It is interesting how a certain place can trigger emotions and memories and just being back there can bring things flooding back.
Earlier today I had to do something in the next town to where I’m currently living with my family.
This meant retuning to a place that holds many memories…
These include happy pre eating disorder memories of when I was free of the illness, young, enjoying life, loving the people with me & happy.
But also, this town holds later memories of years I was consumed by the illness, miserable & isolated.
In recent years I have avoided consciously remembering any of this – not the good times, not the bad times.
As I drove back there today I suddenly found myself silently weeping, hit by a tidal wave of so many memories…
I was weeping for the person I once was in this town – young, fun, happy and in love with life and the people around me and I cried for the loss of that young woman and for the miserable years since.
Interspersed with this were flashbacks to some of the experiences I endured in this town because of the eating disorder…. memories of a way of life still too recent and frightening to contemplate.
Of course, during the illness I would feel none of this.
I could sweep difficult memories away with the eating disorder and I was numb inside.
I did not acknowledge what joy had gone before or what had replaced it when I was sick.
Remembering these things today, the flood of memories and the emotions entangled within them are difficult to sit with and hit very unexpectedly.
But now I can at least use them in recovery.
I have to remind myself that the young happy woman was me and I’m still here… I might be a bit (or a lot!) older now but the fun, loving side of me is still deeply buried within and slowly creeping out – she did not die, she just got lost.
And with flashbacks to the miserable life in the illness and in feeling that pain, I can use those memories to make sure those days don’t come back.
Like many with an eating disorder, I have lost people and relationships and years that might have been joy filled were not.
Today, I can feel that loss, allow myself the tears and grief but then grow from it in recovery.