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Out of the Darkness
Something has come over me. I feel so lost, I feel as if there is no light in my life. I feel as if I am searching and searching for something but I will never find it. Like I am in one of those dreams where you are running and running towards something but no matter how hard you run, you don’t seem to be moving and the object seems to be getting further and further away. Only this dream is real and it’s my life. I am always so exhausted and I always seem to be throwing away my life bye sleeping. When I’m not sleeping, I’m alone. I feel so isolated and it’s not like school is any better. The pressure is unbearable. There’s the pressure to get good grades, to be smart, to be pretty, to have beautiful hair, to have adorable clothes, to be popular, to have people like you, to have boys like you, to deal with all the girl drama. And most of all, the pressure to be thin. I feel like it’s all a big competition, all the girls struggling to be the best in each of these ways. I’m so sick of it, I can’t handle it anymore, and it’s too much. I feel so trapped, like I’m in a black void- endless nothingness, and I cant escape.
“Lucy.” My best friend Audreina said.
“Yes.” I answered absent mindedly
“Are you okay? You haven’t touched your lunch.” She said expectantly.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I had a really big breakfast.” I lied.
“Ok.” She said unsure.
After a long pause she said, “I’m really starting to worry about you, I haven’t seen you eat anything since…I don’t know when.” She said.
“Honestly Audreina, you worry too much, I’m fine. I’m just not hungry.” I told her.
“Ok, well you can tell me if something is wrong.” She said
“Trust me. Nothing is wrong.” I said.
Beep…beep…beep. Ugh, it’s Wednesday. I think to myself shutting off my alarm. This means I have P.E.
“Whoa, Lucy. What kind of P.E. clothes are those?” Emma asked me as we walked out of the locker room. I looked down. I was wearing baggy sweat pants and an even baggier sweatshirt.
“I’m just cold okay?” I said
“Luce, it’s like a bazillion degrees in here.” She said.
“All right class, get the mats out.” Mr. Smith called out. “Sit ups.”
I lay down on my mat when I heard Alicia’s voice from behind me.
“Wow Lucy, looking rather lardy today.” She said.
“Shut up!” I snapped and I could feel every person in the gym’s eyes on me. “You think I don’t know that? You think I don’t know that it’s gross how fat I am?!” I screamed.
“I think she was kidding.” Kristen said timidly.
“Yeah, I was. I was being sarcastic. You are incredibly skinny and I’m jealous.” Alicia said.
But I was already bolting out the door, tears stinging my eyes.
“Lulu, are you going to eat your food or just rearrange it on you plate to make it look like your eating?” my mom said across the dinner table.
“I’m just not very hungry.” I said for the second time today.
“You want me to fix you something else?” She asked.
“No, no. I’m full.” I said.
“All right.” She said skeptically. “You haven’t been eating enough lately, though.”
“Mom.” I said my voice coming out more dangerous than I expected. “I’m fine.”
I was sitting at the top of the stairs listening while my parents talked in the kitchen.
“She hasn’t always been like this” My dad said.
“I know.” My mom replied. “She wasn’t always making so many excuses about not eating and she wasn’t always taking unusually small food portions…and then not eating them.” She said.
“And we always have to nag her about eating.” My dad said.
“I just don’t know what to do.” My mom said with a sigh.
I ran up to my room and collapsed onto my bed.
Whoosh! The wind outside was harsh against my window.
They sounded so disappointed. I can’t just let them down. Maybe they’re right I haven’t been eating enough. It would feel good to eat a full meal again.
The next day at lunch, I took the most generous portions I could get and I hate every single bite of my lunch. I ate so much so quickly, I felt fuller than I had in weeks, month’s maybe. But when I started thinking about all the fat and salt and sugar and carbs in all the food I just ate. I couldn’t stand it anymore.
I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. I shut myself in a stall and took a deep breath.
I knelt down next to the toilet and attempted to force my stomach up and then I started to cough. But no matter how much I forced and no matter how hard I coughed, I wasn’t going to happen.
I can’t just give up! If I don’t get this food out of me I am going to become fatter than I already am! I can not be fat. I have to stay thin! With this thought, I started to cry the tears coming out like rockets and the voice of my sobs filling the entire bathroom.
I’m not going to take this! I can’t be fat! And with that, I clutched the toilet with one hand and I stuck the other’s forefinger violently into my mouth and down into my throat. As I began to gag the sharp pain from my finger dwindled away.
