A Skeleton and A Skiff

Dear ED,

I’ve been thinking a lot about the decision I made to jump ship last year and take my chances against the torment of the ocean and storm; to watch you go down while trying to be rescued by those desperately trying to save me. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, to let go of everything I knew, and abandoning you at the helm and casting myself overboard. You’ve always been a perfect ship, like a yacht among a fleet of ratty old skiffs.

I painstakingly watched you slip further and further beneath the crashing waves and torrential rains as I tried to get to those coming to save me. But they were farther than I thought and the storm was worse. When I relayed my SOS calls they promised it would be okay, promised they’d be there for me, promised they would get to me. The life preservers are in the water, their spotlights are pointed towards me yet I’m still not getting any closer. I’m treading water. I’m retreating in the rip currents, and getting torn apart by the wrath of the storm.

I look out to them and I see the sun. I see ships that are steadfast, strong, and stable, like you once were. Why can’t I get to them? Why am I still sinking?

I feel like all I’ve done is thrash about as the waves collapse over me.Sometimes, I’m more skilled and can catch the wave before it breaks; but most of the time I don’t even see it coming getting pulled down by the undertow until the wave settles or until I realize I’m still grasping their lifelines and manage to resurface. I gasp for air, gasp for life, gasp for hope. More often now I want to let go of the ropes tossed out to me, the ones being tugged on with every ounce of sweat, blood and tears that those in the distance have in them. I hear them calling out on their loudspeakers but usually the sound is drowned out by the waves and emptiness in me since you sank. I look around at the bits and pieces left. I feel like I caused this, like I killed you. I’m guilty. I’m hurt. I’m scared.

I keep thinking I should just let go, let the waves overtake me and lose sight of the ships once and for all. I could surrender myself to the undertows and the serenity of what will be when I am shielded by the storm and at peace in the beauty of the ocean’s depths. Yes, letting go is scary. Yes, I know those on the ships will be disappointed. Yes, I know they will scream out to me and send out rescue missions, calling out my name in a desperate search for the soul they once knew or the glimpse of the one the see for my future.  And yes, I know the search might kill them. I’m inviting them into the storm, I’m letting them watch me give up and yet, sometimes I still feel like it would be better than making them continue holding onto that lifeline indefinitely. I’ve tortured them, exhausted them, failed them. They’ve finally seen bits of the real me. They’ve seen me fight against them, they’ve seen me betray their trust. They are battered and bruised from trying to pull my body back to them. What if I do managed to get to them and they see how damaged I’ve gotten through the storm and after years on the ship and cast me off anyway. I can’t blame them. I’m not deserving of their ship’s safety or to walk among them in the harbors.

I imagine what it’ll be like, when I’ve reached the ocean floor. After all the rain, all the currents and all the screams are gone. I imagine my magnificent yacht at rest and wonder how scarred and depleted you are from trying to stay afloat after I bailed on you. What it’ll be like to be reunited, to be free and able to lay in peace with you beside me. I know that I’ve left you for quite some time and I wonder if you’ll recognize me and I, you.

So I let go of the rope. I stop fighting the currents, the waves, the false promises of my rescuers. I am overtaken by another wave. I feel the water drowning me from the inside out. I want to scream, everything hurts but the pain is nothing compared to what I’ve been tolerating since I jumped overboard. I relax my body, think about the safety of returning to the ship I’ve lived on for so long. My eyes close and finally I can really relax. I feel free for the first time since I was a kid. The streaks of sunlight casting through the millions of water molecules dim until everything is just still and dark.

Finally I see you. My Protector. Your stern is leaning against in the ground, a crater in the once unruffled sand. The silt is glossing over your once sparkling body. In our solitude, without disruption of the storm, of the other boats or the thoughts that once raced in my mind I look at you. I really look at you.

You’re a skeleton.

You’re not the yacht. The one that once safeguarded me from the dangers of the world and made me indestructible in the worst of the storm.

You’re the ratty old skiff. You always were, I just never could clearly see.

But it’s too late, I can’t get back to the surface. I can’t grasp the lifeline any longer. I imagine what would’ve happened if I had just held on. Would I have made it? Would they have reached me? Would the storm have calmed? But I’ll never know.

