I read these excerpts at one of the Mouthful open mics in Cambridge, MA recently.
It’s about time I copied over these entries and posted them! It’s May already!
Note: Do you see the anger in this letter? I do! Wow!
WHAT STARTED AS AN OPEN LETTER TO MY T AND ENDED UP SOMETHING ELSE
As you know, I was angered when faced with the medical contract, which required me to gain weight. I was ill-prepared to deal with my feelings about weight gain because we spoke very little about my fear in therapy. This, in part, was my fault, due to avoidance of my feelings. I was literally putting my feelings into the Feelings Box, or not feeling my feelings at all.
One of my feelings I had was anger, as I mentioned. I was angered because I was required to relinquish my thinness, and angry at myself for signing it all away. I was mostly angry at you for writing up the contract and not appearing to care that I was scared enough to write it on the contract.
My anger and fear increased over the next few days, though I was vaguely aware that my fear was increasing, and not at all aware of my anger. My fear and sense of despair over everything I’d lost in my life was at an all-time high, and now I was losing my freedom to lose weight, the last thing that I still could control, the last thing I still cherished besides Puzzle.
I wasn’t aware of just how angry I was at you. All I knew was my despair. So I flung it at you in an e-mail: The desire in me to end my life has gotten very strong over the past few hours. I am very disturbed about losing L. Nothing in particular happened. I’m not even depressed. But I’m getting sadder and sadder about my situation.”
Yes, L is a person. But it was my “situation” that put me in a corner. I felt completely trapped. I needed to get out of the contract, first of all; I needed to get back at you, and yes, I needed to ask for help, all that the same time. This is what led me to send the e-mail, which consciously and deed down both I knew was inappropriate.
I believe that my despair over the medical contract is the #1 reason why I became suicidal, and the #1 reason why I still feel suicidal. I need the intensity of my suiidality to decrease so that I can safely leave the hospital and work on my despair with you, because these issues obviously aren’t going to get worked out while here at the hospital. In the meeting we had, which was a complete waste of time, my despair and the reasons why I overstepped boundaries on Wednesday night the 23rd of February were not even touched upon because my voice was not heard. I wish this had not been the case.
So what now? Ow am I going to work on my suicidal urges if the cause of these urges can’t be worked out while here at the hospital? How am I going to work on feeling better, if the reason why I feel crappy is because I am being forced to gain weight? Sure, therapy is an uncomfortable process, but now I am in the hospital and have no access to you except for the lecture you slapped on me yesterday, which has no relevance to my hospitalization more does it help me get out of here any faster.
They say I should distract myself. Distraction only works for so long. Ultimately, I am left with my underlying feelings, and if I try to “stuff” them they come out in unproductive ways. People bury themselves in their jobs, or in their grandchildren, or in the bottle, but in the long run, they are only faced with themselves.
They say I should go to groups, but at this point I am so angry, at you and at this hospital that I have almost shut down completely. I express myself in my writing and work out my problems in my writing alone. A couple of the nurses have taken me aside and spoken with me, and I do open up to them. I cooperate in some other ways and I am polite. But really, I think that the only way I am going toimprove my circumstances its to do what I love to do…write.
You have hinted, in your proposed contract, that i should attend day treatment, or at least consider it. This is an insult to me. I wasted three years and four months at “Crossroads” [pseudonym] Day Treatment, where my T there sexually abused me, a T married a client, the program secretary ran therapy groups, and a client committed suicide. In hindsight, I truly believe my time would have been better spent taking adult education courses during those years. As far as I am concerned, the years I spent at “Crossroads” were the mot wasted years of my life. I am embarrassed that I ever went there. Many of the clients I knew there then, 20 years ago, are still at “Crossroads”! When I see them out in public, I turn the other way.
But the “day treatment question,” which I’m sure the SW will chime in on, will not get me out of the hospital any faster. Pushing day treatment on me will not affect my discharge date, to my knowledge. Right now, I am dealing with something else entirely. I woke up this morning wishing I was dead. How am I going to get out of this predicament?
But maybe wishing I am dead is different from being actively suicidal. Maybe I am going to have to work out the death-wish after I get out of the hospital. Right now, my death-wish is really strong, but my will to act on it is not as strong as it was before. I do not have the horrible image in my mind of ______ and ____ that I did before. I no longer fear ____ and _____. I don’t think I’ve thought about it since Thursday afternoon. I didn’t have it in my head yesterday.
