A Formidable Opponent 

At the tail end of Monday’s session, I found the courage to bring up my eating disorder. This is not something we generally talk about in session because I avoid it at all costs.

But I told her it had been getting worse and I’m becoming increasingly afraid of the potential repercussions, physiologically and otherwise.

I graduate next month.

Right now I have almost nothing to do with my infinite free time except descend further into my illness.

I don’t want to do that.

Yet I do.

I suppose I see this as an opportunity to drop my intake as low as possible and drop as much weight as possible. I want to push the limits of the disorder and see where it will take me. I no longer have professors, clinical instructors, or patients to answer to, so what is to stop me from starving??

Well, I also want to prepare to exit school and enter a profession I have worked so hard to join. I want to continue to run and do yoga and Pilates and leisure read my list of books by feminist writers and continue aprendiendo Español and reading the latest research in my field. I want to see my friends and family and reach out to my network. I want to lounge on my amazing sofa and watch endless amounts of Hulu, Netflix, and HBO.

But I can’t.

Well, I can, but not in any meaningful way. I still exercise, but it is solely to drive up my total calories burned. I turn the television on or pull out library books or open my language learning apps, but my brain is so preoccupied by the horror of “being fat” that I cannot concentrate.

It’s awful and I don’t know what to do.

I have been through a lot. I’ve faced many battles and slayed plenty of demons. But there is something about anorexia that just paralyzes me.

It is the strongest, smartest, and most formidable opponent I have ever come up against.

It demands all of my time. It lies to me. It tells me I am worthless and lazy and stupid. It convinces me that I cannot make decisions for myself. It makes me feel unsafe and whispers in my ear that everyone else is a liar and dangerous. It makes me afraid of myself and food and my body and the world. It devours everything good in my life. It thrives on my self-loathing and rewards me for hurting myself. It manipulates me and everyone around me, dragging us all into its lies and deception. It’s destroying me. It’s destroying everything.

Yet I cannot speak to it or of it or against it in session. I tried today. I tried to remind my therapist that she said we should return to this topic.

But I couldn’t be straightforward and she didn’t want to “save” me, so we didn’t talk about it. Not until I started breaking down.

I got up and left to get some air. I came back and sat down and just started crying and yelling. I told her I hated her and that she didn’t care about me. I said she wasn’t interested in helping me and she couldn’t help me anyway if she wasn’t willing to talk to me.

I was wriggling and squirming all over the place. I was intermittently crying and yelling and silent and hyperventilating.

I was a fucking mess.

The session was a disaster. About halfway through I just knew I had fucked this up and I wouldn’t be able to have a conversation that would feel good or satisfying to me. Which, of course, just triggered me more.

So I sat there, trembling and mumbling incoherently in some desperate attempt to communicate something that feels unspeakable.

I don’t have words. I cannot find them. The disorder takes them from my mouth and hides them away from me.

So there I am, falling apart with no words to explain what is happening and yet an insatiable and absolutely desperate need to speak and be heard.

How can I beat this? How can I make enough noise to be louder than this fucking disorder??

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27 thoughts on “A Formidable Opponent 

  1. e.Nice says:

    This was the first step. That was incredible that you brought it up, that you attempted when it is doing everything to shut you up. But you did make noise, even if the words weren’t there. It hasn’t won yet. She knows it is there now. Perhaps you give her these words?

    Maybe there is a support group or day treatment or something that you can go to? It is so difficult to deal with this all on your own. And the illness is relentless and part of you is okay with that, welcoming it even, and the other part is like no, this is crazy and not ok. Both are true. Sending understanding and compassion to River and those parts of you that believe anorexia, and sending courage and strength to you Andi, and the parts of you that will continue to fight for all of you to be free from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I am really going to try to find a way to bring these words to her in session today. Thank you so much for your support, and especially for acknowledging River 💗

      Like

      • e.Nice says:

        maybe just print it out and don’t think about it and just hand it to her or email it to her. Maybe that won’t work for you but thats how I can get around it sometimes. I figure I might as well use that ability to detach and pretend everything is ok and I’m not about to do something incredibly scary and stupid and “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING!” for healthy things once in a while. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andi says:

        I will definitely do that if need be but I would really love for River to find her words because I just know that if we can’t reach her, nothing else will matter.

        Like

  2. Kate says:

    Hi,
    If I were you I would print this blog out or copy and paste it into word and take that into session with your therapist. I have an eating disorder and have been working towards recovery for about five years now. At times I still get stuck and can’t say what I need to. The disorder is so alluring and off putting at the same time that it makes it so difficult to give yourself permission to ask for help or give your secrets away. I’m struggling with a bit of a lapse right now and I had forgotten how much the eating disorder can control. It can override rational thought and action. It takes a lot of time and normalized eating to learn to fight this. But it is 100% possible. Good luck. Keep trying to reach out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much, Kate! It is always somehow the thing I love the most and hate the most. “Stuck” is a good way to describe it. Thanks for reading and commenting. Best of luck on your recovery 💕

      Like

  3. ambivalencegirl says:

    It took me over a year and a half to talk about my eating disorder in therapy. One day we just started to talk about what I eat and don’t eat and all my rules. She looked at me and smiled, then commented that it was the first time we ever talked about it. Crazy, but yes. I let her read things all the time, but not quite the same. She knew how I felt and that I struggled but it was totally different to share in session. I thought it was my easy issue to deal with, turns out I avoided it too.
    You are brave. Lots of change. Summer is a season of change and it’s freedom can be enticing. You will remember and forget. Allow yourself moments or days of Netflix but mostly you will be productive and active. It’s a balance right?!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachel says:

    I am so happy that you opened up about the eating disorder in session. It is not easy to have that conversation. I don’t really have a lot of words, except I feel this swell of pride inside my heart. And a significant amount of hopefulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sarahkreece says:

    It’s incredibly tough. I don’t know if you find reading helpful or just triggering, but I found the first chapter of 8 Keys to Safe Recovery from an Eating Disorder to be really helpful and surpringly relevant to multiplicity stuff in a way.

    Liked by 1 person

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