Sleep Deprived With Confusion…

I wake up to the sound of my smart phone alarm. I can smell the aroma of fresh brewed coffee making its way into my bedroom. My automatic coffee maker has once more managed to do its job. Rubbing my eyes, I wrestle with the thought of getting up. It seems as if I have only shut my eyes minutes ago, yet hours have passed since I laid my head down on the pillow; it is time to rise, regardless of how many hours of sleep I was fortunate enough to receive from the night.

In the past I struggled with insomnia. It seems that throughout different stages of my life I continue to revisit the dreadful routine of lying down on my bed, dead tired, yet am unable to sleep. As I lie there, uncountable thoughts enter my brain, one thought leads to another, no rhyme nor reason. I try to concentrate on something pleasant, yet that thought disappears in an instant and disarray fills its place leaving me confused without a way to shut off my mind.

Summer has come to an end;  the leaves on the trees are turning yellow, becoming dried, and are falling swiftly to the ground with the faintest bit of a breeze from Mother Nature. My fall classes have started and with that, my brain is in a whirlwind of mixed emotions. Is that why I cannot sleep? I’m in constant worry about my ability to try to earn  good grades: about learning chemistry and being able to take the tests, keeping up with the assignments, understanding the concepts while all at the same time, I am studying for my other classes, and punching in on time for my PM shift.  In combination with all that, the fact that as I lie in bed, I ruminate about the number on the digital scale which I am hopping on more than any normal human being should. I lie in bed and I think about the food I consumed throughout the day, and what I will do to keep myself from eating too much so I stay away from bulimia. I ponder on my future and am horrified by the fact that I am alone.  I lie in bed and wonder if I will ever find peace.

The scale is showing a smaller number than it should, yet my mind is in love with the idea. I’m in a dangerous zone,  I know too well that once the ball is rolling, it’s just a matter of time before the intoxicating idea takes total control of everything. There is nothing I want more at this time than to give in to the voice of my mentor, anorexia.

As I enter into each day, I pour that first cup of fresh brewed coffee. I look out my kitchen window to my backyard oasis. Many mornings I drink my coffee on the patio and listen to the birds who sometimes sing, yet often times screech to one another. It’s incredibly difficult to stay positive, but I have to hold onto the fact that the good Lord is trying his best to walk me through this game of life. I argue with myself over the thought of having something to eat in the morning. I’m afraid that I won’t be mentally strong enough to be at peace with it. I’m always afraid that I will lose control, and bulimia will present herself. My mind tells me that the number on the scale will rise if I give in to the very least. Then my wise mind takes precedence and the fact that I have lived through numerous days, weeks, and months of treatment to save me from this demented train of thought finally kicks in. I know what I have to do, and I know that if I resist the right choice, I will only hurt myself in the long run.

I know in my heart that I have to muttle through this confusion. I also know that some of my frustrations are due to the fact that I want someone to take care of me. I pray that He has presented me with all those who are a part of my life at this time for a reason.  I have to believe that through all these people, I will learn what I am supposed to learn. As lonesome as it seems, I have to believe that God wants me to be able to take care of myself, take hold of my fears with vengeance, and finally be at peace…


My “little Dr.” in waiting…

Just before the white coat ceremony…It was a cold rainy day. I’d just left school myself, wondering what the hell I was doing spending my time in classes at my age, and doing homework every spare second I could find. There was really nothing that would have stopped me from attending this ceremony, it’s not everyday your youngest son is presented with a white coat that simply means that soon he will become a doctor. My heart was overflowing with emotions, some were sad, most were happy, happy for my son and his wife. You see, they are in the driver’s seat for the ride of a lifetime. They are wide-eyed and aware of all the negative and more importantly, positive possibilities before them. They’re young, full of life, and both are the epitome of a Ken and Barbie look-alike contest. They are everything: a college education, social skills, and a pretty package all rolled into one. I should be content with my son and his forseeable success in life; yet I found myself in world of emptiness.

