goodbye ed. you are no longer a friend to me.

How? How did I end up here?
Neck deep in my sorrows, drowning in empty tears.
Mind battered with lies and deceit.
How did I not notice for so long?
Why did I continue on this path to self destruction?
You. You with the sharp cheek bones and sunken eyes.
You, with the bony fingers pointed at my body and pale lips kept in a tight smirk.
You, caused me pain instead of happiness.
Broke my spirits down to pebbles.
My thoughts and behaviors no longer ensured my safety.
When I was weak, I was weak because of you.
There was no strength hidden in your words,
My bones were achy, constantly twisting, testing how small I could warp my body.
All I wanted was to disappear but you, you made me stand out.
My body was a battlefield.
I tore my skin and poured sadness onto paper.
Journals filled with the dark tales of how I managed to hold myself together,
as I fell apart almost simultaneously.
You pit my anxiety and depression against each other.
Made the world seem too heavy most days.
Filled my lungs with concrete.
Held me under.
You kept my secrets, buried as deep as the earths core.
I sold my mind to the devil, when all I wanted was to find my soul.
And so my soul aches, ebbing and flowing with sadness.
Thoughts flood the dams, my mind no longer a vault.
You sucked breath from my lungs and nourished yourself with my tears.
Liquid calories are okay anyway.
You stole glances in any reflective surface and absentmindedly touched
Finger to thumb, finger to thumb.
wrists dainty and magical.
You were a death trap.

Masking failure and pain with the promises of accomplishment and happiness.
You weakened my body.
No longer a warrior in your eyes.
I was too weak. To fight you. To please you.
A pain I could not silence.
You awaited my courage and then struck with grief.
Reminded me that my self worth compared to that of a tiny speck of dust.
I was already dead on the inside and you smiled.
You followed me into dressing rooms.
Disappointment filled my ears, wisps of hair grew brittle.
Waiting rooms held secrets.
Shaking and crying, screaming and shame.
Subtle glances or pitied looks.
Darkness always loomed overhead.
Outside, sun shone lightly.
Peaceful.
Waistband held room against skin.
Too much leeway, too much space.
Not enough space.
A disappearing act, I knew too well.
A prized possession I would never hold.
Thumb and finger, too much room.
But room was good. Room meant growth.
Room meant recovery.

 

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reasons.

I have struggled with finding the reasons for my recovery recently. It might have been due to the conclusion that being a touring photographer might not be the healthiest & recovery-centred career right now. It might have been the realization that late nights spend on buses instead of sleeping or driving for 7 hours, sleeping in the morning and working late into the evening, isn’t ideal. Maybe in the future but not in the Spring or the Summer or next Fall for that matter. A few years down the road when things are changing fully for the better and I’m no longer holding onto my demons in a way that “protects” my soul.

As I ponder these things, I create a list of Reasons To Recover. Something I should have made so long ago and sure I did, here and there. But this is concrete. This is real. This is why I need to continue to fight for my freedom.

  1. To return to school.

I was in a program that was detrimental to my mental health before this treatment visit. But I had also been accepted to a program to further my craft in digital media – something I so badly wanted to persue. For treatment, I had to withdraw from the program and have to reapply for next Fall. This time has given me the time to ponder on whether or not that is exactly what I want for my life.

2.  Be able to travel.

Something that has been a trigger for so long. Going on vacation has never felt like a vacation with constant thoughts of how to be productive, how to lose weight, how to restrict meals, how to hide my body. All of this energy put into “protecting” myself instead of enjoying what life has to offer. My dreams to travel to the UK and other countries have been put on the back burner for life because of this eating disorder. I know that not eating means I won’t have the energy to exist outside of my hotel room. So I leave this fear behind, and jump into wholesome recovery.

3. Regain interests I have left in the dust.

Yeah, that’s right, I had interests and hobbies once upon a time. Sometimes I forget that someone existed before my eating disorder but it’s true. There was once a girl who twirled in skirts and who smiled to light up a room and doubled over in laughter. And that girl, was me. I used to play guitar and sing all of the time; the radio was just really intense karaoke…I used to play soccer and basketball. I enjoyed snowboarding on days off and walking the dog with my parents. All of these things that I lost interest in because my eating disorder decided what was okay and to what intensity. I want that girl who laughs so hard her stomach muscles ache and twirls in skirts back. I want me back. And I’ll leave my eating disorder in the dust this time.

4. Experience and describe real emotions.

One of the biggest losses of this relapse is that I forgot what it felt like to feel real emotions. I hid behind my hair and sarcastic remarks. I listened to my thoughts when they told me to arrange my place setting properly and eating in alphabetical order and make sure my liquids were at matching amounts. It was exhausting and heart breaking and I saw it as a safety net. Nothing could go wrong if I did these things. I didn’t feel immense sadness or shame or guilt because everything I tried to control could be justified by any thought. I was using my wise mind against itself. Feelings aren’t meant to be buried and forgotten, they are meant to be felt and shown. So why did I try to suppress so much, for so long?

I write these reasons out as I dive back into the worksheets I need to complete. As I take time to think about all I have accomplished even while my demons have tried to silence my thoughts. I am no longer just a diagnosis or walking, talking zombie. I am a human. Almost 20 and still piecing myself back together. It might take some time but at least I’m starting to move forward. Again and again and again.

I will fight for this. 

‘And David danced before the Lord with all his might.’ (2 Samuel 6:14)