Yes! Yes! I could feel it. I could feel every bit of all that fat, fat food coming up and up and finally, out. All the nasty food, all the toxic food, all of that lard, was pouring out of me. Out and away. I finally felt free.
Just as I was standing up and unlatching the lock on the stall, the bell rang.It was time for 6th period.
As I walked into the geography room, I saw Audreina sitting with a group of friends, talking and laughing. There was an empty seat next to her, but I didn’t take it. Instead, I sat on the other side of the room in a corner where no one was sitting.
How could she do this? Doesn’t she know I am her best friend? She is always putting other people first and leaving me behind.
After class was over, I stormed out of the room and through the doorway not waiting, not even looking back for Audriena.
I walked to my locker, the noise of the hallways making me want to scream. When I finally reached my locker I began to get my things out while being on the verge of crying, but not knowing why exactly.
Audreina walked up behind me and I as turned around, books in hand for English, I could tell she knew something was wrong because of the way her expression changed when I faced her.
“Hey,” she said, her voice soft, “how come you didn’t sit next to me in geography.”
“I don’t know.” My voice cracked. “ I just didn’t want to.” I said looking to the ground.
“Are you okay?” She asked, her voice even and comforting. “Is something wrong? Did I do something wrong?”
“No.” I said, dropping my books onto the floor. “It’s just everything.” I could feel a huge knot swelling in my throat. “It’s too much! I can’t handle it all!” The tears were rolling down my cheeks now. “I just can’t deal with anything anymore! I can’t take it!” I dropped to my knees, and began to pick up my binder and books that were splattered on the floor from their plunge earlier. We were the only two left in the hallway.
“Lucy, I know you’re stressed, I feel like that too sometimes. Let’s just take a breather and then go into class, okay?” she said kneeling down next to me, putting her hand on my shoulder.
“No!” I said between sobs, swatting her hand away. “I don’t need you! I don’t need your sympathy! You can’t understand! You have no idea what I’m going through! I just need to be alone!” I screamed, then I was gasping for air because I was crying so hard.
“No!” I cut her off. “Just go away! I can take care of myself!”
Finally, she stood up and without saying anything, she walked to class. I sat down all the way and leaned against the lockers shutting my eyes and crying softly.
That night at dinner, I decided I shouldn’t worry my parents, (or anyone else for that matter) so I took large portions of food and ate and ate and I even went back for seconds. I knew mom and dad were surprised, even pleased, but I only acted as if nothing had changed- because nothing really had.
After I cleared my plate, I ran up to my bathroom, shut the door, knelt down at the toilet and repeated what I had done at lunch. I stuck my finger into my throat, feeling the sharpness of it once again, and then feeling the gag, then the wave of vomit coming up and out again. I shut my eyes as the puke poured into the toilet bowl and then when I was finished I stood up and flushed it all down. I swished mouthwash around my mouth, feeling relieved.
Walking back to my room I thought, Now I can keep everyone happy; mom and dad and Audriena don’t have to worry about me not eating and I can stay thin.
As the weeks passed, I noticed a change in me. I was becoming beautifully thin, just as I had always hoped. But I was never quite lean enough of course, so the throwing up continued.
Some days, though I would be so exhausted that I couldn’t even get out of bed for at least 10 hours at a time. I began missing more and more school and my grades were at a disadvantage.
My friendship with Audriena seems to be going down the drain. She moved on and found better, more enjoyable people to be around. When I was at school, I really had no one to talk to.
The only consistent piece of my life was my eating habits. Everything was going great until one day, during lunch just as I was sticking my finger into my mouth, I heard Audreina coming into the bathroom.
“Lucy?....Lucy?...” I could here her checking each stall and finally she got to mine.
“Lucy, I’ve seen you come in here everyday after lunch, what’s going on?” she said, banging on the door.
I didn’t answer, and even though the door was locked, that didn’t stop Audreina from getting to me. she crawled underneath the door and was right next to me.
“Oh no.” She lay her hand on my back as I threw up. “Is this what you’ve been doing in here?”
“No. I’m just not feeling very good.” I said wiping my mouth.
“Luce, I’ve known you since kindergarten and I know when you’re lying to me. tell me what’s going on.” She said.
“Nothing is wrong. I just overeat sometimes, it’s not a big deal.” I told her
“It is a big deal. I don’t think you realize what you’re doing to yourself. You are making yourself throw up! You are hurting yourself! If you keep on with this, you are going to make yourself really sick. You have to stop.” She said to me.