Was this improvement because I finally figured out, late Thursday night, the cause of my suicidality? Sure, I feel mroe depressed. Sure, the death-wish is vry powerful right now. But I feel less likely to act. And this is very significant.
Should I tell them? Probably. Who? Can I trust anyone on this shift? I don’t feel comfortable telling the doctor tomorrow. She and the SW will jump on it and discharge me too soon, again. I have to be absolutely certain that this is real. I have to explain precisely what is going on.
Maybe I have to say this: “I have not had the urge to do the terrible thing I imagined, nor ahd pictures of it in my head, namely ‘____ and _______’, since Thursday afternoon. I believe that this is because later Thursday I figured out wht fueled my suicidality to begin with. I figured this out by writing about it. My depression is worse and my death-wish is worse, but the likelihood of my acting on my death-wish has lessened considerably. I know this because I no longer feel the terror I felt before, that I would follow through with the act, nor do I imagine myself doing it, nor do I cringe with the thought of it, as if I had hit upon a bad tooth. I no longer feel as though it would take a huge force to stop me from doing this act. For one thing, common sense and basic morality tell me not to do it. For another, the act has faded somewhat from my mind, and hopefully will continue to fade. Maybe tomorrow, things will be different, and the image of the terrible deed will come back into my mind. But for now, this is the way things are.”
I copied out the last paragraph for the staff, and gave it to them. I stuck it on the desk where no one was sitting, where the secretary normally sits. I suppose they will put the note in my chart. I wonder if Dr. H will read it. Probably not.
Note: That note was written while in the hospital, in March. Now, it is May. I still have the death-wish. It shows up in my eating disorder. However, _____ and ____ is gone–for good. Rest assured that this is the case. I have never told anyone what _____ and ______ is. Now that it has lost its potency, I am not afraid to talk about what it is. However, I will not. This is my choice, out of common sense and decency toward others.
Hi! I am in the process of copying over entries of The It Notebook and The McLean Papers (contained in The It Notebook) and publishing them here. I am also in the process of writing the Introduction and Epilogue to The It Notebook, which I will not share with you all, but these I would like to get written soon.
Here is one entry from March 11:
WRITTEN RIGHT AFTER THE MEETING WITH MY T AND THE SOCIAL WORKER AND ME TOGETHER
Yesterday, I wrote: “See me, hear me, believe me”
This I have repeated three times–
Well, I was not seen, heard, or believed–
People with mental illnesses are never believed
They are told that their thinking is delusional,
Misguided, or confused–that they need medication–
People with anorexia are not seen because they are invisible—I was not heard in that meeting because apparently the SW and my T thought their agenda was more important than mine.
So I might as well stay in my room, shut up, and speak only to my angry roommate, who believes me, and torture myself by continuing to listen to her tirades. It is my nature to listen to angry comrades go on and on, even if I consider such behavior a gross form of verbal self-harm on my part, due to the fact that it is my choice to stick around.
So given that there is only one staff person who sees me, hears me, and believes me, I will spend my time writing, and learning many new things by writing, using the computer whenever I have the chance, and speaking with this staff person (C) whenever she wants to speak with me. I know that she goes way out of her way to do this for me–to listen00and I am truly touched by this–and grateful.
Am I really helping myself by doing these things? With the exception of self-harm, which may disspitate as my roommate recovers, yes, yes, yes–there is no question in my mind–I AM helping myself. See me. Hear me. Believe me. But you probably don’t.
Incidentally, in a recent session, my T mentioned that I must have been on an ego trip and thought I was “smarter” than everyone else and didn’t “need” the groups at the hospital. This was after I’d said in our session that I was stupid. We’d been over this before. I did my best to let it drop.
There will be another mouthful reading on May 13, 7:30pm at 99 Bishop Allen Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The featured readers will be the Cozy Street Writers: Mary Ashford, Margie Bleichman, Karin Downs, Margaret Kelner, Elsa Lichman, Elaine Schear and Aren Stone, who have been writing and reading together for 8 years. Learn more about Cozy Street’s history and members by checking out their bios on Mouthful’s Features page.
I hope to be reading at the open mic at the Mouthful reading. The reading opens its doors at 7pm. I believe sign-up for the open mic is at 7:15. There are five-minute and 10-minute slots for open mic readings. A suggested donation is $3 to benefit the Sudan Reach Women’s Foundation.
