My Story, In Prose – by Sarah

Today I am sharing a story. One of sadness, true, but also determination and triumph. This story is not my own, but Sarah’s. Sarah is an inspirational young person and a fighter against anorexia. I hope that you find Sarah’s story as gripping and wonderfully written as I did, as well as it allowing you insight into what it’s like to live with an eating disorder.

My Story, In Prose
By: Sarah
Instagram: @oatsosarah
Written 8/24/2015

August, 2012

Sarah is thirteen and Sarah is fat.

Those are two things that Sarah knows with absolute certainty.

At the doctor’s office, that fateful day in late August, Dr. G says, “Sarah, you are off of your growth charts. Sarah, you must lose weight. Sarah, you must eat less. Start exercising. Something must change”.
And Sarah changed, oh yes they did!

Autumn, 2012

Sarah’s best friends are slim. Athletic. And so are their classmates! In fact, Sarah can count the number of fat people in their school on the fingers of one hand. Sarah only ever wanted to fit in.

“Daily Caloric Intake Calculator
Age? 13.
Height? 5’4”
Weight? xxx lbs.
Goal Weight? xxx lbs.”

It spit back a number and heaven help us, that number was Sarah’s life!

Winter/Spring, 2013

The shower’s water is hot on Sarah’s back but Sarah feels cold inside in an odd, icky, not-so-good way. Brown smoke clouds Sarah’s vision and they nearly fall. Panic. Panic everywhere, and Sarah can’t see!

“I can’t see!” Sarah shouts, hands clutching grey walls. “Help, I can’t see!”

Their mother comes, wraps them in a towel. Spots, static, in front of Sarah’s eyes and a burning pressure right behind them.

“I’ll get you some orange juice? Maybe you’re hungry,” The words cut like knives. Heartless attempt at kindness, that is. Offering her child ORANGE JUICE, while that child is on a DIET?

It’s a waste of calories, Sarah.

“No thanks, I’m fine.”

“Sarah, you are eating /something/.”

Sarah picks up the smallest clementine they can find from the bowl in the kitchen.

“I’m fine.”

Spring, 2013

It’s all your fault, Sarah. Just because it was your mother’s birthday dinner did not mean that you had to eat that. Or THAT. What were you thinking, you fucking fatty? Of course you’ve gained weight since this morning. Of course. Because you fucking pigged out tonight, that’s why! Go. Go do laps and TRY to burn off all the weight you’ve gained. FUCKING FATSO.

Pacing, pacing into the dark, and then jogging, breaking into a run, again and again laps around the house, around the yard, uphill and downhill and uphill again. Sarah tastes bile, sweat drenches their face.

The scale reads lower and Sarah nearly collapses with relief.

Nearly, because only lazy pigs sit down for no reason.

Summer, 2013

Sarah is an overachiever and thus, has decided to take an advanced summer course at school. For the students in the summer session, the dining hall staff were kind enough to cater lunches for the summer session students.

Hot fudge sundae bar! Two of Sarah’s friends, who also opted to take the class, are excited. They rush to the bar— aren’t you going with them, Sarah? They have dark chocolate chips, after all!

Sarah drags themselves up, tears waiting anxiously behind their eyes, ready to run in an instant.

You’re stronger than this, Sarah. Look at you, worthless monster. You’re giving in. Stop. Stop. Stopstopstop.

Sarah gets a small bowl of vanilla ice cream. Passes the dark chocolate chips without a second glance.

Upon arriving home, they begin to exercise, and continue into perpetuity.

August, 2013

“Sarah, look at you! You’ve lost xx lbs! Look at how healthy you are!”

Sarah is healthy. Sarah is healthy.

First day of school, 2013

Sarah, you look so good!
Any tips? C’mon, spill!
Look how SKINNY you’ve gotten!
Wow, way to get in shape!
I’m so inspired by your self control!
Man, you’ve lost a ton of weight!

Autumn, 2013

Sarah’s not studying enough, Sarah has to get up at 4:30 am to study. They can study till 6:30 and then leave for school at 7:30 and still make it on time.

On the weekends, why isn’t Sarah studying for 8 hours a day? Wait, they do? Okay, what about 10? Do you have anything /better/ to do, Sarah? NO. Studying is all you’re good for, after all.

100%.

A+.

You want to get into an Ivy, don’t you! You need to actually work, not sit on your lazy ass all day.

Sarah’s mother is concerned.
“Sarah, why does it take you an hour to eat your oatmeal every night?”
“Sarah, aren’t you healthy already? Why are you only eating x calories a day?”
“Sarah, when will your diet be over?”

November, 2013 Continue reading

Advertisements

The blade’s lullaby [original poem]

MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING.

I wrote this last week when I was feeling the most depressed I’ve felt in a long time. Looking back on it is quite shocking, it is a very very dark piece of poetry.

