Thursday, April 28, 2011

february 1, 2010

today was my first day back at samford from magnolia creek. i was terrified.

breakfast was fine. breakfast is always fine. i'm a true believer in the fact that a body doesn't start burning calories until it's had something to push it out of resting metabolism from the night before. so even when i restrict i eat breakfast.

morning snack was hard. it was sitting there in the cup holder of my car- just a stupid nutrition bar- but it took me nearly thirty minutes to decide whether or not i was going to eat it.

it was a beautiful morning and i'd fixed my hair and put on some make up and i liked my outfit. still though, i was shaky and nerves were churning my stomach. the thought of eating anything felt as unnatural as trying to fall asleep just after a cup of black coffee. i pulled my car into a parking space, slipped my phone into my purse and climbed out of my car. i could see the green and yellow snack wrapper through the car window. i took a deep breath and turned and started the long walk to class.

there were a million things to think about: class starting, reuniting with my friends, being free from magnolia creek (which actually didn't feel like freedom at all), beginning the rest of my life on the recovery side of an eating disorder...

...but all i could think about was the snack that i'd left in my car.

the soft, sinister voice that i thought i'd displaced from its home in my head swiftly returned, wrapping itself around me like a silk blanket. its whisper was a thin, winding blackness. it was proud of me for skipping my snack. i felt the familiar success and euphoria of my past and my head felt just a little higher. finally, i thought, i feel like myself again.

i was 20 or so yards from my car and already late to my first class. the sun was almost blinding, but my mind was in enveloped in my disorder's delectable blackness...

...until my brother's face popped into my head.

suddenly, i was flooded with memories from home. i remembered one evening my senior year of high school, my brother and i sitting in the kitchen. he was just a little boy then, with curly hair and a half-changed voice. he stood at the counter, begging me to let go of my disorder, telling me how awful i looked and how lifeless i seemed. looking back, i realized he was fighting for my life.

i thought about my brother and how estranged we'd become. i thought about the attention my disorder had demanded, the tears and teeth-knashing and anger and fear that had infiltrated our home along with it.

jim and me, we hardly know each other, i thought, i've attempted recovery so many times, only to fall down a few months later. no wonder we can't be close. who would want to be close to someone with an eating disorder? heck- who could be close to someone with an eating disorder?

i thought about my sweet brother, sitting in class, thinking about who knows what. i thought about the fact that i wanted to be his best friend, to make up for being a crappy big sister for so long.

i slowed my steps to a stop. i turned around and walked back to my car. i unlocked the door, grabbed my snack, unwrapped it, and took a small first bite.

you are so weak, my disorder said.

no i'm not, i said, one day, i'll be able to do this for myself, but i can't right now, so this snack- it's all for my brother, and he would disagree with you.

*the above is not an isolated example. for nearly two months following treatment, i was required to eat three meals and three snacks each day. the story i just told happened a million times in a million different ways throughout early recovery. my record was far from perfect, but i won more battles than i lost, and [at a snail's pace] eating gradually became easy...

last night, i ate chicken alfredo.



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