I am not sure what I will read. Maybe I will read from my Nano book, I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul. This will be the first public exposure that the book gets. Of course, I will be reading from an entirely unedited manuscript, but I don’t care! Plenty of readers there read “hot off the press” stuff.
Last month, I read from the It Notebook, my journal from this winter that I wrote during my relapse. I was rather nervous while reading. I don’t expect to be nearly as nervous this time. It is tough reading from a journal. I found this out quickly.
See you there.
I hope to be reading from the It Notebook this coming Friday, April 8, 2011, at the Mouthful Reading Series, 99 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge, MA at 7:30pm, which is an open mic. There will be a featured reader and then the rest is open mic. I will be signing up for the open mic section. I hope to get a ten-minute slot. I will be reading a brief introduction followed by some excerpts. I already have my reading planned out. I timed it and it’s eight minutes, meaning that I will plan for ten (just in case I’m slow). I will bring the actual It Notebook, just for show, but will read off a paper printout, not from the Notebook itself, in the interest of time. There will be maybe 10 open mic readers, I’m guessing.
It’s very brave of me to be doing this I think. It’ll be the first time since October that I’ve participated in a reading of any sort. That was back before I wrote I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul for National Novel Writing Month in November. In October, I never dreamed any of the things that catapulted me into writing the It Notebook would happen.
When I wrote I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul, I never dreamed that any of the things that happened to May could possibly happen to me. Yes, I have an eating disorder. But I never realized that I could possibly have so many losses. When I wrote my Nano book, I wrote about a woman who loses everything because I felt as though I had gained everything. Then, in December, I suddenly lost my sanity, and with it, so much else. The It Notebook is about living with the loss of my sanity, and the loss of many other things that were dear to me.
So I will be reading from the It Notebook, stating that I started the Notebook January 28th, about a month after I relapsed (December 21) and ended it March 28th. The readings will contain several from February and then some from the end of the Notebook stating that I am now focusing on my eating disorder. I am not ending with any kind of concluding paragraph. The reading stands as is.
I would like to write an introduction and epilogue to the Notebook at some point, but I think I need some perspective on things first. Maybe I need to wait a month or so before writing these pieces, but not much more, because I want the feelings to still be fresh, alive, and in my heart.
This will probably be the only time I’ll read aloud in public from the It Notebook, but you never know. I may surprise myself. Let’s see how it goes. Friday is still three days away. See you there.
You may have noticed that I ended the It Notebook a while back. Or maybe you didn’t. I still get experience It sometimes. But the notebook is done with. Some of the notebook I haven’t copied over and published here yet. This I will do, probably in two entries–one for the remainder of the McLean papers, which are shorter and won’t take much effort to copy over onto a Word file and paste onto an entry–and the other for the entries I did at the community hospital I was in (I choose not to name the hospital) most of which were originally hand written to begin with because my Internet access was limited to maybe ten minutes to a half hour (a full hour if I was lucky) per day, or not at all. I did quite a bit of writing at the community hospital as this was the way that I healed myself. In fact, it was through writing that I was able to figure it all out, and to realize that I needed to move on, from working on suicidality to working on other issues: depression and sadness, It, and my eating disorder. And a few entries ago, I realized that it was a good time to end the It Notebook. As you can tell, I’ve still been writing here, quite a bit, but I’ve focused mainly on my eating disorder and not on It or on sadness. I’m not saying that this won’t change. After all, I’m seeing the neurologist next week, and I’ll be speaking with him quite a bit about It, and I’ll have a lot to say about It in here following that appointment! I haven’t a clue what he’ll say about It. No clue whatsoever. Is It a seizure? Is It a weird depression? Is It psychosis? Am I just making up It for attention? Am I just making up It so that I’ll have something interesting to write about in the It Notebook?
There was a another secret catalyst, though, that triggered me to end the It Notebook. I will share this with you in the coming weeks….
At some point, I will explain to you that the It Notebook is about something else besides what you think it’s about….Stay tuned….Actually, I only came to realize this recently….