I was in two minds about posting it because I’m worried it is just triggering and unhelpful and doesn’t need to be shared, but at the same time I feel like this sums up why I self harm sometimes? I feel like I have to, it’s not something I want to do but more of a need, like something terrible will happen if I don’t and that I deserve the pain.

Please let me know if you find this triggering or think it’s unhelpful/ best left off the internet and I’ll take it down.

Hush now darling, don’t you cry
The blade will sing you a lullaby
Let your sorrows melt away
Feel the pain in a different way
Drag that blade across your skin
Let lose the blood that lies within
Release the evil, feel the pain
Make up for weight you have gained
Again and again, swift and fast
Grab a bandage, the pain won’t last
Dry your tears, don’t you cry
It’s either this or you will die
Pills and rail tracks, heights and blades
This is your punishment, your fate is made
You cannot rest, or have peace from me
I am inside you, don’t you see?
Use your arm as a canvas to fill
Paint in stark red, and notice that still
With each new cut and bruise you make
All I do is take, take, take
Yet still here you are, listening to me
I am inside you, don’t you see?
You cannot beat me, I will win
I feel your sorrows as a grin
The whispered, haunted hymns of praise
The prayer which only you can raise
Be sure of this, my fellow friend
This is a war that will not end.
Not today, tomorrow, or next week
Your life is the ultimate prize I seek.
So while you fight and I grow strong
Remember you’re the girl who does not belong.
I will bring you peace of mind
Dull your senses, make you blind
Blind to the pain, don’t you see?
With me your spirit will at last be free.
If you decide you want to go,
I’ll help you get there, don’t you know?
I am the devil within your soul
And I’ll only stop if you reach my goal
Lose weight, cut, punish yourself
And maybe I’ll go someplace else
But for now here I am, trapped in you
A force once week, that suddenly grew.
A force so strong, you can’t outsmart
In fact it overtook your heart.

Also please don’t read this and worry about me, I was feeling in a very black place when I wrote it but touch wood things are going a bit better this week.

I’d be really interested to hear anyone’s feedback on this, positive or negative, so do please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading.

The ‘anorexic’ girl [original poem]

Don’t call me that,
The harsh judgement in your tone.
Don’t use it as an excuse,
Oh she can’t help it, she’s anorexic.

Don’t separate me from everyone else,
Isolate me due to our differences,
Don’t stop and stare and whisper,
‘She’s anorexic

Don’t give me names,
Don’t stare me down,
Don’t treat me any different.
I’m just like you.

Don’t snigger as I mull over meals,
Each bite painful.
Don’t tease me when I’m down,
Don’t judge before you know me,
‘The anorexic girl’

Don’t call me selfish,
Attention-seeking, sad,
We all have struggles,
Mine are just expressed differently.

Stare instead into my hollow eyes,
The girl scared to exist,
See that I want love and support,
Like any other.

See my open arms ready to give,
See the hope in my eyes,
The smile trying to escape,
Help me be me.

Anorexia, now that is an illness.
But there is a girl,
And there is her illness,
They are not bound together.
There is no anorexic girl.

What you’ll never know [original poem]

I’m feeling really down tonight so decided to express it in some poetry. I haven’t checked it and gone back to improve it; I know it isn’t a beautiful piece of writing but I have to share it. These thoughts are consuming me and I am a hollow shell, a carrier of my depression. At least writing poetry, I can feel. That even through this pain, I can still be connected to myself. I am still human.

***

Do you know how it feels
To be constantly checking the time as you wash
Not wanting to stay too long behind the bathroom’s locked door.

Afraid of your mothers knock,
Her nervous voice as she asks if you’re ok.
She thinks you’re cutting.
Dragging that razor blade across your skin
Again and again.

You’ve stopped that. For now.
But the pain will never stop for her.
You open the door, wearing short sleeved pyjamas so she can see
You’re ok.
Her relief she tries to hide
Plastered on her expression like a newspaper headline.

You go off to bed, but through the night she stands and listens at your door
Checking, again and again, that the silent, choked tears aren’t falling.

At breakfast as you sit picking at your cereal,
She sits watching, pretending to be interested in her own food,
But all the time scared of the demons that are hiding in you
Out of her control.

At school you’re confident.
At least that’s how you appear.
The smile and laughter does the trick,
The silly games and jokes,
Why would anyone guess that it was all an act?

Your mother goes to work.
But all the time thinking, ‘I wonder how she’s getting on today’
Never knowing what the answer will be.

The breakdowns have no countdown,
Nor time limit or reason,
They come on all of a sudden,
Consuming you and taking your mother with you in a cloud of doubt and fear.

But you keep going.
You plaster on that smile,
Do your homework.
Be a good girl.

Who would ever guess all this was going on in your head?
This is why it will never get better.
No one knows you.
And no one ever will.

For the first time [original poem]

I wrote this as my own lyrics to ‘For The First Time’ by The Script, though it can also be read as a poem (if you take out the repeats at the end).

My lyrics are about the battle in my head and my thoughts with anorexia and depression. It isn’t triggering but of course isn’t jolly either, so if you wanted something lighthearted it might not be quite right for you.

