Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Still Better Than An Eating Disorder

Disclaimer: This topic is about my current experiences compared to my checkered past with anorexia nervosa. This is not meant to be triggering in any manner at all. HOWEVER, I don't know what is going to fall out of my head and hands, so there could be something that may be a sensitive area for you. If you are struggling, use discretion before continuing to read

National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week.

I don't talk too much about my experiences going through anorexia nervosa, and when I do it's plenty intense and in your face enough that I don't feel I need to drone on and on about it.

But right now, being the week that it is, it brings to mind again how much time that AN took from me, effectively stole my childhood and adolescence, tripped into the foggy mire that is the wasteland that these disorders take you to.

***

Losing touch with those all around, even if you are among close friends...they have no clue that in reality, you are gone, you have been gone for a very long time, weeks, hours, years, keeping track isn't possible at all. You want to play Risk? Well, I have the ultimate risk for you.

Come back to the land of the living.

You! Out there in the distance! I see you. I visit this corner of the mind frequently. Oh yes, I come here to observe, to look for the missing and broken parts of myself lost in this pit long ago. I have come to where I can come to this place and not get lost. I have beaten a path back to Life...but I see that you wander about the tangled brush, insisting you know where you are going. Which direction does the moss grow? You don't know?

Have you a compass? A map? A trail at all?

Or was you trail like mine, the parts of me I hated. The parts of me that made me who I am and not a faceless identity as the skeletal, androgynous Figure that you think you want. That armor of frailty. That idea of what it will be like to hit that magic number.

You have fooled yourself. I have found my way back the hard way too, and still must visit to try to find the parts of me that I want back. That I claim back. That I thought were making me take up too much space, that didn't let me slide easily in and out without a sound...

Oh, no, no, no. You have only made it worse. Those bones have made you stand out even more. Taking up more space by that fact that you have dwindled to nothing more than a vapor, and might flow away...

But that place?

There is no way out from six feet under my friend.

***

I look up now, see that I have just finished my IV antibiotic, that I spiked and hung myself, that I attached to my own central line, accessing my own blood stream. I have been entrusted with this responsibility. This task.

And now, I am able to do it. I am able to do it, because I can pay close attention. My brain is not wanting for fuel, it is not deprived. The body has been worn by illness and circumstance, and it was its own malfunction, and it was one where they are able to put a device in me, give me a set of directions, and it really is just that easy.

Not so with an eating disorder. There are no rules in that realm. There are the lists of "must" and "mustn't", but there is no reason for any of them. I could reverse them if I chose. I could add more restrictions if I chose, take my soul out of my body and give it over to that trance like realm where it is all comfort, the promise of being set free of the troubles I faced, the things I so badly needed to forget that replayed over and over and over and over and over...

It does sadden me that I have the diagnosis that I do, and that not much can be done besides what we are doing with the TPN.

But it's still better than an eating disorder

Every night starting at five, I start the process of setting up my sterile work station and let my TPN set out, put the Infuvite in until I am ready to use it, and count back the hours anxiously until I carefully wash my cracked and bleeding hands, put on a mask and gloves, taking needles from their sleeves, carefully and vigorously rubbing alcohol pad after alcohol pad upon every point before connecting sterile to sterile, every time, heart racing until the process is over, and from there I know I am safe....but then. And only then.

It's still better than an eating disorder

I use a wheelchair all the time. ALL the time. Want to go for a walk? Oh, no. I can't. Maybe in few months? The wish and the stubborn hope, as I have no reason still not to hope with hard work it can change. There is the doubt that tried to cloud my view and makes it hard to see. Some laugh because "it's amazing!" to see someone so small and frail do so many pull ups or drive an IV pole just resting my feet at the base and letting the chair do all the work. When I go back to the apartment and they are done being entertained by my antics and my larger than life personality, I close the door and a few tears escape the eye, as they cannot grasp what those chuckles we shared costed me...

...it's still better than an eating disorder

They humor us on the packaging when they say "tabbed briefs" but what are they really? They are diapers. And I have to use them due to incontinence. There's one that's awkward for talking about even here, yet here I am doing it! Admitting it. I conceal it well, I am the master of disguise when it comes to embarrassing medical supplies. Still doing this by transfer, the handicap stall that is usually occupied by someone that is perfectly healthy with several empty rows, and I just look at them and their expression twists into the "caught in the act" composure of embarrassment and no, this is not one I insist is really ok because it isn't. It isn't ok. But the day goes on after fighting with the heavy door and finally escaping, to roll down the hall and wonder if things will one day be a little easier or if my life is in for more of these types of surprises...

...it's still better than an eating disorder

So yes. Yes. I would rather be on TPN with a central line (which can lead to deadly infections), stuck in a wheelchair (for the time being working as hard as I can to be more mobile, pardon the paradox) and wearing freaking diapers then ever EVER go through the sheer hell that is that dreamy pit of the eating disorder.

It lures you in and swallows you whole. Because maybe unlike you, it has an insatiable appetite.

So the next time, if you are struggling, and you cross paths with someone who knows the way to get back to the safety of the Outside World

Take the Risk, grasp their hand, and trust that anything else than what you are putting yourself through is still better than an eating disorder

For more help visit

National Eating Disorders Awareness Association

Something-Fishy, Forum, Memorials

4 comments:

  1. For me that is honestly hard to imagine and if I had the choice I would keep ED above all that!

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    Replies
    1. Karin,

      I know it's hard to imagine, because you're in that fog. You've lost your way, and you know it. But you are so tangled that it's hard to even begin to tell where to start, so what's the point of trying, right?

      This is a hard week for us. We both have lost people, and the person I am writing about tomorrow was important to both of us and I'm glad you commented so I can warn you ahead of time if to choose to read, you need to brace yourself. It's probably really raw. And for you, I think you have literal wounds of the heart and the body that deserve quick attention, and you've fought and fought and felt as if you've gotten nowhere.

      But look above, There is no reason in this alter universe. And if you don't get out soon, there is no way out of six feet under. I'm not willing to lose someone else. That isn't meant to put any pressure on you at all. You know I care deeply for you. There are others who are reading this that are in your exact same place...there's always a way back. You're in this deep and it will take a long time, it's going to hurt like hell, but trust me: if you stick with this, one day you may re read this post and agree that all my crazy health concerns are still preferable to being stuck in the pit of misery that is an eating disorder.

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  2. Thank you Danielle for not giving up on me! I love you!

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  3. You know where I stand on all of this girl...I absolutely agree with you. I am laying in this hospital bed right now hooked up to my TPN, my belly sporting a hellish midline incision, and a diagnosis that is full of uncertainties. Through all of that I feel so blessed that I am not trapped in my eating disorder anymore, my mind is my own, which is something I could not say five years ago. I was working on a special blog when I stopped to read this one...wonderfully written. I love that I can tell you I honestly love you like my sister, that I can have conversations with you where I am in control of my own thoughts, which wasn't the case years ago. Being freed from the screaming, allowed to laugh at your jokes, devote my whole heart to my son, and be the best wife I can be is such a beautiful life away from the darkness that was my ED.

    ReplyDelete