Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
A Recovery Journey
Or There and Back Again
“Some events are so momentous that they erect a divide in the timeline of our lives.”
I am Nefrit El-Or. An aspiring author, blogger, and a musician/singer songwriter. I am autistic, in Recovery from anorexia nervosa, a mother of two, and a homeschooler educator.
I am a free spirit, a coffee lover, and a lover of love and of knowledge and all things Nature.
In February of 2022, under the sway of Anorexia Nervosa, I found myself standing on the brink of death.
I was alone. In the dark, cloying miasma, just me and Edie, my eating disorder. And no one else. I had no allies. I had no one to guide me. Because no one knew. No one knew what was really happening.
I was flying my warplane solo over the battlefield, in the throes of the most consequential battle of my life. A battle FOR my life.
Come to think about it, naming it a battle is an injustice. Because a battle, is a ‘tenacious fight to achieve, or resist something’. And I wasn’t trying to fight her. Anorexia. I simply yielded, relinquishing my steering wheel to her without contest, keeping her at full stretch, for three whole years.
A cold morning of February, 2022, in the wake of three years of unremitting starvation, was the day I finally spoke up.
It was the first time I stood up to Edie. I struck true that morning; a first blow in a long line of back-and-forths that was about to ensue.
I told on her.
I was teetering precariously on the very edge of a precipice then, staring into a vertiginous, bottomless drop, staring into my dissolution.
Much like the grisly frost that held onto everything and ran through every bough of the bereft Maples outside, I felt a sobering knowing run through my every limb.
I felt it in my bones. In my every bit of me. The prospect of death, was all too real.
I was playing with fire. One of these mornings, I knew, I will not see the sun rise anymore. I will simply not wake up. And my kids will be left without a mother.
I had to make a decision. Me or Edie.
Life or death.
The choice I made, is manifest.
That was my very first attempt in resisting. The most difficult.
As the years advanced with Edie, I perfected the art of metrology.
I knew my weight ere feeding, post imbibing a glass of water, before and after bowel movements. And I tracked it as it fluctuated throughout the day.
The numbers I managed to “achieve” in the end, had sent my head reeling. Never in my wildest dreams, at any point along of my restriction spates over a lifetime, had I thought I’d ever manage such a blockbuster success. I’ve been moving up the levels like some sort of a real live video game, appropriating the building bottom to top, acquiring the floors one by one, and I finally reached the penthouse, heck I conquered the Empyrean freakin’ Dome! I beat the game.
I was a high-flier riding the winds of success. A putrid effluvia emanating from the death that was waiting for me, only a last vital breath away. The startling sense of success, a triumph, an achievement, was intoxicating. I wanted to enjoy it. Just a while longer.
I didn’t want to let it go.
Only it wasn’t a video game.
In this real life numbers game, Game Over, was, the real game over. The ultimate endgame.
In the end, I so wanted to stop the hunger/deprivation, and I so wanted to start eating.
But I couldn’t.
It was the eventide of my 3 years stint with Edie. The sunsetting of The Worst Plan in The World.
It was the downfall of my glorious tower; my fantabulous penthouse was but a dilapidated, cockroach infested, worm-ridden, squalid ruin, fast going to crumble.
I could no longer tend to it.
I faced two choices. There was no other way. There was no in-between. There was no ceasefire. I either continue and die, or I fight like hell, and get myself out of it.
At that point, my body was but an exiguous frame, a coalition of bones with nothing on top.
A shadow of a human being
On October 2022, I had to quit my home, I left my kids and husband, and went into treatment for Eating Disorders. I embarked on journey of Recovery.
I spent nearly a year in treatment for eating disorders. I began at the highest level of care under medical supervision, and worked my way down the levels of care; 3.5 months in a residential facility where I was blind weighted in nothing but a gown every morning, I was not allowed any movement, and saw the outside only during succinct traipses to the back yard, then PHP- partial hospitalization, and the final step-down, IOP- intense outpatient treatment.
During this time I fought hard. I parried fiercely. I gave it everything I had. I fell on my face. I stumbled. And I picked up the sword once more, time and over again. I spent these 10 rigorous, intense months in treatment, away from my two kids and husband. I did Thanksgiving in treatment. Christmas. My little girl turned 7 while I was gone.
At the end of almost a year, I graduated with flying colors. And I returned home.
I cannot say that I left fight behind.
“Dr D, I am waiting for the day that anorexia will be but a fading evocation. Nothing more than a dark past.” I relayed to my eating disorders dietitian, “but it seems like this day is not coming.”
“And it may never will.” She observed to me. “You have had your eating disorder for such a long time.”
Today, I know, that Recovery is not a one and done solution. Recovery is a curlycue, squiggly journey. It is not a linear straight-shot up to the summit. It is about making a choice, every day. Sometimes it’s about a one snack at a time, one meal at a time, kind of a choice. It's not about losing some battles. It’s about winning the war, one battle at a time.
The past four years came and went, gone by, simply a fugitive memory, tenuous like a gossamer of a spiderweb riding the winds in the chill hour of an autumn morning.
The pandemic washed over the world like a tsunami. Humans forget and move on. The world moved on.
I spent the better part of them, as a living-dead thing.
The specter of an imminent death loomed over me heavily then, like a terrible shadow, as my physical body was fast going to demise from the deleterious effects of Anorexia Nervosa. I lay for days on end, staring out the window, waiting for the quietus. There wasn’t much left of it at the end.
But verily, I was dead a long time before that. For such a long time.
I find myself reflecting often. Life with Edie is a timeless, sleepless, tasteless, lackluster, monochromatic strain of Nonexistence.
An amorphous, unrecognizable something; for its neither living nor dying.
Life with Edie is vasts of empty voids. It’s an aimless, endless wanderment in Mars’ desolations.
It is a disinhibited shell, destitute of life, an empty world, in which you rove endlessly, zombie style, with eyes empty of expression; you see but you don’t see. An unwilling participant in one, long, interminable Night of the Living Dead scene, enacted time and over again, pandering to the escapism of Anorexia.
Over the course of the past 4 years certain personal circumstances have transpired. Personal struggles, that shook my foundations and tugged at my very core, and made me reevaluate, reconsider, and redefine.
Redefine what happiness is.
And where it truly lies.
Last year I was diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder. This diagnosis was the catalyst for a wonderful personal revolution.
It is arguably, the singularly most significant and consequential turn of events to have ever betided me.
But most importantly, it provided me a relief from a lifetime of strife, and self-hate, and allowed me to begin healing.
For the first time in my life, I ceased feeling like a broken thing, and I began giving myself grace.
I started seeing myself through a different lens.
Notwithstanding this diagnosis, treatment would have meant absolutely nothing.
This had not only changed my life. It had SAVED my life.
My story, is is a story of a journey. A journey to Hell and back. A road that took me to the brink of death and back to Life. A journey of discovering. Unearthing the true self, finding Life again. Rediscovering of Love.
A journey of healing.
Having suffered silently from Anorexia for over 30 years, Nefrit El-Or, a late identified 2e autistic, an author, blogger and a musician, aspires to advocate for eating disorders recovery and raise awareness for late identified autism, and hopes to inspire others to find their voice and share their own unique experiences whatever they may be.
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