I plan to write an Introduction to the It Notebook, as well as an Epilogue, or Afterward (I don’t know what I’ll choose to call it) which I will not share here. Although I started the It Notebook January 28th, four days after I left McLean Hospital, I choose to include the McLean Papers, because they are part of my history. I plan to include in the It Notebook my account of the Winter Classic 5k race I ran on December 19th, which precedes my relapse by two days, which will be the Prologue. I also will include some very brief journal entries that fill in the blank spaces. While I was writing the It Notebook, I had to transfer it from a 1″ notebook to a 1-1/2 inch notebook. That’s how many papers are in it!
My last entry was dated 3/28: What I Know Is True. Of course, I have written plenty since the end of the Notebook in this blog! So I actually kept the Notebook for two months. I printed out every entry. I shared parts of some of the entries with my T. She has never held the Notebook in her hands, though.
You, readers, have held the Notebook, in a way, in your hands. And meanwhile, I have continued to write here, and will continue, your hand in mine.
Well, not really. That just sounded good. My hands are both busy typing.
Today is Monday. I don’t have a record of this, but I think it has been just under a week since It has bothered me. I experienced It in the library. I probably shouldn’t have gone to the library because I was dealing with It, but I went, anyway, armed with a bottle of Haldol. I was uncertain as to whether what I was experiencing was actually It. But as soon as I was certain, I took a Haldol. When the medicine kicked in, It was gone. It has not bothered me since. It was a daily occurrence while I was in the hospital, often severe. It is possible that this may be due to the fact that I only allow myself maybe six hours of sleep at most per night. Less sleep means less likely to get It. If I get a full eight hours, I yawn all day, and am sleepy or groggy even. And I think getting say seven and a half hours will put me at risk for getting It.
Today is Monday, and I’m working on making my life with It a thing of the past. Tomorrow I have an EEG, which stands for electroencephalogram. It’s a sleep-deprived test. I have to stay up all night before the test. They want to see what my brain is like in a very sleep-deprived state. They are going to put little sensors on my head and test electrical signals. The test will take about an hour. It should be interesting if It shows up on the test. Something tells me that this should have been done months ago.
Today is Monday. My eating has sucked for months. I am coming to realize, more and more, that I have a long, long way to go with my eating disorder. Before It began, I thought I was doing okay with eating. Now, I realize just how much work I have to do.
For a couple of months, It overshadowed my eating issues. It became the focus. I could not manage my daily life. I could not think straight. I didn’t shower and didn’t know how to hold a toothbrush properly. I couldn’t dress myself. I had to wait for It to go away before walking the dog, and this sometimes took hours. Slowly, I put my life back together. Now, I have to deal with what remains.
But eating and weight are just on the surface. There is a lot under there. Yes, I don’t eat right and don’t take good care of my body. Granted, I now brush my teeth a lot but that’s the extent of it.
Somewhere in there I made a choice to live. Maybe it was several times. Maybe one of those times was when the cops came and I went with them willingly. Maybe another time was when, rather than begging people to set me free, I begged not one person, but a number of people, to stop me from doing what my thoughts were telling me to do.
So you would think that now, I would make that choice again, fully. But taking care of myself means so much. Like I said, there’s a lot under there. I’ve gotten the daily tasks down that were tough because of It. But now, I am faced with more long-term challenges.
I have not eaten normally since two days after the race. I have mostly restricted. I have lost weight. I have done stupid things to my body. I have not loved my body. I have not cared for my body. I have not treated my body with respect. This has been since December 21st. I need to wise up. I can no longer use It as an excuse. I can no longer use depression as an excuse, because I am getting over my depression. I may have funky teeth, but there are plenty of foods that I can eat. So I have nothing to blame now except what’s raw and inside me: my eating disorder, and it’s my eating disorder that I now have to face.
We’ll see how it goes.
I think I walked six miles today. That includes walking to the library and back. That includes the seven laps I did at the track this morning, and the long walk with Puzzle, too. This is not unusual. Recently, I have walked more like ten miles in a day. But after an injury? Damn stupidity.
Yes, stupidity. That sums it up. I did all the right things for my ankle. Except I didn’t rest it. By the end of today, it was swollen. I suppose it may have been swollen anyway, given that it is sprained. I took some ibuprofen just now, and iced it, and have it elevated somewhat, as elevated as I can get it and still type here.
It doesn’t hurt. It didn’t hurt all day, pretty much. I had to be careful with it, but then again, slanted sidewalks have always bothered me.