And now all that’s left is a skeleton and her skiff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Twas The Night Before Treatment

It’s officially here; my admission to the partial hospitalization program is tomorrow. 10:30am.

To be honest, nothing feels different, scary, intimidating or anything like that when I think of treatment tomorrow. It just feels surreal. But, I know that once my alarm goes off (assuming I actually sleep tonight) that will all be different. I sit here, not nervous but the thought of tomorrow starts to stir up the fears.

It’s normal to be nervous. I know. That’s what everyone says. But there is nothing normal about this. There is nothing normal about having to drop out of school this term, to be going to a treatment center, to be going to one where I will be there 8 hours a day and be supervised during the entire time, there is nothing normal about having to stop working to go to treatment, there is nothing normal about crying around food, nothing normal about having side effects all the time, nothing normal.

But crying around food, not eating, the side effects all of that ED related stuff, it’s what I know. It’s normal to me. And I guess that’s precisely why I am dreading tomorrow,  because when normal is yanked out from under you it’s never an easy landing, never a flawless execution, and nothing ever ever goes like people plan.

So yeah, tomorrow is the day.

On top of that I am beyond stressed about not knowing what will happen, what to expect and what the whole situation will entail. I just wish someone could be like this was my experience “i did x first and y next and z then and blah blah blah.” But I can’t find anything online like that so I am stressing about that. And of being weighed. I am extra stressed about that part.

The anxiety over the minute details and new situations is so much worse these days. Since these stupid anti-depressants were prescribed I am always stressed. Always worried, always feeling like I am overwhelmed and on the verge of panicking. I hate it. I need to talk to my doctor about it but I just haven’t really been able to get there- because I am nervous about it. Go figure. Plus they make me not want to be around anyone. Not even myself some days. Whatever. I have good days too so maybe those will start to outweigh the odd ones.

I did drive to the center on Saturday- when they were closed. I parked in the parking lot and tried to piece together and mentally prepare for what is going to happen tomorrow, how I am going to get the confidence to go in, how I am going to open the door, say the words, and well, actually just go through with the whole thing. I’m still not sure I can do it.

I wish I could’ve gone to see my ARNP beforehand. She always says something that makes me feel like I can do this, like I am not alone, like it’s okay to be freaking out and honestly, I trust her so I can tell her and plus, I know it’s told in confidence which is relieving. These people at the treatment center, I don’t know them. I sure as heck don’t trust them and I can’t just open up to people about feelings. I’m not that kind of person. I’m not comfortable with that. I’m not going to do that tomorrow.

Secretly, though, my absolute biggest fear is that they are going to give up on me. Or, that I am going to trust them and then have their help yanked out from under me for one reason or another.

So, tomorrow. 12 hours, actually. 12 hours until this really becomes…. real.

2 hours…

2 hours. 120 minutes. Then life as I know it is over.

I haven’t eaten at all and I’ve thrown up 4 times because I am so sick over the prospect of what I am about to do. 

I know why I am doing this but I still keep wondering why I am doing this.

I wish I knew what to say, how to say it, what will happen but I don’t. I have a plan but I am shaking so hard thinking about this and idk how well I’ll follow it. 

It’s odd because I am watching everyone go about their lives. This horrifyingly annoying girl behind me is using a whiny voice to complain to her friend about her manicure and not knowing what color to get. I’m sitting here trying to convince myself to live and fight for my life back.

I shouldn’t be mad at her, I complain about manicures and what color to pick too-I’m so indecisive- but still everything just feels so absurd to me today. 

Getting less than an hour of sleep probably didn’t help but I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep and all I want is to go to bed, sleep through this appointment and magically be better. Since that’s not possible I just need to suck it up but that’s really hard right now especially when the idea of telling the doctor doesn’t just seem impossible it seems unfathomable and unsafe and literally sickens me.  

But I have to do this. In two hours I have to do this. Hopefully I can do this. 

What Was I Thinking!?!?!

I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t tell the doctor. I can’t go that appointment. I can’t do it.

This is stupid. Why should I trust them now?!?!? Why? All the doctors ever did was tell me to “figure it out” and use “trial and error” and that led here so clearly it’s okay to be doing this.

My family is delusional, I don’t like gaunt and “anorexic” I looked in the mirror, I look overweight. Grossly overweight.

