A battle with Anorexia.
I have monsters in my stomach. They whisper words of encouragement in my ear. They sweetly tell me how much better I look. Just 5 more pounds here and 10 more there and I’ll look even better. They tell me how close I am. I just want to make my monsters happy so they will go away and I can be happy too.
I’m not going to pretend I don’t know what an eating disorder is or that I think it is a smart thing to do. In school everyone talks about how dangerous eating disorders are and how they don’t really make you beautiful, just sick. But until you have a monster breathing in your ear as you look at the reflection of your misshapen, blotted body and say your happy the way you are, don’t talk to me about my choices.
I first heard the monsters when I was seventeen. They weren’t very strong then and if I wanted to I could have made them stop, but what they said made sense. They told me how beautiful I could be, they told me how easy it would be to make everyone see how beautiful I was. Most importantly they told me that even I would not be able to dispute the existence of beauty in myself.
It started slow, just skipping breakfast in the mornings. After all I really didn’t have time for it. Then I started skipping lunch. Who wants to eat crappy school food anyway? Then slowly I ate less and less at dinner. I learned how to move my food around my plate so that no one could tell I hadn’t taken a bite. I would pile food on my fork raise it toward my mouth and pause to ask a question, while everyone was distracted by the answer I would set the full fork back on my plate.
I was smart about it; well my monsters were the smart ones really. They told me when and what I could eat, just enough that I wouldn’t pass out, but not too much, never too much. I drank plenty of water and when I truly needed to eat something it would always be small and healthy like half a granola bars or three slices of an apple.
When I began to drop pounds I was infuriated. No one noticed. Not a single person commented on how thin I was. No one called me beautiful. The monsters told me I wasn’t done yet, it was good no one noticed if they did they might try to stop me and no one wanted that. So I waited, following the monsters’ lead. I watched my body get curves I never knew I had, my skin stretched over the bone in smooth hills. No ugly chunks of blubber flapped over the bones or pulled at smooth skin. For once I was happy. But my monsters were not, they saw things I had missed. They showed me that the skin still wasn’t smooth on my legs and arms. I was so close they told me, was I really going to stop when I was so close?
So I kept up my game, distracting those around me as I “ate,” dodging questions that my monsters told me were too dangerous to answer. Though I still listened to the monsters I began to fear them. I started to think that maybe they didn’t want to help me anymore. So I tried, I tried to disobey them. I tried to eat.
I got out a bag of chips and one by one put them in my mouth. Chewing slowly I tried to swallow but each time it stuck in my throat. After chocking down half a dozen the monsters were outraged and my stomach felt heavy. It was too late, they would never leave me. No matter how thin I became, they would never be satisfied.
The pain was unbearable. The monsters clawed at my mind and tore into my stomach., punishing me for defying them. I screamed, falling to my knees but had no way of fighting back. Eyes watering I teetered to the medicine cabinet blindly fumbling for something, anything to end the pain. I found a bottle vicodin from when my wisdom teeth were removed. The bottle read one, but I remember that pain and it was nothing compared to what the monsters were doing to me now. I tilted the bottle filling my hand and quickly tossed them in my mouth. As the pain eased my muscles still throbbed, cramping up. Though I couldn’t feel it I knew it must hurt. So I added two muscle relaxers to the mix, that would take care of it right?
This is when things began to get fuzzy. The pain was gone and my muscles eased. So much so that I couldn’t move, why did I want to move? The floor was soft… best of all the monsters were silent. When had I lain down? And why was I so tired? Just before my eyes slid all the way shut I heard the monsters hiss, “We have you now.”