Friday, January 2, 2015


8:00 PM

I’m curled up on my bed across from an unfinished painting and a pile of dirty laundry on the floor. I am tired beyond words and I want to close my eyes and make the world disappear for a while.

 My dietitian will be proud of me because I actually finished dinner tonight, which is probably the most I’ve eaten in the last few days. And to top it off, I didn’t go run afterwards to burn off the calories she tells me my body so desperately needs. So here I am, me and my thoughts and this food in my body, just us, them and me, sitting on my bed and acting opposite to emotion as per the skills that dialectical behavioral therapy has taught me.

"You’re body doesn’t trust you," my dietitian says when I ask her why I cannot lose weight anymore. 

This is probably a smart decision on the part of my body.

Why should it trust me? The evidence of my own self-hate is tattooed all over my skin in scars and scratches, burn marks, and bruises. It is in my worn down esophagus and my inability to, as a fully grown adult, feed myself on a regular basis. No, my body and I are not on good speaking terms right now.

"But I don’t want to eat today,” I tell her. “Or ever again, while I’m at it.”
"I know," she says, without missing a beat. "And you need to do it anyways."

That’s probably the hardest part of all, the counter-intuitive nature of recovery, that to move forward I must act against every impulse in my body that is telling me to self-destruct. 

 starve / purge / cut / run 

1:00 AM

I'm laying awake in the darkness sobbing, because, godammit, the unraveling is painful and I feel helpless without the ability to cope using my old, tried and true methods. (“These are ineffective behaviors,” I am told.) 

When I first started this process they made recovery sound appealing, all bright and shiny, talking about how you get your life back, and just imagine all of the things you’ll be able to do when you’re healthy again! Healing and life and happiness!

I throw another tissue onto the growing pile beside my bed.

They should put this part on the treatment center websites instead of those stocks photos of smiling women: me, red-eyed and tissue-laden and too exhausted to move. They should that tell you recovery feels like having someone rip you open at the seams, examine your insides for the most dark, painful places that exist there, and attempt to dig them out with a knife. The surgery that is required for healing just might kill you - that should be the slogan for recovery. 

I've heard people say that eventually it will get easier, that The Thing won't always be as loud as it is right now. Maybe that’s true. But I am still here and The Thing is still in my head, and everything - getting up every morning and living and breathing and eating - hurts. 

2:30 AM

The worst of the storm has passed, at least for tonight. The Monster has finally gone to sleep and my mind is quiet for a few rare moments before the heaviness of sleep pulls me under.

In the morning I will have to wake up and decide to eat again. I will open my fridge and try not to obsess over nutrition labels staring/glaring back at me and instead look at my personalized meal plan taped to the door of the pantry telling me BREAKFAST: 1 grain / 1 protein / 1 fat / 1 dairy / 1 fruit. I will hear my dietitian’s chirpy voice in my head as I pour a bowl of cereal saying that If you want things to be different this time, you going to have to try something different! Each bite of the stupid cereal will be painful and I won't believe her that this is going to help anything. Eating just makes The Monster louder. But this is my trying-something-different phase, my dipping-my-toes-in-the-water-to-see-if-maybe-just-maybe-they-could-be-right phase, my well-clearly-what-I'm-doing-isn't-working-anymore-so-dear-god-let's-try-something-new phase. So I will put another bite of cereal in my mouth, and pretend that I am a normal girl, that I am eating because I am hungry! and I love cereal! and I got up just so I could eat my breakfast and drink coffee and enjoy another day! I will not fool myself, but it will help somehow. Chew.Chew.Chew.Swallow.Chew.Chew.Chew.Swallow. I will find a rhythm to it, make it a game. I'll turn on the radio and chew to the beat. Anything to not listen to that Thing. I will dance around the kitchen with my bowl and sing with my mouth full. I will...

My eyelids are getting too heavy now for my mind to keep running and I'm sinking into the safety of sleep. I still have a few more hours before I have to face the world again. I pull a blanket close over my shoulders and go to a place where my problems can't find me. There are no Monsters are allowed in this place. No scary foods or hospital rooms or scales or hovering therapists who are so very worried about me. It is just me in this place, and for right now, I am safe.