I need to pour my heart out here tonight, because I am really scared. As much as I am desperate to deny it, to my wife, my friends, J and myself, I know I am getting sick again.
Things have gone bad. Really bad. I am hardly coping at all. I’m driven towards isolation, hiding, cutting off from everyone. It feels like everything I try to do is going to ultimately fail.
I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t know why I am doing any of it. I am lost in a mass of confusion, tied up in thousands of threads that pull me in every direction. This immobility, this indecision, it pushes me closer and closer to the edge.
Those who know better attempt to reassure me; telling me all I have to do is wait it out. I don’t have to act. Feelings can be with me, without a need for me to respond to them. It just takes patience. And faith that something is going to shift.
But sitting still, or ‘sitting with’, is so much easier said than done. And it doesn’t change anything. I observe feeling angry, despairing, hopeless, afraid, and those things remain frozen.
I read about how I should respond to these feelings with kindness, with compassion for myself. But my imagination isn’t powerful enough. I hate those emotions, and they sit at the core of who I am, so I automatically hate myself more, the more I feel them. I simply can’t soothe myself. I want to cut out the feelings. I want to disown whatever part of me they belong to. That might sound cruel, but I’m not sure how else I can survive.
Instead, I hopelessly try to run from myself. With substances that dull the sharp edges. Or distractions that make me numb. Or cutting myself, like the pain of that will somehow release the inner pain. I’ve done it so many times, I should know better by now.
I starve myself, but I can’t explain to anyone why. I just have a vague sense that if I make myself suffer enough, something will be rebalanced. I’ll be forgiven. I will be loved in the way I want to be loved. Of course this is completely irrational. My eating disorder is doing nothing but frightening people who love me and making me feel worse. I’m down to 47kg now and I feel dizzy and tired. I’m getting weak. I know the remedy is right in front of me, but I just don’t want to eat. I don’t want to nourish myself.
I’ve got to make some decisions this week, and it’s time sensitive with the therapy break coming up. J is going on leave for a fortnight at the end of the week, and I need her help to figure out what the hell it is I am supposed to do right now. Or rather, what I can do. What feels manageable.
I should take time off work I know, but I am scared to undo all the work I’ve done repairing my reputation after I was last signed off two years ago. Maybe I should try medication again, but I’ve got no faith in it – and I hate having to interact with doctors, who make me feel so small and pathetic. A friend is pushing me to get a referral to an NHS anorexia clinic, but aside from the supervised mealtimes and full 5 day weeks of therapy, again, I would have to take weeks and weeks out from work. Plus I don’t even know whether my GP would refer me. Or whether I would be able to make myself go there if he did. It sounds awful.
I’m waiting for some answers to materialise, but they’re not coming. I am just so scared all the time now. Scared of my thoughts, scared of what others think of me, scared of exposure, humiliation, scared that I am going to fail to intercept this cycle and end up losing everything, scared of being forced into treatment I don’t want. A few days ago, my night terrors returned after giving me 6 months of respite, so now I am even scared to go to sleep.
Most of all, I am scared of how much power the destructive part of me has right now. I’m scared that dark fantasies are occupying an exponential amount of space in my imagination, and as they pervade, the voice that argues for life and health gets smaller and quieter.
I am frightened and lost. I want to feel safe again and I can’t figure out how, or make myself believe it is even possible. I really don’t know what to do.