I have made so very, very many mistakes in my lifetime. I have hurt people who I love more than I do myself. As I put the car in drive that evening, I left the Twin Cities with a hardened heart. I was alone in my car, and the ability to stop along the way to rid my stomach and anything it held captive was open for the taking. No excuses to make to anyone but myself…and why would I have to make any excuses to myself…I’m the one who high-jacked myself in the first place. Besides, who was I going to tell? Before my heart and mind had any control over the idea, bulimic behavior took the driver’s seat.  The rest of the drive home was oblivious,  music blaring so loud I could barely think, until I felt the blow of the front drivers side tire. There I was, stranded on the side of a dark highway in the middle of absolutely nowhere. I stared out into the night, wondering if I should call my “man-friend” to come to my rescue. I hesitantly decided to let him into my fiasco…praying inside myself that he wouldn’t see it as a hinderance or possibly a “duty” to take care of someone he may have some feelings for. I was simply in need of someone to take care of me momentarily, until I could see through all the rubbish in front of me.

That night I felt so alone…much like I do right now. I am a person who needs to be with someone else. I need to cook something for someone, I need to plan, I need to tend…I don’t do well on my own, I never have, most likely, I never will.

I have a paradise in my back yard, but I have no one to share it with. I have hopes and dreams for a successful career in the health care field, but I am alone, so…who cares. How do I embrace the fact that I may well be alone for the remainder of my life…it’s simply overwhelming emptiness. At times it seems that the only way out of the mess I’ve made of my life is to end it all, without question. But my faith in God prevents me to follow through with the grandiose, selfish idea. However; what a reassuring relief it would be to not have to struggle with myself and my distorted thoughts of self-hatred and mental self-bashing on this constant rollercoaster of highs and lows in which I reside. Dear God, save my soul.

So Lori, let’s face the facts…as I’ve learned from someone near and dear to me in the past,  when life serves you lemons, you have to make some lemonade. I don’t want to, I don’t feel like doing it, but in order to conquer ED, I guess it’s a “Cotten picken” must. I am so tired of looking into the past and reliving the crap that I should have done differently. I am too exhausted to trudge forward into the future to anticipate all I have to accomplish before I’m finished with my degree…so I may as well sit back, relax and make some damn lemonade with all these blasted lemons that continue to fall into my lap.

I listened patiently to my youngest son as he toiled through his first years of college. He then in turn, listened patiently to me as I toiled through the first year of my college experience. He’s my inspiration, he has made it through more than I ever have to contemplate when it comes to the world of acidemics…it’s time for a bit of yellow tinted sweetness in my ice-cold glass. Thank you Michael, my “little Dr.” in waiting,  for more than you know…XOXO

Temporarily Done!

Ten weeks ago I placed a request for some magic dust. I needed the help from someone divine to get me through to the end of the semester. My magic dust arrived in the form of my youngest son. He seemed to know all the right words to say at the time I needed to hear them most. My son knows me and he knows my heart.

During one of our intense conversations, there was a moment of silence…”Are you still there?” I asked. Michael then made a comment which I will never forget. “Mom, I don’t think I’ve heard you say one positive thing about this class since it started.” He wasn’t afraid to tell me that I had best change my attitude or quitting would be my only option.

I can say that I hung up the phone, tucked my tail between my legs and retreated to my dark bedroom to try to muddle through my attitude. I really didn’t like who I had become. I had nothing inside my mind but the horrifying realities that before too long I’d be tested again on things that just don’t come easy to me. Six classes, all expecting more out of a person than it may seem possible at times. Yet, somehow I managed to do it.

Three Saturdays ago, I sat down to compose a research essay. I took the entire day and did my best. I had to include references and quotes from others. It’s not the kind of writing I enjoy. Sunday morning arrived and I was about to put the finishing touches on the last couple pages. I turned my head to the left, looking for my notes, then turned back to my computer which was suddenly a blank screen. The small words written in the center inside of a box read, “pages has unexpectedly quit”… Due to a malfunction in  a computer program, I’d lost a full days work. My heart sank inside to the bottom of my bowels, I screamed a wretched scream that seemed to come from somewhere in another universe. Choking on each word I tried to type, I spent all day Sunday rewriting my once nearly finished essay, and therefore, was forced to put all other studies on the back burner.

