A fight with yourself is one of the most bizarre fights you will ever experience. Everyone else is on the side that is ‘good’. The side that will help you, will let your body function and free your mind from this overwhelming demon. But you are on the side that will hurt you, emaciate you, starve you, cut you, eventually kill you. I wonder, hundreds of years ago when man was building himself into a dominant and greedy species who was still just a mere inhabitant of the planet, I wonder what he would have thought of suicide, self-destruction, self-induced loss. Did those individuals ever partake in self-denial? Did they ever bring their own life to an end or draw blood from their own skin? Did they ever fight themselves whilst still in a world where survival of the fittest was of utmost importance?
I have been in fights before. I was bullied by numerous faces because I was never sophisticated, or perhaps slightly too mature to play their games. But those fights were clear because at least it was me against them. They were still painful, but they were clear-cut. Now? There is no one side. One day it is recovery and the next it is Ed. I wake up unaware of who will win and sleep each night carrying my mind away from their constant bickering. Paralyzing myself from their thoughts. Freezing myself in time so that recovery and bulimia can both stop, even if I have to too. This is only when my dreams escape them,that is.
Tug of war but you’re at both ends.
Imagine waking up tied down. Not tied down by each limb, but your whole body is taped to the bed. The sheet that you lie beneath is tightly sewn to the mattress and you only have enough room to breathe. Imagine how it feels. The tightness, the suffocating fear that you will never break free and the question of how? Do you cry, beg, plead? People watch through glass walls and they try to tell you what to do, but their words are shrouded out by the unbreakable layers and their movements are dulled by a light that shines from the room. They are in a distant, dark place that you cannot remember but long to be whilst you are in a painfully brightly lit room where they can only watch your struggle. It hurts them, too. Do you shake and violently throw yourself against the sheet that pins to every centimeter of your being? Do you lie still and hope the sheet will thin and weaken? Do you tactically fight each thread that pins you to immobility and a non-existent fate? Do you give up? Please imagine this. A prison cell-sized room with a white ceiling and glass walls. So illuminatingly, uncomfortably bright, whilst they are somewhere cool and calm that is on the other side of something unbreakable.
And imagine when you start to hear the ties rip. When a finger moves for the first time, when you can see over the surface and vision splits your pupil for the first time in 4 years; vision of something other than the murky sheet that shrouded your eyes. Imagine the outside merging into this room as the windows dissolve, people walk in and you hear them again, the light entangles itself with the comforting darkness of the outside. The cool, calm, senseless darkness. Imagine the disbelief when after years and years of trying and failing to empty yourself from this trap, you can hear the beginning of liberty. You can feel the beginning of liberty. You once again experience basic, everyday senses and freedoms that you have not experienced for four years.
An eating disorder is like being mentally tied down to a safety net that is actually going to kill you. Mentally chained there, stuck there. Like a fly in a spiders web you can wriggle but the more you try to fight it the more stuck you get. Until you ask for help and someone wiser, more trained, more experienced in breaking the ties can set you free.
But first I believe you must be free enough from its grip to ask for that help. Maybe this is controversial; maybe an individual should seek help regardless of the stage they are at. But it wasn’t until I was ready to open the door to those outside the aforementioned metaphorical glass greenhouse of my mind that I could accept their help. They could beg to come in and I would be too stubborn in my belief that I could fight it myself. But when I decided I couldn’t? When I gave them the signal that they could enter? That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.