Love is the most powerful thing in the world, but when you have a relationship with an eating disorder, you will never be able to fully experience the glory of it.
Two years ago today, I lived in Anderson, South Carolina and was deeply entangled in my eating disorder. I remember driving to the Mall of America, all alone, in order to spend the day bingeing. I walked through the mall, randomly buying fatty foods in order to fill the hole inside.
I wanted to stuff myself with as much food as possible in order to not have to feel my deep pain and my insanely strong longing for true love. I remember watching the movie Valentine’s Day, feeling empty, lonely and desperately helpless.
A year later, my life had changed dramatically. I had fallen in love, moved to Zurich and gotten married to the most wonderful man in the world. Our love had hit me unexpectedly and with a force that I could have never imagined. My wish had come true and my life looked perfect. But my eating disorder was still raging inside and I had become a mere shadow of myself.
My husband took me out for lunch because I was going to head to Germany later that afternoon to spend a few days in Cologne with my sister and my wonderful friend Winnie. The restaurant he chose was beautiful, but I did not enjoy a single bite of what I had ordered. My eating disordered mind would not let me enjoy myself for even a single moment.
I remember sitting there asking myself what in the world was wrong with me. I had the most loving husband, lived in a beautiful city and should have been beaming with joy, but all I felt was guilt, shame and hopelessness.
02/14/2012 marks the first Valentine’s Day on which I can honestly say that I am happy in all aspects of my life and I have a deep respect for myself and my body.
However, this is not what Valentine’s Day is all about, is it? I did not come to this place on my way. Had it not been for my husband, I would have given up my fight against my anorexia many times.
To be frank, I don’t know how he endured the first few months of our marriage.
I was never able to give my husband all the attention he deserves. I was gone so often slaving away at the gym that we hardly spend time with each other. I lied to him over and over again and deeply hurt the trust in me he is supposed to be able to build.
I was often absent-minded counting calories in my head while we had a conversation. I hated my body so much that being intimate was a constant issue.
Today, all this has changed. By letting go off my eating disorder, I have grown into the wife he deserves. I can cater to my husband, I can listen to him, I love being intimate with him more than ever before, I enjoy simply being with him without the distracting thoughts going through my head over and over again.
By learning to love myself, I was able to love my husband infinitely more. I feel such a passion for this guy, such a huge desire to be with him and I am so proud to be his wife that I have tears in my eyes writing this.
The last year was not easy for both of us. Recovery came with a lot of fights and a lot of heartache. My husband felt neglected and lonely during the time of my stay at the treatment facility. I cannot blame him. Nobody wants to spend 3 months alone when you are newly married.
However, he was always on my side, not once did he say, he cannot cope with this situation. Not once did he threaten to leave. Not once did he mention that recovery was too complicated and too messy for him.
Exactly the opposite was the case. He was there for me every step of the way, he consoled me, he listened to me complain about having to gain weight, he encouraged me, he argued with doctors when I thought they were wrong, he made calls, talked to insurance agents, started to cook with me, told me over and over again that no, I was not ugly and fat and so much more.
Sure, there were times when his own grief over the situation got the better off him and there were times when he too, was lost. But these occurrences are nothing compared to the grace he conveyed by simply showing me that I can always and for all eternity depend on him.
I can hardly relate anymore to the girl I was exactly 2 years ago. The loneliness has given way to a healthy and loving relationship. The whole inside has been closed by self-love and compassion for the person that I am. The pain has turned into an understanding and an acceptance of unchangeable things that happened in the past.
The sadness was pushed aside by a gleeful and vibrant spirit. The deep insecurity has been replaced by confidence and enthusiasm. And the disordered eating has become structured, regular and healthy.
In the last 2 years, I blossomed as a person, but none of it would have happened, had I not received the biggest gift in the world: my husband’s unconditional love. A love that was often incomprehensible to me, but has helped me to find the will to live.
Babe, I wish I had words to accurately express my love for you, my gratefulness and my humility that you are still here, still by my side, even after everything I put you through. I wish there was a way to properly show you how you love has healed my broken heart and repaired my shattered soul.
I love you more than I could have ever dreamed of and I know that we can and will master every single challenge that life throws us our way.
I don’t know if I deserve you, but you are here now and I will never let you go again. I simply cannot get enough of you.
They say love heals. In my case, that is exactly what happened.