The week started out with a swift slap in my face, and continued through to the end without losing a beat. By the weekend I had experienced a tire blow out, and, I was also locked out of my own home. I had to crawl through the attic via the garage, find the trap door in one of the closets inside the house, then maneuver my fifty year old frame down the nine foot drop to the floor without breaking a bone in the process.

Two weeks were left of the semester, and more studying than I knew what to do with. My son and his beautiful Bride stayed with me the night before Mothers day. I was up early studying for my final A&P exam I was to take on Monday morning. Tears continued to fall and I continued to try to concentrate on the insane amount of information I was to be tested on. Mid morning Michael walked past the living room where I sat with my open book. “Good morning…Happy Mothers Day…what’s wrong?”

“I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.”  He walked up to me, gave me a warm and inviting hug, and he said, “Put that book down.” He convinced me that I did not need to pressure myself as much I do. “A”,”B”, and “C”, are only check points. They mean only what you want them to mean.

We spent the afternoon together; we went to Fleet Farm and I purchased forty-eight bags of top soil to fill in sink spots in my yard. He took me to lunch to a nice restaurant, we laughed and I was in seventh heaven. Later on that day I received a call from my oldest boy who was in transit from Florida to Minnesota. I thank God for my boys. Spending quality time with them is actually more therapeutic to me than anything one could ever pay for from a professional in the medical field, if you know what I mean.

Monday morning came, I sat down in the same spot I’d claimed as my own since day one of the semester. With only a pencil in hand, I began to feel the pressure. It was go time, and I did my best using my power of elimination for most of the exam.  I looked over the exam only once after I’d filled in all my chosen answers. I changed nothing, and I reluctantly placed it on the desk at the front of the classroom. I never looked at the instructor, my chin sank to the “superior” portion of my chest. I was done. I was thoroughly and utterly finished, spent, and positive I had failed the exam.

I earned a C, I made it. When all was said and done I had somehow, by the grace of God, earned the final grade of “B” in the hardest class I’d ever taken in my life. I worked harder for that “B”, and lost more sleep over that “B”, and spent more time than humanly possible worrying about that “B”, than anything else…ever. Funny thing, For seventeen weeks that “B” kept me more captivated than my eating disorder.  That damn “B” almost caused me to lose my mind, but it also gave me something to be proud of.

Throughout the semester, I stumbled several times with ED. I stumbled and I cried, and I felt more failure than I have ever felt in a way that I have never experienced before. Yet somehow, someway, I have now come to the conclusion that I am far more capable of attaining a bench mark than I ever knew possible. As far as I can tell, ED will always be there in the shadow of my accomplishments. But I can also say with a gust of fresh air from deep within my soul, that ED will not gain control of the power over the rest of my days.

I am woman, hear me roar…

Please Send Me Some Magic Dust…

There are nine weeks left. That means that I have sixty-three more days to try to keep myself from sinking inside my own head.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, the last hour of my Composition class before Spring Break would begin. I was dog tired as I sat alone at the far left side of the classroom, all the rest of the students spread out into the other areas. I sat patiently listening to the instructor while my eye lids became heavier with each breath. My entire week of respite was already reserved for studying for my second Anatomy & Physiology exam which I was to take the Monday upon return from our little vacation from school.

