I am River

I am River.

I’m a fat fucking loser. I hate myself, every minute of every day. It feels like I’m constantly being crushed by myself.

I have an eating disorder. It’s my fault that I have it. I chose to starve myself because I wanted to make my parents angry. I wanted to make everyone angry. I wanted to make everyone as afraid as I am. But now it’s not a choice. It doesn’t feel like a choice.

I don’t get to make any decisions. The eating disorder makes all of my decisions. I know I want to be a child. I want to be small and skinny. Light. Invisible. Weightless. My eating disorder is so loud. I don’t think it started that way. At first, it was just a whisper. It was sweet and it promised me all the things I wanted. I wanted to be safe. I wanted to be a kid. A real kid. I didn’t want to think about scary, adult things. I didn’t want to have to make hard decisions and I didn’t want to be responsible for my choices.

The disorder promised me all of those things, as long as I followed its rules. Then there were more rules. At some point,  I think I didn’t want it anymore, but it’s stronger than me. It’s louder than me. And I needed it to drown out everything else, everything that scared me. And it worked, so I guess I became superstitious. Now I’m a slave to it.

I suppose I imagine that everything would be okay if I stopped following these stupid rules, but if I’m wrong…if I can’t make decisions, if I can’t be safe, if I can’t live without it, I think the consequence of that misjudgment would be annihilation.

But also, this is something that I’ve earned, that I’ve worked hard for. And it was taken from me. They confused me and manipulated me into breaking the rules. They scared me into retreat. I had to spend the next two decades silently and helplessly watching my body become everything I had ever feared. So I promised myself that if I could ever regain control, if I could ever find my way out of the shadows, if there was an ever an opportunity for it, I would come back. I would finish what I started. I would hit my goal weight and I wouldn’t let anyone or anything stop me. I wouldn’t be fooled into recovery before I had a chance to achieve my goal.

Except now I can’t remember why it was so important and I’m terrified that I will never be skinny anyway. I feel weak and pathetic even saying that. I feel ashamed. I feel like I’m betraying the disorder. But how can that be true? How can I betray something that I created? I think maybe the problem is that I let it get too loud. And now it’s the loudest thing in the room, all the time. I can’t hear anything else. I can’t think anything else. I can’t speak of anything else, but I can’t speak of the disorder either. I invited this thing into my life because I thought it would protect me. I thought it would make me extraordinary.

And maybe it still can. I certainly still want it to. I still want to be skinny. I still want to be a child. I still want to be invisible.

So how do you reconcile that? How can I know what I want or what I need? How can I know what will keep me safe? How can I trust myself to make the right choices? How can I even know what the right choices are? How can I find the courage to silence the very thing that covers the sound of everything that terrifies me, everything I work so hard to keep hidden?

And even if I had the courage to fight it, where would I find the strength? How could I ever make enough noise to be louder than my eating disorder?


13 thoughts on “I am River

  1. Sam Ruck says:

    Hi River,
    thanks for sharing. I’m sorry you are struggling so much. Do you have any friends in the system, anyone who could help you deal with the ‘noise’? When the girls in my wife’s system have troubles, normally another girl can help be the solution. I always try to pair the girls up if I can. Often the girls are already friends and I just encourage and teach them how to help each other.

    Take care,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. SassaFrassTheFeisty says:

    Hi River. Thank you for sharing how it feels for you with the noise of it all. It’s not easy, not in the least bit, to drown out the never ending noise of it. Those with mental conditions can relate to the noise, and the control of it. All I can say is that we all just fight day by day. We all pick and choose our battles, and know that we wage an endless war. BUT WE TRY, AND WE FIGHT AND THAT’S THE BEST WE CAN DO DAY BY DAY. *shouty letters used as emphasis, not to be loud* {Hugs}

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kat says:

    you want your therapist to understand–to not leave it til its too late to talk about it? give them a copy of this post-they will understand. you are so well written, your emotion is palpable. i feel for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. e.Nice says:

