I started from a place of never questioning what a ‘ Professional ‘ (or in my younger days- adults ) said. I was ill, I had been admitted to hospital for expert help and so, you did as you were told. If this meant having no contact with my parents for a few weeks then so be it ; if this meant having to earn the right to have a shower or bath then ok ; if this meant taking anti psychotic pills ( in the absence of any psychosis ) which made me painfully drowsy, then fine ; if it meant being told how to sit in a chair, then who was I to question it?
It is only now, in the couple of years following on from my last hospital admission, that I have come to appreciate that I know Me, Myself and I, pretty well. That doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and professors believe themselves to know my labeled disorders and can treat them accordingly, does not quite hit the same spot that it once used to.
Of course there have been times gone by when I clearly had to be saved from the destruction I was so determined to inflict upon myself. Times when my sanity was nowhere to be found and it was left to those around me to take over the care of my mind and body until cognition returned. There were also times when I believed I knew best but that ‘ best ‘ was driven by all that comforted the agonising screams of the anorexia as people attempted to ‘ exorcise ‘ it from my soul.
But now as a Mother, and an adult, and a woman, who has seen far too many hospital walls, I would challenge any professional to tell me what would work for me at this time. What treatment would take into consideration the longevity of my illness ; my role as a Mother ; the stacks of insight and acceptance of the lonely, anxious child that I was ; the struggle to find my place in this world but determination never to stop trying ; the exhaustion, but the refusal to while away my life in bed ; the loathing of my entire being – the loathing that has been explored until it can be explored no more ; the struggle that is giving nourishment to my body, desiring to starve it into submission, but refusing to do so and carrying on in spite of the disgust ; the knowledge of what is happening physiologically to my brain and body when they are starved or depressed ; all these things and more, so many more.
I am not new to the game, nor am I a write off. I am not crumbling in a corner, slowly dying – I am attempting to live and attempting to live is a tricky one. It’s a hard box to tick. There are no therapies left to be tried, no part of my history left to be analysed, no authoritative spiel left to be heard. Now, I look to myself.
I don’t have all the answers and I drive myself to the verge of insanity trying to figure them out. What I do have is, a knowledge of what I don’t want – and for me, this can serve me quite well. From this point, strength can be formed and with strength, it becomes hard to cave in.
I will be seeing my ( very good ) Gp tomorrow. I will listen to what she has to say – I’m not on a mission to shun professional care. But I will go in to her surgery with a genteel confidence. A confidence that knows my pain, my existence and my battle. One that is aware of the options and aware, more than ever, of which are right for me at this time.
artwork by Helen Wainwright