For the past eight weeks I’d been busy trying to juggle six classes and thirty plus hours each week of the PM shift. My time was not my own and it was starting to take it’s toll. I’d finished my research essay on time management, I’d kept up with all the online assignments and weekly tests and quizes… I needed a week off from classes, but what I didn’t need was more homework. I sat expressionless as I heard him assign the first fifty-eight pages of a small novel. There would also be a quiz which I would have to take before classes resummed on the 18th of March. I’d already checked the website and found more assignments for my A & P class, I felt myself filling up with anxiety from every aspect. The seconds ticked away and with each one I felt myself exploding from the inner most part of my core. There was nothing I could do about any of it.  So much for vacation…

I left the classroom and headed for my car parked in a frozen ice laiden, snow covered lot. I started the engine and let out a pletheral of pent up frustration in the form of a scream. Holding onto the steering wheel, I white knuckled it all the way through town, manageing to hit each and every red light. I was going to be late for work…The pressure inside my mind was ravenous. I have never in my life felt so much stress nor have I ever wanted to end it all the way I did that afternoon.

I will get through this, and on top of all the homework, I will continue to try and keep the snow from blocking me into my own garage. I highly doubt if I’ve ever shoveled more snow than I have throughout these past few months. As I shovel, I let out my aggressions. I brought it all on myself, I did it to me, no one else is responsible for what my life has become. I’m still trying so hard to learn how to live alone and not let my eating disorder take control of what I have left. Yet, in the past few months I’ve fallen so blatently flat on my face. I am having a difficult time trying to reload my ammunition to fend off the little bastard, but each day I wake up and see that God has given me another chance, I feel like I should try a little harder. Two steps forward, three back..three steps forward, two back…I need a small envelope of magic dust. I need to sprinkle it onto the ground before my feet so it will lead me into the right direction.

In the past I’ve tried to keep myself busy in order to fend off the enemy, yet I’ve come to know that being busier doesn’t keep the eating disorder from moving in on my mind. As a matter of fact, I’m begining to realize the busier I am,  the harder ED works on trying to find her comfort zone inside my busy little world.  I’ve been given all the necessary tools to help me through the chaos of ED. I’ve come so far. I will try harder, and I will give myself a hug.

There will be a day in my future when I will be in harmony with myself as never before. Then I will rest.


I look out my picture window and witness the world moving outside. I see cars in the near distance making headway to and from their next and last destination. I walk through my home from one end to the other looking for something to keep me occupied, yet I have no desire to accomplish anything at the moment. My neighbors come and go frequently, why are they always on the go? For the past four months I have been buried in my textbooks, up to my elbows in homework, and trying my best to do a good job at work. Now after the rush of the Holiday season, my life has come to a stand still…I’m having a difficult time trying to keep myself grounded.

Since the winter break, I’ve organized my basement. I set up my sewing machine, and I also created a space for painting. Today I purchased two 24×36 inch canvases so I could put my creative mind into gear. Suddenly the fear of failure came over me like a swath of locust. There seems to be a hole inside my heart that I cannot put my finger on. I’m empty. I’m lost in my own mind, trying to figure out how to get through the rest of the winter without relying on someone to keep me happy. I have never felt so completely alone.

For decades I’ve lived a lie. I’ve hidden my eating disorder from those who know me best. I’ve danced around the truth to myself about who I am and what I do to myself when no one is watching. At times, I just want to go back to Melrose Institute so someone else can keep me in line and I don’t have to do it by myself. I lay in bed unable to turn off my mind, yet all I want to do during the daylight hours is shut my eyes and sleep the minutes away. My appetite is disappearing along with my ambition.

When I think of going into the second semester of my college education I can barely tolerate the idea. I know how difficult the past four months were, and I am well aware that my upcoming classes are even more challenging than the last. I managed to pull off “A’s” and “B’s”, but will I be able to maintain that GPA? Maybe it’s the anticipation that’s killing me right now. Maybe once I get the ball rolling again my thoughts of self defeat will pass. I’m scared and I don’t want to fail… My past has proven to me that even with the shoulders of someone else to lean on, I’ve failed in so many different areas of my life. I’ve relied on someone else to keep me standing, however; I’ve still managed to fall on my face. This epiphany only tells me that in order for me to get through the gray areas of this thing called my life, I have only myself to count on; I am going to have to trust myself and my own decisions. Maybe I need a day or two to do nothing but watch the cars come and go on the other side of my picture window. Maybe I need to get to know the real me in my downtime, and what I’m like when I refuse to let ED destroy my day.

