Thursday, 26 May 2011

One Balloon At A Time

A girl floats above the earth, looking down at the ground with a mixture of longing and terror.
She is frightened of SO MANY THINGS.
Things that are UNNAMEABLE because to speak them may bring them into being.
To name them all would be exhausting.
And besides, some of the fear doesn't have a name.
It's just there. Just because.

The girl is kept suspended by a big bunch of balloons.
Each balloon has something written on it. Some element of her illness and of the fear which may lie behind it.
The balloons keep her safe. They keep her looking at the world without quite being in it/ part of it.

A Christian lady I met on a course I recently attended had this in her head as she prayed for me.
She told me that God was handing me a pair of scissors and that he was gently encouraging me to cut just one string...
She told me that I'd still have the other balloons so I wouldn't plummet to earth.

I thought about this a lot.
It reminded me of British graffiti artist, Banksy, and his brilliant image of the little girl holding the balloons.

Yesterday I drove into the unit turning the picture over in my head.
At lunchtime, I took the scissors and cut the balloon with the word 'Jacket Potato' on it.

It sounds absurd... but my fear of carbs is just one in a long list of foods which is holding me in this illness.

I should note here that, as promised, cutting the string attached to that particular balloon, has not made me fall to the ground, a puddle of flesh.
It caused huge fear afterwards, but I'm still very much suspended.

For now, I'm still fairly 'safe'.

I do know though, that I must work hard to seriously challenge this illness.
And that the best way to do it is to use the scissors.

Just one balloon at a time.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


... don't come easily.

One of the (very many) unpleasant side effects of anorexia and the re-feeding process is constipation.
I know.
Not something that makes an attractive reading experience.
Nevertheless, a rather uncomfortable reality for me right now.
(One I deserve, no doubt)

I mention this because, as I try to sit down (which requires an untold degree of discipline given that standing up burns more calories) and write something, ANYTHING, about how things are looking for me (or... inside me) at the moment, the medical definition of the word 'impacted', paints pictures in my head.

The ever reliable Websters Dictionary defines the term as:
1 a : blocked by material (as feces) that is firmly packed or wedgedin position impacted colon>
b : wedged or lodged in a bodily passage impacted mass of feces>impacted fetus in the birth canal>
2 : characterized by broken ends of bone driven together impacted fracture>
3 of a tooth : wedged between the jawbone and another toothimpacted wisdom tooth>
... And all three of these seem to perfectly describe my current mental, emotional and spiritual state.

I feel the agony of the growing mass, bulging and folding against the walls of my mind. I feel the acrid sting of sobs, pushing painfully against the base of my throat and the heavy, heavy blur of words that won't attach to each other, trapped as they are, in the indistinct, impacted shit.

My communication channels been impacted for weeks now.

Monday, 2 May 2011

A Day in Life at The Unit. Part 2

The state of neglect that has befallen this particular pocket of cyberspace is indicative of some of the trauma and some of the inexplicable sense of exhaustion that follows the experience of being cooped up in the unit day in, day out.

By the time I get home in the evening (having first run frantically around a range of supermarkets / shops / country lanes in an attempt to 1)get some sort of exercise and 2)create some sort of sense of separation between my life as a recovering anorexic and my life as a human being) all I really want to do is disappear into a protective shell.

At the moment, I'm thanking God (and Kate and William, of course) for the second three day week; thus a break from the intense goldfish bowl environment of the unit. However, I know that come Tuesday, the brief period of reprieve is over and there can be no avoidance of further weight gain.
With no exercise, supervised feeding of high fat foods and the addition of an obligatory three hundred calorie 'Fortisip' drink, the gain is inevitable.

I could write about the splits in my mind; the constant warring thoughts; the terror of the terrible losses that grow as I gain... but it's too soul destroying to even think about right now.

I am ruled by absolute fear.

I'm afraid that I will gain weight and lose the sense of safety that I worked so long and so hard for.
I'm afraid that I will lose weight and be forced to include another bloody Fortisip in my diet.

I'm afraid that I will be on this refeeding thing forever, yet I'm frightened that I might start piling on weight at a ridiculous rate.

I'm afraid that I might not be able to get over this hideous illness and I'll never enjoy food again, but I'm scared by the physiological responses to refeeding which make me hungry much of the time and less able to resist food.

I want to get better
but i don't want to put on weight.

It feels like a no win situation.

And I feel like a hamster, stuck on a wheel that won't stop turning, so I can't stop running, so it won't stop turning, so I can't stop running... and on it goes.