So, what’s the reason why I was so stupid? Why was I so anxious to exercise today? I gained weight, and couldn’t deal with it, and still can’t. I don’t know why I gained weight, and I’m panicking. So I hit the track and burned calories, like I did last week. It’s the nature of this illness to fall apart over things like this. It’s the nature of this illness for the sky to come crashing in over every pound. It’s the nature of this illness to find oneself praying the the scale each morning as if it were the one who decided whether one lived or died. And many do die.
Will my body ever forgive me for the cruelties I have laid upon it? I have starved it. I have put it at risk. I have worn it out. I have scared it. I have threatened it. I have poisoned it. I have made cuts in its skin, deliberately, years ago. I have beaten it in so many ways. Never mind what I have done to my mind.
The body forgives. The body heals. I do think the body remembers, though, but to what extent I am not certain. You hear about people who recover from eating disorders and live normal lives afterward.
Some things do not heal. You can’t bring back the lost years. You can’t replace the energy and effort you spent fighting this damned eating disorder. And you can’t bring back the relationships you ruined.
What can I bring back? I don’t know. When was the last time I was okay? I’m not sure. Maybe 1979.
You can’t go back. You can’t undo it. Once you start the journey, you can’t turn around, because time always moves forward.
I don’t remember ever being okay, actually. My parents force-fed me when I was a child. I remember this. I’m not trying to get weird by saying this, only that it wasn’t right from day one. I remember food being shoved into my mouth when I was in a high chair. Spinach, spinach, spinach. Lotsa that. Open sesame. In goes the spoon. Swallow.
I’m surprised I actually like cooked spinach. Probably the only reason I don’t mind it is cuz it’s low calorie. Maybe it was creamed spinach they were giving me. Now that I do not like and will not eat.
The only kind of frozen vegetable I have in the house, actually, is frozen spinach, so that was what I was using to ice my ankle until I bought the ice bead thingy the other day. Frozen spinach worked fairly well, but not as well as frozen peas would have worked.
So while I sit here and type, it seems that the swelling has gone down. My body has forgiven. For now. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow. And tomorrow, I hope that I can forgive myself, too. I hope I can accept my body at whatever weight it’s at.
I get weighed tomorrow at the doctor’s. I hope I can just step on the scale and not make an issue of it. I hope I can be cooperative and stand facing away from the scale so I won’t see how much I weigh. That is the agreement. I hope I am honest. I know I will be. Because that, too, is the agreement. And I got tired of lying. That got old real fast. My T has told me that she will not hospitalize me because I have a decent attitude.
Those weren’t the words she used, though. But I think she has faith in me. I think I have faith in me, too. I may be totally stupid, but at least I recognize my stupidity. I even laugh at myself a little. Laughter is a good sign, or so I’ve heard. I suppose there’s someone, the God of Eating Disorders, who really gets a kick out of people afflicted with ED’s, and has a good laugh all the time. And if I can see through that god’s eyes, I can laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Because if you can’t laugh at yourself, how on earth can you laugh at anything, anything else?
So really, walking around the track seven times this morning, injured, was that dumb or what? I must have looked silly to the God of Eating Disorders, walking around the track in the freezing cold this morning, burning calories because of what the Scale God has told me over the past week. While walking around the track, was I laughing at myself? Well, sorta. I did see the humor in the situation. My body probably didn’t find it funny, though.
Body, forgive me. Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me. I wish I could love you again. I wish I could comfort you and hold you like you were my child and feed you–not force feed you–but feed you lovingly and with care and respect. I wish I could dry your tears and tell you how much I love you and reassure you that no harm will ever come to you, ever, ever again. I am not the best at this but I can try. At least that.
Please, body, give me another chance.
Okay, so I sprained my ankle yesterday. I could walk on it but not all that well. I wasn’t sure I could make it to therapy even. Today it was improved. I had to be careful but I could walk just fine. By this evening, I could walk full speed on Puzzle’s walk. I still have to watch the bumps in the sidewalk and it still feels funky, though.
So…while on Puzzle’s walk, I was promising myself that tomorrow I’d go to the track and walk seven laps. With not only a sprained ankle on my right side, but a shin splint on my left. The latter has improved as well, from resting the past couple of days. But….
WHAT AM I THINKING? Does my eating disorder have that much of a grip on me that I have to go out there and possibly re-injure myself? Or am I…”rehabilitating” myself? Who am I trying to kid?
However, I really, really, really want to go to the track tomorrow morning.
