I used to think it was all behind me. I truly thought that, but something recently has been telling me that maybe it’s not.
I’m no longer skinny. I’m no longer underweight. I don’t weigh eighty-something pounds anymore. My heart isn’t in critical condition like it was. I no longer refuse to eat. I no longer have an eating disorder. The physical parts are gone, but some of the mental parts have stayed. No, I no longer cry before every meal, have multiple panic attacks daily, or slit my wrists. I no longer do any of those things, but sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in the days that I did.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so much better than I was. So, so, so much better than I was. I guess what I’m trying to say is: yes I’m better, but no, I’m not perfect.
I’ve been stressed studying for finals lately, so I decided that skipping lunch would give me more time to study. There’s nothing wrong with this; its normal to skip meals time to time. What made me know something was up came later. I wasn’t skipping meals to lose weight or get skinner, it was for another reason. When I would skip lunch, my stomach would begin to gnaw and churn after a while. I like the feeling because it tells me that nothing is in my stomach, that my stomach is empty… I like it because the feeling of hunger distracts me from the emptiness I feel almost every single day.
Certain things give me flashbacks of what I went through, almost like PTSD in a way. For example, when my father buys a certain brand of sliced turkey. One day, my father had gone to the store. I asked him to buy a specific type of turkey, the turkey with 50 calories per two ounces. When he came back, he had bought a type which had 52 calories. I began to cry, my frail and bony body collapsed and my mother lunged to the floor where I lay, just as scared as I was, and tried to get me up. I wouldn’t move. I just stayed there. I just stayed on the floor sobbing and mumbling the words “I don’t want to live anymore” over and over again. My mom held her thirteen-year-old and dying daughter in her hands. She picked me up carefully and carried me to my bed, where she laid with me and we cried in unison… all of this over turkey. Now, whenever I see this brand of turkey in the fridge, its like that day fills my mind, takes over me, and haunts me. It’s different though, I’m not the girl on the floor anymore. I am a ghost watching in the corner, unable to do anything as I watch my mom and I suffer. As much as I try to reach out to myself and say “i’s okay, it’s going to be okay,” I can’t. As much as I try to get the memory to stop looping in my mind, it continues to replay and replay with more and more detail every loop. Just like the turkey, there are many more symbols equated with awful memories from my eating disorder. Natural Cafe,the white tank top on the bottom of my dresser,Pressed Juicery, my birthday, King’s Hawaiian Rolls, string cheese, buzz-cuts, and safety pins are just some of the items tied with memories even worse than the one above. Memories that I try to keep locked away for a reason.
I like to pretend like it’s behind me, but deep down I know it’s not. I honestly don’t think it will ever be. I’m not saying that I am in danger in any way shape or form if going back to how I used to be. All I am saying is (in honor of mental health awareness month) it’s okay to not be 100% okay.