I planned to get my drivers license as soon as i turned 18. As time went by from my 18th birthday, the more stressed I became. I lived in a sceduled timeframe, and if this was broken, it meant that so many other things were troubled. The desire for perfection made that each special happening were performed in scheduled consummation, and therefore, I got one step closer to my goal – perfection.
The day the driving test approached, I had tons of anxiety. Deep down, I didn’t hope for too much but the pedant that I was, I was almost sure that I could do it. When it was my turn I tried to make an innocent and sweet impression because I hoped that the examiner would feel guilty if he failed me. The examiner had extremely bad attitude, which I didn’t count on though, and my method to pretend small and sweet put me into the victims position instead. I was the victim and he was the boss. I appeared like an idiot. I felt like an idiot. I was an idiot.
I couldn’t focus. The feeling of panic attack was in my presence when I was driving on a street with moderately heavy traffic. I was constantly on the verge of breaking up. The panic was bubbling inside me. I could immediately relate to those moments where I emotionally found myself in the same position; on the floor of my bedroom, or standing in Brooklyn’s most unsafe area at night, or alone in my empty apartment in the middle of the night, or in the living room with my guinea pig in my arms. Here.
When I turned into a roundabout, my mind was racing and I knew I couldn’t make i. The tears flowed. The heart was pounding, it flickered before my eyes. The examiner felt that we might as well drive back. He looked through his papers, leaned back and then directed his attention to this strange, pitiful little girl who looked generally crazy at the wheel.
– Sorry, I can’t let you pass, he said in a voice that implied that I didn’t even come close succeeding.
A flood of emotions wandered around in my body. I didn’t know what I was doing. I wanted to snatch the certificate, open the door and run until I collapsed. Instead, I lost it completely.
Violently crying and unsympathetic words came out of my mouth. I begged that he would understand my nervousness. I tried to explain that we didn’t have much money so we couldn’t afford more driving lessons. He asked me to step out of the car, then he left me standing there on the street.
Anger. Neglect. I screamed words I don’t remember against his back as I saw that he hurried off to his office. I screamed words to the students who passed on the street, the people who were waiting for the bus. In my heart there was this thick, heavy and cold feeling which was so hard to control. I wanted to do something with my hands, I hugged them so hard that I almost got cramps. I wanted to tear down, drag-and-tear. I was outside my body, impossible to control. I tore up a plant in a bush, I broke the branches and I crumbled the leaves.
I was sobbing, sobbing and crying so loud that even those who only laughed at me started to look worried now. I had so much pain in my chest, it felt like my heart would go into a thousand pieces while pounding frantically. It hurt so deeply.
Slowly I began to walk the long way home, the one that I otherwise would have taken the bus. On my mind I had this perfect ideal and I couldn’t believe how unsuccessful I was, to have been failed on the test. I couldn’t believe it was true, Iwas disgusted by myself. This is just one of many examples of how the panic syndrome can take control when you least expect.. I’m not proud of it. I am ashamed.
Before I met Ch. I didn’t know how much she would be able to help me, how much she would mean to me and how much I would appreciate her support. Although most support was virtual, I knew that there was at least someone who felt the same way as me.
I met Ch. at a support website for eating disorders and mentally unstable. For my illness, that was the best and worst thing I have done for it. To be triggered, and then seek support and advice on getting away from what triggered you. But it was a completely different world. A world where I could make friends, be social, while continuing with my destructive behavior but in a different way. And I felt for the first time not as an outsider.
When me and Ch. started talking, I found confidence in her and I guess she found it for me. And I did something that surprised myself a couple of months ago, I took a bus for 4 hours to her city to meet her.
The bus rolled into. It was a nice day. I was looking at the place where family members would stand and wait. There, there was a group of about 10 people but I was yet too far away to make out their faces. I saw a girl with pink shirt, thought it looked like Ch. At least from what I had seen from the pictures of her. But the girl was tiny! She was so fit and not as long as I thought. she’d be. She also said she had gained a lot of weight so I expected her being a little chubby. But I was wrong, it was her. And she looked fantastic. Immediately I got jealous.Typical …
I don’t know where to begin. The few days we spent together has made me reflect back to this as several weeks.Everything we did, everything we said and all we talked about occupied and filled up more than just those days we spent. I learned that life itself is more important than living on the edge. Pushing the boundaries until it’s almost flawed in some way or another. It’s not something you want to gamble your mental and physical health with.
