I sometimes imagine what I would say to someone who told me I was pathetic for having bulimia, or who told me to stop being so weak. I try to imagine how I would justify scowling and letting the sun illuminate scars on my arm and how I would explain my inability to cope.
Do you know what it’s like to live in this world without appropriate survival mechanisms? Some people can effectively switch off from it all and strive powerfully through whatever is summoned upon them to make them struggle. They can wade through swamps whereas i can only swim through gentle seas, they can fly through tornadoes when I can barely float in still air. I feel like I belong in a different, gentler, less judgmental and competitive world.
I am a perfectionist. I see everything in black and white – either I have done well or failed miserably and more often that not it is the latter. I needed persuading that a 2:1 for my second year was good considering I had been fighting bulimia at its worst. I got 100% for my A-level Politics and though delighted with this, it made me mildly dissatisfied that I only achieved 98% for Psychology and a B for English. If I successfully make my legs slim then I focus on the fact my arms are not. If something good happens I worry about it ending.
Maybe I am just too negative?
People might say that we all have similar experiences (well, humans within the Western World at least) thus why should I be so much weaker than the rest? Why don’t I try thinking like them for a change? Why don’t I slip on the rose-tinted spectacles?
Because I cannot. That is like telling a cancer patient to lose the tumor, like telling a cat to shake off its fleas, like telling a wound to prematurely heal, telling scars to disappear, telling dysfunctional eyes to enable vision again, telling something broken to mend, telling a river to stop running, telling time to stop ticking. However nonexistent and falsifiable and unsubstantial thoughts may seem to be, they cannot be so easily manipulated. They cannot be switched over. I cannot change the way I am, I am just learning to cope by converting the processes by which my mind functions, with the help of others. It is not easy. I can’t switch bulimia off even if it isn’t visible or touchable or physically present. It is very present in my head and that is enough to delude me and distort they way in which I say, however difficult that is for a non-sufferer to imagine. My senses may as well work differently to yours, but now I am learning to use them effectively.
I compare myself to everybody I see.
I wonder what everybody thinks of me.
I question and over-analyse everything.
I feel excessively guilty.
I feel responsible.
Up to a point these are positive and can be utilized, but on the other hand they are incredibly damaging and thus I am learning to manage these in a more rational, logical way.
Be patient. Understand. See what it’s like. Think. Envisage. The mind is invisible but it is so damn powerful that if it is malfunctioning that can destroy somebody, so even though you cannot witness that destruction that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Please, try to make sense of it. However difficult.