BREATHE, KEL. BREATHE.
This one has been a really long time coming. I won’t lie, I’ve written & rewritten it, edited it, deleted it, restarted it, questioned it, forgotten about it & thought about it more times than I can count. But it’s time to come out about it.
I’ve gotten SO MANY questions along the lines of: “Aren’t you married?”, “Where’s your husband?”, “Why isn’t he involved in your recovery?”, “How did your husband cope with your eating disorder?”, “Your husband must be so proud of you for recovering!”, “How did your husband deal with you eating different meals & following your meal plan so strictly?”.
I can’t even put into words HOW BADLY I wanted to be honest, upfront & answer every single one of you and give you all the details of what went on. I wanted nothing more than to be real, honest & raw with you guys & I promise to never stop doing that. But, regarding this, I’m ashamed & saddened to tell you that I wasn’t 100% upfront. I didn’t give you all the details. In fact, I answered you guys very vaguely. I indirectly hinted at what my reality is but I never really gave the whole rundown because I was grieving, because I didn’t know how to & because I just didn’t know where to start.
I know that a lot of you have probably figured it out by now. I also know that in 2017, the reality of the world is that PEOPLE TALK. There’s nothing we can do about it. But, whether you know or not, given the progress I’ve made & more importantly, given how open I have been with you guys about everything from my life, the ups & downs of recovery, therapy sessions, the progression of my mental illness from my rock bottom until now, my family, my mother’s passing, my past issues with putting up walls, perfectionism, self-neglect, internalizing emotions & running from my reality, it’s only fitting that I FINALLY be open about THE END OF MY MARRIAGE.
So yes, the rumours are true. Actually, they aren’t rumours. They’re facts. They’re my reality. And there is nothing I value more today than facing reality, harsh, beautiful, horrible, heart-wrenching or heart-warming.
And to answer your questions:
Yes, I’m married, but it didn’t work out. I’m getting a divorce. Yes, a divorce.
My husband isn’t involved in my recovery because we no longer live together. We sold our house & I moved back home at the end of May & I currently live with my dad & sister.
My husband didn’t cope well with my eating disorder or with my recovery (And I am not here to bash him or talk badly about him in any way, shape or form. I am just being honest about what we went through).
I don’t know if he’s proud, cares or knows anything about my progress or my recovery. We haven’t spoken in months.
I can’t speak for him, but I can speak for myself.
We got married in March 2016. In retrospect, at that point, I was already sick, but didn’t really know it (or rather, it wasn’t bad enough or affecting me enough for me to realize or acknowledge that something was seriously wrong with me, mentally, emotionally & physically). We were together for one of the hardest years of my life (& although I can’t speak for him, it was probably one of the hardest for him as well).
From March 2016 up until February 2017, my health degraded quickly, horribly & very dangerously. Just to put things into context, at my wedding, I weighed 115 pounds. In February 2017, not even a year later, I was down to 75 pounds. The weight doesn’t mean much. It’s just a number. But, the weight is a by-product & a direct reflection of the horrible things that were going on in my head and of the complete & utter lack of control I had over my mental state. As you guys know, by that time, as my therapist put it, “I was a ticking time bomb”. He told my husband that “He might just walk into the house one day and find me dead on the kitchen floor”. I can’t imagine that was easy to hear, absorb or process. I can’t imagine that living with me for a year, when all I cared about & worshipped was anorexia, was easy, pleasant or what he envisioned when he married me. In fact, it’s more than not being able to imagine it. I KNOW WITH COMPLETE & UTTER CERTAINTY that it wasn’t easy, pleasant or what he planned for.
And at the end of the day, he’s not a bad person. I tend to be a very good judge of character & I wouldn’t have married him in the first place if I didn’t see a future with him & ultimately, if I didn’t see him as the potential father of my children. Again, this post is not to bash him, throw shade or make you think badly of him. I went through hell, but so did he. I was a victim, but so was he. But, if there’s one thing you should know about me & it’s something that transpires in everything that I do & not only relationships, I am a VERY committed & loyal person. When I love someone, something or am committed to someone or something, I LOVE & COMMIT WHOLEHEARTEDLY, UNCONDITIONALLY & WITHOUT EXCEPTION (This is probably one of the reasons why despite how severe my ED was, I was able to recover from it, in the comfort of my own home, ON MY OWN, while being followed by a private treatment team on a weekly basis). It killed me that it seemed as though he didn’t have the same values.
In February, I finally decided to recover (after months of attempting to be treated at another eating disorder clinic in Montreal, that just didn’t do it for me). I switched therapists & embarked on my journey as of February 7, 2017. From February to May, I committed myself WHOLEHEARTEDLY to my recovery. I lived & breathed it. I followed my meal plan to a T. My daily routines, outings & activities depended on one thing & one thing only: my meal times. I did everything in my power to get myself back on the right track & to ultimately regain my health.