I was already on the road to recovery at this point, but this visit made me push myself even more. During my stay, it was already hard enough with all the social events where food was involved (all!) but I challenged myself. It became easier to manage when we were two. We shared the same frustration, pain and courage. I saw my behavior, listen to my own thoughts and reflected over the situation from a perspective I was not accustomed to.
And this made me realize that we are worth so much more.
I can feel it now.
But a mental illness seems to never get away. I’ve made such great progress eatingwise, yet I’m more anxious than I’ve been for a long time. Can’t stand the loneliness. Can’t stand myself as my only company these days.
I get mentally exhausted not counting my calories, not weighing myself and goddamnit not purge the calories in some way or another. I’m trying to forget how it feels when I push myself so hard during exercise that I’m close to fainting – the relieving feeling, the feeling where I know I don’t have to worry more. I’m trying to forget the high. It’s over.
Instead I’m suffering now, but still I’m challenging myself. Like having juice for breakfast instead of tea, such as. And it will be those small successes that will be my triumph in the end.
Slightly I can feel the strength slip back into my body. I can feel life.
I’m doing too good at the moment, ED-wise, that I don’t want to risk ruin it. That’s why I’ve kept quiet for a while. Soon, the facade will break and I’ll be back to where I started.
I’ve always been fascinated about the experiences that older people have earned through life. Just as a computer records, they just spit out facts when you least expect it. Every old man has experienced at least one thing to talk further, think if you were to add up all old people experiences in one place. We would not even need any history teacher. As my relationship with food is very special, I realized, when I heard my grandmother’s stories about her childhood, that I really ought to appreciate that there is food to come by today, compared with her time…
My grandmother was six years old. She sat in the kitchen and examined her mother, who stood and greeted guests in their kitchens. It was a typical Asian summer day with the sickening air and many humid degrees. Because her little sister was born neighbors came to visit with different gifts to show their friendship in a polite way for her mother. It was during World War II. It was in an Asian country where war would not hit as hard but still did well to know. A small country that had so much power in addition to the rest of the world.
To show reverence by giving a chicken as a gift was not unusual. So my grandmother’s mother got a hen as a gift by a man who lived nearby, but because she thought this was too much, she wanted to bid again. She immediately asked if he wanted something to eat, suggested omelet, which he gratefully accepted. My grandmother’s father was out on an errand but would come back in at any second. While grandmother’s mother fried omelette in the pan suddenly the air alarm went off. Soon after, the first bomb fell.
My grandmother knew immediately what she would do. She gathered her two small brothers, and gathered food and water in a bag. She hastily threw a big quilted jacket over her little newborn sister’s body. The bombs fell, the house broke and people were screaming. Grandma grabbed the cover jacket, not knowing if her sister were included in the pile and ran as fast as she could into the other side f the street with his brothers shortly behind. The neighbor’s bunker was small, but many were held in it. The neighbor himself was not there. They were many who crowded into the dark bunker. People from the street, their children and their grandparents. My grandmother saw her mother come just before the door was shut. Outside, they heard a man and woman yelling and banging on the bunker door. But it was too late, there was no place. Desperation and fear were heard in their voices, but there was nothing to do.
A bomb fell just outside. My grandmother believed that the couple did not survive. Part of the roof fell in, shrapnel fell into the bunker. They were in a dead-end where no one would make it if they didn’t come out from the bunker. Everyone understood it, but when they tried to open the door, they discovered that there was something in the way on the other side of it, two dead bodies and some concrete residue. Suddenly it became a battle of life and death. To push open a door to save their lives just to face a war. The shrapnel glowed orange and yellow. At any moment it could explode. Gentle movements. Slightest misstep and everyone was wiped out. Dead.
A glimpse of daylight reached in and a moment later the door was the tiniest open. Just to fit a small child.
– Run! Save yourselves. Hide! Screamed Grandma’s mother to the children that would fit into the slot. If we survive this, we will find each other. Go to first relatives or acquaintances and stay there!
Grandma grabbed her two brothers in one hand and the bundle with her sister in the other hand and pressed out. She ran. She ran as the smoke became denser and denser. While the bombs fell near or far from her. It was chaos. People everywhere who ran in all directions.But my grandmother had one goal in mind, the river.