My therapist talks about the 3 D’s and SOS. The 3 D’s are Discern, Disagree, and Disobey. SOS stands for Send Out for healthy Support.
Discern means to discern between what is my eating disorder and what is me. Disagree means that I am supposed to disagree with what my eating disorder is telling me. Disobey means that I am supposed to not do what the eating disorder wants me to do.
I told my T, first of all, that I wanted to do these things, that I didn’t want to disagree or disobey. She said that I was still immeshed in my eating disorder and wasn’t yet able to Discern. She said my survival was dependent on being able to do this.
Well, who wants me to go to the track? It sure feels like it’s me. Who wanted me to only eat one meal a day for the past three days? It sure felt like it was me. Who wants me to lose weight? Well, that, I know, is my eating disorder. So now, I’m confused.
My T wants me to tell her the things that my eating disorder told me last week. I told her that I had a particularly hard time with it. I’m going to tell her that my eating disorder didn’t tell me anything. My eating disorder isn’t a person.
I have had the experience, in the past, of having thoughts that I felt weren’t my own, thoughts that I felt were put into my head by someone else. I think it’s called “thought insertion.” But this doesn’t feel like that. It feels like I am the one thinking the thoughts.
In 1980, I was the one who stepped on the scale and declared myself “fat.” I was the one who, July 1st, 1980, started my first diet. I was the one who chose what to eat and what not to eat. And that was the beginning of what has turned out to be a nightmare.
I have been choosing ever since. Or, should I say, the choices have been made for me.
No, I don’t feel like I have control anymore. I don’t feel like I have choices. I don’t feel like I have chosen this path. I don’t feel like I woke up one day and said, “Gee, I think I’ll develop an eating disorder,” and “I think I’ll keep this eating disorder,” and, “I think I’ll keep this eating disorder for a long, long time,” and….It seems like I have no choices anymore, not now, not ever. Because once I stepped on the scale, and started my first diet, there was no turning back.
When I left the hospital, I was feeling fairly certain of my willingness to work toward recovery. This past week, I had a really, really, really hard time, and I wavered on it. I am scared of “recovery” because it means “gaining weight.”
Today, I told my friend that I had gained three pounds. I told her this over the phone. It sounded like she was jumping out of her seat for joy. This made me feel like shit. I wish people wouldn’t jump on it like that.
Whenever I tell people that I eat now, which I sort of do and sort of don’t, they want to talk with me about food. They want to talk about recipes and various cuisines. They want to talk about what goes with what and what tastes good and how to cook different things. It is almost like I have sparked other people’s addiction to talking about food. We just go on and on, and I get kind of bored talking about it.
Food it just food. There are deeper issues. I didn’t realize that in 1980. One of the problems, I thought, was that I was getting selfish. I was concerned that I was praying to God for the wrong things. I was literally getting down on my knees and praying to God to help me lose weight. After a while, I replaced God-obsession with weight-obsession. I think I stopped praying to God and started praying to the scale. “Please, please be one pound lower, please!”
Weight-obsession was just covering up what was deep inside that I couldn’t face. Some of these things I have yet to uncover, even now. Some of these things are best left covered, I think, just smothered in the past and forgotten. But I do know, partially, what these things are.
In my old T’s office, there was a duck-lamp. This was a lamp which had a bottom that was shaped like a duck. Where I sat in her office, the duck looked right at me. One day, I decided to move. I especially didn’t like the way the duck looked at me. I didn’t like the duck’s face. I moved, and asked my T to cover the duck, so that it wouldn’t look at me. From then on, my T obliged, and covered the duck’s face with a book every time I came into her office. I didn’t look at the duck. The duck didn’t look at me.
The duck represents many things to me. In part, it represents the issues I don’t want to deal with. I suppose I use my eating disorder as a way not to deal with these issues, because it hurts too damn much. The duck made me very, very uncomfortable. I couldn’t bear to look at it and I couldn’t bear to look at it looking at me.
My current T wants me to talk about the duck–or, rather, I told her I’d talk about the duck a little. I never told my old T what the duck meant, or why I wanted her to cover it, just that this was my request. I have told my new T that the duck was very important.
