04 August 2010

Eat to live (defying the illogical voice of anorexia)

Eyes wide open
But is it enough?
The mirror would not lie to me this morning. I was dressed for this hot and humid Michigan weather, wearing a skimpy blue sundress with lace trim that I always felt cute in.

Not today.
My arms looked wraith-like; thick, ropy blue veins stood out as if ready to burst. My clavicle and my collarbones were predominant as I gazed in the mirror. I looked stripped to the bone, and it was not a bit pretty or beautiful.

I jumped back in horror. I didn't stop to think at first that I was recoiling at my own reflection. Then it hit me and I started to panic. I thought, "I'm going to die. I'm going to die of this disease." It felt like the end.

I've been told I don't take this illness seriously enough. One friend - who has been there herself - tried to break through my self-imposed apathy aided by extra medications and/or alcohol. She said any plans I have for graduate school, the possibility of changing programs and perhaps doing something I feel is worthwhile; all of this means nothing if I'm dead.
I thought she was being melodramatic. I feel okay. I'm not at my lowest weight. I am eating a little each day.

(Spiraling downward; fear and joy mixed as the numbers continue to decrease.)
But something broke through.

She's right. Nothing will matter if I am dead.
And yet ... I need a reason to live. I need meaning and happiness and joy, unapologetic joy in which my soul feels to its depth.

I'm glad this morning frightened me. I went back upstairs, changed into a T-shirt to cover the parts I could not stand to look at anymore, and continued to think.

Anorexia is a vicious circle. The less you eat, the less you feel. Then the less you feel, the less anything matters.
I know food is the answer. I keep repeating it - in order to live, to be able to fulfill my dreams, I must eat.

Then my mind whispers, wait one more day. Surely one more day can't hurt. I know this is not logical. Each day I restrict my food intake does hurt. Each pound I lose will make it harder to recover once I ... once I break free.

The voice of anorexia is illogical in its essence - don't eat. Starve yourself. You need to lose more weight. You really aren't that thin; everyone is exaggerating. You can never be too thin. Never too thin ...

This flies in the face of all human logic. And the more weight I lose, the more I become intwined with anorexia's twisted logic until my own voice is drowned out.

I have to find a way out. I am starting to feel trapped again. I wonder if it will ever stop ... or will anorexia's voice echo in my mind forever?


lifeafteranorexia said...

I understand completely. I don't know if the voice of anorexia will echo in your head forever since I've only been in recovery a few years. But I will tell you that from my own experience, the voice of anorexia is still in my head, but I've learned not to listen to it. You write about the eating disordered thoughts intertwining with your own until you can't tell one from the other. With recovery, that gets better. I guess the best way to describe my experience now is that I can tell those voices apart. I know which one to listen to--my own.

I hope the same for you. You can recover. You know as well as I do that it's not easy. But you can do it. And you will!

Best of luck to you. Hang in there.

I Hate to Weight said...

oh angela, i'm sorry you're in the middle of this. and yes, you can see your way through.

we relapse. some of us relapse more and harder than others.

my cousin finally got it together in her sixties --- really. and life feels so much better to her. her sixties, i swear.

i'm hanging in, although i relapse all over the place with substances and addictions.

there is hope. you are hope. hold hope.

Ladyhawk said...

Angela, you wrote: "I know food is the answer." I humbly disagree, its not about the food. Its about what is keeping you from wanting to feel, its about the deep dark stuff you can't face which is keeping you in this... Look at that stuff and accept it and you will find the change you seek. And, of course, following a meal plan will be part of that. best wishes

Pen said...

Like you, I have been able to look at myself for probably 6 months or so now, and actually SEE I'm too thin. I THINK this is a sign of improvement. There was a time when all I saw was Fat! This could be a break thru. Are you completely done with treatment???Remember that last advice you gave me? Keep going to treatment! I have decided I may need it for the rest of my life, and that's OK, in fact that's wonderful if it helps me stay alive!

K8B said...

Have you thought about talking back to this destructive and nasty voice? Turn right round and tell it the truth. Counter everything nasty and destructive that it says. Outloud if necessary. It is a technique that my husband has taught me and encouraged me to use. I fight self destructive and horrible thoughts about myself almost everyday, and talking back works. Just don't do it outloud in public! ;)

Bailey said...

"..unapologetic joy in which my soul feels to its depth"...

this is so beautiful. please keep writing.

when monks began to spread literacy in europe, one wrote that 'every word was a stroke against the devil.' as people became literate ignorance lessened, myths and prejudices faded.

angela you are an amazing writer. use this to pull through. anorexia is a mean devil, but it is your soul. you have to push through.