I opened Pandora's box.
This week I am moving house, and whilst packing I came across the box I keep with all my Inpatient memories in, from both admissions. This includes almost everything, cards sent from friends and family, journals I wrote whilst in there, food log, creative writing extracts, NHS letters, Weight charts, Care plans, CPA notes, Dr's notes, Hospital letters, Blood results, Keyworker notes.......everything.
I must admit, tears were shed. At first, admittedly, because I saw all the different weights I have been, from low to high to lower to middle ect. I then went on to read all the cards sent to me, the 'I love you's, the 'You're amazing's and I felt a rush of nostalgia, a longing for the comfort and safety of being so ill that you are removed from the real world. So poorly that everything stops and your main priority is surviving.
With things feeling so topsy turvey right now, nothing being stable, this was not something I wanted to see. I plummeted into feeling overwhelmed and wanting to delve back into the world where I was capable to shut everything out, where numbers numbed my emotions and fear of the unpredictable.
Then I found a letter from my dad. I keep one by my bed, I have spoken of it before, the letter where he outlines how the 'little devil' is winning every battle and killing his daughter and dreams before his very eyes. This one was different. This one was when I first admitted to my problem and shared that I was seeking help. This one was my beloved Papa bear telling me how proud he has always been of me, and how proud he continued to be, and how sure he was that I would beat this thing. I remember the day I received this letter, and I remember being touched beyond words.
All I want to do right now is find every single person that my Anorexia touched and say I am sorry. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry.
This illness does not just consume those who suffer but also those that are included in said persons life. Those that witness you're destruction and feel helpless to it.
The agony I put my family through is something that saves me from falling over and over again. It breaks my heart to think that they had to stand by and watch their daughter, their sister, be so hell bent on self destructing with no real reason why and no way of helping. They had to stand back, with an awareness of the health implications whilst I was safe in the bubble of denial. Day in day out they feared phone calls in case it was their worst nightmare, their worst fear. I have said it before, but no father should ever have to write to their daughter telling her that she is going to die soon if she didn't stop destroying herself. No father should ever have to write those words. No Mum should ever have to keep her phone on her just in case. No sibling should be scared to next see their sister for fear that she's gotten even worse. No family should have to go through that.
I understand that those that have Eating Disorders don't chose to enter into such hell, it is an illness and not a choice, I understand that. I never chose to feel the way I used to, and I never consciously chose to get by by engaging in such a dangerous coping mechanism. It was something that took hold of me and that I couldn't control, but for what it's worth;
I am so sorry for all the times I could of chosen to fight and didn't. All the meals I could of fought harder on, all the days where I could of called for help, for all of the tablets that I could of flushed away, for all of the days where I could of accepted help sooner, for all of the hospital admissions that could of been avoided, I am so sorry.
Sometimes I look back on my past and feel sad because of all I have lost due to this. I have learnt that this is pointless and that there is no point in dwelling, that there are better and happier times a head. That even though it was hell it has made me stronger, more confident, wiser, and that the silver linings outweigh the nightmares and memories. But for my family I'm not sure what silver linings they have, just the relief that it's over.
It was never just my journey, it was never just me surviving Anorexia, it has always been me and my family surviving Anorexia, and for this I will forever be sorry, grateful for them sticking by me and believing in me, but truly deeply sorry.