Eating Disorder Recovery · Uncategorized

A friend from the past

It hasn’t been a good day today for so many reasons and although none of the reasons are that big of deal, the way that they’ve all stacked up on top of a faltering mood has really knocked the wind out of me.

It started last night with a phone call.
I have a friend who is having a rough time, well it’s probably a little bit worse than rough, it’s actually downright awful. For the last six years she’s been in hospital without discharge, before that she had lost 20+ years of time in and out of hospitals and institutions. I met her at one of my lowest points, when I was still just this really messed up kid hell-bent on destruction and we were patients on the same ward. For seven months that time we both bounced around the country, moving from facilities that were acute to intensive care and in the end she got moved far away and I got to leave. There are so many times when she tried to take care of me, she had kids my age and was quite a maternal person. It got to the point where if I would have let her she would have washed my laundry or cleaned my room. She just wanted to take care of people. Her struggles are not mine to tell, but there were some days when she would come to my room in complete despair, confused, ready to lash out at things that I couldn’t see or hear. I wanted to protect her from what was going on in her mind, just as she wanted to protect me, but I couldn’t. We made promises though to stick it out and we talked about the future. We talked about the lives we were going to lead when we weren’t being controlled and monitored by the system anymore. There were so many plans made from late night talks, so many hopes but I don’t think we ever really believed it. Over the years I watched her get a little bit better than deteriorate dramatically. It was around the 4 year mark that it began to take its toll and she was finally moved to a more secure unit away from the city. We lost touch and then a few months ago she reappeared back in a local unit and we picked up were we left off. She hadn’t changed much, a little bit sadder, a little bit less optimistic. We stopped talking about discharge plans and what we were going to do and started talking about plans for when she had some leave. The thing was, in the time that she was gone, I had changed. A lot. I wasn’t that kid who was in free-fall. I had begun to grow up and started to build a life. I felt so guilty (I still do) because it was like I’d left her behind. Why did I get out and she didn’t? She deserves it. She deserves her freedom.

Last night she rang me again and I don’t think I’ve heard her sound so broken (not using that word lightly) in a really long time. When she is distressed, her manner becomes almost childlike again and all she kept saying to me was that she wanted to go home or that she wanted to die. In the background I could hear the other patients kicking off which has always makes her worse. The environment isn’t good for her, she has no idea whats going on with her treatment, nobody will tell her anything and she just feels unbelievably alone. It’s not that I’ve not heard it before…but last night it got to me. I’m a fixer and I wanted to do something and when I realised that I couldn’t, I just felt so powerless. I hate what her mental health has done to her and I don’t like the system either because right now it’s failing her. It’s just so difficult to have to sit back and know that I can’t do anything and just being there doesn’t feel like enough right now.

I thought this morning it would feel better but it doesn’t. My mood is faltering lately, my own thoughts are reminiscent of a time that I barely survived and I’m worried. What worries me more is that I don’t seem to be able to explain it. I was writing earlier and had that horrible sense that everything I was writing was something I’d written before, how even if I knew what to say it was pointless because there was nothing anybody could do. I don’t like how hopeless those words make me feel. Logically I know it’s different. I have safeguards now, things to live for, things that are going well. It’s not that I’m suicidal again, it’s not that I want to curl up and disappear. I just feel horribly sad and it’s something I can’t shake.

Of course I then go into thinking that maybe we were right the first time, that this is it, this is all I’m ever going to do for the rest of my life, fighting my mental health. I don’t want that. It’s too draining. With every minute that passes that I feel like this, my body continues to expand. I know there is a link but still it doesn’t stop the thought that tells me to stop eating. That the only answer is to never eat again, that that is how I make it right. It’s ridiculous and it makes me want to cry because it is that ridiculous but I can’t stop it. I’m bombarding myself with all the positive notes I’ve made over the last year and they mean nothing right now. I need them to mean something. I need them to not let me slip. I haven’t slipped.

But I really want to…and that’s not a good place to be.

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