Saturday, 18 May 2013

Someone Stole My Bones

It's getting warmer, it must be spring now, I can tell it's evening because I can hear that distinctive, gentle type of birdsong that signifies the end of the day. I am sat curled on a wicker sofa padded up with cushions. Shafts of fading sunlight cover me in yellow stripes. Opposite me the tall form of my therapist is folded forward in his pensive, almost sceptical pose that I've become so accustomed to. He wears his flat cap. I've never seen his bare head. He's never appeared without wearing the same battered pair of Crocks either.

We're talking about something deep. I've said something pertinent but as usual I have no idea what it could be. Anyway I'm about to get distracted from the whole session through the simple action that I make next. I shuffle myself about, further into the lumpy cushions, feeling the wicker beneath. I cross my arms. Inadvertently I lay a hand over my elbow. It lies there for a minute, inert. Then my fingers start to probe, idly at first, then with panic. I cant feel them. Where are they? Oh god I can't feel them! Finger tips scamper along my elbow. I'm keeping my face blank, I think, trying to disguise my distress. Where are they? They used to be so prominent, so forthcoming. Two large nobles either side of the crook of my arm, two lumps like a bolt. They're gone. My bones have gone!

Suddenly I want to be alone. I want to run my hands over my back, see if the vertebrae have disappeared too. I need to check my lower back, see what's happened to the two pelvic bones that I didn't even know I had until I got very ill. I was very proud of those ones. Ribs were boring. Anyone can suck in and see a couple of ribs. But the pelvic bones were special. Damn, I'd worked hard for them.

I should have got up then. Saved the poor guy some time, I mean I really couldn't give a fuck about how my Dad's abandonment of me as a kid had made repercussions on my adult life, what I really needed right now was to stand naked in front of a mirror and check the damage. Paramount importance. I was mentally absent for the next 45 minutes. The calming birdsong had turned into mocking laughter. The gentle evening light had become a glaring spot light shining on the huge, fat, boneless blob plonked on a sofa. A sofa that that had more of a skeleton than me.

That moment was when my relapse really started I guess, while I was still in therapy. No, I couldn't restrict there, but I relapsed in my mind; I starting devising the most effective action plan to get my bones back. I don't know if I can exactly convey the tidal wave of emotion that overcame me when I realised my bones were gone. I mean I knew I'd grown and gained weight, that was obvious, but I guess it wasn't until then that it really hit me. The emotion I felt was mourning. I had lost something that had been my closest companion for so long. Gone.

I didn't even really remember being a big body-checker. I was addicted to mirrors but I don't remember constantly feeling my bones. I didn't know that I must have done until I couldn't do it any more, then it seemed as essential as breathing. And I no longer could do it. In a way I had suffocated a part of myself; the anorexia. The problem was she cant be killed by suffocation. You're just left with that lung busting pain and the panic to boot.

It sounds stupidly obvious to say but my bones were my assurance that I was there. I could feel the rawness of my existence in them. When you're anorexic knowing that you exist is sometimes very important, you can feel so faded and ethereal that to have some prominent feature to hold is comforting. Sometimes I think that's why I look in mirrors; to make sure I'm still there. That might sound a little melodramatic but it's also the truth.

This has been an unapologetically anorexic post, I am quite aware of that. I can't be strong all the time, hell I probably spend more time being unapologetically anorexic than not, but so long as you HAVE a strong bit then you're a good way to beating the anorexic bit, but when you let the strong bit, however small it is, disappear, well that's when you've got to worry. Personally I'm deeply suspicious of permanently upbeat people.

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