I realized something about my disorder today that I have never before allowed myself to acknowledge. I am scared to gain weight, scared to lose this disorder, because being sick has become of badge of sick, twisted honor. Being able to get to such a small weight…it’s something I did. Something I put my mind to and feel I have “accomplished,” yet there has been no reward. It’s like I don’t want to move on and gain the weight until I am acknowledged for all this “hard work” I put in. But there is no reward for getting this thin and sick….because it isn’t something to be desired of praised. But that’s not what my mind tells me…my mind drives me that if I haven’t been acknowledged it’s because I haven’t done well enough aka gotten sick enough.
I remember when I first went to treatment and realized how sick people can get with this disease. That people can have to get tubes put in them or be confined to wheelchairs or to day rooms all because they have gotten so sick. Instead of feeling bad for those girls I saw with feeding tubes, in wheelchairs, or on full day room…I wanted to be them. So the next time I went to treatment I went in a little sicker, but only for partial day room…so not sick enough. So I came out again and here I am probably sick enough to be on full day room and having already been threatened with feeding tubes.
But I haven’t been put on full day room, haven’t gotten a feeding tube, and I am not in a wheelchair…so in my mind I can’t get better because I never achieved those goals. As if checking myself into treatment just to be deemed sick enough to be on full day room is worth losing the freedom of being out of treatment. As if that’s worth losing school and my job. All to get some badge that yes, I was sick enough to be on full day room. And being in a wheelchair…since when is that something to be honored for? I don’t see people jumping in front of buses hoping they break their legs so they can be in a wheelchair. Yet here I am driven to get thin enough that my body can’t hold itself up anymore. And a feeding tube. I don’t want to be fed through a freaking tube. I could probably walk in a hospital right now and get a feeding tube but why? How is that something to show off and feel proud of? I don’t know..but it feels like it is to me and that makes me so sad.
What makes me even more sad is that I probably am sick enough that if I chose to go to treatment I would get a wheelchair, feeding tube, and full day room. I don’t know for sure..but knowing my % IBW of 66%....most likely I would. Now the only problem is the only way to find out and get the “reward” my ED is driving me to need as some badge of twisted honor…it would require me going back to treatment which is something I definitely don’t want. Even if I do go back to treatment and get my badges and get placed in a wheelchair with a feeding tube on full day room…then what? I will gain weight, lose the badges, and be right back to square one..and I doubt I will feel it was worth it.
So why can’t I just let go of pursuit of sickness? Why can’t I aim for a badge to actually be proud of? If I choose to get sick enough and relapse again and get sent to treatment or the hospital for a feeding tube…I lose the badge I want…the badge of recovering outpatient. Isn’t that something to actually be proud of? I mean reality is I have been to treatment and been put on full day room…though it was for emotional not physical means. I honestly felt proud when it happened to because I felt like I was the sickest one in the room. But no one in my life cares about that. None of my friends would applaud if I told them I was on full day room…because it isn’t a badge of honor. I have also been threatened with feeding tubes and heck could probably get in a wheelchair if I wanted. So really I have earned my badges…just by not going inpatient I am not cashing in my torture for those “rewards.”
I don’t want to have to leave school, my job, my family, the life I am finally enjoying living all just to get these badges of so-called honor. I want to move on with life, but then there is this part of me that just doesn’t feel justified. How can I justify this torment if it’s not acknowledged…I’m not sure. Definitely something to talk about in therapy, because I want to move on. I want to pursue badges of true honor. I want to trade in these badges of sickness for ones of health. The badge of being underweight with being at a weight I can maintain with Katherine. The badge of wheelchair bound for the badge of running my first 5k. The badge of feeding tube for the badge freely feeding myself. The badge of full day room for the badge of fully recovered outpatient. Instead of running back to inpatient/residential to cash in for the badges of sickness…I want to earn my badges of health. I want to trade in the desire to be the girl with a feeding tube in a wheelchair, to the girl with her BS degree walking across the graduation stage this May.
This scares me though because in my mind right now my illness seems like something I have worked for whereas recovery, because I am so scared of it, seems like something that is being done to me. And if it is something being done to me I don’t feel I earn anything. I know in reality the reverse is true. My illness and being underweight has been done to me as my disorder took over and took control. Recovery, on the other hand, is something I have to fight tooth and nail for because I am so scared of it. If I attain full recovery it will be something I earned and fought for…along with God, my family, friends, and my team. I know these things, and I know I don’t want to go back to treatment…so how to I strip myself of pursuit of these badges and move on? Because clinging onto the pursuit of these badges is keeping my clung on to a low weight…keeping me from gaining weight and keeping me from being able to be a success story of outpatient treatment like I so desire.