This illness is not a human nor is it an animal: it is a hybrid.
It is the product of galvanising two species: instinct and emotion.
It is a predator lurking in the shadowy blind spots of society. When it unleashes itself onto an unsuspecting carrier, it multiplies.
Anonymous and I evolve and adapt together as Ellie’s confidence waxes and wanes. We navigate our way through our surroundings as one.
A little girl pointed at me in the street yesterday, and said “That girl is hungry.” Anonymous was pleased, Ellie was horrified. I felt nothing. In order to survive, Anorexia has to live through me. She is nothing but a parasite: a highly developed one at that.
“Recovery” is an attempt to train the animal, and place it in quarantine.
The carrier must must manipulate the relationship between the master and the servant: it is all a question of dominance.
I have been trying to attach a leash around Anonymous’ slippery neck in time for me to return to university this year.
Ellie and I have been working to contain the rampaging beast. I thought I had her secured, and that I was ready to go back this week.
Pride always comes before a fall, and I fell down into Anonymous’ lair when I went back for three days.
This has to be rock bottom – I am not fit to do what I love: Anonymous has stolen my ability to learn.
You see, Anonymous is a hybrid, and has highly evolved methods of adaption.
She was able to slip out of her cage and camouflage herself to sound like Ellie:
“I want to go back to university so bad, I want my life back.”
“I can do it on my own, I don’t need to listen to these people. They don’t know how strong I am, how resilient I can be.”
“Nothing will threaten me.”
“I will get better. I will be stronger. I can do it on my own.”
“I don’t need help.”
“I don’t deserve help.”
Yes, Anonymous knows Ellie’s weakness is her pride and ambition.
She also knows the Eating Disorder Clinic at university only has 3 trained staff, and doesn’t accept patients with a BMI lower than 14.
She recognised that I, with a BMI of 13.3, would never turn myself in and go to hospital, as would have been requested.
She persuaded me to hide my numerical value from the university, knowing they don’t allow students back with a BMI lower than 16.
“We’ll prove them wrong, Ellie.”
I tried to go back this week, blind to the fact that Anonymous was snapping at my heels.
University is the perfect habitat for Anonymous: it is an ecosystem of independence and unfamiliarity, and has a rich pool of opportunity to trick Ellie into self sabotage.
Within hours of being alone, Ellie started to panic.
“I don’t need to eat.”
“I can walk that far.”
“I can do this on my own.”
The infection was revealing itself in all it’s terrifying colour: and I realised Anonymous was not as securely contained in her pen as I had thought. She was reclaiming her old territory, and haunting me with phantoms from the last two years.
I had anxiety attack after anxiety attack. I walked alongside a ghost of myself, and I am only now starting to realise how unhappy I was before I acknowledged my illness.
I never want to feel that small and scared again.
I have chosen to come home and recover.
Ellie and I have realised that we no longer want to die. We have nothing to prove by making ourselves invisible; intangible; extinct.
I am not fit to return to university this year. To realise this, I had to go back. I had to venture out into the wilderness and come face to face with my own vulnerability. I had to accept that the doctors, my friends and my family may have been right.
I will get my degree if it kills me.
If I had gone back to university this year: it literally would have done.
I would have turned into the empty carcass that Anonymous desired to scavenge off.
It is the hardest decision I have ever made, but I know it is the right one.
I am furious that I allowed myself to be tricked into the cage I had built for Anonymous.
Now it is survival of the fittest: the battle over territory between two bitter creatures: Ellie and Anonymous.
Shame, disappointment and sadness may taunt Ellie, but they do not taint the anticipation for the sweet taste of triumph when I go back to resume my studies next year.
In the meantime, I shall keep busy. Anorexia is an attention seeking creature, and I will not feed her the satisfaction of being the central aspect of my life. I have my writing, I have campaigning, and I have my friends and family.
When I’m gone, what will she have?