Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Recovery begins

Just over four months ago, my mental and physical health was in decline. I was getting scared. Whenever I stood, black dots would crowd my vision and my heart would race as it struggled to cope with basic movement. I was dizzy all the time, and everyday things like crossing the road with my kids, driving, even standing in the kitchen cooking their dinner had become precarious activities. It is one thing starving if I was responsible only for myself, but another thing entirely having three little humans to look after. As hideous as it is to admit this, it was getting dangerous. After a particularly bad few days, where I'd had trouble getting off the couch, something in me snapped. I hit the brakes. There were some hard truths staring me in the face, and I could no longer ignore them, so I wrote them down. Below is what I wrote - it is a sort of declaration to myself, and it marked the very beginning of recovery.

There is a thing in my frontal lobe. It is shaped like a shield, and it sits at the very front of my brain. Last night, it was very clear, and heavy too. It drove me forward, and like a ship rounding a bend I am not heading for the bottom anymore, but propelling myself away from it. This morning, the shield is a little weaker – its weight is diminished as fear crept in overnight, so I am writing this to make sure it doesn't vanish.
The shield in my brain is covered in writing. The words speak of things I know; things that will not change, or problems that will not be solved with more weight loss. In fact the words will only become more significant if I continue starving myself, and their truth will become tangible.
This is what it says:
I know what it looks like for my children to have no mother, because I have imagined it. I felt their loss. This is not okay, and it never, ever will be.
There will be a point - and it is soon, if not already – that I cannot look after my children safely. I can fix this situation by eating and I am strong enough to do this.
I do not deserve to starve because of all the things that happened to me. I did nothing wrong. I deserve nourishment because I am a human being, like every other human being, and I matter because I am here and that is enough. I know how to look after myself, and it is okay to do this.
Some people will know what to say, others won't. Some people will validate my experience, others won't. That doesn't matter. I own this starving body, and I don't need them to tell me if it is real or not. My body is unwell, and so is my mind and that is how things are.
I have the strength to get out of this prison, and I can do it alone. I have support, and will get more soon, but it is me and only me who can carry this through. Nobody else.
There is no way I can have the life I want, if it is a life with anorexia. I will get increasingly sick - physically and mentally, until I can't function. This will happen. Even now, I cannot think or move properly. I don't know what the future holds without this illness, but I do know what it holds if I continue: ill health, loss of the care of my kids, misery, hospital, death.

Reading this grounds me. I get so easily disorientated, and lose sight of the truth. Seeing it gets me facing the right direction again - it would do me good to read this everyday.


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