“Ellie you are a patient, you need to be patient.”
Recovery is a frustrating game: a constant test of skill and endurance. The players are ultimately almost always left questioning their own strengths and suitability.
It is an obsessive hunt for control.
The prize is freedom. Freedom of choice:
To eat, or not to.
To enjoy, or destroy.
To run or not.
To be, or not to be.
It’s a dangerous game of chess.
Strong players are expected to put across convincing arguments, supported by rationality of thought.
This is a competition against the unknown:something we will never have control over.
Each Anorexic has different sense of the unknown: no game is ever played the same way twice.
Ellie decided she was sick of being weak, and wants her life back. Anonymous is unwilling to relinquish her control, and is vicious in her refusal. They both want control, they both seek a sense of purpose.
Let the games begin.
I am a novice, but have identified a number of strategies which I hope to bring to my match.
The first: Never try to communicate with your opponent; it will almost always lead to self sabotage.
I break this rule almost everyday.
The second tactic is something I have yet to try out: the “trust” tactic which I have heard so much about in clinics.
“Trust” is a very advanced set of moves which require practice, and the skills are embedded over time.
This strategy reaps bonus points which often speeds the recovery game up. Trust doctors, trust food, trust yourself.
Up to now I have not been in the circumstances nor had the time to dedicate in the art of trusting: I have not invested “trust” in Ellie. She has to earn it.
If I can trust her to exercise considered behaviour around people and yes, around food, I don’t doubt she will be at an advantage point.
One must give her credit for trying: she has never lied to her carers. She once poured 50ml of milk down the sink during the preliminary heats, but owned up immediately. Her food diary is true down to the number of pumpkin seeds she was fed at lunch, and she admits it when she hasn’t done all that was asked of her – much to Anonymous’ disgust.
“You are weak. Easy game.”
Ellie wants to play an honest game.
Anonymous thrives on lies.
There are no written rules to this game, only a set of basic actions which start each round off.
Player 1 bites and chews.
Player 2 delivers the first punch in the form of terror, regret or hatred.
It’s a free game after that.
Boring by it’s very nature: it is not a spectator’s sport.
Each round is broken down into days or sometimes hours, and is repetitive.
If I feed her, Ellie proves herself to be a pretty competent player.
She has the logic that Anonymous lacks: and I have seen her manipulate it to her advantage on numerous occasions.
The most memorable must be during an exchange over allowing me to sit and read my book before 6pm. Ellie won that game.
I must remember to ensure she gets more energy than Anonymous and feed her more often, because I really enjoyed that afternoon of reading.
Recovery is a hard, exhausting game.
Neither Ellie nor Anonymous appreciate how hard it is for me to function as a living being. My metabolism has gone into overdrive. It makes totalling scores up and translating them into weight gain or loss completely unpredictable.
Especially when the numbers themselves are so slight.
Two months into recovery, and despite a stella performance from Anonymous: Ellie is in the lead.
Just as well, she is such a sore loser.
I now weigh 40kg!
The endgame of Anorexia Recovery is control.
Place your bets here …