An eating disorder.
This is not about food.
This is not about looking good in a dress or wanting to be a supermodel. This is not about wanting the cute guys to turn their heads and stare at your beauty. This is not about going to a store, sliding a size zero skirt over your hipbones, and laughing all the way to the check out counter.
This is not about wanting attention. This is not about enjoying feeling death and refusing food until you need to be force fed with a tube in an ICU. It is not about deliberately pissing off the nurses on the ED unit by hiding your clif bar and boost under your sweatshirt and stashing butter in the bed pans. It is not about selfless starving for all the children in Africa. It is not about the latest fad diet or losing the holiday weight. It is not about reading fashion magazines and pining for the Body Mass Index of Paris Hilton’s pet Chihuahua. It is not about getting a good man/woman. It is not about religion, G-d, the media or culture.
This is about having the self-esteem of an insect. This is a polite way of committing suicide. This is about having no life because it’s impossible to go out with friends to a restaurant and order a bowl of dry lettuce. This is about weighing, measuring and counting pasta, cereal, raisins and anything that passes your lips, including toothpaste. This is about secrets and lies and shame. This is about not wanting to admit that you need to eat. That you deserve to live.
This is about being scared. This is about being terrified. Of everything.
This is about control. This is about numbing away the feelings of abuse. This is about starving away the pain. This is about wanting to disappear as to not be taken advantage of again. This is about hiding under layers of clothing that are mostly black so that no one sees your womanly body. This is about non verbal communication. This is about avoiding. This is about denying the past. This is about intense self hatred.
This is about needing so much that you can’t stand it. This is about wanting to not need anything at all. This is about not wanting to be touched but afraid to be let go. This is about having emotions that bubble up and spill out and scare people away. This is about being so overwhelmed and traumatized that it’s easier to avoid everything by obsessing over the amount of calories in a grapefruit. It is about getting lost in the mirror and scale instead taking responsibility and just f*cking dealing.
This is about wanting to be safe. This is about wanting to curl up in a nutshell and ignore the big bad world that’s too noisy and dangerous and can’t be trusted. This is about not trusting anyone and relying on food (or lack of) to give you an all enveloping comfort blanket when the feelings bloat you up and make you feel fat, ugly and intolerable in your skin.
This is about really crappy coping methods. This is about a way of life you’ve known for 13 years. This is about habit and second nature. This is about making a choice that will quite possibly kill you. This is about chaotic relationships, hospitalizations, devastated families, worried friends, treatment programs, trying and failing, and more hospitalizations. This is about losing your period, failed kidneys, and hollow bones. This is about cardiac arrest at age 21. This is about being sick. This is about not being sick enough to think you need, or agree to go into, treatment. This is about being so sick that you have to be court ordered into a hospital.
This is about trying to be understood. This is about fighting with all you’ve got and more hard work than you ever imagined. This is about exhaustion and tears and needing support. This is about fighting a battle with yourself and the world. This is about trying to survive.
This is not about food.
When you cut too deep, you need a bandage. It will stop the bleeding.
But a bandage is a temporary treatment and you don’t need it.
You need something that will last forever.
A bandage can stop the bleeding but it won’t stop all those thoughts. It won’t stop your suffering. It will heal your cuts but won’t heal you.
I don’t need a bandage. My blood can keep pouring, I know I’ll be recovered only when I don’t have another reason to cut ever again.