Myself or Someone Like Me by Anonymous, Agawam, MA "This life is only a test. Had it been an actual life, you would have been given instructions." - "My So-Called Life"
Right now, I am someone like me. I am not whole and complete like some people. There is this huge part of my life that fragments me - gaps all over the place. Sadly, it keeps me from enjoying life and liking the person I could be. Someday, I will smile true and be the "me" I so desperately want to discover. But for now, I don't have that kind of control. The eating disorder does.
To give the date it all began - I couldn't. To say when things were at their worst - every minute of every day for the past four years. It moved in and made my life miserable. For individuals who have not walked this road, it is impossible to understand. I walk, run, sprint this road every day and I'm still confused. Words cannot describe what it is like to exist in a world that is not my own. I walk around looking and sounding like myself but my thoughts and life no longer belong to me.
Most days I still can't admit there's a problem; in fact, this is the first time I've ever put it in writing. When I was first told I had an eating disorder, I read every book hoping I couldn't relate, searching for an out. As scary and confusing as it is at times, I don't see what others see. All I know is that I have this "voice" in my head constantly telling me to be perfect, to be a good person, I must be skinny, that no one loves me - and it makes sense. I know it sounds irrational. But "my head" doesn't do the thinking anymore.
I walk around smiling, in this false world that I've created, so that everyone else will be happy. I've learned to survive here. It has gotten to the point where I feel as though without my eating disorder, I'm nothing. It's hard to let go. Sometimes I can fight but it takes so much energy; I get worn out. I want for this to stop - not because of the physical toll it takes, but because of the internal damage that no one can see. The pain and sadness in my heart is so much worse. I believe I have the strength but it feels like there is no reason to fight.
By writing this, I've put my feelings on paper. I've told something I'm not supposed to tell, and I can't run from what's face-to-face with me. Slowly, I'm realizing how tired I am of feeling worthless and unloved. For so long I've felt that no one loves me, but I know I haven't let them either. I need to love myself first. (A concept easier written than done. Hopefully the truth in words can help set me free.)
Through therapy, I am learning to get at the root of my problem. It's not about food, it's about me and the way I view the world. Uncovering what lies below the surface can be difficult. Sometimes I want to forget everything and accept my life for what it is. But I've never been one to settle for something I know I can change, and I can change this. There are days - a few, but getting more frequent - when life feels better, like part of my "self" has emerged. Then there are days when who I am doesn't even exist. The difference now (compared to a year ago) is that even if I feel this way today, tomorrow or the next day, I know there will be a day I won't. I hold the thought of such a day in a special spot in the depths of my being. I know this disorder will not get the best of me. My whole life is ahead of me and I plan to live it, really live it, every step of the way. (No more sprinting the roads of life.)
"We are all angels with but one wing,
And only by embracing each other can we fly."
- Luciano De Crescenzo
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.