Tag Archive | fighting.

The Hardest Thing

I know the pain and heartache involved in fighting an eating disorder, I know how exhausting it is. I know how tiring it can be to face one of your greatest fears – food, and to attempt to push through that fear because, quite frankly, it’s life or death. What I didn’t know, however, was how hard and heartbreaking it would be to fight an eating disorder from the outside. To sit, looking into the pleading eyes of the hostage of an eating disorder and beg with her to do what it would take to potentially save her life.

“I know how hard it is, sweetheart, but please, please put the tube in your mouth. All it’s going to do is help you think better.” She looks at me, and with a voice both weak, but full of venom at the same time spit out two small words; “I’m. Fine.” She tells me. Legs bouncing against the foot plates of the wheel chair and her tiny, clammy hands clasped around the tube of glucose, she looks me in the eye. One pleading look before her eyes glaze over and it’s like she’s not even there, an empty shell. Repeating her name and pinching the space between her finger and thumb, I repeat my statement until she hears me. “You need this, honey, you need it to live. If you don’t have this you’re going to have a seizure, end up unconscious and they’ll give it to you in an IV. You’ve got the control now to eat it, if you don’t, they’re going to take that control away from you.” She blinks slowly, “Sorry?”. She hadn’t heard a word I said. It broke my heart to sit and try so hard to get her to eat the glucose, to see her so scared, so vulnerable and so overwhelmed by her illness. Confronted to be fighting the same illness I fight inwardly on a daily basis, wanting to scream at the eating disorder to shut the fuck up so I could get through to my friend, my big sister, to tell it to let her go, to give our beautiful girl a break so we could save her life. Wanting to do anything I could to take that pain away from her. N and I both at a loss, both worried. I couldn’t be any more thankful to have had N there with me to help our friend, to have had someone else who understands, to help talk to her, to try to get her to work with us. To help talk her into going to emergency, to try to get past ED and through to our friend.

It broke my heart moreso knowing that if our roles were reversed, the situation wouldn’t be much different. I absolutely hated sitting there getting angry at her for not doing what she needed to do to keep herself alive, but at the same time thinking to myself that I was the biggest hypocrite in the world. It killed me to see what this illness does, as an outsider fighting for someone who’s been like a big sister, getting angry with her, getting frustrated, telling the nurse to just “give her a fucking IV, ’cause she’s not going to eat this!” because I was at a loss as to what else to do. It terrified me to be standing against her bed, calling her name over and over, pinching and rubbing her arms to get her to come back to us so the nurse could do a proper assessment. Two hours and a bag of fluids later, you wouldn’t even know that the quick witted, laughing, smiling young lady in front of you was the same person.

It’s times like that make me realise how quickly these illnesses can take hold of a persons life. It makes me furious that this illness has taken away so much from so many. And times like this that make me thankful that I have so much support. I’m terrified of what this illness is doing to me and continues to do to me. I’m terrified that Ursula is so loud and intrusive today. I HATE that she’s got so much power. She doesn’t have the right to be running my life the way she is.

I know that there is never going to be an easy part of recovery, there’s never going to be anything that ‘just works’, it’s going to take hard work and commitment, it’s going to make me want to scream and cry and yell and run away, but it’s those times that I need to put in the most work and take the most from those experiences. It’s the times when I don’t want to do it any more, that I need to fight the hardest.

Never, ever stop fighting. You’re not alone, and you’re worthy of recovery.

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Exhausted

Tomorrow sees the end of almost 6 months of holidays. I go back to uni, but not only that, I’m starting a new uni. New people, new classes, new teachers, new campus. New. Different. Unknown. I’ve been arsing around all night trying to put things on my desk just the way I like them. Nothing seems to be in the right spot. Not quite sitting right. Not quite how it should be. Trouble is, I have no idea what I want it to be like. I’ve given up for tonight. I’m writing this post, sending an email, taking a shower and crawling into bed where I’ll fool myself into thinking I can lie there with the blankets over my head and pretend this week didn’t exist at all. It’s Monday and I’m already tired of it.

Today I spent the day putting all my thoughts and energy onto someone else. Focusing on them, helping them, making sure they’re okay. Giving someone else all my love and attention. Holding their hand and doing what needs to be done to make sure they’ve got all the support they need. Helping to hold the safety net beneath them, or even to hold them up as they tentatively make their way across the tightrope that is recovery.

Now, I feel like I need… Something. Anything to detract from the lingering thoughts in the back of my mind. Anything to distract me from the suffocating black pushing its way into my head. The depression has set in harder than ever the last two-three weeks. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the appointments, the hassle of organising uni, the fear that a friend is struggling and I’m not going to be able to do enough to help them. This is where I throw myself into everything that opens up and fill my diary with commitments and activities. This is where I try to pretend that I can handle it. This is where I bite off more than I can chew.