I should cancel. The doctor won’t do anything anyway. I should cancel, I’ll look so stupid (on top of fat) if I go to them about my “eating issues”. Who goes for that?!? Lots of people diet and don’t eat certain foods.

This has to be normal. It just HAS to be.

I wish there was someone who could help..

The Waiting Room

UntitledAs the sliding door opens the cool air hits me causing me to shiver and get goosebumps from the stark contrast between the heat outside and the temperature inside. Actually, I’m not sure if the goosebumps are from the temperature or what I am about to do. I hesitate as I cross the threshold into the building and stare at the wall, at the names on the directory sign. I know where I am and where I am going but it allows me a few more moments. I head down the corridor to the second set of doors and walk through.

The aroma is familiar and fragrant, disinfectant and antibacterial soap. I hear my flip flops shuffle across the floor, past the chairs to my left to the closed glass window on the opposing wall. Nausea strikes my body causing me to grab my stomach out of instinct, even though I know it won’t help. I stare at the clipboard. In my peripheral view the receptionist is on the phone. Good. I don’t want to make conversation, I think. I pick up the pen, adjusting it in my hand and rolling it back and forth mindlessly until I see her looking at me. Slowly I begin to write my name on the next blank space. It doesn’t feel like me doing this, it feels like I am in a foreign body, like a robot just able to complete this task out of habit. I glance at the window, the receptionist is typing as she talks on the same call; It feels like she has been on that call forever but I know it’s just me feeling like time is stationary.

I turn and face the rest of the room instinctively looking at the doorway I just passed through, the one that leads to freedom and safety. Run, don’t do this, pierces through my mind instantly hollowing out the sound of the music playing overhead and the whispers from the few other people in the room. I stop in my tracks and stare for a second consumed by nausea from the whole situation. Fearing I am not able to take another step, I sit.

Nothing seems to be moving. I can feel and hear my heart pounding, the nausea is as strong as waves crashing on the shore during a hurricane. It’s hard, brutal and relentless. Leave NOW, is all I can think but I am frozen, frozen with fear. I hear a door open behind me and I can feel myself getting faint, the blood coursing through my body faster than if a snake had crossed my path during a trail run. I hear the nurse say something but my fear has overtaken me and I can’t comprehend anything. I see someone stand up on the other side of the room. Phew. Not me. I breathe for the first time in what feels like minutes and try and calm myself.

My head is all consumed in whether I should stay or leave before this goes any further. However, I continue to sit there, unable to move, unable to think for myself, unable to feel anything other than fear. The door opens again. My anxiety shoots back up past where it was before. There are less people ahead of me now, it’s time to make the decision. I hear another nurse utter more inaudible sounds but I can’t hear anything over the voices in my own head screaming for me to leave, to run straight out of here back down the corridor and outside to safety.

The nurse repeats the same inaudible message, I still don’t hear anything other than garbled syllables. I stand and begin to walk.

I walk briskly, with purpose and more confident than I am certainly feeling. I walk past the other chairs, the other patients and walk past the gentleman the nurse is acknowledging before she begins to escort him to an exam room. I walk straight to the door, only hesitating for a second as it automatically opens, and then down the coordinator. I never look back.

I feel relief as I cross the final threshold of the building and into the safety and security of the outside world, hiding away the secrets of my life. The last thing I think before everything goes black is, Maybe that’s not relief but actually regret. Then, darkness.

***

I open my eyes. I see the curtains and bedsheets. I look at my clock, 5:23am. It was just a dream.

I Have A Doctors Appt… Is This My Out?!?

4f26922b1315df6e329278fc4e203a24I’m panicking. Majorly panicking. Why? Because today my doctor’s office called me and told me that the doctor wants me to “come in to discuss my test results.”

I know this is a normal occurrence for most people who go to the doctor and have blood tests but I get routine blood work done for an autoimmune issue and my doctor almost always calls me themselves and has that conversation over the phone so when I got the phone call today it instantly put me on guard. I’ve also got an insane fear that the doctor somehow figured something is wrong based on my tests and knows about my problems. I know I’ve said before I hope they figure it out but it’s kind of one of those things I both want and don’t want in all the same ways.

Having the doctor call and tell me I need an appointment takes so much stress off the situation,they want to see me which means I am not going into the situation with anyone expecting me to confess my health issues but it still allows me a forum to do so.

