June 21, 2008

An Endless Uphill Battle

Since leaving treatment in July of 2006, I have done a lot of thinking. But even in the days and months spent trying to find answers and reasons, all I'm really left with is a lot more questions. How did I get back here again, and why? And how did I get here to begin with? I was doing fairly well with things after I left 6 mo. of inpatient treatment. I had learned a lot and I had made some changes. Yes, every meal was still a struggle, and it was still a battle over what I would/could allow myself to eat on any given day. But the difference is that I was eating. I was allowing myself to do so, rather than just throwing up my hands in surrender and walking away, never dealing with the struggle in the first place. It is easier to just not eat than to sit and convince yourself several times a day that you need to eat. It's harder yet to actually do it.

So much has happened, so much as changed over the last year alone that I find myself here yet again, facing the scale and finding that brief moment of happiness as I see the numbers even lower than yesterday. Not by much, but less is less, no matter how you look at it. I can't deny the fact that I find a sense of comfort, safety in the old familiar routine; in the excuses and "no thanks" when offered food. I can't deny the brief moments of pure elation when someone says I look like I've lost weight again. I can't deny how much I love the emptiness, the slight --but constant-- dizziness. I'm not blind: I DO see the hollow eyes surrounded by dark circles, the sharp angles of cheek bone and jaw line, the ribs and hips protruding against the thin fabric of summer clothing, the tendons and veins quite prominent beneath the thin skin of my hands, arms, legs. I can feel each vertebrae, like little steps up my back. And somehow I find comfort in all of this. Somehow it makes the rest of my world manageable. Somehow it makes it all ok, and just a bit easier to handle.

Even in the comfort, however, there are brief moments of fear. Because I don't know when or how I got here. "It wasn't intentional" I say, emphatically. "It's not like I set out to try and get back here again...." She looks at me, fear and sadness registering in her eyes and says nothing for a moment. "But how hard did you try NOT to get back here again?" she finally asks. And the question hangs over our heads for the rest of the hour. I don't have an answer to that.

Sometimes I wonder if there really is a way out of all of this. Sometimes I wonder if this battle is all my life will ever consist of. I know differently because I know there are people out there who really have recovered. Completely. But I have a hard time believing things will turn out the same for me. Why? Because I turned 29 on May 26, and I've been fighting this battle for the last 19 years now. Over half my life. And just when I think I'm finally starting to figure things out, something happens and I find myself running back towards what is familiar. I find myself in an endless cycle of tearing down walls and moving forward, to quickly rebuilding those same walls and running straight back towards starvation.

I want to recover, I want to be past all of this. But just as much as I want recovery, there's a part of me that doesn't want to let go.

And I don't know which one I want more....

Wendy%20by%20window%20June%202008.JPG June 2008

Posted by Wendy on June 21, 2008 8:21 AM

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I could have written your post. I don't write about it often on my blog but I have had anorexia for ...hm... I guess this summer makes 21 years. I am turning 36. Gosh, maybe that makes it 22 years. I've lost track. And I am still working on recovery, but now I'm doing it alone because my therapist dumped me, then my nutritionist dumped me as well. They did everything they could (they say) and they gave up on me-- I didn't get better fast enough for them. Now I am back to looking how you look; my weight has never been this low. But I CAN STILL RECOVER AND YOU CAN TOO. It is never too late-- NEVER. As long as you are breathing, there is always HOPE. You have come this far. Instead of looking at how hard it is, or how many problems you face, look at how far you really have come. Look at your victories. There are many. More than you think.You can do it if you think you can. Speak positively about the future-- because you have a good life ahead of you. You can make it through this. I KNOW how hard it is-- I have been in your shoes for 21 years. You can learn to leave the past behind and start running towards the future, towards life. I know you can.

Posted by: Pilgrim at June 21, 2008 9:48 PM

Hi Wendy, I just wanted to wish you well. I hear that it is a big struggle.
I don't have any advice, but wishing you health and the peace you are looking for.

Posted by: anonymous at June 23, 2008 6:28 AM

i found your journal through your website, through myspacenews.com. i completely and totally feel your pain. i wanted to thank you for writing these words. i feel as though you wrote them for me, though i know you did not. i am a writer as well, but haven't found the words to explain this to my new therapist. I have been struggling for 19 years, too. i will turn 30 in two weeks. i want to get better. most days. but if i let go of this, who will keep me safe? hang on. somehow, we will make it. we have to. the alternative is not something i care to consider, though i do, daily. peace be with you wendy.

Posted by: natalie at June 30, 2008 8:06 PM

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