The incessant nagging voice in my head at the moment is becoming unbearable. Screaming constantly at me, reminding me how fat and disgusting I am. Just in case I’m likely to forget. Which I’m not. Especially not when I seem to be constantly surrounded by reflective fucking surfaces. Reminding me that I’m not worthy of this position at uni, or my treatment team’s time. That I’m pathetic and worthless and useless and vile. That I’m selfish and greedy. That it’d be better if I fucked right off. So would everyone around me. I wish She would just FUCK OFF! It’s draining enough to get through the day without the constant chatter. I’m beyond terrified about starting at this new uni tomorrow.

Uni aside, this week is a big one as it is. I have my second appointment with the eating disorders service at a hospital near by. I’m scared of what this appointment will involve. My last one saw me leave in tears and being unable to recall what I did between leaving the office and making my way home. I’ve only partially disclosed to them my history of sexual assault. I’ve not told them who the perpetrator was. I haven’t told them the full extent of the effects it’s had on me. I’ve only mentioned it briefly before changing the subject. I’m not looking forward to that conversation at all. This time though I’m going to have someone come along for support before and after the appointment. Apart from that I’ve got to see my psychologist and GP. I’ve got to function like a normal person and drag my fat arse out of the house every day to avoid getting myself stuck in the trap I create when I isolate myself.

All I want at the moment is for everything to stop feeling so stifling and suffocating. For it to stop feeling like I’m dragging my feet through quick sand every day. For the dark to be lifted and the heavy black to subside. For things to be less of an effort and more of an experience. For life to come naturally and become exciting and interesting. For the pain, not only mine but that of my darling friends, to ease and things to become a little easier. I can’t help but feel pure fury at the universe for being so cruel. I want to be in control again.

I’m exhausted with needing to pretend all the time.

I’m exhausted.

Memories

She kicks both feet out in front of her with every ounce of strength her body can muster, a small sound escapes her lips with the effort. She lets her body go limp and she falls backwards, the wind rushing past her ears as she folds her legs underneath herself and gathers up all her strength once again. Now that she’s upright again and looking ahead, she takes a breath and she kicks both feet out in front of her with every ounce of strength her body can muster, a small sound escapes her lips with the effort. She lets her body go limp and she falls backwards, the wind rushing past her ears as she folds her legs underneath herself and gathers up all her strength once again. She swings, with purpose and emotion to release the pain that’s built up inside her chest. The sun is setting and she can feel the change in the air as evening succumbs to the darkness of night, the sky changes from the almost angelic shades of pink and gold to deep blues. The stars emerge, almost as if prompted by a director. Perfectly timed, rehearsed. She stops kicking and lets the motion of the swing, controlled entirely now by gravity, comfort her. Back & forth. Back & forth. Each time the swing moves with a little less momentum. Eventually she kicks off and lands, gracefully, balletic, on the ground and begins the walk home.

Before she’d reached the swings she’d walked through the still, chilled water of the reserve. It was low tide, she stopped to look at the miniature forms of life that sat at the bottom of a groove in the sand, trapped – for now, until the tide returns and it can escape back to the ocean. She walked along the sand of the banks, noticing as she walked how the texture of the sand changed. When she first stepped from the grass onto the sand it felt soft, silky and seemingly untouched. It enveloped her every step, comforming with the weight and pressure of her foot. Slowly, and with purpose, she took another step, noticing the slight pull as the sand released her foot – first her heel then the gentle tickle as her toes left the earth, and felt the process begin again with her next step. A little further along the sand becomes rough, course and scattered with debris left behind as the tide washed out. Pieces of stick, seaweed and other items she couldn’t identify littered the sand, the yellows and whites of the creek bed scattered with flecks of green and brown.

Tonight, for the first time in what seems to be a really long time, she allows herself to focus on memories. Should those memories be immediately connected to her current surroundings or not, it didn’t matter. She was allowed to think. She allowed the thoughts to come into her mind, she allowed them to be there, unjudged, untouched. Whatever feeling they aroused was allowed to be there too. Just be there, no pushing it aside because it wasn’t allowed or shouldn’t be, it just was. She allowed her heart to skip a little, her breath caught in her throat, as she thought about her drunken father or abusive brother – M. She stopped any passing judgement and accepted the memory for was it was.