And do you blame me?Wouldn’t you do the same if you were told you were a ticking time bomb? That your heart could stop any second? That you were suffering from bradycardia? That you were borderline on the verge of developing osteoporosis? That you were sick enough to be granted one of the six beds at the Douglas inpatient eating disorder facility (& I couldn’t fathom the idea of living in a public health institution after having lived in one for two months at the very end of my mom’s disease & after having developed very serious anxiety surrounding hospitals). If you had to go to the hospital every Tuesday morning & sit and wait there amongst TONS of elderly women & men to get pricked & poked & get full blood count blood tests on a weekly basis? If you had to see your doctor, therapist & dietitian at least once a week, every single week? If you knew that doing all of these things was the ONLY WAY to survive your illness?
These are rhetorical questions, but what I’m trying to say is that I had to be selfish. And what’s crazy is that at the beginning of my journey, my therapist, doctor & dietitian all told me that 2017 had to be the YEAR OF MY RECOVERY & that I had to be selfish. I looked at them with teary eyes & could not grasp the concept or idea of focusing ONLY ON MYSELF. I mean, after all, I was married. I had a husband to take care of. Laundry to do. Meals to cook. A house to clean. Errands to run. And I didn’t stop doing ANY of those things.
But, amidst all the demanding-ness & all the efforts & commitment that recovery entailed, I got lost in it & I did everything I had to do to make it work. I loved my husband so much. You have no idea. He was everything to me. But, I was blinded by recovery. The way I saw things was if I didn’t have my health & ultimately, my life, how on earth could I make a marriage work? So I focused on recovery. On getting better. On getting healthy. On regaining my love for life, so that I could share it with him & with my family, friends & the rest of the world. But, things don’t always go as planned.
From February to May, we lived through the most heartbreaking period of our marriage. I won’t go into all the details because it’s just not something that I need or want to make public. But, what we went through pushed us to make the decision to go our separate ways. We sold our house. We moved back home. The summer went by. We spoke very briefly here & there. But hardly. I continued to see my treatment team. I continued on my journey towards recovery. I was so focused on it that I didn’t really think about anything else. In retrospect, I now know the heartbreak was always there. But I didn’t have the ability to feel it because I was so committed to recovery. I got better, healthier, stronger, happier but most importantly, MENTALLY STABLE.
Because I had regained my physical, emotional & mental health and finally had control over my body and more importantly, my thoughts & my emotions, I also finally gained the ability to focus on more than just recovery. I realized the grandiosity, severity & scariness of what we were about to do. All of my emotions came to the surface. The heartbreak happened. I was finally able to FEEL. My heart was shattered, broken into a million little pieces. I couldn’t believe that I had let my eating disorder ruin my marriage. I felt stupid, guilty, embarrassed, idiotic, useless, disgusting, angry, frustrated, sad, ridiculous, weak, vulnerable & every other horrible feeling in the book. There were days I stayed in bed from morning until night. There were days I forgot about it (or at least tried to or kept myself busy enough to get it off my mind). But, in the end, I couldn’t get over it. I couldn’t fathom the idea of letting my marriage, MY LIFELONG COMMITMENT, end, because of my fucking eating disorder. The thing that had already ruined me SO MUCH & almost taken my life away. I got my life back & at that point, I made the last attempt at saving my marriage.
Now, I won’t lie, we decided to go our separate ways for a number of reasons. I think that going through such a difficult time together made us realize a lot of things about each other that we may or may not have seen when things were “rainbows & unicorns” or “happy go lucky!”. And in retrospect, I now know that everything happens for a reason & maybe we were never really meant to be in the first place. But, given that this was not a high school breakup, I felt deep within my soul that it was my mission to reach out to him one last time & to do everything in my power to save what was on the verge of being broken. I knew that when we made the decision to part, I didn’t do so with the most stable mind or with an ounce of control over my emotions or thoughts. I knew that I may have acted on impulse. That I may have made the decision because I felt I wasn’t getting the support I needed as I recovered from my eating disorder. And so, despite whether or not I wholeheartedly believed that he was the one I should or would spend the rest of my life with, it was my duty, as a wife, to do everything in my power to avoid the big D. DIVORCE. And so I tried. To say the least, it didn’t work.
Knowing me, you can imagine that I did not give up right away. I tried for weeks. But, in the end, I realized I was fighting a hopeless battle. I was fighting for something that he had already had so much time to forget about, move on from & come to terms with. I suffered like hell throughout ED, but so did he. While I was focused on recovery, he had time to focus on learning to be alone & embracing his new life.
After being shut down, I finally realized that I could not dig myself into a deeper hole. I could not risk being taken over by heartbreak, sadness or negativity because I didn’t know if that would trigger anxiety, negative emotions & ultimately relapse. I also realized that no matter how strong I am, I could only take on so much. I had to stop for him, to give him his space, to let him preserve his sanity & peace of mind, but also for myself. I also learned that no matter how hard you try, you can’t force someone to love you or want to be with you. And that’s probably the HARDEST thing in the world for me to have had to accept. It was hard to accept because I couldn’t believe that I was in a situation where I was begging my husband to try again with me, to honour our commitment to be together IN SICKNESS & IN HEALTH, UNTIL DEATH DO US PART. It killed me that I would forever live with the uncertainty of what our marriage could’ve been had I never gotten sick.
