“When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
I am back in a plain walled room. The tide was too rough for me to steer. Every part of me aches and I am tired. My body is exhausted. I have been plunged into a world that turns skeletons into goddesses, and it is here I must try not to burn. Things were too difficult, I tried and strived to scramble out of my rabbit hole, but it was just too deep. To say I am disappointed would not cover it. I am angry that I was not strong enough, I am sad that I am once again in hospital, I am terrified of what is to come. A little ball of emotions. I forgot that in here, people are not still. We are all tired, exhausted, little bodies under so much strain they are close to giving up, yet there is constant movement. Jiggling legs, rocking bodies, every opportunity to stand, taken. In here, it is these things that mark you out, that mark out those who want to recover and those who are forced in here. This is also defined by the brash question "did you agree to come in or were you sectioned?" "Agreed", I smile. Met with shock. I was clear, always have been clear, I will not be sectioned. This is a chapter of my life, I will not let it define it. A section and half my job prospects would disappear, so I came when I was told to. Like a good girl I shuffled in, with my entourage of mum, dad and lots of stuff. Sunken, hollow faces are real life in here, not only the thing of nightmares. It baffles me, I look at them and I do not find it attractive, I do not yearn to be like that, I want to run away, my response is still natural, yet part of me still wants to lose weight. A bit of me screams "BMI OF 13 YOU PIG, they are all looking at you and thinking fat fat fat". Maybe some of them are, maybe those with a BMI of 10 do find me abhorrent. I spoke to Claire, in despair that I would be the biggest, she laughed "of course not, God Maya". Her American twang makes me smile, makes it easier. I trust her. I will get my weight up enough to be allowed to get on a plane, to go to Australia and see my family, to lie on a beach and bask in the glorious rays and heat of the sun, next to my beautiful cousin, to run by the water and enjoy it like I used to, not just to skip away the calories. I will finish my weight gain there and get back to health, happiness. The truth is, this is not life. This is a surreal parallel universe where starvation is a preference. My brain is not working and tricks me into believing things which are just not true. I must reprogram, reboot, and get back to the real World. Where I can be warm. I do not feel safe. An hour and a half with a doctor when I arrived. A doctor who was surprised I could sit up and do his "squat test". Thousands of personal questions, with the answers they will draw a picture of who I am. Who is Maya? Why does she want to be thin? Is what they mean. I don't know the answer to either completely. I know Maya is a daughter, a friend and a girlfriend. I am a student. I like to play music. I like to act. I like to write. I like to run and dance and play tennis. I often look at my feet. Right now, most people would say "oh, the anorexic one?" This will not define me, that is not all I am. It is just part of me. A part that is too dominant at the moment and that needs to be quelled. I am not the space between my thighs. I am more.
I think of myself like Gollum. Ugly and widened by my addiction. Anorexia is my ring. I am both Gollum and sweet little Smeagol. Completely wrapped up by the pretty shiny ring, that promises so much, but creates and ugly monster in reality. MY precious. It can't be shared. It makes you invisible. I am blessed to have a team around me, ready to take the ring to Moordoor. My mother joked that she is the dwarf, realistically, she is Sam, reliable and faithful and constantly there. I have Jacob, riding strong on his horse, ready to kill anything that gets in my way. I have Grace and Thea, faithful and loving, ready to show me love and make me laugh. I have all my incredible friends, who I have mentioned many times, ready to help me get that ring and TOSS it into Mount Doom, unlike Gollum, I will not jump in with it, because there is too much in my life to fall in with it. Today, my first on the ward is over, i've left the shire and entered into the big scary World, I can hear Awks all around me, but I will keep on going. I have to.
The first meal was Hell. I am on a "soft diet", because my abused body can't take very much. Everything is white. It is meant to be easily digestible. Each bite was a fight. Each mouthful was of shame. Around me are girls and boys all fighting their daemons. Self loathing and pain drips from the walls of the dining room. 45 minutes it takes us to eat. We cut into tiny pieces, mash and fiddle, anything but eat the food. Then it is gone and we all sit together in an awkward room, being watched. The thought of the next few weeks is abhorrent. I know I will feel many things, disgust and self loathing being the dominant emotions. I will want to curl up in a ball and it all to be over, all over seeing the numbers go up on the scales. Why? It doesn't matter. I love people whether they are fat or thin, yet I cannot love myself. It makes no sense. I need to stop trying to understand it, it will drive me mad. I must sleep as I will be woken through the night to check my vitals.