anorexia · body image · chronic illness · chronic pain · crps · eating disorders · mental health · writings

i haunt myself. i heal myself.

Sunday afternoon during my ketamine infusion, the wonderful man Robert who brings 3 east their meals stopped by my room to see what I might be able to eat for dinner. He is quite possibly one of my favorite employees at UVA Hospital and every time I am admitted I am so excited to see him because he is just about the sweetest man in the whole wide world.

After Robert asked me what I thought I could eat, I shook my head and shrugged. I then apologized that for the past 5 days I have barely been able to eat anything he has brought me. My trays sit mostly untouched, maybe a handful of grapes or half a grilled cheese. No matter how many THC pills the hospital gives me I have no appetite due to my nausea and the ketamine. I’m too out of it sometimes to even care and sometimes I just don’t feel like making the effort.

After I apologized, he just smiled his incredibly kind bright smile and said “It’s ok. We just have to find food your stomach can handle.”

“You have to eat because it will heal you”.

As soon as he said this, I felt these huge tears well up in my eyes. Robert has no idea of my eating disorder or body image issues or how much I think about what I weigh, should weigh, and don’t want to weigh. He doesn’t know I have been hospitalized for anorexia or self harm.

All he knows is that I am not well, have eating issues because I am not well, and that I need to take care of myself . He doesn’t know that this is something I struggle with sometimes daily. He doesn’t know that parts of why eating is hard  has very little to do with my health and much more to do with   numbers that quantify my worth in my weird little brain.

So I sat and wiped tears off my face in my hospital bed with Robert’s words echoing in my brain and as always felt incredibly haunted by my ever mercurial relationship with this vessel of a body.

I cried mainly because it felt  EXACTLY like when I was 12. Once upon over 20 years ago I sat on a different hospital bed with worn white sheets and scratchy blankets while a kind person asked me to eat and take care of myself. Even back then I didn’t always know to do something so simple, to love my body beyond what my head told me I was allowed to.

The idea of continually finding myself in this space was enough to make me cry even harder. Its been 20 years of my anorexia and body issues hiding like a ghost in my heart even when its in plain sight.

I feel like I have been fighting myself and fighting for myself all at once for the past 20 years.

***

Life has been a little sadder than usual in all honesty.

The horrors of Aleppo turn my stomach and make me want to scream until I’m no longer able to speak. The unimaginable atrocities are hard to fathom and the fact that so little is being done is heartbreaking and soul sucking. As I type this people are posting videos saying “goodbye” as the bombings continue over and over.

My dear friend of 13 years lost her father 2 weeks ago during the new moon. He fought a valiant fight for over 2 years against a very rare form of cancer but for whatever reason it wasn’t enough. My heart literally hurts at the the grief I know she and her wonderful mother are facing. Jamie was a wonderful special person and his death seems incredibly unfair and sad.

The spread to my arm and hand has been like a kick in the gut, all the plans I thought I could make come true in 2017 in terms of maybe FINALLY making some local friends and living a life outside our house. Now it all feels like they are more wishes than reality. I felt like I was finally getting somewhere with PT and the ketamine and maybe closer to remission but now it’s all uncertain again along with being even more complicated.

After the spread happened two weeks ago, I held my husband one night while he sobbed over the idea that we may never have children the way we always planned we would. Seeing his pain as he processes my health struggles is sometimes so much harder to bear then my own.

It will be the 5 year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death soon and the holidays are often very bittersweet because of this. Every year that passes it still hurts, my husband still grieves, and I still feel helpless in how to help carry the burden of his deep grief over his mom and his childhood.

In all this heavy sadness I often feel very lost, like Im drowning deep into the sea or falling fast out of the sky. I’m sure you may feel the same way my dear reader. 

Life is a game of chance and one that often takes incredible courage to face. Even in the best of times, our memories, struggles, and pain can side track us or even knock us completely off course.

***

Perhaps some day I will finally reach my deepest dream of having a baby. Maybe it will happen in a hospital room like the one I am in now. Maybe some day I will FINALLY achieve remission from my CRPS in a room like this. Maybe I will leave this earth in a room like this.

It’s all a possible chapter, a distance city along my long journey but I really don’t know anymore than that and that can be so scary.

To add to that very real fear, some days feel even darker because it feels as though this innate ability to  judge myself so harshly may be the only story my body knows how to tell. 

Some of that is probably true and some of it may is fear-based as I mistakenly think from time to time that if  I just try to prepare myself for scary stuff it won’t happen. I find I can slip into telling myself the same old stories time again and again because they are the most familiar even when they are not always rooted in truth.

Its a path I know too well, so well that I often need no lantern or compass.

The one truth I do know with 100% certainty is that the older I get the more I understand that life circles us through similar things. Often we just don’t see it until we find that our feet are resting on our old footprints and we look around stunned that our path has once again become circular instead of linear.

Our bones and hearts can ache with the memories of the past. Memories  you still wish had turned out differently or the words you wished you had said or actions you wish you hadn’t taken.

We all have the ability to haunt ourselves and some days you cant stop feeling haunted no matter how hard you try. Those ghosts of the past walk beside you or perhaps follow just a few steps behind.

It’s hard to not get angry at yourself because it feels like you are walking in circles weighed down by your past.

Just don’t forget we all have the ability to heal so we can try to save ourselves too. 

I haunt myself and I’ll do may best to heal myself as well.

 

 

 

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