Am I More Than Just My Battle?

“I am not my eating disorder. I am not my eating disorder. I am not my eating disorder.”

I am jolted upright by the dreadful buzz of my alarm. Irony. I set an alarm to awake, though I’ve been conscious all night, just to ensure that I do not miss my 4:00 AM schedule. Shower, lotion, hair, downstairs—repeat this every day. Here is where I fix my pre-planned breakfast written on a sticky-note by the kitchen cupboard, with its precise measurements and calories carefully calculated on the Sunday evening of every week. 4:45, on the dot, and never a minute earlier or later. If I eat any later, lunch will have to be pushed back, as well as the rest of my day following suite. That certainly cannot happen. Eating any later would result in fewer calories my body can burn before I turn off the lights and pretend to sleep like the rest of my family. Presently, instead of vexing my energy towards to burning off what I just consumed, I am sitting here writing this, hoping I can miraculously obtain some “motivation” or some other positive reason in which I do not believe anymore.

“Every minute you sit here, whining about your lifestyle to people who could care less, is one more pound you’re adding to that awfully thick waist of yours. I hope you know this.”

“No, I’m sick and need this rest. The doctor’s showed me the charts. I am at the first percentile for my weight, my clothes don’t fit, my bone loss is proceeding, and I haven’t had a period in months.”

“Stupid child. Don’t you know that doctors lie? It all comes down to money, or perhaps even what common knowledge advocates. You’re just another patient, another name in the charts. Why do you want to be ‘normal’ anyways? I set you apart. I made you who you are. I created us.”

I have no reply to that. I’m left wondering, instead, why I make this so hard. Why doesn’t the doctor’s never-ending list of new conditions due to my health state scare me? Why can’t I simply listen to what my nutritionist tells me? Why can’t I just eat? Ha– I cannot help but bitterly laugh at that. Listen to me, sounding just like every other person who knows of my secret. “If you would just eat better,” they say, “You wouldn’t need an anti-depressant and you would feel much better at a healthy place.” Or, my personal favorite, “You are so strong; I know you can do this. All you have to do is gain weight.”

Oh, is that all?

I do so deeply wish that I did not have this on-going battle within my head, always calculating every calorie I consume (I chuckle here because people find it odd when they see the calculator I keep in bag. I use my phone mostly, though. Thank God for Google Mobile and i-Phone speed) and developing new ways to eat something, though never quite enough, in order to at least appear as though I am normal and mask the constant weight-loss. I wish that my bathroom cabinet didn’t look like my own personal drug store, and that my parents would not contain me on house arrest in order to assure I get no extra exercise. I wish for all these things, all of these things that I am told recovery holds-no more doctor appointments and therapy sessions every week, no more strict-schedules from which I cannot bear to stray, and no more nights spent wide awake, wishing that my body would just give up already-but sadly, I do not seem to believe that such a world could exist for me.

Recovery. What all, exactly, is entitled to this? I cannot imagine a life without my ED. I cannot imagine ever feeling okay with myself, ever feeling like I am capable of coping with all the stress and events of my past/present. I am blinded from seeing recovery for me. I hear so many stories, am inspired so much by all of the people out there who regain their lives and are happy, and witness truly amazing stories every day. I do not, however, in my wildest of dreams, imagine myself anywhere near that place. I long for it, yes, and there are days when I wake up and truly believe that I am going to be okay. I’ll spend that day doing everything that I should be doing, working towards healthy. But at the end of the day, inevitably, when I am all alone and am preparing my bed for my “pretend I’m normal for once and sleep like the rest of my family” nightly ordeal, the Voice creeps up-loud, violent- and I feel awful and physically sick. I see every part of my body and how grotesquely wrong it is. I try to fight back; I want to win, so I go over and find my recent pictures. I always see the same girl—the sullen, morbid crescents below a pair of vacant eyes; the painfully protruding bones, displayed unnaturally beneath a translucent veil; her tiny, doll-like grace as she stands next to another girl of the same age. But, as usual, I can never believe that she is me.

“Photographs are not accurate, you idiot. And besides, this was taken a few days ago. You have definitely gained at least some chub in your stomach since then.”

“No. No, that is not true. I look horrible, it’s embarrassing, and I do not want this anymore. I am hurting everyone who cares about me.”

I catch a glimpse of my wrists, and the jagged scars that bring pain to my best friend’s eyes every time we hug. Another coping method, I suppose.  I am only living because I bleed.

“Just go on and slit your wrist again, you freak.”

And then I bleed.

I am merely a vapor, floating far above my earthly body. I see her actions, her pain, her struggles. I feel the stares and the rude comments she receives in public. I experience her anger towards people’s ignorance regarding mental illnesses, making jokes to her and not knowing that she is living that right then. I am existing out of my body as I go through the motions of life, never feeling joy or optimism in the slightest. I am told by those who care about me that if I would just “think positively” I would not be in this condition. I have found this to be not necessarily true.

