I step off the scale. Another stupid, meaningless number. I “passed” this week. That means no hospital. At least not this week.
Dr. K says to me as she’s gathering my chart and getting ready to leave the room, “Dr. P tells me you’ve been water-loading. We discussed this….”
Then she says something and I haven’t a clue what she is talking about. Maybe I don’t want to understand. Maybe I don’t want to listen.
Then she clarifies and says it’s okay if I water-load so long as it’s the same amount each week.
Later, I step off the hospital shuttle and thank the driver. The #73 bus is already here, but the door is shut while the driver is having his break. He is discussing some bit about his work conditions with another transit employee.
Wow, another world.
I hop onto the bus, thinking, how much longer can I continue to lie and cheat? Who am I really lying to? Who am I deceiving?
Myself, obviously. But here’s a question rattling around in my mind: Is it the eating disorder that’s deceiving me, or has it gone beyond that, and is it now me that’s the liar and cheater? Have I become my eating disorder? Am I nothing but a living, breathing ED? Am I nothing else now?
These are very stupid, stupid questions. Maybe the hospital gown I was wearing actually weighed three and a half pounds. But a number is only a number.
I desperately want to tell my therapist that therapy isn’t helping. But at the same time, I want to tell her that therapy is one of the things that is keeping me alive. Without my twice-a-week therapy sessions, which I never miss, I would descend rapidly into Anorexia Hell. Yeah, life seems to get better, get worse, get better, and there’s this downward trend, but therapy is keeping me above water. I may be moving further from shore, but I am not drowning.
Yeah, therapy isn’t making me improve. No “treatment” is making me better. I don’t think “treatment” is the answer. Something else is the answer, and I’m not sure what.
I do have a life outside of these three-times-a-week appointments (twice-a-week therapy and weekly weigh-ins, plus monthly check-ins with Dr. P). These appointments take up…let’s see…about two hours a week, plus another two hours and 15 minutes in waiting rooms (I come early). That’s four hours 15 minutes. There’s a lot more time in the week than that for “non-treatment.” At least I don’t go to a day program, which is 30 hours a week.
Some people center their lives around treatment. At this point, with the threat of hospitalization looming, it is hard for me to avoid constant worry about my treatment fate. But it is time to stop worrying and start living.
How do I quit this worrying? Well, eat, obviously, and get them off my back.
I step off the #73 bus. The $71 bus comes immediately. I still haven’t taken off my fleece jacket. It is 85 degrees out. Jeez. What the heck am I wearing a fleece jacket for in this heat? Is it because the bus is so friggin’ cold and I have no meat on my bones to keep me warm? Is it because I want to hide my body?
The $71 bus leaves me off across the street from the CVS, where I buy toilet paper and dental floss. Neutral items, not food related. Relieved, I pay for these items. I do not remove my fleece jacket until after getting out of the store, because I’m afraid of running into a former neighbor in there. If I do, she’s bound to make some rude “comment” about my body. Why do people do this? Am I supposed to answer, “Wow, you’re so fat!”?
I cut through a parking lot, through the park, and down a walkway in the woods and a dead-end street, coming out across the street from my home. I look both ways before crossing the street–several times, back and forth, back and forth.
Why do I look both ways so many times? Why do I stand as far away as possible from the train on the subway platform? Let me tell you something: Anyone who has ever thought of jumping–I know this–does not stand on the edge. They stand as far away from the edge as possible, for fear of accidentally/on purpose falling off. I always look both ways over and over, because carelessness/purposefulness can strike anytime. And Puzzle desperately needs an intact mama.
After looking both ways, cars stop for me, on both sides. I wave–happily–thanking both of them, and cross to the other side. I ask myself if I should put my jacket back on before venturing into my building, to hide myself, but–now this is wicked stupid–what if someone saw me doing this? Wow, is this paranoia? What is it?
I enter the building, and peek into the dining room. Nope, there are people there. Not safe. So I go up the elevator instead. Quickly, I turn right, rush down the hall, arrive at my apartment, put the key in the lock, open the door, and I am safely home with Puzzle.
Safe. For now.