Sunday, March 27, 2011

the whole truth

i'm ready to be honest with myself, my blog readers, & the whole world wide web (aka universe). so today, on the life of my ferrets, i swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. so help me god(s). amen.

i've let a lot of stuff slide as of late, one of the main ones has been my blog. not that i don't love my writing, my blog, or my readers (if any are still left as of this date). i've been absent because i've been healing. i'm finally at a good place, a great place, a place of peace. some place that intellectually i knew existed, but some place that i was never quite sure i would see in this life time.

today i find myself firmly in recovery. & yet, i'm not quite sure yet if recovery is a forever road, or if i will one day find myself totally recovered from the evil demon that is my eating disorder. i eat now. i get my three meals & my three snacks. it's not what the peeps at HCMC would prefer since i'm a post gastric bypass patient, they'd prefer the three meals, but my body just doesn't work that way. & for my physical, mental, & emotional health i need to make sure i'm eating every couple of hours.

for the most part i'm not restricting (starving myself) & for the most part i'm not binging. once in a while i will have a day where for whatever reason i think it's a good idea to push my body & i wait much too late to have breakfast. or i'll skip lunch or under eat at dinner. on the flip side of that coin when i'm stressed i some times find myself reaching to munch on something. the old habit of using food as an emotional band-aid. the difference now is that i recognize myself doing these things & i stop myself. i stop myself because i know that i'm worth fighting for. that it's just food. it's fuel. & if i want to accomplish all the AMAZING things i have planned for myself i need to treat my body as a machine. ya know, rotate the tires, get the oil changed, fill the gas tank, get the engine detailed....oh wait, that's the list of maintenance for my saturn.

what has happened thus far in 2011? so many things! the year is almost 25% done and already i'm on cloud nineteen (yes, i'm still a drama queen with a flair for melodrama after all this time). just on friday i had my defense for my MFA thesis. &{drum roll please}: i passed with no revisions required! which means i need to just get the final copies of my thesis to the office and then i graduate. it's been 9 years that i've been in the MFA program & i'm finally graduating. when i think on it i'm so happy that i literally want to cry.

cry? why for you ask. thanks for asking. {hint: here's where the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth part comes in} i cry because i realize how terribly close i came to not making it to this day. back in 2009 when my uncle joe died i missed his funeral because of how sick i was with my eating disorder. & while i was honest about this on my blog i wasn't brutally honest. the brutal honesty is something that i've come face to face with in the past month as i finished my thesis & really done some hard core introspection on my time in the MFA program. there was something about facing the end of the student era of my life & preparing to move onto the next, as of yet unnamed, phase that has made me rewind time and re-watch my life.

my plan is to use my poetry to change the world. i want to take my message about living with & recovering from an eating disorder to help keep other girls from going through the same hell. & as i prepare to do that i've realized that even though i'm in recovery i have not been completely honest with the people i care most about. my eating disorder nearly killed me. i'm not being melodramatic. i'm not asking for sympathy, for pity, or for tears. i just need to be transparent about what really happened.

2009 was a total craptastic year in so very many ways. but it was a year that i needed. that year tested me. when i was at the sickest & allowing my eating disorder demon to control me i was so weak that each day i was in pain. this is not a metaphor. yes i was in emotional & mental pain. but i was in physical pain. my back hurt, my tail bone hurt, my chest hurt. every day it hurt to breathe. i'm not even talking deep breaths, i'm talking regular breathing made my chest hurt. but i was scared to say anything because i did not want to be hospitalized.

when my therapist told me that she thought i needed to be hospitalized i balked. i know if i would have told her about the chest pains i probably would have been committed against my will {which was the only way, i told her, i would be hospitalized} at one point she said that i was so malnourished & dehydrated that if i did not start eating i would probably be placed on a feeding tube. i was in such a dark place that secretly i wanted that to happen. because if i had a feeding tube then i wouldn't have to deal with food. as i type this & remember sitting in her office with that reality it does make me sad. she was trying to use it as a threat & the me at that time saw it as a golden ticket.

the thing that i have not confessed to anyone until recently is how close i really came to death. i'm convinced now as i look back at that time that i was much closer to dying than i realized. every week i thought about dying at least three or four times. sometimes it was multiple times a day. it was not that i wanted to kill myself. to me that was selfish to slice my wrists open or over dose on pills. but i was slowly killing myself. every day it hurt to open my eyes, i drank a gallon of coffee a day just to get myself enough energy to drive the 3.3 miles to work & hunch over my desk. i put a smile on my face when people were looking, a grimace when no one was looking.

at least twice a week i would tally the people in my life. my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, my grandma, each of my friends. & as i thought of each one i would tell myself they would be okay if i didn't wake up the next day. if my heart just stopped beating from the strain, the stress, not enough food, not enough water. & as i thought of each of them i did feel a bit of guilt, what would happen if i did die. but i also told myself they would be okay. i told myself that then my parents wouldn't need to worry anymore. that my dad wouldn't tell my sister that because we work at the same place it's her responsibility to go to my desk each day & make sure i'm eating.

even my ferrets. i thought of them & what would happen to them. i knew my family would make sure they were taken care of until they crossed the rainbow bridge. cassie & sunny d, my first two boys. they'd be sad, but they would get over it. podo & doodle are strong & would carry on. marley, linus & lucy were young & resilient. they'd all be okay. except for my nyddah. my little rescue from the humane society. i knew that if i died nyddah would not be okay. she would not be okay just living with my parents.

she crawled into a deep crevice in my heart when she reached up & licked my chin at the shelter on august 16, 2008. i've heard people say soul mates are not always human. in a way i feel nyddah is my soul mate. i love that little furkid more than i ever thought i could love another soul. just as she crawled into my heart i know i crawled into hers. it was miss nyddah & the thought that my death would kill her that kept me getting up day after day. it kept me fighting. i know that it will probably hurt those that i love when they realize that what kept me going was nyddah instead of one of the humans in my life.

but as i type this i don't hang my head in shame. {statistics are slippery things & i try not to use them, especially in my blog, however....} about 20% of people with eating disorders will die without treatment. even receiving treatment 2-3% of people with an eating disorder will die as a result of their disease. sure, that's a low statistic. however. i tend to defy the odds. there was a minuscule chance, less than 1%, of the type of complications i had post gastric bypass, & yet i had surgery again four months & three days after my bypass because of complications. my tonsils were removed twice because they grew back. i was born with only three wisdom teeth. i tend to be an odd conglomeration of weird medical issues.

& the point of all of this? honesty. i want to change the world with my poetry. i want to stand in front of millions of people & read my poems & change their lives. i will open people's hearts & minds & change the way people with eating disorders are viewed. i will open the dialogue so that there is no more shame. it's a disease just like breast cancer or seizure disorders or alzheimers. no one blames someone for getting cancer or having seizures or alzheimers, why attach shame to an eating disorder. & to be the role model i know i can be, to revolutionize the way people see this disease, i need to make sure i'm honest with myself, with those around me.

to thank nyddah for saving my life i've dedicated my poetry book to her. i realize she's a ferret and {probably} can't read. but, for me, i needed to acknowledge how close i came to dying & who saved my life. so, miss nyddah: i love you, always. thank you for saving me.