Let me just unpack all my thoughts, then I can arrange them on the page. I want this all out in an orderly fashion, following the straight lines of my priorities.
Don’t trip over these big, scary ones. They’re heavy and might rattle if you shake them, but I’ve lugged them all the way here, into my new flat.
They have some use, even if only for Anonymous.
The first to unwrap is this precious parcel: my clinic.
My recovery is something I carry around wherever I go. It sits tight at the back of my mind. Of course, it got a little shaken up when I moved to university. Not damaged exactly, but warped.
By complete coincidence, the form of my treatment changed just as the rest of my life did too. Not only have I moved out, started uni – I’ve also moved nurse, and started schema therapy.
My university timetable squeezed the pockets of time open for me to see my separate doctors, so now my support has shrunken to a snug size of a psychologist doing weight monitoring. This is just until the schema therapy is over, then I can go back to my other nurse. I was prepped and prepared for all this, and I consented to it. Only at the very last minute of my final appointment, when we were wrapping up the final issues, did I realise what a hole was being left.
I’ve developed such a close working relationship with my nurse, one where even Anonymous can be honest. She’ll be there when the rest of the therapy is over, but still. The ground suddenly felt a little wobbly.
That is not to say my psychologist is any less than what I need and am grateful for. We are making progress with the therapy, and it interests me. If only I could understand the chaotic order of my synapses as she does. If only I could at least be a little bit more honest with her about what those synapses make me do. This will come. Time lugs these things around, eventually.
Moving out has actually been fun.
Anonymous isn’t quite sure what to make of it yet. I feel her gripping onto my meal plan for dear life, and get queasy from the thoughts of extra exercise she slipped into my packing. I open up a pandora’s box of opportunity here at university: societies, sports, complete freedom to go where I please and not have to tell anyone.
I have acted on these thoughts this week, but I’ll get to that later. It can fester out of mind for a while, there are so many more important things I need to set out here first.
Whilst organising all this stuff, University leapt out at me like a jack-in-the-box. I didn’t do the freshers thing – I’m old, boring, and disinterested – but I did turn up on campus to register and for the fresher’s fair.
I was under strict instructions to pull the hood over my anorexic eyes and walk straight past the sports societies. Salivating stands clad in blue and gold, varsity hoodies and endorphins. Anonymous could smell the opportunity from the moment I applied to the university, even Ellie found herself drawn to the opportunity of joining a team. She began to eat a little more, just to prove she could.
This was not enough, it never will be. I’m afraid I didn’t make it round the fair without signing up to one or two illicit activities. I maintain they are part of my recovery: that I earned the right to dance again, that running was to be my reward for working so hard at my weight increase.
I’ll leave the exercise baggage here. It’s rather heavy and shameful, and I don’t want it to drag this post down.
There are other heavy weights I must warn you of.
For the first few days in the flat, I refused to believe I had been lucky enough to find one free from triggers. There was a moment, however brief, that I let Ellie let Anxiety’s hand go. It felt safe here. Surely, there would be no other attacks.
But of course, fate stalked my thoughts straight into realisation. A noisy neighbour suddenly jarred themselves under my skin and under my flat; and now Anxiety is back. Even as I write, the noises rumble underfoot. And I’m frightened. I’m on edge again, and I know how hard it is to keep Ellie from falling off.
By the end of my first week, I was exhausted. My body, weak and attention-seeking as it is, sought to make a point of this.
My first ever nose bleed erupted over breakfast.
The symphony of exhausting orchestrated by creaking joints and low, unsolicited groans. My eyelids feel thick and rubbery, all my skin dried up and jumping ship.
I’m being weighed tomorrow, but I know anorexia has already dictated the outcome. I’m not ready to face all the baggage bought along by over exercising.
Fresher’s week is out of the way, and I’ve just about finished unpacking. I’ve distributed Ellie about the flat, and am letting her play there awhile. The challenge at the moment is keeping anxiety at bay long enough for Ellie to savour this fresh start.
A new beginning is on the move.
Despite all this careful unpacking of my self, I’m still somehow all over the place.
I couldn’t help bursting into the room; I was late to my first lecture, and that does somewhat bring my emotion too close to the surface. The bright lights glared as I began the excruciating walk of shame around the lecture theatre. There must be somewhere for my to be.
Then my yoga classes, now twice put out of joint by a shunted routine. This morning I grabbed my mat and legged it down the hill.
How had a I let myself go so far as to think too far
and get lost?
I’m over there. Suddenly, here came around rather fast.
Ellie, we’re on the move.
Could we be on the up?