The Things She Says | Lizzi Lewis #DCfC

anorexia

Join me in welcoming my first guest in the ‘Fight With Us | #DCfC’ series for mental health awareness, Lizzi Lewis.  This courageous piece gives us a rare glimpse into the debilitating mental illness commonly known as anorexia nervosa.

The Things She Says

Lizzi Guest Piece

“You’ve put on a lot of weight,” she says, looking with distaste at my body in the mirror.

“Never mind. You can get rid of it again. Disgusting stuff.”

I look at my figure, pudgier than 6 weeks ago, when I was taken ill, and had to spend a long time not doing anything much, convalescing, battling post-operative depression…eating. I look at the way I’ve filled out, further than I’m happy with, and pinch the fat on my stomach between my fingers, measuring how much is there.

“There never used to be that much,” she says.

I know, I think. But I used to panic so much about weight and food and exercise, and surely this is okay…I mean, I’m still not fat, right?

“Why don’t you worry about it anymore?” she says. “Back when you were really worried about it, you had the willpower to resist the food and do the exercise. You kept at it. You were doing really well. Now…” her eyes scan up my frame, lingering on wobbly thighs and a definite pear shape “…it’s like you’ve lost that drive to stay thin.”

I stare at her until she’s forced to meet my gaze, and tell her that may well be true, but I’m far happier now; less stressed; less frantic; more relaxed around food.

“Ah yes,” she says “you were told that by a friend, weren’t you – ‘It’s great to see you more relaxed around food’ – it’s just permissive crap to make you think you can stuff your face full of sugar and carbs and fats, with barely a thought to how vile it is. Have you SEEN how much it’s affected you? You’re so plump you can barely fit in your clothes anymore.”

But I do fit in them, I remind her.

She smooths her long fingers down her own, nearly flat stomach, and I can see the muscles working in her arms. I can see her power and strength, where my own is obscured by the layer of blubber I’ve allowed to accumulate through over-indulgence and inactivity.

“It wouldn’t take much,” she says, coming closer, whispering into my ear as she strokes her fingertips down my arm “a few weeks and you could be much closer to how you used to be…after all, you were almost beautiful then, right? Just the right amount of hard and soft. You were powerful. You were succeeding. You could get back to that…”

She wraps her arms around me and I can feel the soft jut of her hipbones and see the bumps of her ribcage as she smiles over my shoulder, beguiling. I twist my mouth into as much of a smile as I can manage and tell her my boobs are better than hers because they’re fuller and rounder and nicer than her little saggy excuses for tits.

Her eyes turn to ice  and she narrows them at me, pushing me away and poking a finger into the bulge of my belly, hissing in anger.

“You’re weak,” she says. “You’ve brought this on yourself and you should hate it. You used to think this was vile. Do you remember how you used to think everyone would hate you for how fat you were? You’re heading back that way – to the fat girl – to the girl who swallowed the fucking world and asked for more. She’s reclaiming you, and people will judge you for it. HOW CAN YOU NOT CARE?”

It makes me sad to hear her anger and frustration because she’s right – somehow I’ve forgotten how to care. I’ve not forgotten how good it felt to be thinner, but I can’t work up the energy for the starving and the self-hatred. It’s happened – the treatment has made me complacent about being fat.

My head drops as she pinches the underside of my arm.

“You’re turning into a pudding,” she says. “A big, wobbly pudding, and soon you won’t fit in your clothes. You really almost don’t fit in most of them, and you BULGE. Good grief, the bulge! Who wants to see that?!”

I can’t answer her because no-one wants to see that.

“Please, for me?” she says, snuggling up to me again, laying a feather-light kiss on my cheek.

“Would you just try a bit harder and lose a bit of that vile, disgusting fat? It would be totally worth it – you looked almost good before, when you were thinner. And everyone loved you. They all said you looked good. Who would say that now?” she says.

I look at her, with her sculpted cheekbones and her collarbones showing delicately above her chest. Tiny tits apart, she looks good – far, far better than I do. She looks almost beautiful and I smile as she sticks out her lower lip in a mock-pout, knowing by my appraising gaze that I’ve taken on board what she said.

I can try, I guess, I tell her quietly. I’ve just learned about a new way to cut carbs in the evening.

“Just make it into a rule you can follow, and then really try hard to stick to it,” she says, as faint warning bells sound in my brain.

I run my fingers down her lithe, muscled body, and reminisce about the nightmare and the wonder of those times when we were really close; how I had so much more willpower, and looked so much better…and my clothes fucking fit.

I remember how good I looked, and how much I hated myself…how she controlled me.

I remember I couldn’t go out for dinner with friends, or eat in front of anyone without feeling intense shame, as she whispered into my ear that they would SEE what a fat, greedy pig I was.