The gray-brown river flowed on as usual, totally unaffected by what happened on the mainland. The boats were moored along the rickety bridge. Grandma knew what she would do. She jumped into one of the boats and hid in it. She discovered that her brothers were not with her. Panic, fear and sadness ran through her body. Then she calmed herself by thinking that if they survived, they would be reunited. Her little sister was crying. She tried to comfort her, but it was not easy. In a dirty, cold boat while their city was bombed down right in front of her. She thought of her mother and her father. Wished they could do it and that all would soon be reunited. Until then, she held out. And waited. Soon it would be over, soon, soon …
Days after the incident, it was difficult to get food. In this regime, it was also forbidden to do private businesses by selling food. But since there was nothing else to do people had to buy it illegally, since all the shops were shut down. A boy in the neighborhood was sent to a farm in the village to buy eggs, pork and rice. Because if the police saw him, they would probably not give a thought to that he did anything illegal. But unfortunately, on the way home, the boy passed two police officers. No one had told him how illegal it was, so without knowing anything he swung the brown bag back and forth in his hand on the way home.
– What’s in the bag? the police officer asked.
– Food, the boy said proudly. I’m out on an errand for my parents.
– Where did you get this? Asked the police to him. And what’s your parents’ names?
– From the gentleman on the farm over there, he replied. But you need to hurry because it’s almost nothing left!
Then he gave the name of his parents and walked home. What he didn’t know was that the man on the farm was murdered and that his parents were about to be imprisoned for the crimes they committed.
The meaning of needing food has never falling me in mind, but after hearing this story it made me realize how much someone can go to get food. This period of my grandmother’s life has led her to always be thrifty with the food, and always be assured that everybody else at the table has gotten food on their plates before she served herself. I can’t help but feel ashamed at how ungrateful I am by what I have. I’ve never understood how it feels to not have access to food, instead I choose to ignore it and throw away what I have.
Last night I was binging and purging. Tonight I’m binging and purging.
After one month without it I somehow felt relieved. I remember, before last night, how I thought something was wrong when I didn’t feel the urge to binge or purge anymore. And THAT, itself, is wrong. I need to be self-destructive in some way or another. In my subconscious my mind and body are craving me to be. To have something that’s distracting me from life.
So I did it – again.
Disappointment. Regret. Frustration. Will I ever not be destructive?
Slowly I stept out of my car to see my beloved childhood house all declined and uninhabitable. So many memories in this place. So much happiness. So much pain. I am in the carport, amazed that there isn’t a single trace from my time here. I look at the empty corner where we had our little bunnies, back them I saw them only as a burden. To always go out and feed them, change their bedding and water. Now I would have liked to be there again and go out to feed them. To feel peace of mind of having a family and a house.
I pulled all the windows, hoping that one of them would be open. But the house remained closed. I could feel the pain when looking back at the house where I grew up, where everything happened to me. I peered through the window in the hall. Expecting to see the familiar sight of our jackets hanging there or maybe mom when she was about to open the door. Now there was only emptiness, an impersonal hallway that I barely recognize. I could bet that it not even smells the same way …
I walked around the house, peering in through the living room windows. Again emptiness. I related our house to a child in an orphanage, the future uncertain, the emptiness inside and a mordant sense of insecurity, how hard you tried to get rid of it you didn’t. The outside was only a shell which people looked at, to determine whether it fits or not. They had no idea what was inside. I could see our sofas stand in the living room of my mind’s eye. There I had watched TV, been sobbing or had friends around me. Now, nothing.
I went to the next window. Our library. A piano had been there. I hated the sound of piano melodies, my sister played evenly. Even after bedtime or before school. Immediately I wished I could returned. There had been all the books I’ve read during my childhood. There had been all the CDs I persisted in buying only to tire of it after a week and let them stand on the shelf. I looked at the floorboards how a light shade had been formed, because the piano had been there for years while the sun made the remaining tiles darkened. It was like a part was missing. It hurts me to see the bright bald spot, it was like the house missed a part. It had been taken its heart, which made the rest of the house to feel empty and cold without its sweet melodies.
I went around the bend of the house, had to lift my legs to avoid the tall unkempt grass in the garden. I walked past our trampoline. It had probably been there for ten years now. I felt young again. A twinge of happiness, even though the tears ran down my cheeks. I feel like I am 12 years old and I jumped rigging up on the trampoline and began to bounce. I smiled with joy but tears of sadness. It hurt so badly inside of me, knowing I would never returned.That this was the last time I could look out over the top plates, into the neighbor’s fence or far out over the meadow across the road. The pain tore my heart, I didn’t want to leave. I laid down on the trampoline and cried. One minute, one hour or one day. I had no idea, I emptied out all regret, sorrow and pain once and for all.
How could my life get so fucked up? Why split up my nice, safe and accomplished family? What happened?
Then, at the trampoline where I laid on my back, I realized one thing. This was the place I grew up on. In all the years when I laid there in exactly the same spot, there was another thing in me as well. Security. I immediately noticed a big difference; that feeling didn’t exist inside of me anymore.