As we rode up there, I knew I would decline their offer of asylum.
In my last contribution I let you all have a look at the physical repercussions of my affliction. For all the bravery that was ascribed to me for doing that, I am in fact a very cowardice person. Because as my body changed, I allowed life to halter. Basically I stopped working, stopped exercising, stopped seeing friends, stopped cleaning, stopped caring for myself, stopped doing everything that made me me, because I feel I’m just too fat. I can’t deal with second-guessing what goes on behind people’s faces who have last seen me 40 pounds ago. Going to the supermarket for binge foods and walking my dog are the only two things that can lure me out of the house. And therapy. I have known my therapist since the age of 15 and I really respect and trust her, as I feel she respects and trusts me. Because these last months I have been trapped in a downward spiral and I have indicated several times that I just didn’t believe anymore that I could turn things around for myself, she has suggested hospitalization. At first I rejected any such idea, but after the holidays, being unable to let 2013 ring in a fresh dose of strength and courage, I finally agreed to go and have a conversation at the place where I spent almost a year (two hospitalizations of 6 months) when I was young.
Frankly, I had loved it there. Sure I cried, fought and rebelled along the way, but looking back now mainly the good memories have lingered. Yes, everyone was sad, but everyone was hugging and praying for a healthy tomorrow. I felt safe and didn’t long for anything more. When I was 15, although I had some friends “on the outside” too, it was the first time I managed to make friends without too much complications and have fun. When I was 16, I got my first kiss, first boyfriend (the memory of blocking the elevator mid-floor just to have a private place for a make-out session still makes me blush), first heartbreak (yeah, he broke up with me): experiences I could never imagine having “on the outside”. There were movie nights, soirees, a swimming pool, a fitness room…
It’s funny, I can’t really recall the psychotherapy, the scheduled eating (but mind you, I always ended up there when the bingeing was out of control, so I was always relieved some form of control was implemented and restored) and all the other stuff I was actually there for. I can only recall the friendships that seemed so profound at the time, the feeling of not being alone and the laughter, because yes, there was a lot of laughter. Rationally I know it wasn’t all rainbows, lollipops and sunshine. I know there were a lot of tears as well. The second time I was there, the bingeing continued, I attempted suicide and I rebelled like the little teenage shit I was against the staff. They eventually asked me to leave.
I have been hospitalized at two other places since then. The last time was as recently as last year, when I started decompressing psychologically when my therapist had to cancel our sessions in order for her to battle cancer – but then I only stayed 5 days. I was always the asking party. With the exception of first time, throughout my periods in the loony bin, the bingeing continued. A few weeks after returning home, the few lessons I did pick up on, were once again forgotten. Being in hospital never was the starting point for health in my case. When I finally broke the binge and restrict cycle for 6 years at the age of 20, I hadn’t set foot in a mental facility for over two years. (The years between my 20th and 26th birthday I deemed myself “recovered”, I still freaked out like hell about being fat, but every woman does, right? More importantly, I didn’t let eating or not eating stand in the way of functioning and living a rewarding life).
There are many reasons why I binge. One of the more important ones has always been that it prevents me from actually having to perform. I need to be perfect. I’ll never be perfect. I sometimes think I could have it all, if sometimes a plain “good enough” could do. Bingeing is my way of throwing my hands up in the air and giving up before even trying, therefore avoiding having to deal with being imperfect. A binge which is not followed by a purge as you can imagine quite literally knocks you out of the ball park. After a binge, I can hardly move, I can hardly think, my whole body aches so fucking much. All the while I have a twisted sense of not being responsible for giving up. I am one who in the past has all to willingly claimed to be “ill”. It’s not me, it’s the “illness”.
Strangely enough, being hospitalized has worked in a likewise manner for me. I didn’t need to go out in the world performing all those roles I was afraid of messing up. I just had to be the basket case, a role and identity that made me feel special. If someone asks me now what I would like most to happen, I would say I would just want to disappear for a while, magically returning when I’ve lost some pounds. And incidentally, this is what a hospitalization could do for me: I could disappear out of the world. This is probably why I always loved the loony bin and this is why perhaps going into asylum isn’t the best strategy for me. I would have to decline.
But then they threw me a curve ball. New in their program at the ED ward was the option of day treatment (if the person is not underweight). And as soon as they said that, my brain was tilting: ‘”What do I have to lose?” I’m not doing shitfuck while at home: I watch TV, roam the web, walk the dog, sleep and eat my motherfucking brains out. It would be just like going to work (working on myself), and still have every evening and the weekends for a so-called life.
Actually, I do have something to lose: the aspiration of eating my perfect diet, which is raw vegan. They evidently won’t allow that there. Vegetarian is ok, vegan isn’t, and I don’t know if they even heard about raw vegan. But let’s be honest: I haven’t been able to eat in such a manner since this summer, my diet as of late has been cruel towards animals and towards myself. What do I really have left to lose?
My partner was excited as well about the prospect. Truthfully, he has been suffering as hell. He is the one I turn to now to pick up the pieces, and I can see on his face I’m taking him down with me.
So I said yes.
What is your opinion about the loony bin?
© Nicole Marie Story Enterprises, LLC and nicoleandgwendolyn.com, 2011 – 2013.