Silence

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about everything I’ve gone through and the things I continue to struggle with. Endless strings of white lies and half-truths cover up my past and hide pieces of my present. I am ashamed of myself and afraid to open up about what I’ve been through and the emotions that still suffocate me.

When I was sixteen years old I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa. Right off the bat, my parents established it was to be a secret. They told my track coaches my hospitalization was for dehydration when I wasn’t at practice. When anyone asked what was wrong or how I was doing, my parents would speak quickly in white lies to hide my true condition. When I returned to school, my mom made it clear that the attendance office didn’t need to know my reason for hospitalization, and to let her know right away if they tried to question me. My parents were only trying to protect me, but establishing my eating disorder as some sort of deep dark secret hurt me more than they would ever imagine.

My treatment didn’t help much either. I listened to my doctors and did what they said, however I still wasn’t trusted and honestly I felt like more of a prisoner than a patient. I often found they would test the limits of my emotions and even more often I would find myself ignored when I cried. I was required to have a constant one-on-one, therefore I never had a private moment to express my emotions, nor did I have a single person I felt comfortable enough to confide in.

My outpatient treatment wasn’t much different. My therapists sat me down with my parents on either side of me and scolded me: I was bad, I was guilty, I was responsible, I was unworthy. Righteous and unsympathetic, my therapists established themselves as figures of authority. I became ashamed, depressed and even more broken. More so, I became even more unable to open about my eating disorder.

Ever since, my weight has fluctuated up and down, but the shame remains constant. I am ashamed of every extra pound and soft curve of my body, as well as every dark depressed crevice of my broken mind. Today my eating disorder resembles bulimia a little more closely than anorexia; after years of starvation I guess my iron willpower finally gave out. 

I can’t bring myself to seek out professional help. I still have nightmares about returning to treatment three years later. I can’t talk to anyone about it. I get so upset and moody and friends, my parents, coaches and professors will practically beg me to open up to them and I just sit there in silence. It feels like I’m physically incapable of forming the words. I just can’t talk about my eating disorder-let alone admit I have one.

That’s how things have been for the past few years: mood swings, weight fluctuations, skipping social events and shying away from clothes that reveal my figure. I’m not exactly sure what I look like anymore. I don’t know if I’m skinny or fat or muscular or just plain average. I don’t know if I’m eating too little or too much. I don’t know what normal is. I don’t know what confidence feels like.

I feel trapped in a life of abnormality. I can’t go a day without counting calories or exercising or scruntinizing every curve and contour of my body in the mirror. I can’t open up enough to get help. I can’t even open up enough to get sympathy. I can only remain closed- I can only be silent. 

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Slip

I knew today was not my day from the moment I woke up this morning. I felt drained, even after a full night of sleep, so I shut my blinds and spent the next hour drifting in and out of sleep before I finally got up.

In the mornings, I usually just have a bit of fruit before I go running. I’ve been eating especially healthy lately, but this morning I decided to have figs and prunes with peanut butter because my body felt drained and in need of something high-energy, and I could honestly care less about fat, calories or feeling sick on my run.

It took me forever to get out and go running. I laid around, watching Netflix for an hour or so before I finally got my ass out the door- something I NEVER do.

After I got back from my run, I laid in the grass for an eternity before I finally went inside to shower. I skipped my post-run snack. I barked at my mom at the grocery store. I ate lunch two hours later than usual and skipped my afternoon snack. I made dinner, but bagged it up and put it in the fridge because I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t go for my bike ride. I didn’t lift. I cancelled  a date, despite the fact I haven’t done anything with anyone yet this summer. I barked at my mom again. I sat in my room and cried to my old favorite songs. Today was most definately not my day.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten like this, and it sure as hell isn’t the last. This isn’t the worst I’ve ever gotten, but with another stressful semester rapidly approaching, all I can do is worry.

I’ve been quite a fly-on-the-wall lately. I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but some conversations just seem to prick my ears and I can’t turn away my attention. I hear people at the gym, my sisters’ friends and all sorts of people talking about people they know with depression- talking not about how hard the depressed person has it, but how burdensome they are to the people around them. It makes me sick.

I know I am not easy to be around when I’m slipping. I know I get selfish, I shut people out, and I drag others down with me. I know I am a burden and I am ashamed of it. I hear these people talking and all I can do is think of myself and all the relationships I’ve torn down, all the things I’ve thrown away because I couldn’t break out of this gloomy state of mind.

I want to be a good person. I want to be a good sister and daughter and friend- and maybe even a good girlfriend and wife and mother if I get lucky enough one day. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to just to feel like a person, period. Feeling like an empty shell has become a familiar sensation to me.

I know I need help. I want help. I’ve tried getting help. I found a fabulous therapist up at school, unfortunately she was out of my insurance network and I was only able to see her twice before I came home for the summer. My mom set me up with a therapist back home, but I only saw her once. She was much older than I was, not to mention a bit too quirky, and I felt too uncomfortable to go back. We never got around to finding another therapist.

Sooner or later, I’m going to have tell my mom I still need help. It’s a lot harder than it sounds; I don’t want her to know that I’ve still been hurting so much. My mom’s already brought up the possibility of me leaving my university, staying at home, and just attending community college. She doesn’t think I can do this and all I’ve ever wanted was to make her proud of me.

Even though I want help, it’s not going to be easy to get. I have a hard time opening up to people. I’m scared if I disclose just how broken and twisted my mind is, they’ll take things away from me. I’m scared they won’t let me be a nurse- or even worse: they won’t let me stay at college at all. And when I finally do open up to people, I cry. I turn red like a tomato, I sweat, my speech becomes completely incoherent, my nose runs like a fire truck and I basically turn into a horrible blubbering mess.

I feel like a failure. I look at all the people around me, how much they’ve blossomed, all the people they love, the people that love them, the things they’ve done and the things they’re good at. I don’t have many people I’m close to. I don’t have many people that want to be around me- and quite honestly I don’t blame them. I’m not particularly good at anything or good for anything. I never clean up. I never dress up. I never go out. I pass through each day on autopilot. Passing through days, rather than spending them…that’s how my days have felt for as long as I can remember.

I’ll be twenty years old in six days. I’m not a big fan of my birthday, it just makes me feel depressed and anxious. I’ve spent the past two decades doing a whole lot of nothing and even more feeling sad. I feel like I’m wasting my life away.

I’m tired of living my life like this. I believe that life is so meaningful and precious and evenly last damn second should be cherished. I want to laugh. I want to smile. I want to love and be loved. It’s all just a bit easier said than done for me.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read what I’ve been keeping bottled up. And to anyone else who’s been hurting…you are special. You are wonderful and special and meaningful and I beg you to get all the love, support and help you need to live your life fully and to feel the purest happiness you can possibly imagine. Thank you all again for reading.