Calgon…take me away.

A Time For Concentration

I’ve been so busy trying to stay ahead of my game. I’ve become a person who is led by the demands of those in charge: my employer, and my instructors. The amount of free time I have is an absolute joke. Never, could I have imagined what I was in for when I registered for college classes last June. I’m beginning to understand the crucial importance of time management. Reality is, my time is not my own anymore.

In only a few short weeks I will be taking all the finals in my first semester. Have I grown as a person? Dare I say yes…or should I be prepared to say, it’s been a rude awakening. My youngest son put it this way, “I know you have a lot on your plate right now Mom, but in the end it will all be worth it, you’re just building character.”

“Building character”,  hmm…As I build character, under the stress of the situation, I seem to fall back into my old habits. I’ve stumbled, and because of it, I’ve beat myself up. Yet, in the middle of it all I’ve managed to get back up on my feet. I’ve managed to face another day in the classroom. I’ve managed to work my shift another night, and I’ve managed to finish my homework assignments with a few minutes to spare. This has been the hardest, most grueling year of my life. One thing I must hang onto is the fact that I am living alone, and I have not allowed the eating disorder to take control of the situation.

Stumbling is something I may very well do for the rest of my life. However, to be able to shut down the thoughts and demands of ED while trying hard to deal with what appears at times to be a hopeless situation, is more “character building” than my boy will ever comprehend.

I made it through Thanksgiving with a bit of secret suffering. For the next few weeks I will try to concentrate on my grades instead of my eating disorder. I find that the more I concentrate on other issues, ED has a way of lying on a soft pillow against the wall…always peering over at me, yet jumping up only when I give her a chance to speak. At this point, I choose to keep her quiet. I don’t need the baggage of ED to drag me down. I don’t physically have the strength to keep up with a full-blown relationship with my eating disorder right now. With the help from God above, at least for the moment, she will have to stay out of my path.

My Diamond In The Rough

ImageIt’s been three months since I moved into my new neighborhood. I’ve struggled, I’ve laughed, I’ve worked hard and I’ve cried…Now I’ve come to the end of my project. Through it all I’ve learned how to find my inner strength to make important decisions on my own. I’ve also had to search for peace within myself. Many, many nights have been wasted on negative thoughts clogging my brain. Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am at a place in my life in which I am destined to be. I have relied on the strength of other people to provide me with happiness and comfort. I’ve never been able to face my own demons on my own, yet now I’m forced to do so.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life as I am confident that it will be a positive experience for me. In less than three weeks I will be a full time student at our local College. I’ll be working the night shift and sleeping throughout the afternoon. I’m scared, I’m nervous, and I’m extremely excited to move on without the behaviors of my past interfering with my plans to reconstruct my future. Ties from my past have been severed, therefore the only thing I’m able to do at this point is to move on, move forward and excel in ways I’ve not yet done before.

My biggest cheerleader is that of my youngest son, he has given me hope in every form of the word, and I am the most fortunate mother to have been blessed with him. I thank you Michael for all your support, I love you dearly and unconditionally.

Mind you, moving in the forward direction without my eating disorder is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, always struggling and fighting the distorted thoughts. In the same breath, my strength is even surprising to myself as I’m gaining ground every day that I pass over the desires to give in to old habits. Absolutely none of my success has been achieved on my own account. Dear God, I thank you for helping me to keep my eyes open and to realize my true potential.

Focus On My True Purpose In Life

As I pushed the wheel chair down the corridor, he stretched his left hand over his shoulder and placed it on top of my right hand. We had been introduced earlier that same morning. It was just past 1:00pm after the noon meal when I strolled him back to his room, the one which he shared with his wife of forty some odd years.

Upon the arrival of our destination, he looked at me and took hold of my right forearm with both of his hands. He proceeded to thank me for being so kind, and then he kissed the back of my hand. In doing so, the tremors took over and he slightly shook uncontrollably. I helped him transfer from the wheel chair to his bed, as now it was time for rest.