I remember being so convinced by her, that people would see a hideous ugly blob when they looked at me, and hate me…how I saw a hideous ugly blob when I looked at me…how sometimes I felt so ugly I wanted to pour acid on my face so that I would know I was a hideous ugly blob, and then work on developing a personality which people could like in spite of the scars and the horror.

I remember how I yearned to be free of her insistence, how I longed to talk or think about something which wasn’t food or exercise or fat.

I remember how people complimented me for losing weight, how they said I looked the best ever, how they were envious of my shape. Oh, their envy felt so, so good. So much better than food tasted.

I remember how hunger and cold felt like winning. I remember how dropping dress sizes was wonderful, and carrying the hangers in the store, with the sizes showing, felt less like shame.

I look into her eyes – her complicated, vicious, beautiful eyes, and hold her gaze again, giving nothing away.

She grins, smoothing her hands around my waist, up my spine before tangling her fingers into my hair, pulling me close.

“We’ve got this,” she says. “You’ve got to take Niece swimming soon, and you’ve got an interview coming up. You don’t want to look hideous for those, do you? You and I together, we can get you looking as good as you did before.”

I turn to my pudgy reflection as she and I become one again – my eating disorder and me – and I spend some time giving myself a good, hard stare in the mirror, thinking about the things she says, and what I’m going to do about it.

I Must. Try. Harder.

The struggle ends on a cliffhanger because that’s where I am – cliffhangered. What will I try harder at? Which extreme sucks least? Why can’t I just be content to be healthy and do my best? Why can’t I be healthy and do my best?

What’s wrong with me?

It’s her, isn’t it…


LizziLizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth-Teller, and seeker of Good Things, committed to living life in Silver Linings. She’s also silly, irreverent and tries to write as beautifully as possible.  She sends glitterbombs and gathers people around her – building community wherever possible. She’s absolutely certain that #LoveWins.

A founding member of 1000Speak, she hosts the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop each weekend and tries to #BeReal as often as possible.  

 

Find Lizzi on Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Google+  *  Pinterest

 


 

Each piece in this series will be linked on my page Depression: Catalyst for Change and the hashtag #DCfC will be used when sharing on any/all social media.  We will also use the hashtags #MHA #breakthesilence and #hope.  Please help us advocate for better understanding of mental illness and those affected.   Share the pieces in this series on every platform you have at your disposal. Splash them across the internet. Spread the word. Join your voice with ours as we combat the stigmas surrounding these issues – together, we can make change happen.Fight With Us

 

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52 thoughts on “The Things She Says | Lizzi Lewis #DCfC

    • I need to remember that the face (and body) in the mirror is not only just one aspect of who I am, but one which I’m apt to misperceive.

      I haven’t figured out how to break the chain though, without just being fat and terribly sad about it.

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  1. Oh, Lizzi, yes and yes and yes. You nailed it. Why can’t healthy be enough? I know, as I’ve struggled. There’s a thin line between the two, the obsession one way or the other., both equally damaging. I’ve been striving for balance pretty much my whole life. Funny how what I would tell a friend struggling is not the same as what I tell myself (that voice, that f-ing voice). LYLAS

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’t so SO IRRITATING, isn’t it? I think it’s the kind of thing I’m going to have to learn to live with, rather than think I can leave it behind at any point. I just hope I remain at a point where it doesn’t take over my ENTIRE world again, but can be managed well.

      That said, if I could just drop about 10lb…I’d be SO much happier…

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    • Thank you so much, Sweetie. I love your heart and your kindness. I should cover you with maple syrup for that 😉

      Thing is…I’m still trying to figure out how much ‘me’ she is and how much she isn’t. I know she’s not friendly to my heart or my mind but she also helps me to not get complacent and end up unhappy and enormous, which I think is where I’d get to if I wasn’t careful.

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  2. I’ve also struggled with disordered eating since I was young, it’s never gotten to the point where I had to go into treatment for it but that might have been because I was inpatient for my other mental illnesses instead. I ended up gaining a lot of weight and then losing a good portion of it without realizing I had. I hadn’t been on a scale in a long time and was convinced that I would see that I had gained weight, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that’s how messed up my view of my own body was. I’m currently still considered “overweight” based on height and weight and all that other nonsense, but have come to realize over the last few years that it’s all B.S. Health and weight are too very separate things that have nothing to do with each other. Being skinny doesn’t make you healthy. Being fat doesn’t make you unhealthy. We are not all meant to be the same size or shape. I’ve decided to focus on health, if I’m healthy it doesn’t matter one bit what the number on the scale is. It’s a struggle not to get caught up in society’s obsession with thinness, I sometimes feel shame for not fitting society’s idea of beauty, but then I remember that society’s idea of beauty is a myth that can never actually be attained anyway.
    Anyway, sorry for the long comment, thank you so much for writing about this. I hope that you can find a way to focus on actual health and happiness and leave the scale behind.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really like your long comment, Charlene – thank you. It’s really lovely that you shared some of your story with me, and I admire the ways in which you’ve made up your mind to focus on what works for YOU, rather than trying to ‘fit’ a particular ideal.