Please tell me what you think of it and if you want me to publish more song lyrics/poems/writing in the future.

***

I’m scared and I’m lost and I can’t be found
I’m low but I am stuck on the ground
And I can’t get up
Every time I try I just fall again
Keep fooling for the same, just the same mistakes
Trying to recover, but man these times are hard

I’m crying ’till the tears dry out
I’m fighting but my hope is running out
And I don’t know how
I can win the war when the battle’s fail
When I eat my feelings go off the scale
Trying to recover, but man these times are hard

I don’t know if I should give up or keep trying more
Restless nights of heart being torn
Tangled mind but quiet, tranquil thoughts, thoughts, oh
Silent but streaming tears, friends I’ve had for all these years
Will leave me, as I left them with depression, for the last year

She’s trying but her patience is running out
She’s smiling, but behind it she feels trapped
And she feels alone
Though she laughs she only feels this pain
She wishes and longs not to feel this way
Trying to recover, but man these times are hard

But I still can’t cope, I’m struggling through the false smiles
Even running miles and miles when my parents leave me for a while, a while, yeah
Don’t know what I’m going to say If they ask if I’m ok
Because the answer will hurt them, like I’m hurting

Watching as my bmi
Goes down from sky high ’till the number is much too small, too small, yeah
It just keeps getting lower and lower, it scares me to know that
This sensation could kill me, but it’s addictive

[*Alternative verse*]
Cuts bleeding down my wrists
Hide it cause I cannot risk somebody seeing them at all, at all, yeah
Forever it will haunt and scare them,to see how I keep it in
And let myself suffer for the sake of others

So many times
Oh, so many times
Yeah, for so many times
I’ve tried, to get my life back, and recover so many times

Oh, recovery, yeah, it’s so hard you can’t see
How much pain that it gives me
Oh, recovery, yeah, it’s so hard you can’t see
How much pain that it gives me

Oh, recovery, yeah, it’s so hard you can’t see
How much pain that it gives me
Oh, recovery, yeah, it’s so hard you can’t see
How much pain that it gives me

***

Thanks for reading

The Past: CAHMS review during hidden relapse

3/9/2013

Reading back on this has made me realise what a bitch of an illness anorexia is, and how much it makes you feel isolated and hopeless.
I can remember some of that day in vivid detail- the extreme desperation is not a feeling I could ever forget.

Just a few bits you should know so this makes sense:
At the time of this diary entry I was relapsing, but no one knew and everyone thought I was doing well.
I was hiding it by water weighting and wearing jewellery so that I could stay in school.
I am very good at hiding things.

“I know I’m lying to them and I feel terrible about it, but I’m in too deep to change it now.”

“When she saw all my bracelets, she said, ‘how many bracelets are you wearing?!’. I said I liked the bracelets, but she said ‘You’ve probably got a whole kilogram of them, it will affect your weight’ in a really disapproving way with her eyebrows raised.”

“During the review my mum said ‘She has been taking a lot more responsibility for eating her snacks which is really good’, and I felt terrible, because the only reason I’ve ‘taken responsibility’ is so that I can lie and say I’ve had snacks when I’ve really skipped them! I am an awful person.”

“They also said that I had to start eating in restaurants and cafés again, and start eating foods I’ve stopped eating like ice cream and pizza and crisps – I can’t do that! No way. I said this, but they said I must or I’d get discharged and then lose weight again and have to come back.
Dr __ said ‘you want to be discharged don’t you?’, and I said yes but there was a brief pause. I’m not ready to be discharged, I’m relapsing and I need them.”

“I just don’t know if I can do it on my own. I have no therapist or person to confide in – I can’t tell my friends because no one our age should be worrying about these things.”

I hope this helps people understand what sort of thoughts and feelings people may have when struggling with eating disorders.
Everyone is different, but this is my story.

Thanks for reading.

Shadows [original poem]

I didn’t mean to hurt you.
I didn’t mean to make you cry.
I didn’t mean to hurt you.
I never wanted you to say goodbye.

And now you’re gone
Leaving me with a shadow
One that will not fade away
No matter what they say

You’ve left me with your shadow
And the loneliness is here
Alone with me
And you aren’t there

Forever remembering
Trying to picture your face
Your quiet smile
Your sweet embrace

But you are gone
And with you, the memories fade
I look up at the stars
But without you, they aren’t the same

I didn’t mean to hurt you.
I didn’t mean to make you cry.
I didn’t mean to hurt you.
I never wanted you to say goodbye.

I guess it’s my turn now
To let the tables turn
To fix my heart and mind
And let myself go

You left me with your shadow
And I’ll leave you with mine
Together we’ll be there
Forgiven for our crimes

Feet splashing the water
I look down at the icy lake below
And with one little sigh
I let myself go

Our shadows together
We will soar through the skies
No one to hurt us
But no sunrise

But
No
Sunrise.