29 October 2009


Talk about crashing. Tuesday and Wednesday, I felt like I could do anything, that I could overcome the anorexia and have the normal life I crave. Last night, my mood started to fail, I couldn't stop crying and I ended up developing a migraine. Today has been totally useless - instead of working on my future (i.e. studying and writing for my graduate school classes), I've surfed the Internet and Facebook, looking at pictures of people with families and lives and fun, feeling sorry for myself.


I feel that my dreams are too big for anorexia. I eat, then I think I don't want to eat. I'm trying to reduce the number of anxiety meds, then this afternoon took extra in the effort to stop thinking about how many ways I've screwed up. I write to friends who are struggling, trying to help them see that they can get better and live a full life, and can't convince myself I can do that.

I feel like I'm sinking, and I don't even know why.

I feel like all my dreams are dying, that I have no right to want more, that I have no right to expect a happy, normal life without ED.

I keep trying to kick ED out, and like a bad-boy boyfriend, he keeps coming back and enticing me. Try telling this charmer you're done with him. Ha! He'll just say, "You know you want me." And the problem is, part of me still does.

Because if my dreams can't come true, what do I have left? ED will always be there without fail.

20 October 2009

Craving normalcy

I want to be normal.

I want to: go to the movies and gorge myself on popcorn; hang out with friends and have scones and hot tea; eat too much, eat too little, and eat just right and it not be an issue; have dinner at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. and not have it matter; eat for the day and have no clue how many calories I have consumed; eat an oatmeal raisin cookie, a chocolate chip cookie, a brownie or all three and not give a damn.

I also want to: grow in my marriage, not have anxiety, be medication-free, have a family, complete graduate school and move forward in my professional life.

I want full-on, normal, boring, every day life - it would feel like a miracle.

I crave normalcy like I once craved to be thin. I look around at all the normal things people are doing - traveling, hanging out, working, going to school, getting ready for Halloween ...

I am afraid to speak my dreams out loud, even on this blog. I'm afraid my dreams are too normal and are closed to someone like me, someone going into her third year of battling anorexia. I fear that there is a sign a head that says "STOP - You are not allowed to proceed. To the left to continue the drama of ED. No normal life for you!" (Said in the tones of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld - NO Soup for you!)

I'm afraid it's too late. But I can't give up the hope, the dream, of ... normalcy.

14 October 2009

Picturing me

I just looked at a photo of me in my "anorexia days" and my reaction was both surprising and gratifying.

Surprising because I was absolutely appalled by what I looked like at my lowest weight (this is a picture of me on a mission trip to Haiti - which I went on against doctor's orders.) I look so gaunt, so skeletal, so thin ...

At the time, I thought I was very attractive. I certainly was the thinnest one around - several small Haitian children would come up to me, stroke my arm with their little fingers, and whisper "too thin," "too thin." (That really should have given me a clue - if children in a third-world country who have seen starvation tell you you're too thin, you might want to think about it!)

I was very proud of being the thinnest one around during the summer of 2008. Unlike many anorexics, I didn't bundle myself up in layers of clothing (unless I was too cold) - I wore mini-skirts and tiny T-shirts to show off what I thought were my thin, model-like legs (no thighs touching!) and slender arms. I remember feeling so proud walking into a store and being told, "I'm sorry, we don't have anything small enough to fit you," "What are you, an extra-small," ad nauseam ...

Oh brother!

Now looking at the picture, perhaps seeing myself as others saw me then, scares me. My arms look stripped to the bone, my face tightly pulled against my skull, my skin dead-white. Frankly, if I saw someone looking like I did, I would be scared for her life!

I am gratified by this reaction, because I feel that in spite of some small relapses and evil thoughts (get that thin again! come on, you can do it! it is easy!), my reaction makes me feel that I am getting better. I don't really want to lose weight. I enjoy being able to wear jeans without tugging them up no matter what size (and near the end - or maybe the end of anorexia's complete and total grip on my soul? - I was tugging at those size zero jeans, and I thought it was terrific; I was aiming for teens size 14!)

I am grateful for the health I've gained, for the curves I've earned, and for the right to at least try and eat without fear.

At first, I thought about posting that picture with this blog. But no. She isn't me anymore. And she never will be again.

06 October 2009


I keep saying to myself - I know what I'm doing, I know what I'm doing ...

Panic rises up, bubbling in my throat; tears come from nowhere, scary thoughts unbidden.

Skip part of a meal, throw away some of my breakfast (make sure my husband doesn't see), do away with cheese (the lie - I'm congested. The truth - the calories and fat frighten me), count calories in my head (wow, today was under one thousand - I'm doing it again; I'm succeeding!)

Succeeding at what? Being sucked back into anorexia? Being able to ignore hunger pains? Watching the scale drop in small increments, a tiny burst of joy in my heart (it's going DOWN again; that's the direction I want, isn't it?)

What I'm really trying to control is my panic over graduate school - that I'm not smart enough, not good enough, not a hard enough worker to make it. See, if I fail, I can blame it on anorexia (I failed because I was sick, not because I am stupid). Plus, we now are trying to have a child, and I'm afraid I will fail at that, too.

I see my dreams spiraling downward into a pit, taking me along with them. What is the point of dreams if they can't come true?

Coffee and a cereal bar for lunch today, and I'll be sure to tell my husband I had a big dinner on my way from home (Oh, I am so full; I'm not hungry at all.)

I look at all the options of my life, and I am reminded of a passage in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. She is staring at a fig tree; each fig represents an option in her life. One fig is motherhood, another is being a wife, a third is the big dream - writer; and so on. She is staring at the figs, so hungry for one of them, so hungry for all of them. But she can't choose, and by not making any choice, she goes hungry.

I am staring at a million figs and I can't pick one of them out of fear. Fear of calories, fear of fat, fear of pounds, fear of failure - fear of succeeding?

Why can't I fail or succeed, and not beat myself up? Why do I have to be anything? Why do I feel I don't deserve one fig, let alone two or three or four?

In the meantime, I am so hungry.