Playing over in her mind like a monologue written and rehearsed to perfection she could hear his every word, picutre his every movement as his voice gradually grew louder. She’ll never forget the time her father came home to fight and pushed so hard her big brother, B, took it into his own hands to protect her and her mother. His hands around his throat, the colour in her fathers face slowly drained away as B’s grip tightened. Her father chocked out his words – “Get the fuck off me, you bastard!” B’s grip didn’t loosen. She’ll never forget the look of rage in his eye. He wasn’t going to stop until her father stopped resisting. She thought he was going to kill him, she was sure he would have if M hadn’t stepped in. Interrupted, B’s rage only multiplied, turning on M he took hold of him and held him against the wall. Choking him now. For a moment, she wondered if B did infact know what M had been doing to her. Why such rage and anger when M was only trying to help? Why? And, for a fleeting moment, she prayed that he wouldn’t let go of his grip around M’s throat. She prayed that this would be the end of the abuse, that this nightmare would allow her to escape from another. Then she realised that if B did in fact kill him, the one man in her life who she had ever trusted and felt safe around would go to jail. So she slipped unnoticed, or so she thought, into her mother’s room.

Closing the door on the commotion that took place in her living room, she picked up the phone and dialled 000. Asking for the police she blurted out everything she could. “He’s going to kill them, he’s hurting them. I need you to help him, protect him. He’s only trying to help.” She’d no sooner told the operator where she lived when someone took the phone from her and hung it up. She knew she’d be in trouble. Looking into her mother’s eyes, she apologised before the shattering of glass interrupted the night and a screech of car tires announced that B had once again gone speeding off, and she now had to worry, not only about the impending visit from the police, but also whether the next time she’d see her brother would be either in a hospital bed or at his funeral after he’d wrapped his car around a tree. 

The police arrived within the hour and asked a few questions before taking her aside and asking her to tell them what really happened. What really went on behind those doors, they wanted to know. Of course she didn’t tell – she didn’t want to break any rules, so she told them everything was fine. She told them she was happy, safe. She lied. The police left, and she left her parents to their own devices and crawled into her bed, where she’d hold tight to her blankets and pray, at least for tonight that the fight would be enough to make M leave her alone.

Pulling herself from the memory, she found herself on the rail bridge, looking out towards the creek mouth, where the water filters into the sea, greeted by the waves. She could hear the rumble of the ocean. The slightest breeze tickled her cheeks, the mild sea air comforted her and she reassured herself that she was in her safe place. She wasn’t in that house any more, and in her mind she watched that child close the door on that memory, at least for now, and accept that her feelings towards the men who were supposed to be a role model and protect her will, at least for now, be somewhat hostile and emotionally charged.

It’s nights like this that she finds herself grieving the childhood she didn’t have. Watching from a distance as a family talk and laugh over barbequed sausages, a single, silent tear slides down her cheek. She wipes it away quickly, scolding herself. It’s too late to mourn that now, she can’t change the past, she didn’t have any control over the events that took place then, but she does (as she so often tries to convince herself) have control over the here and now. The present. Her life, up until now, has been significantly traumatic, the effects of which still play a role in her everyday life. But the ball is in her court now. She suddenly notices that the scene infront of her, the sand, broken by a stream of water and framed by the dark green foliage of trees has colour. She suddenly notices the slight salty smell of the air, combined with the scent of spring – flowers, earth and the almost unnoticable scent of the still water that remains trapped among the rocks. There is colour, there is life – her heart is beating, her chest rises and falls rhythically with her every breath, she puts her fingers to her wrist, just above the butterfly tattoo and feels her pulse beat against them. She is alive. She takes a deep breath and turns her back on the railway. Maybe, just maybe there is hope. Maybe if she can breath through the violent images that invade her mind, the screaming thoughts, maybe if she keeps fighting she can create her own memories. Maybe next time she finds herself sitting at this bridge it will be purely to breathe in the salty air and take in the beauty of the image that is infront of her. She turns, her chest still aching with emotion, and walks to the swings. Another day, another night. She tells herself she will fight, and for now – she’ll swing as hard as she can until the ache is lessened and she’s strong enough to hold on to hope again. 

She kicks both feet out in front of her with every ounce of strength her body can muster, a small sound escapes her lips with the effort. She lets her body go limp and she falls backwards, the wind rushing past her ears as she folds her legs underneath herself and gathers up all her strength once again. Now that she’s upright again and looking ahead, she takes a breath and she kicks both feet out in front of her with every ounce of strength her body can muster, a small sound escapes her lips with the effort. She lets her body go limp and she falls backwards, the wind rushing past her ears as she folds her legs underneath herself and gathers up all her strength once again. She swings, with purpose and emotion to release the pain that’s built up inside her chest. The sun is setting and she can feel the change in the air as evening succumbs to the darkness of night, the sky changes from the almost angelic shades of pink and gold to deep blues. The stars emerge, almost as if prompted by a director. Perfectly timed, rehearsed. She stops kicking and lets the motion of the swing, controlled entirely now by gravity, comfort her. Back & forth. Back & forth. Each time the swing moves with a little less momentum. Eventually she kicks off and lands, gracefully, balletic, on the ground and begins the walk home.