I've been in the hospital for a few days, dealing with anxiety and anorexia. I quickly discovered two things - I'm not the thinnest girl on the block and I'm not sure if I like that.
Let me explain: at this particular hospital, all the eating disorder patients have to sit together at meals. That means we get to discuss calories, weight (exactly how low did you go? Oh, 92? Pshaw, I'm 60 pounds right now and could lose more in a second), weight lost techniques (do you take laxatives? the whole box or just the normal amount? how about water pills? enemas? Syrup of Ipecac, anyone?) and how much you may or may not be eating (You're not going to eat that muffin, are you? Well, yes, I had thought I might - until now.) (You're not worried about those two creams in your coffee? - said in a slight incredulous lilt in the voice - But after all, they are only about 20 calories - 20 calories can't hurt anything - CAN IT?) And then someone (thinner) points out how brave you are, how well on the way to recovery you must be if you can tolerate those two creams, how they would like to be like you but just can't imagine it.
Blood tests come back bad? That anemia and bad kidney functioning might have you worried, but damn, at least you aren't a walking heart attack waiting to happen. Your clavicle protrudes? But why do you still have so much hair? Any self-respecting anorexic would have lost most of her hair by now.
The doctor says you need to stay for a week, get better. The doctor says another person must stay for a month, and was threatened with a power of attorney if she did not agree to the catheter pumping thousands of calories into her heart (which, btw, I experience for 10 days this summer - oops, did I just one-up?)
I sit down at the table each meal, trying so hard to eat what is a normal meal for others. It makes me so anxious. It makes me feel like I will get fat. It makes me feel like I'm giving up anorexia, that ever-present companion. I feel so proud of myself for trying so hard - even though the anxiety sometimes feels like it will kill me - to eat like a normal person. I feel so proud that I am trying so hard to rejoin life.
Then I look around at my meal and her meal and I feel like a pig. How could I let myself get this fat! Fat fat fat at about 100 pounds???!!!
I keep telling myself, the only way out is through. And eating normally is the way to health and the life I want to lead. The way back leads to death.
I don't want my whole life to be anorexia. I want this bitch to DIE! But the competitive part? I wore a size 0. She wore a size 10 - children's.