I couldn’t help myself, I walked out of his room and tears began to well up in my eyes. Never in my life have I felt so alone with myself, yet all in the same breath, so needed by someone who didn’t know me from Adam.

Weeks past, and the more familiar I became with Archie, the more my heart opened up to him in his hours of need. He never seemed to remember my real name, although I appeared to him to be someone he admired throughout some period of his life. He’d press his call button several times during the midnight hours. I’d check on him, knowing each time I entered the room would be the same as the last. Archie would take hold of my right arm with his shaky grasp. He’d tell me that I was his sweetheart, and he would do anything for me that he could to make me happy. I’d sit with him for as long as I was able, then I’d tell him I’d be back momentarily to check on him.

“How long before you come back?” he’d say.

“I’ll be back in about a half hour, you close your eyes and try to get some rest.”

“Do you promise you’ll be back?”

“Yes, I promise, I’ll be back, now you sleep like a baby, goodnight sweety.”

There was something about Archie that gave me a feeling of peace. Even though he didn’t have a clue who I was, he seemed to need me, and I felt comfort in attending to his emotional needs. In a sense, he too, was attending to mine.

Throughout my life, I’ve isolated myself from so many people because of my affair with an eating disorder. Now I’ve come to a final crossroad that is taking my life down a different path. I am trying so pitifully hard to figure out a daily routine to keep me on the straight and narrow. I’m losing weight but I’m still gaining ground in recovery. I know this, because I know in my mind that my thoughts are changing. In the past when I’ve experienced this much depression, I’ve come completely unglued in both starving myself, and using bulimic behaviors. Even though it’s been difficult for me to eat, I’m still pushing myself to feed myself. I count that as progress.

In many ways, I feel just like Archie. I’m afraid, I’m lonesome, and I don’t know what is to come of my future. Having my office set up has been a blessing in disguise. I can no longer have the excuse to delay my time set aside for writing. I’ve procrastinated finishing my book; I’ve procrastinated writing down my thoughts, and I’ve suffered the consequences because of it. Writing is a wonderful release for me. It puts things in perspective and I can clearly see where I lack confidence and what I have to work on in the moment. At this point, I know my lonesome heart is in need of nourishment. I’ve been looking in the wrong places, and finding more sadness with every step I take.

Last night I sat at Archies’ side. As he rested on the recliner, he held onto my hand and continued to tell me how much he cared for me. As his hands trembled, he reached up to caress my face.

“Oh please sweetheart, sing to me.” He said.

I began to sing softly into his ear, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”

I would sing a line, and Archie would sing back the same words. When we finished with the verse, he begged me to sing to him again…then he cried as he held tightly onto both my hands. He needed me, and I needed him. It was a beautiful moment I will never forget.

Feeling The Loss

My heart seems to go into hibernation for a split second. It’s as if I have a mini heart attack, momentarily, quick and short. My mind takes me to a place that I don’t want to go, yet the urges to roam into that direction are far too strong to ignore. The reality of what my life has become is too much to bear at times. I feel the pressures of paying bills that seem to arise when I least want or expect them; the ones that pop up out of nowhere when something goes wrong with the remodel plan making it impossible to bypass.

It’s been close to three months since I left my husband and my home. At this point I know my reconciliation with him is only another dream which will never come true. The process has been draining, although it’s been an experience I’ll never forget. I chose the right contractor for the job and have been able to develop a solid friendship with him who is soon to be my son’s Father-in-Law.

They’ve been my only companions for the past several weeks. They start the day with a friendly hello, and continue on with the task at hand. Now that the end is near, I sit here in a beautifully remodeled home…alone, with absolutely no one to share it with.

My lonesome soul is aching for human touch. I’ve never in my life felt so completely alone. I’ve even longed to be back at Melrose Institute for the pure satisfaction of being with people who understand me, and people who will take care of me.