Sometimes in this life, only one or two opportunities are put before us, and we must seize them, no matter the risk.

The risk is huge. I’m asking myself to betray my ED which at this point feels like I am sentencing myself to death and like an insurmountable task. I know going into this once I let my confession pass the safety of my lips I won’t be able to go back, won’t be able to take back what I said and that my life will only get more complicated. In theory it should help it get better, I’m still not sure though but maybe I should listen, seize the opportunity, take the risk.

I know it can never feel like the right time to get rid of an eating disorder (hence why I have battled the decision for over 6 months and the disease longer) but maybe this is it, my chance. I want to believe so bad that it is but I’m not sure what to trust or believe any more.

The Words I Can’t Say

Eating Disorder. I think I have an eating disorder. I’m scared I may have an eating disorder. Please God help I think I have an eating disorder. I can write eating disorder over and over again or say it in … Continue reading

Every Mile is Magnificent

Well, A while ago I posted about entering the lottery for the Chicago Marathon. And the results came out… I’m in. Now, I’m a bit delayed in stating that because well, it was announced last week and while I spent the whole day at work on lottery results day hitting F5 on my computer in anticipation and then actually ran down the hall to tell a friend when the screen finally changed green at 3:14, I still feel a sense of dread associated with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to go (I even already booked my flight and hotel- which is much more than I usually do for trips 5 months away) but I think my excitement is dulled by fear.

Fear of what? For starters:

1. Last year this race was MY race. I ran flawlessly, made my time goal, felt tremendous afterward, walked around the city the next day, felt so good 2 days later I went for a run, never hit the wall, took in the whole experience and enjoyed the whole thing. So why am I scared? That’s a LOT to live up to and I am a perfectionist.

2. My mom is coming- SOOOOOOOOO Excited because she didn’t get to come last year and this will be the first marathon she sees me run! But, my mom is coming. My mom. My mom who worries about what I do/don’t eat. My mom who doesn’t know about how badly I struggle with food. My mom who will be with me in the hotel, the day before and after and will realize how little I do eat and will comment. My mom, who if I end up getting help for this eating disorder before the race, may or may not be the help I need before the race.

3. Temptation. Chicago has a reputation for good food. I can vouch for it. When I am there I would love to taste a bit of it and enjoy it but it’s so laced with dread, hate and fear that when I am forced to eat, I throw it up and that comes with it a whole other set of fears (what if someone hears? what if I can’t get to the bathroom after the meal? what if I can’t purge it all? what if someone sees me eat? what if they think I am eating too much? what if they comment? what if I get sick? what if I get fatter?).

4. The boot. That’s right, I am in an air cast. I have a “traumatized shattered sesamoid bone” according to my podiatrist (or some combo of those words) and we have been trying everything conservatively for the last 15 months but I still have horrendous bouts of sesamoiditis so I am currently in an air cast and the only thing that kept me from getting a full blown hard cast is that I promised him that I would only take it off when I (a) shower (b) sleep. It’s been 4 days and I am dying to go run. I miss it so much and as much as I hate to say this, I am scared to death of having extra calories in me. The good news is I have been wanting to train for a triathlon so I started swimming in the mornings and my trainer at the gym said I can still come to class (I go to OrangeTheory- look it up it is fabulous) and that we can modify it so I only bike (no standing and pedaling) and do upper body per doctors orders.

So here I am with both of my must do marathons this year. On my way to Marathon Maniac status and I still have so much dread. I know it’s 99.99% due to the eating disorder. My sister’s birthday was yesterday and the restaurant she chose to go to is on the COMPLETELY FRICKIN UNSAFE list and when I found out that’s where she was going, I refused to go. My mom called today because I “seemed off” yesterday. I wonder if she’ll connect the dots, probably not though. Sometimes when these things are right in front of you, you are the most blind to them. I should know I have been convinced I am getting better….in all honesty though, I think I am worse than ever. Hell, I flaked on my own sister. I am contemplating flaking on Mother’s Day tomorrow too.

Anyway, I still remember my goal from my Chicago Lottery post: I am going to try and eat one meal, just one while I am in Chicago.

 

But, I am really not sure I can do this. I am already anxious.