Sunday, 7 July 2013

A Trajectory Towards Death and Why an Anorexic Can't Bake Gingerbread Hearts

The guy who manages my care here is philosophical as he draws a continuous line through my weight chart. He looks grim faced as he states it is a trajectory towards death. He coins a new phrase, 'the line of decline' and jokes that he will be using that one in the next staff meeting. 
Despite his laughter, I know that he longs for my recovery almost as much as a member of my own family. He has known my parents, my sister (and latterly, me) for seventeen years now. He is as dedicated to wiping out eating disorders as any serious contract killer and although he is has vast acres of experience, his seemingly endless ability to maintain some small glimmer of hope (comments about trajectories not withstanding) never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps it's just that he's missed his vocation as an actor, but he always seems to take me seriously. I just can't count the times when I swear blind that I'll beat it this week; that I'll allow myself to eat a little more; that next weigh in will be different...  I mean it, by the way. My words, when I speak them, are never hollow promises. And yet, week in, week out, I stare disbelievingly at the scales thinking that they can't be right. Not possibly.
Even I would stop believing me.

He has talked to me about going into the day unit. Or back into inpatient for a spell.
I refuse.
He bides his time. 

I have the very best of intentions.

Which brings me to Gingerbread Hearts, which I think I will make for a family friend who is going through a hell I can't imagine.
Simple gesture, right?
Or it is until I think I'll make a batch and have a couple as my allocated snack.

I'll just make them a teensy bit more healthy... No harm in that. 'NORMAL' people do that all the time... It's NORMAL to cut down on the sugar. 
And so I substitute sugar for stewed apple.
I'm sure that it's NORMAL to reduce the fat. I can think of friends who aren't anorexic and THEY would cut down on the butter. Right?
Of course they would. It's NORMAL nowadays. In this health conscious, nutritionally aware age, people ALWAYS use lower fat options.
And so I substitute some of the fat for stewed apple.

Don't try this at home. 
Compromise is the name of the game. 
Trouble is, an anorexic ends up compromising on everything. Trimming off edges until there's nothing left. 
An analogy so apt that it aches.


  1. I can relate so much
    Too much

    Every week I see the same 'line of decline' on my own chart
    And every week I make a promise to my therapist that I'm going to do something
    But like you say they are 'hollow promises'
    Empty promises
    At the time I do mean it but the second I walk out that door any motivation disappears with the wind
    Inpatient is being mentioned more and more
    I can't go
    I won't go
    But what is the alternative?
    I'm not sure which is scarier, changing or not changing

    Such a kind gesture to your friend
    I'm sure she will really appreciate it

    Keep fighting x

  2. Hi
    a kind gesture for sure. Sad that such thought has to go in to it to 'trim' the contents. I wish for you thoughtless endeavors, for myself too.
    Love Gail

  3. I must admit to a smile of enjoyment when I read the narrative of the amusing rationalizations (excuse me, rationalisations) the anorexic young woman constructs while preparing a delicious and succulent treat for a friend. With a bit of expansion, it could be a delightful metaphoric short story, droll with a sprinkling of wit and a dollop of Pythonesque absurdity.

  4. Thanks guys.
    Appreciate your words.