28. August 2014 by swissfitchick
I have to go a little back in the story here – about a year before I broke up with that last man of the abusive relationship, let’s call him S. We had the usual on and off, ups and downs when the diagnosis of my fathers disease came. I was 22 years old, my Dad was living 10 more years after the first disease and then they found a malign tumour in his spinal cord. Soon we found out, that it wasn’t possible to be healed. There was an option to operate, but there was a high risk for him to be completely paralyzed. Dad decided to just go for a palliative therapy. But yeah, we needed to face the fact that there was no way out.
I was studying in Zurich part-time – I studied English and German literature and journalism, which was SO my dream. But with all the stress around me, this difficult relationship, my ill father and the studies – it was too much and I stopped studying. This is a decision I regret until today.
I kept up with my part-time job at an IT company as a Marketing Assistant. Just a few months later I lost the job. My boss wanted more than just a business relationship with me, which I didn’t want – so he did everything to get me out of the business.
On one hand, this was a ‘good’ thing – I was there to support Mom by taking care of Dad and I was there to spend time with Dad – the time that was left for us. In my familiar way, I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I ‘informed’ my friends what was happening, but it was all too overwhelming to actually face what was going on inside of me. I also had a super hard time to show Dad how much I cared and how much I suffered from the fact that he would leave us soon. I still don’t know how one is supposed to handle something like this. We all know we have to die, but when you are with someone, hugging him, talking to him and actually KNOW it is one of the last times to be – this is just so different and cruel. Lots of times, I acted cold and distant towards him and I still feel so sorry about that. But I was completely lost with this situation.
Dad was my hero, he was the one who knew everything. He was very well-educated with a doctor’s degree, he was a musician and he was the funniest person you can think of. There were the times when I thought my parents suck big time (hello teenager bitch), but overall, I always looked up to him, I simply adored him. I got a lot of his character and we were very close. He was my most favorite conversational partner, we could talk for hours and hours about all the world and more. We shared our passion for music and literature and he was the one challenging me intellectually.
I was torn between being desperate and being so mad at him, cause he PROMISED me to always be there for me. He promised me to protect me when I was a child and he promised me to always take care of me. And now he would just pass away and leave me here, all alone? And there is just nothing I can do about it? NO ONE can do anything about it?! I didn’t get it. I couldn’t stand it. Seeing him getting weaker and suffering from all that pain was beyond all bearing.
I was sitting by his side, holding his hand when he took his last breath.
2 weeks later, S. broke up with me again – he got a new job in another city and moved out of Basel. We came back together later again until the final break up, but that time, it was the worst – losing Dad and the break up. Additionally, I was without a job and…..I don’t want to go into details here, but 4 weeks after Dad died, I was close to losing Mom as well. She is happy and fine today, but back then, she was in danger and I was just busy to save my and her life and trying to keep my chin up in between all that craziness.
This was definitely one of the hardest times in my life and I am still wondering how I managed to get through. With so many important factors in my life flaking and shaking or breaking, I definitely felt that I am losing ground. But I guess there is just no alternative?! What can you do rather than moving on? I am that person who always stands up after falling, cause I really don’t like to be down for too long. It was the value and the message I was raised with. Being positive and never give up and especially NEVER lose your humour. Seriously, my Dad was about to die and he still cracked so supersilly jokes. I loved and hated him for this, cause I felt like I should cry all the time, but I had to laugh. He just made us all laugh in between all his pain. That is exactly me – I never spend a day without laughing, no matter how shitty everything is.
In all these times at least my Eating Disorder gave me a break. I was not eating a lot and I was very slim and I worked out almost daily. But I was stable and did not have any relapses. I found a new job as a marketing assistant and slowly started to recover from the happenings at least superficially. Means – back then I never really dealt with the loss of my Dad, nor did I reflect anything that happened in these past years.
I turned 25 when I met my new boyfriend.
Since my first big love, this was my first ‘normal’ relationship. We did have wonderful times. But it wasn’t easy either, especially cause I clearly had the hardest time to find trust in a man. After the 2 abusive relationships I was only waiting for him to turn into a freak and to start hitting me one day. Or that he would leave me, like Dad left me. But it wasn’t the case. He was an honest and friendly man, funny, full of life and he loved me truly to the moon and back. I wrote a post about this relationship and explained how difficult it was because my Eating Disorder came back stronger. I wasn’t prepared to be loved unconditionally. I felt completely awkward and uncomfortable to be loved just the way I am – cause obviously I thought something is wrong with me, that I am not ENOUGH and I didn’t like myself. I didn’t understand that someone found that I am amazing just the way I am. That couldn’t be true and I didn’t believe it.
Anyway – after 2,5 years things didn’t go so well, still we decided to move in together. And then I was hit by the hardest relapse of bulimia ever. I just felt that this step wasn’t right, that the relationship wasn’t good enough to go for a shared home, but I couldn’t handle it. So I binged. For a solid 6 months I binged daily, secretly, and obsessively. I purged and took my pill cocktail, I did excessive workouts in panic of gaining weight. I felt like a TRUCK of external control took over my senses and my actions, cause I was completely helpless and committed to the bulimia. It was scary. I gained about 7 kilos in these months and I wasn’t myself anymore at all. Our relationship was slowly dying, the love went and we didn’t communicate. He was watching me, helplessly, while I was fighting in this vicious cycle of bingeing, pills, purging and running. 6 months later I packed my bags and left.
I had a hard time to find back to my normal self. After a first high, I fell into a depression for a few months – during wintertime. I reduced work to 80% and I took medicine. I lived quite isolated, only connected with my closest friends and family until I finally got my energy and temper back in spring 2007. I still binged, but the time slots between the relapses got longer and longer. I always made sure I surround myself with my best people. Best medicine ever.
2007 – I turned 29 – I decided to change my life. I quit my office job, travelled to the Philippines for 3 months to discover the country and to work in social development work projects and to start studying social work. One of the best decisions in my life.
During my studies in Basel, I decided to do my 7 months internship in Berlin. I moved in February 2008 and came back in September 2008. I worked with criminal young men and coached them to find back into a life with a good professional and social perspective.
My Eating Disorder was very present in the Philippines. Like with every situation that put pressure on me or woke up insecurities, the Eating Disorder was right there to take over. In the Philippines I was constantly worried to gain weight, I felt fat ALLLL the time and even though I saw people starving there and even though I found out how my family had to work hard for their food, I couldn’t get over it. When I came back, a few binges sneaked in and that was when I reached out for support by my first personal trainer. I never worked with someone like this before and I was so lucky with Markus. He is a personal trainer since more than 20 years and well – he knows just about everything. With his support I was able to find stability in my nutrition and workouts and a routine that made it possible for me to focus on my studies.
Unfortunately, this ‘recovery’ was fake. I might have been stable, but I was still obsessed with being skinny, controlling my food intake, not gaining weight and working out as much as possible. Recovery is so much more than just having balanced eating days. Recovery is a change of the MINDSET and not of the way we eat. Or workout. Recovery is the full package – physical AND mental health. How you talk to yourself and what you choose to believe about yourself shows up in the world, unmistakably. I didn’t get this back then. Not yet.
Coming up, Part 4: Finding a new Love, another relapse and start of real recovery