughout my entire history with ED. Being in Asia, it’s easy to get away with being ‘too thin’ and my petite frame hid a lot of my inner demons well. It wasn’t easy choosing to reach out for professional help and so many times, the goal to reach a healthy weight within x months never materialised. I know that it wasn’t easy for Flo to have to watch my weight go up, then down, then plateau time and again. I targeted to reach my goal weight in Jun 2017, then again in Aug 2017, then again in Oct 2017, then Christmas 2017. All were unsuccessful.
2018 began and I know that Flo felt frustrated because my weight wasn’t going up consistently. I was hovering. I was around the weight I was in September last year which to him, felt like I was going nowhere.
Then some time last month, I was hit with a sudden sense of urgency. A great sense of urgency. And I started to pen my thoughts down. I was going to blog about it straightaway but subsequently, I thought to wait because I wanted time to make sure that this push to move forward with intention was a commitment I wanted to make for real. So here’s sharing with you some of my thoughts:
The past month I’ve been reading up a lot about pregnancy, conception, ovulation and the like. I think that a large part of me wants so badly to conceive and start a journey of parenthood with Flo whom I know would love to be a father. Of course, here in Asia, it’s still frowned upon to have children before marriage. And while a part of me still holds on to that idea, another part also argues that as long as the relationship is stable, marriage can come after children. But this isn’t the reason I’m here writing.
The thing is, I have gone off the pill because I want my body to stabilise and ovulate the way it naturally should. The reason I began taking the pill was to regulate my period and protect my bones since I wasn’t getting my period natural as a result of anorexia, hence, extremely low body weight. I realise now that what we get at the end of each pill cycle isn’t actually a period – not in the true sense of what a period is. Rather, it is actually a withdrawal bleeding that is brought about by the drop is hormones after the 21 days of pill-popping and during the one-week rest. So in a way, I’ve had secondary amenorrhea for about a decade now.
I know that even for healthy women who have been on the pill, it takes a couple months for their period to return sometimes. For me, I’m still about 90% where my minimum weight should be and mind you, that’s just the lowest end of the range I should be in. I need to build up my body and try to get my menses going properly, but it scares me not knowing how long it will take. It scares me how time is running ever so quickly and it scares me how much more time might be wasted just waiting.
I’m trying. I’m trying so hard to try and gain weight. I’m trying so hard to not mind my changing body. Looking back to just a year ago when I was nothing but a bag of bones – my hard edges are softened, my awkward bones have disappeared, my skeletal face is now much fuller, my dry skin has moistened, my brittle hair is shinier. I am almost there. But in this instance, almost isn’t good enough.
Anorexia aside, I have a blessed life. I grew up in a wonderful home with supportive parents. I bake for a living because I love it. I have a beautiful man whom I love, and who thinks the world of me. And now, I hope to meet our children in the near future. The frustrating thing is that I know the only one holding me back, is me.
I’m angry with myself for dilly-dallying. For being weak. For never fighting harder against the eating disorder. For saying that I’ll try harder tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow… And I know that if I let this carry on another month, another year, another 10 years, I will only grow to hate myself, risking everything I’ve dreamed of in the process. It’s stupid, I know, because in the end, I will be the one to undo myself. I can’t let that happen.
I was thinking yesterday about how I am going to eat for my period. For me. For Flo. For us. And then as I thought about all the foods I will happily eat and enjoy, it also occurred to me that in the process of years on end of learning how to lose weight, I have forgotten how to gain weight. Sure, hospitalisation helps but I am too ‘healthy’ to be placed in there again and also, it’s not ideal in the grand scheme of things. It’s too easy being instituitionalised and following rules set by doctors, but not quite the same once you’re back out in the real world where you have to think for yourself and listen to your body cues.
I think that perhaps it’s best to continue with what I currently eat but to add on more nutrient-dense and calorie-dense foods so that I’m not stuffing myself so much in volume. On the other hand, I also worry about overeating but I guess when you’re still below your ideal BMI, there’s no such thing as overeating. I want to be more compassionate towards myself and not beat myself up over treats like ice-cream and a bar of chocolate, or a sugar-laden drink. I also want to treat my body to good, healthful foods, but not to an extreme.
Flo’s away now but Mum was over this morning and helped me check my weight. I’ve finally hit the big X0. This is big for me because it’s like a ‘fear’ weight borne out of nothing since y’know, ED uses a lot of nonsensical non-facts to scare you. I’m 90% of the way to my goal weight which really isn’t very far away at all.
I look at myself now and sure, I’m still fearful of what the last X kilos will do to my body. I wonder how much chubbier my face will be, or how much chunkier my limbs will become. But the end goal is still my period. My happy weight may not necessarily be the same as my minimum BMI and that HAS to be ok! I think the scary thing for me right now is that medically, I’m still slightly underweight and yet, I feel I look perfectly smack in the middle of what the ideal weight range should be for my height. Still, the love Flo has for me, and the love of my family has to count for something for sure. And their love is bigger than ED. I need to remember that. NOW is when I have to be healthy. I don’t have another 10 years and if I can’t fight for life now, I imagine it will be even harder in a decade when there will be less of a reason to fight.
So I will keep fighting!
In other news, my eyebrows have faded since last year and while Erabelle does an awesome job, I chose to go with Angie’s recommendation for Jennevi who runs her small business from home. She’s a LOT more affordable and she was very patient and meticulous.
It all took only about an hour and a half and cost $255 which includes one touch up after a month. Subsequent touch ups cost $50 as long as you started off with her. I think that’s extremely worth it. Only downside is that she speaks mainly Mandarin but considering my terrible Mandarin, we managed to get by smoothly enough. She also does facials and eyelash extensions, as well as permanent eyeliner. Her skin is so glowy so I can imagine her facials are really good. She complimented my skin but next to her, I felt like 10 shades darker and so much duller in comparison.
This picture was taken immediately after the embroidery was done. It’s darker than it will end up being because I didn’t want it to be too dark so Jennevi went with a brown for me. I like it so far even with the slightly more thickened brows but we’ll see after a week how the colour settles.
And I guess for now, on the health front, there’s still a bit of a way to go but I’m confidently hopeful. Adaline said that for the first time, I am fighting from the inside out and not because of external factors. For the first time also since I developed anorexia, I am dying for even a glimpse of my period no matter how little. I want it so badly. I want a future with Flo and I am willing to finally let go of the comfort of ED that I have clung to for longer than I should have. It angers me knowing this but I know that I will be even more resentful towards myself if in 1, 5, 10 years time I’m still here giving in to it.