Tuesday, 8 October 2013
“Out of my sight! Thou dost infect mine eyes.”
Good evening (a very late evening, soon to be morning actually).
It's been a long day, but a good long day- if that makes sense. A normal persons long day. It was long because I got up very early, travelled across town and into Burton to get college like a normal girl. Long because I have lots of college work to do, like normal students. Long because of having to commute home in rush hour on the joys of public transport like a normal person. In a nutshell a long day for all the rational reasons, not long because it's got fucking unbearable being inside your mind all that day that you just want the oblivion of sleep to blot it all out.
It takes years of having a Mental Health problem that makes these days of normal, perfectly logical feelings, even if they are 'unpleasant' seem so refreshing. It is scary too. Scary to realise that the abnormal is that close to becoming the 'new' norm for you. Terrifying to have to consider you may become that person cited in MH studies who 'get's used to just being depressed'Because the minute that transition happens will be the minute you stop realising any transformation has taken place; forget there was every any other way of feeling than blank or tortured. Forget there was a past you, and more crucially; that there could be a future you- a you who feels normal...or even happy...
Anyway I've rambled as usual and what I wanted to post about really was something that I have always felt but only recently started to think about. One of those 'so obvious it's invisible' things. And that thing is- why I am scared of recovering. Or put another way; what do I envision happening/not happening when I 'recover'.
I'm guessing if you have anorexia or any other ED you will have been asked at some point (if not many, many points) 'but don't you just wish it had never happened?'/'but don't you just want to be like you were before you became anorexic??'
For some reason I'd never really answered, if I had it was not a real answer because I never really acknowledged the question. Not until recently. And then I did start to think back- force myself to do something very uncomfortable- and recall the girl before Ana. She's at least 6 yrs away, left abandoned on the brink of adolescence. It was damned hard work to get myself to look at her. Like forcing yourself to stare at the sun with tired eyes that have become accustomed to shade.
I finally see her.
I hate what I see. I recoil like the rich man does from the dirty beggar. The dirty beggar is most repulsive to the rich man who's deepest secret is that he came from the same rags as the vagrant before him. He recoils with some extra zeal just to make sure he hides his dark secret to anyone observing him. Himself included.
She was so...so....wrong. The girl I see was overgrown, unmeasured, messy. She was like a pint glass left beneath the pump, now filling up and overflowing, brimming with froth and turbulence. The new contents flows in without measure and it pours over the brim in an uncontrolled overflow.
I am sure I remember being called quiet before now, when I would have been that pint glass of a girl, and yet I remember someone far too loud. It is not vocality or loudness per say that bothers me- it this girl seems to just be noisy without consideration. She is like a ill-tuned radio- indistinct most of the time, a quiet, indistinct hum, only to erupt at random intervals with offensive noise. The random, over the top vocality I see her as displaying were stabs at making herself seen in a world that largely she was not.
She was not seen because there was nothing really to see. Here we get a possible clue as to why Anorexia came along instead of some other coping mechanism. I was ugly. I was just that bit too fat. Not 'overweight' just too....heavy..too..lumpy...shapeless.
I'm not exaggerating when I say I have always been body concious and most of the time since wanted to be smaller. I remember my first body related memory- that young I was sat in the car seat, it was summer; I was wearing shorts. I remember staring at my thighs, pressed down on the edge of the car seat. I remember watching the wobble, seeing the expansion as they pressed down on the surface. It displeased me. It was not right. Ever since then I have been in a body that was 'just not right'. Then Ana came along and promised something wonderful. Would it be right to say 'I never looked back'? Pretty much; yes.
I have always been very aware that there are many contributing and maintaining factors to my anorexia, but until now I didn't really recognise this particular, definite hate of the girl as she was just before she hooked up with Ana.
As in every case, Anorexia was going to provide something to help me improve something with myself. In this case I only realised what she did from this viewpoint- in the aftermath. When I was that disgusting, unmeasured, uncontrolled 13 year old I didn't see that was what I was. I didn't know Ana could change that either. But now I know what she did.
She toned that girl down. Made her exert some self discipline, taught her self-control in the most extreme of ways. Made her work at something, made her understand dedication and sacrifice. She forced her to look inside herself to see the defects that needed to be trimmed, ousted and exorcised. It made her see how good suffering could feel by showing her changes in her body that she had always wanted.
Marya Hornbacher in her book 'Wasted' described the difference between Bulima and Anorexia Nervosa in a way I suddenly related to with astonishing clarity- like they were my thoughts but had never been given words. Marya began as a Bulimic but Anorexia emerged and overtook. Marya described Bulima as a 'loud', 'chaotic' and 'angry' condition, whereas Anorexia was far more 'quiet' and introspective. Think about the characteristics and emotions which fuel the behaviours of each disorder and it really does make sense. Well I think so anyway.
I remember when I read this, and thinking how fitting it was and it made me consider something else I've always felt. So often there is the general idea spouted about that Anorexia makes a person lose their cognitive abilities due to fatigue and malnutrition. I wont pass judgement on the malnutrition but I remember (and still experience now)the sensation of perfect calm that the numbing fatigue brings. After a certain point the fatigue transforms into a serene, trance like state. My concentration and imagination rather than being stunted was dramatically improved. I felt calm, grounded, silent. I'm not advocating starvation as a means of sedation or whatever I'm just presenting my experiences.
Anyway, back on topic....
I've come to realise one of the biggest maintaining factors of my Anorexia is the fear that now I have realised what I escaped in that girl I hated so much, that if I 'recover' I will return to being her. Return to the ugly, fat, flailingly chaotic character I left behind.
I have no doubt this whole post seems unlikely, irrational and silly but it is just the feelings I have, and here I do not censor them but present them as they occur.
We all have irrational fears but them being irrational makes them no less real to the people who experience them.
So what about you?
Do you see yourself as significantly different before your ED came along? Maybe you don't even have an ED but something else has 'changed' you, drawn a line between one you, and the you that you are now?