realitybites (13041)

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Journal of realitybites (13041)

Monday June 06, 05

Unguarded Moment

05:36 PM

"The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers." ~ Deepak Chopra

What good is it to be the thinnest person in the graveyard?

It was 1998. I checked myself into The Rader Institute in Florida. It was one of the only treatment centers in the area that specialized in eating disorders, as well as drug and alcohol addiction.

I was weighed the day that I arrived. I was 67 LBS (4.75 stone) and stood 5'3". Normal weight for this height is 107-140 LBS. I was a walking skeleton. If I had not checked myself into this inpatient center, my family was going to "Baker" me -- get a court order to have me involuntarily admitted for evaluation and treatment.

I spent seven days there. I gained 5 pounds. I convinced the doctors that I had 'seen the light.' The Prozac miraculously had transformed my thinking -- in just the one-week. I was determined to get well.

The truth was that I would have given my right pinky to get out of that hellhole. There was no real treatment involved. Ninety percent of the patients were being treated for drug and/or alcohol dependency. The model being used was The Twelve-Step Paradigm. Well, this was never going to be affective for an anorectic atheist. The remaining ten percent of the patients there were either bulimic or compulsive overeaters. I was the only 'classic' anorectic -- meaning I did not overeat, nor binge and purge.

The first night at the center, was a wake-up call to just how 'sickly thin' I really was. When I lied upon my mattress to fall to sleep, I felt excruciating pain. I cried, I begged -- somebody help me! I could feel every spring, lump, and crease in the mattress. It felt like knives piercing my flesh -- fists pounding my back. I had neither fat nor muscle to protect my nerves from exposure. Fortunately, a nurse came to my aid. I told her, "I feel like a corpse on a morgue slab." She said, "Good." Then brought me an egg crate mattress. Bless her. I slept.

Basically, I slept through the whole week at the center. I did not attend a single meeting. But, I took my Prozac each morning and showed up for the mandatory meals -- which were a well-orchestrated series of rituals, all designed to actually avoid eating. I pushed my food around the plate, cut everything into small pieces, put massive amounts of pepper on everything... and at most actually consumed an ounce or two of food. I drank coffee instead -- a large amount -- 12 cups a day. It curbed my appetite. It gave me the energy to get through the day. While I felt fed, I was actually using my own fat, muscle, and organs for food. The caffeine was a false sense of nourishment -- a lie. It was all a lie. I lied to everybody. But mostly, I lied to myself.

Did I get well after leaving The Rader Institute?
No, I got worse. I lived for two more years less than 75 LBS. I broke two ribs opening a kitchen window, because I had no support for my bones.

I tried to escape this shipwrecked life in 2000, by moving back to my birth state of Ohio. I was still only 78 LBS. when I arrived. Over the next several years, I was hospitalized numerous times for dehydration and hypercalcemia. But, it has been about three years since my last visit to the ER. I finally decided to kiss that 'role' as patient goodbye. Last summer, I finally past the 80-LB benchmark. Then I passed the 90-marker. This was a major victory. Now at 100 LBS -- I am normal. Hmmm?

To be continued...

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  • That was a very brave post, and I hope you feel all the better (and perhaps even more focused on your progress) for writing it.

    I myself decided to started this Morrissey journal in large part because of some of the confessions I read on this site: []. I could almost feel through some preternatural empathy the authors' burdens lightened by sharing their secrets with the world. Not to say that your post was a secret before (I don't know), but it is very personal. *sniffles* :)

    My mom suffered from eating disorders as a teenager, and I am afraid she might be slipping back into that now that she's getting into her 50's. She was a chubby toddler and was called butterball on a regular basis, so she swung hard in the opposite direction. She said it took years to right herself.

    I think now she's afraid of gaining the kind of weight older, less-active people might gain (even though she walks 10 miles a day!) So, she's become an extremely finicky the point where we kids are a little concerned.

    At any rate, blessings to you for the post, and I hope to read more accounts of good things in your future. :)
    alainsane -- Monday June 06 2005, @10:16PM (#165773)
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