When I was at the ED hospital last March, I had a feeding tube in me. Feeding tubes are put in your nose and they extend down into your stomach. They put “tube feed” into a bag, and the bag has a tube that leads to the feeding tube. A pump regulates how fast the “tube feed” goes into your stomach. It sucks.
After nine days of tube feeding, one night at 3am, I woke up in the middle of the night in a rage and pulled my tube out. I saved the tube. I’ve photographed it here for you to see:
Why did I save it? Did I want a souvenir of the hospital? Did I want to remind myself of what I never, never wanted, ever, ever again? Or did I want to remind myself that I, Julie Greene, am a rebel, that I never wanted to gain the weight, that I had no intention of cooperating, that I wasn’t ready for “recovery,” whatever that is?
Was I aware, back then, of the slippery slope I was on, and would continue to slide down, even now?
When was the turning point? Did I ever intend to cooperate with the hospital plan? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t think the hospital is the answer for me. If there are any answers, I don’t think we’ve hit upon them yet.
Today in therapy I compared anorexia to a merry-go-round. Sometime, long ago, I hopped on the merry-go-round, and I haven’t wanted to get off. Sometimes, people try to pull me off, but can’t. I stay on. The merry-g0-round is spinning faster and faster, getting out of control, and soon, it will spin so fast that I may in fact fall off–involuntarily–to a very dark place.
Maybe when I fall off, I’ll be okay. Sometimes, people will get scared into recovery. Like when I quit smoking. I saw what it was doing to my lungs, the wheezing feeling it was giving me, and my dwindling budget, and I quit cold turkey. You know, it was pretty easy. Really. I just stopped one day. Saved a bundle of money and took up fitness walking.
Hopefully, it won’t take a heart attack or stroke to scare me into recovery. Maybe this thing with my eyes will do it. Maybe it will take something said by a specialist such as an ophthalmologist to make me snap to attention: You must eat or you will go blind.
Maybe I’ll jump off on my own. It takes guts to jump off a moving vehicle. Maybe someday I’ll just get sick of being anorexic, give up this stupid fight, move over to the other side, and eat. I don’t know if anyone remembers this old TV ad, but maybe that Tareyton commercial is wrong: maybe it’s better to switch than fight.
My wonderful new book, This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness is now available from Chipmunkapublishing–click here to access. To read more about it at my home site, click here.