I recently listened to a podcast that left me thinking. I am drawn towards people that make me think, grow and evolve towards a better version of myself. Lewis Howes regularly pops up in my podcast list. One of his latest guests, Glennon Melton, talked about her struggles with eating disorders. What got me thinking was her portrayal of her eating disorder as a safe place for her to hide, a self-created island where she felt home, safe.
Although I never quite thought of it like that, this statement resonated with me. It probably resonated more with regards to what I experienced with my former significant other and her struggles with ED. We met while we were both struggling with ED, although I was almost done with it. Over the next years, I get her out of it , as gently as I could. But it was rough. On her and myself. Unconditional love made me go back to that dark and cold place I once called home myself, to come and get her. It took a very long time for her to come back with me, but I stayed on her side the whole time, out of love. Once you make it out, it somehow leaves you exhausted, and although it wasn’t purely my struggle, I had to catch my breath once we made it through.
But something felt wrong. It didn’t take me long to realise that she left a piece of her behind. How could I have missed that! It took her so long to recover from that seemingly endless fight that I am not entirely sure whether she realised that something was missing. Maybe the fact that I knew her so well, back when she was whole, full of life –although prisoner of her self-made prison– made me the only person to sense that she didn’t fully let go.
This left me with two choices. Go back to maybe find the missing piece, or let go of her. But I just couldn’t go back. I don’t know whether I was afraid or whether I truly didn’t have the power to go back anymore. I probably couldn’t take the pain anymore. I remember that when I came back from my own fight a friend once asked me whether I felt that I could ever fall back into it. I answered that I genuinely believed that I was done with it, but in the same sentence I couldn’t hide the fact that in the case I was mistaken, I was certain not to be able to make it out a second time. I made it out once all by myself, I got back in to get someone else out, I think I was afraid that I could stay if I would ever enter that place again. I wish I could have summoned the courage to go back. In case you have ever seen What Dreams May Come, I wish I would have found the same love. But I didn’t.
To this date, although we live separate lives, I still believe that I am the only person to know that small corner inside of her she couldn’t fill with light. I am so grateful that I don’t call it home anymore.