“Stop it! I’m fine! Really, I don’t need any help! I’m fine!” I reassured her, not feeling so sure myself.
“No.” She said. “Lucy, I care about you and this is really unhealthy. We need to get you to stop before you really hurt yourself!”
“I don’t need any help from anyone! I can take care of myself!” I snapped.
“No! Obviously you can’t!” She grabbed my wrist. “Come on, we are going to get you some help.
No matter how much I resisted, I was no match for her incredible arm strength. Once I was standing up, she undid the latch on the stall and started leading me down the hallway.
“We’re going to miss geography. They’re going to wonder where we are.” I said as we walked.
“This is more important.” She said, as if it really was.
As we walked into the counselor’s office, Mrs. FitzGibbons was sitting at her desk, shuffling with some papers.
“Hello girls. What can I do for you?” She said looking up at us.
Audreina looked to me, but I only crossed my arms and stayed silent.
“Well.” Audreina said. “It looks like I’m going to have to do the talking.” She paused, as if to be collecting what she was about to say. “We have a problem.”
“What kind of problem?” The counselor asked.
“An eating disorder problem.” Audreina blurted out. I could feel my face get hot.
Mrs. FitsGibbons drew in a breath, but before she could say anything, I said:
“I don’t have an eating disorder! I’m fine!” I told them.
“She is not fine!” Audreina said turning back to Mrs. FitzGibbons. “I just found her making herself throw up in the bathroom!”
“Ok.” Mrs. FitzGibbons said slowly. “Well lets just sit down and talk about this.”
She led us to a couch and we began to talk.The counselor asked questions, but Audreina did all the talking while I remained silent, listening. When they were finished talking about my issue, Mrs. FitzGibbons handed me a business card.
“Go and see her. Her name is Doctor Michelle and she specializes in these kinds of things. She is going to help you.”
“Thanks.” I said, but it came out much smaller and quieter than I had expected. As if I was saying it to myself.
Once Audreina and I were outside the office, I said; “I’m not going to see her. I don’t need a therapist.”
“You really do though.” She said. “If you want to, I will go with you, but you have to promise to do more of the talking this time.”
“Fine.” I said.
That Saturday we went to Doctor Michelle’s and as soon as we walked in, I knew I was going to like it.
Michelle had bouncy, thick, long amber ringlets of hair and piercing blue eyes. She was wearing hardly any makeup. She was dressed confidently in tight jeans, a button up shirt, and cowboy boots.
The room was incredible. There were little Chinese paper lanterns strung from the ceiling making for a glowing atmosphere. The walls were painted dark purple with colors streaked and splattered galore. There was a couch that felt like heaven, it consumed me when I sat in it. Pillows and stuffed animals littered every surface in the room. Altogether it was very peaceful.
“I like the walls in here.” I said, awkwardly to Michelle as Audreina and I sat down on the couch.
“Oh, thanks.” She said in a southern accent, almost Louisiana sounding. “It was really fun doing it.”
“You mean you painted it?” I said, looking around the petite room.
“Yeah, after we painted the base, I thought it needed something more. We stuck our hands in plastic bags and dipped them in paint and smeared it all over. Then we started just flinging it onto the walls, and it turned out like this.” She said, raising her arms, gesturing to the room around us. Her southern accent wasn’t annoying, just soothing.
“That’s awesome.” I said.
We got to talking about me and my problem and she taught me some very valuable things. First, I have to admit to myself that this isn’t good, that my eating habits are unhealthy and have the potential to hurt me. If I am able to admit this, I am going to get better. Second, I have to understand that this change isn’t going to happen overnight, it’s going to take time to overcome. Third, I have to remember that there will always be people who support me and love me and that I need to keep this people close if I want to change. Last, and most importantly, I need to learn to love myself. I have to believe in myself and realize that I am beautiful and I am strong.
After my first session with Michelle, I knew I was going to become healthy again and I knew I had her to help me get there.
Now, almost two years later, my life has turned around. Therapy really helped me to sort through my angst and anxiety. I learned not to isolate myself. I used to feel like I was always alone, but I wasn’t, I was just pulling away from people. I also learned that all of that pressure won’t go away, I just have to handle it positively. I guess we are never going to stop the wind, we just have to put up the sails and go with it.