Eleven pounds have melted off my body since the day I moved in. Food is no longer a staple in my daily routine. I tend to eat my scrambled eggs with cheese, or a simple  smoked chicken, deli style, on wheat bread. My freezer is full of the foods I planned on preparing for myself. I had good intentions of freezing individual portions of roast beef and potatoes, roast chicken, spaghetti, and the like. After my first attempt at a home-made dinner of Lasagna, I managed to rid the first portion the old-fashioned way, undigested, and flushed. The remainder made its way into the garbage can, so I was not tempted to do it again. I stumbled, and once more I’ve become afraid of my kitchen.

I need help, and I don’t know where to turn. The pressures of being alone are weighing heavily on my mind. The dark place is gaining ground and I am fighting with all my guns loaded to fend it off. Dear God, please don’t give me more than I’m able to handle.

Twenty Five Days

I drove the Tahoe, pulling behind me an enclosed trailer full of boxes filled with all my personal belongings, two patio chairs, and an air-bed, still in the box it came in. I left early, before the daylight was able to show itself. As I drove, I cried. I cried because of the finality that had set into my psyche. My twelve-year relationship with my husband was now severed from the likes of an unnecessary divorce.

I tried to save my marriage, I tried but I failed. My husband was adamant about ending our marriage for the sake of saving himself from any more financial ruin that may occur in the future, should we have another unforeseen episode of irreconcilable differences. My heart was broken, so was his. We had lived a very fulfilling life together. We had traveled to both far and exotic places together. I was adopted into his family as one of their own, always feeling the warmth of  welcoming open arms from the moment I’d met them. My life with Ken was picture perfect.

The funny part of the scenario, is that regardless of how picture perfect my life had become, I had an emptiness inside my heart for something I’d lost in the past. Not only had I lost my self-respect at the ripe old age of fifteen, I’d also lost my boyfriend who basically walked out of my life without my desire nor my consent.

Throughout my life I carried that empty feeling along with me wherever I roamed. I married a man who is the father of my two grown boys. For many years I held on to the comforts of my family life, paying very close attention to my boys but disregarded the love of my husband, thus the marriage dissolved. Throughout the entire time, my eating disorder played front and center fiddle, taking up almost all of my free time, and kept me busy enough to stay clear from any close friends and or acquaintances. You see, it never seemed to matter how much love I was given from anyone else, it was never enough, because I had no love for myself. I hated everything about me due to what I did when no one was looking. I hated my life and how I had no control over what I did in secret. No matter how hard I tried, the eating disorder had all the power, thus I was left with no self-esteem, and a hatred for myself that simply would not disappear.

When Ken entered my life, I felt everything would be different. I was happy, I was loved and I had no needs that were not met. We melded together like cold butter on hot toast, his sense of humor was astounding and very infectious to me. We shared likes and dislikes and lived together, giving one another strength through the loss of his beloved Father.

All the while, my heart was still aching inside. I’d moved away from my boys to marry Ken. I had a feeling of failure inside my soul out of guilt from abandoning my own offspring. I’d left my Dad, my sister, my brother and I’d left my career. I left everything behind to start over in a new city with a new man who was going to turn my life around, and I was going to be able to leave the eating disorder behaviors behind….not so…

As it turns out, the only thing I was able to hold onto after the move, was the eating disorder. Not only did it follow me to my new life, it also became stronger and more pronounced than ever before. Over the nine-year period which I lived with Ken, he became more and more aware of the strength that the eating disorder had over my psyche. He stood beside me through some very difficult times, always making sure that I had all the help I needed right down to the dental reconstruction of my eroded enamel from years upon years of self-induced vomiting.

Sometimes I wonder if I had it too easy with Ken by my side. I find myself looking back at what I had, and how I took everything for granted. I took the love from Ken and stuffed it inside myself somewhere, unconsciously trying to make more room for the behaviors that continued to feed me regularly, my eating disorder. You see, if I tried to refuse the commands of ED, nothing else seemed to function. Yet, in like manner, if I listened to the voices of ED, nothing would function in long run anyway. My life was unmanageable no matter how I tried to live it. My frustration level inside myself was as combustible as a jet engine in flight. I fought hard with my own thoughts daily, always falling short of resisting the behaviors of the dreaded ED.