      One of the things which fascinated me, researching eating disorders, is that they’re prevalent throughout the world, across all countries and economic statuses. They seem to be as entrenched in societies where the ideals for beauty are vastly different than my own, and they seem to very much play out the same way in the minds of those who have them, which intrigues me.

      I completely understand you about the self-perception being absolutely at odds with the facts. I’ve been there for a long time. Unfortunately at the moment, the facts have caught up with the self-perception, as I’ve gained about 15lb in the time I’ve been recovering from minor surgery. That’s giving me a big struggle, even though I’m glad to have my health back, and am trying to be gentle with myself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Adore you, Kim. I’ve been over to your blog and noticed that some of my comments are missing, which made me very sad cos I had stuff I wanted to say and now the moments have passed. GURRRRR to that.

      As to the internal struggle…I am still fighting it, or fighting me, or…just fighting and I don’t know which way I want to go with it at the moment. BUT, it’s all very, very real.

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    • Thank you so much, my Sunset. I loved writing this, actually, and I struggle with her because I love her too, even though… *sigh*

      I know you understand 🙂 ❤

      Like

  3. Rough, tough stuff here, dear Lizzi.
    I was ill at 12 years old and ended up losing a lot of weight. Then I was put on heavy doses of steroids and gained it all back rather quickly, and then some.
    It’s difficult to struggle with these things from so early on. It’s sad they don’t let go once they take old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Kerry I’m so sorry you had that to contend with. So tough when it’s through illness and medication (which, frustratingly, too often causes as many negatives as it influences the positive and the healing). I suppose a lot of my problems stem from the abusive environment I grew up in, and the comfort eating and bullying cycle, so…not really a lot better. And yes – those entrenched thought patterns from childhood are SO difficult to combat.

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  4. The tone and style of writing are compelling as I read from one line to another. It was as if I was the one who are experiencing the whispers to be thin and lose weight. While I may never know what it felt like to have that diagnosis, you paint a clear picture of what might happened if I have.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] Depression – has been variously largely absent or *utterly* kicking my ass. I think because I have an upcoming Important Event, on which so, S much hangs, that I’m anxious and it’s all turning a bit maelstromish at times. Good thing is – I have people who really understand this, and who support and love me anyway. Hooray! I also wrote a piece for my good friend Abbie’s series; Depression, Catalyst for Change. […]

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  6. Weight and our feelings about it (and ourselves) is such a struggle. I’ve never been anorexic or bulimic — but I know that feeling of fighting with yourself. Every time I eat something unhealthy because I’m “tired” or “sick” or “frustrated” or “angry” or “on vacation” — I end up hating myself a little more. It’s easy to convince myself that I will never have any willpower, that I’ll never lose the weight, that I’ll never be able to look good enough for someone to want to be with me (and sex — don’t even get me started!) I hate it — I hate it every damn day when I tell myself, “I’ll just eat this today and then tomorrow I’ll start fresh.” There are so many tomorrows — so many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohmigosh the ‘tomorrow’ thing is a NIGHTMARE, isn’t it! Especially when I know it doesn’t really count, because yesterday was the ‘fresh start’ and the copybook page I once again blotted with food *sigh*

      I once kept a food diary of every single thing I ate, for a few weeks, and I had a friend review them for me, which worked quite well because she’s a healthful sort of friend and gave me useful tips like ‘try not to eat starchy carbs so late in the evening’ and ‘don’t have TOO too much fruit, because it’s still all made of sugar’. BUT I am learning still to be gentle with myself and not worry too much if I come home and undo the good I did at the gym because at least it’s equilibrium rather than just extra…

      Comfort eating is my ‘thing’. If I’m sad or lonely or cold or depressed, I go for food. I WISH I had the kind of depression which doesn’t like to eat. Sadly, mine likes to stuff its face. 😦

      Have you got someone you can be accountable with?

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      • Not really — except my daughter who basically mocks me (in a loving way) when I say, “Ohhhh — I shouldn’t have eaten that!” Apparently I say it so often, it is my catchphrase. The only time I was too depressed to eat was right after my ex left. For about a week, I couldn’t even look at food. Even while I was devastated by the end of the marriage, I was secretly thrilled that I was not eating and losing weight. How fucked up is that?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lol. We have the shameful admission “I ate something”, meaning, something we should not have.

          And. Er. Totally fucked up but given the circs, TOTALLY understandable, my dear *HUGS*

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