Ten months ago when my relapse started, I was pretty positive. I had a wonderful boyfriend, was finally making a few great friends, and although I wasn’t exactly at my “target weight,” my vitals were well enough that OP relented into allowing me to discharge. Little did anyone know, however, that the Voice had not disappeared. It was still there, still very much real, silently watching as I went about my days. At times, it would whisper little disapprovals of which I was too busy to take notice. Two days after my discharge, that wonderful guy told me up front and honest that I was not good enough for him, with all my issues and problems, which he waited until 10 months to tell me. Naturally, it hurt, and it hurt a lot. I was upset for a little while. I came to the point, suddenly, that I was no longer upset, no longer grieving over the whole “Oh, my boyfriend dumped me, woe is me,” rubbish. I came to that point and something snapped. It was subtle, as often I find the Voice to be, and the excuses seemed perfectly normal to me. Not enough time for lunch during my break? It’s okay, I’ll just do a little better tomorrow. Notice that my jeans feel a little bit tighter? I can afford to cut back a little, no biggie. The pattern of my excuses extrapolated into my old habits. I denied this, however, because it was not like I was still “anorexic.” I was no longer sick and I was eating, wasn’t I?

Needless to say, a few months later I ended up serving my third admission to the hospital after passing out in the hall at school. It is there where my OP team found and surprised me (along with my parents) with an actual intervention. I was vehement. I cried and wailed and told them I was not sick. I told them I just was so busy I had let myself slip up a bit but I promise I know what I need to do. I now resume my weekly visits, dreading each Tuesday as it nears. Once a month, I go to another psychiatrist who is in charge of my anti-d. My last visit resulted in what he called “aggressive action”—the largest dose of Zoloft any one person can ingest safely. More pills. Do they want me to be an addict?

I find myself here today, watching it rain outside and writing all of this for you to see. My point? I guess I really do not have one, admittedly. I am at the place within my illness where recovery seems like a fantasy to me. My “relapse”, I do believe, cannot truly be considered a relapse, because I never really got better the first time around. I did what I needed to do in order to meet the physical requirements, but mentally the Voice never left its control board. It has been with me my entire life and I cannot even fathom living without it. I hold a tremendous amount of fear in regards to recovery, which probably seems outlandishly imprudent, if not selfish, to anyone who reads this. However, I cannot deny the immense amount of fear I hold towards the idea of not having that constant presence in my head. It’s how I cope, how I deal with emotions. I am seventeen years old; how could I possibly learn how to live now, when I am about to be all on my own in less than a year? I guess the saying is true—cannot teach an old dog a new trick. The times when my eating disorder was the least strong were the times when the pills and cutting reached their peaks. I have been battling suicidal thoughts for quite some time, and most days they are, ashamedly, quite strong. I feel such a vast amount of guilt for all of the harm and stress I have inflicted onto every single person in my life that I feel it would be so much better if I were gone. It’s not to escape the pain or end the battle. It’s not for me at all, honestly. I contemplate my demise in order to spare those I love from worrying about me for the rest of my life.

Apathy is probably one of the biggest inhibitors of mine, but I cannot control it nor rid myself of its comfort. I have recently arrived at the conclusion that I will not ever commit suicide, because it would cause too many money issues (more than my treatment already does) and I do not want that for my family. Apathy has solaced me in that I have not, in quite some time, really felt any more pain from this battle. I have acquired the mindset of that I really do not care whether I get “better,” all I really want to do is maintain what I have so that I’m in a little bit more control of my life and the ones who know no longer worry. I don’t know….perhaps I will get there someday. Perhaps there is a life beyond the battle for everyone. This blog, as well as my week of solitude I allotted during this Spring Break, is helping me to latch on to tiny bits of hope and purpose–nothing monumental, no huge life-altering changes, but simple little glimpses of something better. Rarely, but still there, I am starting to catch myself finding beauty, if not pleasure in simple little things-the smile that I bring to the elderly man’s face at Wal-Mart when I open the door for him, the way the trees blow in the wind, the laugh I share with my sister when reminiscing on our childhood.

I know that I have a long ways to go, or rather more realistically put, the entire way to go. I know that I am in a dangerous place, so close to being wheeled away to inpatient against my will. I know that I am dying, and that I am already far past dead mentally. I cannot assure you that I will ever fully recover. I cannot tell you that my weeks ahead will not be filled with my various methods of coping. What I can assure you of, nonetheless, is that I will not stop trying and fighting every single second. I wish to each and every one of you the strength you need to progress. No matter what you are going through, always remember these three things:

You deserve to be free.

There is always beauty in these ashes.

You are more than just your battle.

~ by candyshele1204 on March 21, 2012.

7 Responses to “Am I More Than Just My Battle?”

  1. Oh gosh I understand every word of this..I feel for you so much. It is not fair to live with such pain in our minds. If only the thoughts could STOP once in a while..just long enough so we can breathe. I am at the same place you are mentally. i’m here. I’m fighting with you ❤

    • Yes, if only we could just escape ourselves once in a while, maybe this would not be so energy-draining. I am sorry that you are experiancing this with me. It’s tough, but knowing that someone else is here with me, fighting their own battle, is a huge catalyst.

  2. your writing proves you’re more..

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