I don’t write when I’m sick. On Instagram I do; little snapshots into my life; but I do not write here. This blog was started simply as a space to share my words with the universe- wether that happens to be one person (hi mom) or a hundred. This space has been silent lately. It became blank when I became silent because I had slipped once again into the turmoil of my eating disorder and everything that goes along with it. Six years fighting this. Seventy two months. 2,190 days. I remember being told the average time it takes someone to recover is six to seven years. 2,190 plus days later, I am here…fighting my way through the blank, silent space and trying to reclaim my life.
Exactly one month and one day ago today, I discharged from treatment. I discharged myself, making one of the most difficult decisions of my life as I walked out of the treatment center that day. After fourteen weeks of tears, angry outbursts, and confusion, I saw little progress. Honestly, I still don’t know how much I see. In some ways I am worse off than I was before. In the same number of ways, I am wiser, and learning my journey looks different than I pictured.
I haven’t written because when I am sick, I am ashamed. Ashamed of looking just fine on the outside, but being a mess on the inside. Ashamed for needing treatment again, and feeling like I came out no better than when I started. When I am stuck in shame, I don’t write. I don’t eat. I can’t rationalize. I can’t see the severity of my depression and destructiveness. I can’t escape the paralyzing anxiety that often cripples me from doing little but exercising or sleeping.
One evening at treatment, I refused dessert. A staff member put me in someone’s office with worksheets and a pen, and left. I was told that by not eating, I was choosing not to participate in group, and could process on my own. She was down the hall but I was alone, in a room, and in my mind, this was my punishment. I filled out one of the sheets and turned over the paper and started writing.
“The things no one will say to me.
Waste of resources.”
As I wrote, the tears came. The silent kind, where you don’t even blink or scrunch your face but they keep on falling and falling and you don’t know where they keep coming from. The kind of tears where there aren’t even any sobs, just all that damn water pouring out of your eyes like its never going to stop because it comes from a place so full of hopelessness and defeat that maybe it can’t be dry.
I left that night and began to plan how to end my own life. I’m a nurse. I don’t have to google how to, don’t have to wonder what will work, etc- I know. I always have, its medical knowledge and basic common sense. But this was the first time I thought out when and how. Something in me made me pick up the phone and call my best friend. I was crying so hard that I don’t think she understood much of whatever I was trying to say, but she left where she was and came to meet me at her house immediately. I am here today because I have an amazing support system and a God who says my story is not finished yet. I did not want to make that call to my friend, and still think maybe it wasn’t my own power that made my hands do it.
You see, that’s the thing about the last 2,190 days…nearly every one of them have been spent in a fight I am not winning. It adds up. To being hopeless. It adds up to me concluding that I would very much rather die than continue to live like this. Something I do not talk about outside the four walls of my therapist’s office is how chronically suicidal I have been. I went to treatment this time in hopes of it helping with that. Treatment did not “make me” want to end my life that night- the thoughts were already there and have been for a while. They were exacerbated by the feelings of worthlessness of my impression of being given up on. It made those words I wrote on the back of the worksheet very real to me. My work is believing they are not, and believing I am not too much.
It has only been recently that I have begun to come to terms with accepting my humanness. Which means I may live with having an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, and PTSD for the rest of my life. But, that doesn’t mean that those things have ME. I am a fighter and I am hella resilient. In all of my weakness, I also have a God who is my strength. I know I am loved, beyond my ability to comprehend, by both God and the beautiful people He has placed in my life.
I’ll put these thoughts out there on to my blog and into space, and half of me will likely regret it. No one wants to talk about suicide. No one wants to yell to the world how much they are struggling. No one even understands mental illness. That includes me. And yet, I do. I talk about it. I do it for the one person who might need to read this. I do it for my family and friends, who I often can’t tell in conversations how much has been going on. I talk about it because this part of my life keeps me coming back to my yoga mat, and my yoga practice has healed parts of me I thought were unreachable. I do it to glorify God for continuing to bring me through the darkness- even when I don’t want Him to. Even when I beg Him to stop; when I’m angry at Him and think He made me wrong. I speak my truth for myself, because I am healing from the outside in, and I continue to learn that silence only breeds shame. Shame breeds sickness, and that is not how I want to spend my life. I will heal.