Truth be told, we were married & lived together for a year but we didn’t truly get to live the honeymoon stage or the first year of marriage. I was married to my recovery. And he didn’t understand. He felt like I neglected him when really, all I wanted to do was GET BETTER so I could be the wife I promised I would be, so I could FULLY honour our commitment & so I could give him everything he envisioned when we got married. But it was going to take time. And sometimes, time heals, but sometimes, it also breaks things.
For weeks, I cried. I broke down. And then, for months, I GRIEVED. And in those months, I received countless messages from you guys. I wanted SO BADLY to come out about all of this & to tell you guys what I was going through, but every time I uttered his name, the words or tried to explain my emotions, I broke down. I couldn’t do it. Before I could fully, honestly & completely open up about it, I had to come to terms with it. I had to grieve. I had to accept that it was my reality. That I had an eating disorder. That I recovered. And that in between the eating disorder & my recovery, my marriage ended & I was getting a divorce. These were all obstacles & challenges that I had to face on my own before I could openly talk about them with anyone else, let alone the community I’ve built on social media throughout my recovery.
One of the things that helped me the most in my grieving process was stopping all contact. When I was finally able to do that, I realized that every single time I had reached out to him in the past, poured my heart out & got a negative response or no response at all, my heart shattered a little more. My world crumbled all over again. I was back at square one (even if I had made a tiny bit of progress, it was as though that one message did everything to throw any & all progress into the garbage). It was counterproductive. I’d reach out to him in hopes of miraculously receiving a positive response, let alone an opening, but in retrospect, I was doing everything to let myself down because I created (or at least hoped for) expectations that never materialized.
Another thing the helped a lot was keeping busy. Whether it was exercising, cooking, baking, blogging, taking you guys through my day with me through Instagram story, seeing friends, spending time with my family, doing research, reading, writing etc., I made a conscious effort to always make sure that my mind was occupied & that I always had something to do or somewhere to be. Doing this allowed me to invest my time & energy elsewhere and to find passion, purpose & happiness in other things.
Today, four months later, I’M HEALED. I’ve faced it. I know it’s my reality & there is nothing wrong with it. I’ve learned that time does heal. That everything does happen for a reason. That if this happened when it did, there is a reason for it.
EDIT: I’ve also learned that living life with resentment, remorse & guilt isn’t worth it. I have no regrets because I fought with every bone in my body until I had no more fight in me. I genuinely know with my whole heart that I did everything in my power to try to save my marriage, even without knowing with utmost certainty that it was what was meant to be. I’ve learned that if you spend your life questioning what would or could’ve been, why such (or so many) terrible things happened to you throughout your life, you’ll dwell on them & never fully move on from them, recover & find peace.
I hate ED, but I don’t regret that it happened to me. There’s a reason for it. I’m getting a divorce, but I don’t regret the decisions I made that may or may not have led up to it. Every single one of those decisions, big or small, played a part in leading up to today. I find comfort in knowing that I did everything I possibly could & used all the tools that were in my control. But I’ve also learned that unfortunately, there will always be things in life that I can’t control & that’s perfectly fine. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t control his thoughts, feelings, emotions or decisions. And so, I learned to let go of that desire for control and to replace it with acceptance.
I’ve learned that we are all born with an immeasurable amount of strength & willpower. We are all our own superhero. I never knew how strong I was until I was faced with this. I’ve learned to embrace my independence.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to be alone. I’ve learned not only that it’s okay to be alone, but being alone is also what ultimately allowed me to grow into the woman I was always meant to become & to see the beauty in and appreciate life for all that it is. I’m not saying I don’t miss him. I’m not saying I don’t look back on our happy memories & on our wedding. But I’m also not saying that I don’t look back on the terrible times (& they remind me why things always have a way of working themselves out, for better or for worse).
Those close to me (& who have obviously been more aware about everything that went on) sometimes ask me how on earth I was able to go through that, and recover at the same time. And to be honest, I don’t really have an answer to that question. I think it really all does boil down to the immeasurable amount of strength that we were all born with & that sometimes only comes out when we are faced with hardship, struggle or challenging situations.
One thing I know for sure is that I have NEVER in my life felt happier. stronger, more independent and mentally & emotionally stable. I’m thankful for each & every single one of the experiences & struggles that life has thrown at me, the good, the bad & the ugly.
I do also genuinely believe in the saying that G-d gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. I believe it was my destiny to have to go through grieving my mom’s passing, fighting for my life to recover from my eating disorder & ending my marriage in order to rediscover myself & grow into who I was ALWAYS meant to become.
I honestly wish him the best & pray that he finds the happiness & love that he has always wanted & I pray that one day, I find that too.
In the meantime, I’m doing me. I’m continuing to fight my eating disorder. Day in & day out. To value the gift & beauty of life. To live every day to its fullest. To hope to raise awareness about eating disorders (& the reality of all the ugliness they entail) & mental illnesses & to pray that I can have an impact on even just ONE OF YOU & inspire you to make a change in your life for the better, whatever that change may be, whatever it entails, whatever it means for you, so long as it allows you to find clarity, mental stability & most importantly, HAPPINESS.