18 November 2010

The broken road of anorexia

For almost two months, I have woken up afraid. Something shifted within my brain and I can't seem to get back on track. I struggle with simply being, and yet I have no explanation for this sudden change from when it seemed as if I were, to quote a friend, "traveling the yellow brick road to recovery" from anorexia nervosa.

Now the bricks are broken into sharp little pieces and the yellow paint is faded, and whatever was guiding me down the road to recovery has abandoned me. I don't understand why it is so difficult to simply get up and face the world.

I don't grasp why I have (again) decided that I am not allowed to eat more than 800 to 1,000 calories daily, that I am not worthy of eating enough food to sustain a child. I have lost several pounds over the past few weeks, and now each morning at the scale I pray that the number goes lower, and lower, and lower...

I don't get why each time I am faced with a blank computer screen in order to write an article or paper, I freeze up and need to resort to either extra tranquilizers, a glass of wine or two, or any combination of things before my mind unlocks and my fear begins to subside and I can breathe again.

I feel as if I am now walking the broken road back down to anorexia and each time I try and bring myself back, the voices within my head scream I am not worthy. Not worthy to eat. Not worthy to live.

Not worthy.

I'm again starting to feel tangled in the web of anorexia; its tentacles wrapped around me. I still eat, but I look for ways to restrict. I still rest and try to take care of myself, but increasingly feel guilty about what a lousy graduate student and wife I have become. I still take part in life; however, I am afraid each time I must meet a new person and I always wonder if I have said the wrong thing.

According to my evil anorexic doppelganger, anything I say is wrong and I am a hopeless case who will never recover.

Now I am writing a memoir about my experiences with anorexia for one of my classes, and I cried when I wrote the prologue because it is about when David left me.

I fear each day he will see my struggling as a sign I will not get better, and this time he will leave for good.

I thought all this wasn't noticeable until I really looked at my face in the mirror the other day and realized it is beginning to again take on that gaunt, anorexic look. Then my blood tests came back and my doctor confronted me with my restricting, which he knew about without even asking me. He says my whole demeanor changes when I am restricting.

I think I know what it is. I become sad inside, fearful I will descend further and not find my way back this time. It is hard for me to hide sadness with a smile and some carefully applied makeup. I believe sadness fills our eyes, and nothing can hide it.

I am sad. I am sad that the road to recovery seems broken down to me and I am sad about all I stand to lose if I can't find my way back.

I am sad that I still want to follow the broken road of anorexia. I am sad that I still crave thinness after all this time, that I am addicted to sharp bones and a concave stomach.

Most of all, I am sad that I am beginning to believe that anorexia holy. I am sad that I am trying to convince myself that this is what God wants; that He wants me to eat less to become closer to him. That fasting is a good and right thing to do. I know am subverting God for my own purposes, and deep down I know that is evil.

I can't keep all this sadness out of my eyes or my drained face. I've lost my smile again, my sense of happiness and excitement about the future replaced by fear and anxiety.

I am sad . . .


willendork said...

I feel so much for you -- struggling like this. It is an awful place to be and none of us should spend the time we do walking over those sharp, broken bricks. I want you to know that the other road is still there, that is hasn't left you. It's hard to see right now, but you are no less able to do this than you were when you were on the yellow brick road... Isn't that part of the Oz story, too? You HAVE the power all along; it's just -- until you do it -- you can't BELIEVE you have that kind of power.

I know firsthand how hard it is to believe, and how hard it is to risk trying and not being able to succeed. One of the most freeing things someone ever offered me was this: "If you can't believe in what you need to believe in, try just a little to doubt the opposite." If you can't believe you are worthy, try to doubt a little the voice that says you don't deserve. If you can't believe you are capable, try to doubt a little the voices that say you are powerless. If you can't believe your life is holy, try to believe the voice that says it is evil and must be contained. Maybe, in time, you can build out of that doubt the faith in yourself that you need.

In the meantime, there are many of us here, watching, hoping, and believing in you. Don't lose heart.

missmarymax said...

"Willendork" is an old sn by the way. Just so this doesn't look like it's from a TOTAL stranger. ;) ~Mary

G. Rabanon said...


I know that no amount of logic is going to change the way you feel. Knowing things intellectually does not pull you out of a rut. I know how it feels to fall back into a place of deep sadness and not to know how or if you will get out alive.

What I have found over the past year is that, when I'm in the dark, when the ED voice comes back and gets loud, when my brain starts telling me lies, there is one thing I can always do...

Next. Right. Action.

I almost always know what is the right thing to do, and what is the wrong thing to do. Rarely is the question one of not knowing, it is rather a question of willingness. how willing am I to eat the meal I know I'm supposed to eat now? How willing am I to make that phone call to reach out to someone who has been where I am and who has survived? How willing am I to ignore the lying voice in my head and remember that, even if I can't feel it right now, I know that God does NOT want me to give in, give up, to fast when it is unhealthy, to lose or gain weight for weight's sake.

What I have to do is ACT myself into recovery. If I can't believe it, ACT AS IF I DO!

I know it often doesn't feel like it, but you DO have a choice. We're all here to support you. :)

sarahlynn said...

I'm afraid to say the wrong thing, but I want to help. And all I really know to do is to offer, as ever, my ear and my arms for a virtual-hug. Please write me whenever you want. I care so much about you, and I have been where you're at. We both know I haven't yet reached a point where I can look back and give advice, but reading your friend's advice and wisdom in your comments here helped ME. And I really hope it helps you. And most of all I hope that sadness you're feeling passes. Right now or sooner. Because I can hear how much it is weighing you down, and I wish I could tear it off (with attached anorexia) and throw it away. *hugssoft&tight*

Anonymous said...

This may be hard to hear Angela, but have you heard of ther concept of secondary gain from illness? One of the major difficulties that you faced is that your identity and your success as a blogger is fused with anorexia. Giving up anorexia may equate (unconsciously) to giving up one of the areas of your life where you are successful, appreciated and supported. It is going to be hard to replace that role.
I am sorry that you are finding it all such a struggle. I am also soory that you are sad. You ar ein my prayers. God bless.