29 May 2010

My story (is still unwritten)

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Angela who lived in a world of books and dreams and fantasies. As she listened to the fights and yelling and alcoholic rages swirling around here, she dived into this world where she was safe.

One day she packed her bags and left for the unknown world of college. She never returned to the land of her childhood. But the deep recesses of her mind refused to let the past go, and her life took on many twists and turns that she had not planned for during her childhood dreams.

These twists and turns took her through abusive relationships and lost dreams. She ran through life, always searching for that elusive dream life and the person she had hoped to become. She did many things she was ashamed of, and that she struggles to forgive herself for to this day.

But eventually she was able to find some sort of center and take control of the story of her life. She decided she was going to write the story of her life and create what she had dreamed of so long ago. There was love and learning and books and writing and all the things that she had pictured. She started to feel safe.

Safety turned out to be an illusion. Something strange and illogical began to happen. An illness called anorexia nervosa grabbed hold and wouldn't let go of me. Suddenly food equaled fear and I longed to disappear. I became smaller and smaller, and lost the grip I had on my life. The thinner I became, the thinner I wanted to be.

Anxiety grew, waxing and waning with the number on the scale. I felt lost in a world with no help and unable to find the key to unlock my mind and release anorexia from it.

I began to wonder if anorexia would be the story of my life.

Now I am trying to regain my grip on life.

But the center is lost and there is no normalcy when trying to recover from anorexia. Food becomes an obsession in a new way. I used to count how few calories I ate in one day. It was so easy not to eat and the lower the number, the better I felt.

Now I have to count and make sure I meet the number of calories in my prescribed meal plan. It is hard. I don't like food and anorexia still seems to have a strong hold on me. It physically hurts to eat regular meals and snacks after barely eating anything for almost six months. I keep waiting for the thrill of recovery to kick in, the moment of realization when I know I want to beat anorexia completely and I can say I am totally done with this eating disorder crap.

Instead, I cried several times today as I looked at my meal plan; the calories and fat frightens me, the amount of food scares me and trying to plan it all around a visit home overwhelms me. I just wanted to run away and hide somewhere, anywhere. Find a place where there is no anorexia, no food and no people. Just me and my racing mind that can't seem to calm down.

So I cried and yelled, said I wasn't doing this anymore. I said I wasn't going back to the River Centre, I was quitting, I want to be thin, the hell with it all and why can't I die of anorexia if that's what I want. My mind has just been swirling, swirling all the time.

Then I read Tara's latest blog post. She writes The Struggle Within and is also dealing with weight restoration while caring for three children and grieving for her deceased husband. Tara, thanks for the inspiration behind this post. And getting me to go into the kitchen and heat up the lasagna that's part of today's meal plan.

Once upon a time ... I will write the story of my life if I have to wrestle that pen out of anorexia's hands. I may get tired and I may want to give up, but in the end I will keep fighting.

The only other option is to have my story end with, "and she died of complications from anorexia nervosa." I've thought of writing that as the ending of my story. But I'm don't think so. My story is still unwritten, but I am trying not to give control of it to an illogical, horrific disease.

4 comments:

Zena said...

Thankyou Angela, thankyou!!!

Im so proud to know you, Im so proud you are fighting despite what AN tells you, its not you who doesnt want to Recover and live out your life its your disease, and the fact the you are fighting it, well iyt just pisses it off all the more...so yeah its going to be really really hard for a while, but Im doing it and have done it before...so Im am living breathing proof that although it feels like it might kill us it wont, we will be all the stronger for it, and our lives, our stories wont be stories at all...they will be well they will be just what I said, OUR LIVES!!! so fight angela, FIGHT SO YOU CAN LIVE!!!

Love, Tara

Amber Rochelle said...

"why can't I die of anorexia if that's what I want?"

You can if that's what you want. You can quit treatment, run away from anyone who tries to help you, and starve to death. And that would likely be easier.

I don't think that's what you REALLY want though. I think if you dig deep enough you can find a number of things that are worth sticking around for.

It's not an easy process. And unfortunately it takes a LONG time for it to get easier...but with each meal you are gaining more strength to continue the fight. You can do it...but you have to keep fighting.

When I was in treatment I had a card that I typed out with my "50 reasons I want recovery." Some of them were big things, like going back to school, or owning my own home. Others were simple things, like singing, listening to songs I like, or taking a walk. It took me a while to come up with the list, as it was hard to think of much I wanted other than my eating disorder (even when I didn't think I wanted my ED anymore), but eventually I had a list. I took that list with me to every meal and every snack and set it on my tray to remind me of all the reasons to keep going. I needed the written reminder, because it's easy to forget and say screw it, I don't care anymore.

Wishing you the strength to fight.

K8B said...

Hang in there. Amber's idea of using a card to remind you of reasons to recover is a great one. You are in my thoughts. With love and kindness. Karen

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David Keating
Department of Communication
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