I see my T Monday, two days from today. She will expect me to tell her what my eating disorder has been telling me. Will I tell her that today, the eating disorder told me, on Puzzle’s evening walk, to go to the track tomorrow and walk seven laps? But this was not my eating disorder, this was me, of course, my desire, my desire to cut back on food the past few days, my desire to abuse laxatives a few days ago (I told her I did this–the first time since 1997 to my recollection), my desire to pretend everything was okay when it wasn’t.
And deep inside, I need to keep the duck as far, far away from myself as I possibly can. Maybe I have been putting my eating disorder between myself and the duck for a long, long time now. I think I have been doing this for survival. So when I want to do these things, like going to the track with a sprained ankle and a shin splint, it’s for my survival, because I simply don’t know any other way to keep the duck away.
Survival….You can look at it so many ways. An abused child does certain things to ensure survival. Locks doors. Listens carefully. Hides. Stays alert. Always on guard. This is survival. You learn certain patterns and you stick with them. And it’s hard to unlearn those patterns.
It’s hard to unlearn those patterns I’ve learned to ensure my survival, even if it means I need to unlearn them to stay alive. I know this makes no sense, but it’s true.
Actually, this is one of the many reasons why eating disorders make no sense.
So when I go to the track tomorrow and walk my seven laps, will I be thinking of all this? Will I be thinking of the three D’s–Discern, Disagree, Disobey…and SOS? Maybe.
Who knows what I’ll be thinking of. I could be thinking of anything. Anything at all. Maybe I’ll be swept away by the music I’m listening to. Or maybe enjoying the fresh air and the sun rising over the track. Maybe I’ll be thinking about nothing.
Maybe, on the other hand, I’ll be promising myself better days to come. Maybe I’ll be remembering that I am striving to have a strong, healthy body. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll eat three meals and treat myself well. Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember that I am on this path, the only path I can possibly be on in order to survive, the path of wellness. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll treat my body with respect, and cherish it for all that it’s worth.
My self-esteem has been somewhat restored over the past couple of days. I’ve been doing a no-no: I went to the track and walked 16 laps for the past three mornings. It felt awesome, and I’d do it tomorrow except we’re due for some wicked slushy weather tomorrow until noon.
I need to stop, stop, stop before I get hooked. There’s nothing like the track at sunrise. Sometimes, I even have the whole space to myself. Just me out there doing laps with the music blasting. Walking is slow going compared to running, but I keep at it. I don’t get into The Zone like I do with running, though. Shucks.
I walk with Puzzle, too. Every day, twice a day. We walk everywhere, just zooming around town, the two of us totally in synch. She is fast, fast, fast.
I am definitely not supposed to be doing this. I am supposed to be eating, eating, eating and not burning off all the calories I consume. I am definitely getting into a problem here.
I started pounding out my frustrations at the track because I didn’t know what else to do to cope with the depression I was feeling that was creeping back up on me. I didn’t know how to cope with the confusion and despair and loneliness and grief and anger. I am so afraid of going back into the depths of it. I am afraid to stop exercising for fear that the whole shebang will come crashing down on me again.
At least spring is here. At least that. And at least I’m not drinking and drugging. I’m super glad I never got into that. I smoked for about nine years and gave that up. Can’t believe I ever did it. So the grass is greener right here, right now, and April will come real soon.
I went downstairs to put my wash into the dryer, only to find that the washer hadn’t operated at all after I had started it. It took my quarters, started up, ran the cycle, finished, but hadn’t done a thing, hadn’t even gotten my clothes wet. So I had to remove my clothes and put them in another washer. Thankfully, there was one free. I told a fellow who was down there who knew the machines well, and he said he’d call the folks that serviced them, and he said I should call them myself to get my money back ($1). So I will call them tomorrow.
Input leads to expectation leads to results. I put in my wash and money, and I expected results, clean clothes, but the necessary link, the washing machine, was broken. If I continue to exercise in attempt to maintain mental health without necessary fuel, my body, the machine, will break down.
In the case of my wash, there was another washer for me to use. I have only one body. Period.
Clean clothes give me a more positive attitude. I feel really, really good after my laundry is done. I feel like I’ve accomplished something, even though it’s short-lived and I’ll have to do it again in a week or so. Laundry is a continuous cycle. It has to be done again and again to maintain a clean wardrobe. Eating has to be done over and over, not just once, but every day.
Okay, self-lecture over. My timer went off. I’m going to go put my clothes in the dryer. I wonder how many calories I’ll burn walking to the laundry room and back. Only kidding.