About seven months ago, that old boyfriend who had walked out of my life when I was fifteen, re-entered and open Pandora’s box. My heart was jump-started, and that emptiness I’d felt for over thirty-four years was filling fast. We communicated via telephone, reconnecting just where we’d left off so many years before. All the while, I knew in my heart of hearts that I was a very happily married woman, yet somehow I couldn’t resist the temptation to talk to my old love that I never was able to forget over the years. I was suddenly more engulfed in my anorexic behavior than ever before. The less I ate, the better I felt. Before I knew it, Ken had me sitting inside the office of my old psychotherapist, who in turn, convinced me to admit myself into a treatment center for eating disorders as an inpatient.

My husband was at his wit’s end, now wanting nothing to do with me other than to make sure I had the help I needed. His intentions were to get me the treatment I needed, and then wash his hands of me. After hearing those very words come out of his mouth, I was convinced that my marriage was over, I had to regroup and concentrate on what was to be my next chapter.

I continued to converse via telephone with my old flame, becoming more convinced each day that he had entered back into my life for a good reason. I suddenly felt whole for the first time in years with the addition of his presence again, thinking that this was the end of the full circle battle which I’d been living for years. With the completion of he and I being able to finally re-unite, my eating disorder was certainly going to be silenced for good. I had no desire to continue the relationship with ED, as the eating disorder was finally losing it’s power.

After months of regularly feeding myself in the confines of the treatment center, I became more aware of the fact that I was a very strong woman. I was now able to control the eating disorder instead of the eating disorder controlling me. Yet the world I was heading back into was beginning to unravel at a fast pace. My husband had given up on me, he no longer wanted me as his wife. I ended all communication with my old boyfriend. I had come to my senses, and knew with my whole heart that I was in love with my husband, I’d simply been in love with a memory of the past at the same time: a memory that wasn’t going to be anything more than a memory.

Two months have now passed since I left the treatment center. In turn, it’s been twenty-five days since I drove away from my second failed marriage and the house of my dreams.

I am living in a home under construction, I have no kitchen, and only two patio chairs and an air-bed, now out of the box it came in, all blown up. One would think that with all the depression that has followed me throughout the last twenty-five days, I’d be fully engulfed in anorexic behaviors and hanging on to the voices of the eating disorder as never before. Not so…you see, for the first time in my life, I’ve managed to exercise the tools in which I was given at Melrose Institute. I’ve managed to “manage” my eating disorder and its uncanning behaviors instead of it “managing” me. My focus is now on trying to find my strength to live alone and continue to strive for a successful, fulfilling and desirable future. I have come to realize that pain, frustration, confusion and self-hate is all I ever received from starving myself. Food has become a staple in my daily routine and I now am able to eat freely in front people I have only recently met. If the old me was in control, I’d have resisted each mealtime possible. I’d have had great incentive seeing as I have no kitchen. But I’ve chosen to follow the path in which I will continue to recover: I’ve somehow managed to finally leave ED in the background of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a daily struggle, but it’s getting easier.

I’ve started my new job as a Nurses Aid in The Care Center in Crosby, Minnesota. I’ll be earning Union wages and regular pay increases over time. I’ll receive good benefits and my needs will all be met. I can truly say that throughout all the disruption in my recent past, God has had mercy on me, he has come through on every level. The hardest part is trying to focus on the future, instead of remembering all the good things in my past I shared with Kenny.  I miss my husband, and I miss our lives together, but I’ve come to the realization that we have both moved on in our own ways. He made sure I had the help I needed, then he washed his hands of me.

Twenty- five days…depression has taken hold, but I’ve left the eating disorder behaviors in the back part of my mind. They try hard to make me listen, but I continue to resist. I’ve heard said that inside every grey cloud there is a silver lining. It’s what I have to hang onto at this point. Out of the demise of a good strong marriage, at least I can say I’ve moved on without the eating disorder in center seat. God is good, and I thank Him for his mysterious ways.