27 October 2010

Denying Anorexia

I am denying anorexia nervosa the victory it is trying to claim. The past month has been one of struggling with rampant anxiety and constant voices in my head first whispering, then screaming at me to stop eating and go back...

You don't deserve to eat. You are a gluttonous pig and should be ashamed of yourself. Look at how you have let yourself go...

Every pore of my being is filled with anxiety. I am frightened to get out of bed and start the day. Each class assignment taunts me, reminding me that I am stupid and unable to grasp the concepts of English rhetorical theories, literary elements and critical analysis. I can barely decide what to put on my fat body each day!

Each day feels like a treacherous journey through a threatening landscape. I feel as if I could literally crawl out of my skin, the raw bones and veins exposed and scrapped against the sharpness of life. I want to hide, become invisible, burrow under the covers and never come out; anything to be safe.

Anorexia kept telling me there is a way out. Just eat less. Anorexia promises that the thinner I become, the less I will feel. I will be free again. Free of this anxiety which has become my constant companion, and that tempts me with a permanent way out of all this...

I am fighting these lies, conjured up in my brain by anorexia and most likely fueled by a lack of full nutrition. Even the thought of doing things to combat the anxiety, such as yoga, brings me to the edge of panic.

Then yesterday I drank two Ensure Plus. Dr. Sackeyfio has been trying to get me to increase my calories for some time now, assuring me that full nutrition and reaching my healthy goal weight will lessen the anxiety and make things easier for me. Easier to get up in the morning. Easier to do things. Easier to study. Easier to just be.

Of course, in spite of my earlier vow to do whatever he said to get better, I first ignored his advice and instead did things my way. I mixed different tranquilizers, and sometimes added a glass of wine or two to that. Sometimes I would throw in one of my migraine painkillers. It got to the point I wasn't sure what kind of cocktail I was ingesting; anything, anything at all to stave off the anxiety.

I liked these options because of course, none of them involve weight gain (I just factored in the calories from the alcohol.) But a tiny part of my brain told me I was behaving stupidly, and I was quickly going down the yellow brick road of addiction to tranquilizers, pain killers and alcohol, or else putting myself at risk of doing something stupid that would 'accidently' kill me.

Then I did something terrible while filled with anxiety and despair, and it could have cost me my life. I felt as if I were being eaten alive by anxiety, and part of me wanted to die. Then I stopped and thought of David and our love for each other through all of this. I thought about my hopes for the future; to write and learn and reach out to others. I thought about my upcoming presentation at an English conference and how proud I was to have been chosen as one of the participants. I was really looking forward to reading my paper about anorexia, and perhaps opening the eyes of some people.

And I thought of Dr. S and how hard he has worked with me, how patient he has been and how much he has believed I will recover, even when I didn't believe it myself. I thought of the words he often says: You are more than your body size, and you have so much to offer the world. I would reward him and his hard work by dying? Talk about being ungrateful.

So after another day of feeling anxiety crawling all over me, I knew what I had to do. I don't need a different medication or more tranquilizers (not that he is likely to increase my dosage, anyway.)
I need full nutrition. I need what anorexia keeps telling me is bad for me — food and calories. Even though I have been eating, my body has been so depleted by anorexia, my brain is still starved and not totally thinking clearly. This creates the cycle of anxiety and eating less, and eventually my weight would have continued to drop (I already had lost two pounds.)

I kept hearing Dr. S's voice, telling me to eat more and that will heal me. I finally decided to believe him. And after two days, I do feel calmer. Anorexia is still screaming at me, but it is starting to melt like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz.

How many times can I deny anorexia? As many times as it comes back — until it is gone for good.


Anonymous said...

Anorexia--to me imho, seems like you are trying to seek absolution for a crime you didn't commit. Remember the part in 'Good Will Hunting'? Where Robin Williams character keeps saying over and over to Matt Damons character, 'its not your fault' meaning the abuse he suffered wasn't his fault. Well, guess what? It isn't your fault. I have it on vhs if you want to watch it, if you haven't seen it before. You are such a precious dear lady. I just want to scoop you up and tell you that it isn't your fault. Over and over. whatever nasties that happened to you in your past that lead you down this road, it isn't your fault. You deserve to love and be loved, you deserve to be happy. yes, you do. I just wish you would know that. ((((angela))))

Sensory Overload said...

Angela, I sure hope you allow yourself ease. Ease of the pressure. Ease of the irrational expectations that an eating disorder begs of you.

You deserve to feel calm, peace and free of something that tries to persuade you each and every day.

Keep challenging the thoughts/urges/behaviors and realize that each time you do, you are only building more strength.

At some point, I hope you are able to see despite the intensity of something so harsh, that you can feel the gentle caress of goodness and the light of life.

Thank you for always sharing.

With hopes of a continual push towards wellness for you.


I Hate to Weight said...

such amazing honesty. i admire you so. we can't help what we think and feel but you are extraordinarily brave to share it. i think that's a huge part of recovery. (i wonder what the word "recovery" makes you feel.)

i tell myself i'm stupid too. why are we so mean to ourselves?

keep working. the work gets exhausting but it brings us the results we so want.

sending TLC, melissa

sarahlynn said...

I think you did something Real then that really needed to be done. To fight back. I think sometimes we get caught internally in eating disorders and forget to - or choose not to think about - actively fight back. Its really really easy to just sit back and listen to the ED, to just Let Things Happen - in an active-passive way that I've only experienced in an eating disorder. But the only way you move forward is by fighting back. In thought and in ACTION. And I think you're making some very smart and difficult steps, every day, and that makes me happy.