    It is good you are finding the words River. You are very clear in describing what it is like and how torn you are. You write clearly and are very strong and brave. It feels like being pulled apart, the tug of war. One thing is that even though anorexia says you are a loser and need it to survive, it is a liar. You were hurt a lot, but none of those things are your fault or make you a loser. You are a survivor. Anorexia tells you it is not a liar, that it is the only one that can see the truth and keep you safe, but just remember, it lies. You are safe now, and anorexia is trying to keep you in the past where it has full control. It will be hard but remember that loud voice is lying and is not in control.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This.shaking says:

    Emily is so right, River and Andi. It is really really difficult to learn that then has left, because now is now, and you are safe now and here. Me too! Ts

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sirena says:

    Hi River, nice to hear from you. I can really hear that internal struggle and fear and ambivalence and it sounds awful. I have no doubt that when you’re ready, you will find your way to wellness. You’re not alone in this journey, keep reaching out

    Liked by 2 people

  7. La Quemada says:

    Dear River, you are not really a slave to your eating disorder. That’s another story it tells you, so you will think you are. But it’s a lie, like a lot of the other things it tells you.

    The truth is that you (and all parts of Andi) are a beautiful person who longs for health and wholeness. And because of what you’ve experienced and how you’ve had to protect yourself, it gets confusing sometimes. But at the core, you know what’s right and true. You know Andi is really smart and can handle making adult decisions. She knows how to keep you safe. You know that being healthy is what will allow you to enjoy everything life offers, everything you can start to access now that you are safe. You can trust that core wisdom. You can trust Andi.

    I know what loud negativity can be like. Ugh, so noisy, so energy sucking! I have started trying to reduce some of the other noise in my home (radio, news, TV) and let it be quiet more of the time. Or I play very soothing music. And I meditate every morning. I feel like I suck at meditation but it still helps me. These things I’ve been trying don’t get rid of all the noise but I think they bring it down a notch. I don’t know if some of those things could make your eating disorder seem less loud.

    Oh, and one other thing I wanted to say. When you make a choice, or Andi does, if you listen carefully to yourself, you will usually make the right choice. But sometimes you won’t. And that’s okay too. That’s how people are. We all make the wrong choices sometimes. It doesn’t make you less lovable, less valued.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jean says:

    Oh River, you explain it so very clearly. If somebody confused and without words yet reads this, it ill be so helpful, so much clarification. That very generous, to write and share it with all of us so we can understand and relate.

    You know why all this started — to make your parents mad and afraid, the way you were. Now see how they like it!!! Also, I imagine, to have a little bit of control that was all yours, because they controlled the rest of your life. And you blame yourself for this.

    I see it differently. If you had had loving parents, you would not have been angry and afraid. You wouldn’t have needed an eating disorder to protect yourself even if you had had only so-so parents. So, in my eyes, it is your parents behavior to blame, their cruelty, their treating you like a rag without value.

    I wonder how things might change if you started to think about how horrific their behavior was, how you are in no way to blame for finding a way to keep part of yourself alive, the part that shouted from the rooftops that you were a human being and should be treated with respect. I mean not trying to fight the eating disorder head-on, just shifting your viewpoint some and seeing if anything changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mothererased says:

    So beautifully and clearly expressed. Perhaps taking steps towards “letting go” of the ED and using tools and support to to show yourself that you will survive all that you have tried to avoid and drown out w/ the ED? One moment at a time, surviving a moment that you do not give in to the ED, and then another, and then another. Letting the stuff that scares you come to the surface, and learning that you will survive it. Your gold lies beneath all the scary stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Rachel says:

    I hear your pain and fear, River. Sending support for you. When I read “I am a fat fucking loser” I immediately felt this sense of pain in my heart. So much pain here, wanting to be seen, but being seen was linked to much terror. It is scary to be real.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. didandme12 says:

    u r not a fucking loser or fat! I hate having bulimia it sucks!! I feel like u do a lot and i get u don’t think u will ever get there. im sorry- wish i could make it go away! b strong!!

    Liked by 1 person

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