I’m struggling at the moment, lately, still, always, of course I am, because what else would I be doing if I wasn’t struggling? The depression is back with a vengeance, anxiety tells me I’m going to die every time I catch public transport, suicidal ideation has been bad, self harm urges have been bad, the binge-restrict-exercise cycle that characterises my bulimia has been very, very bad. I’ve tried to scrape the word FAT into my body on three separate occasions this week, and none have been particularly successful. Of course, this only makes me feel even worse. Of course, this just emphasises that I am a failure. It emphasises that if I was just thinner I might be successful at something, even if that something is self mutilation. What makes it hardest for me is that the body dysmorphia was most intense while I was anorexic and attempting weight restoration, and now it’s not as bad. I was recently struck by the realisation that I don’t know what my body should look like. Anorexia disrupted puberty, it disrupted normal growth patterns, and it probably affected my set weight too. I have no idea what a normal weight is for me, because I went from underweight (six years or so) directly to overweight (when I moved to Sydney in 2017 and bulimia began). So now, when I am really, for the first time, actually, sincerely, fat, I’m really struggling. (Wow, my syntax is not at all on point this post)
I wish things weren’t this way. I wish I wasn’t so consumed by anhedonia that even studying can no longer bring me joy. I wish I didn’t consider calories in and out every waking moment of every day. I wish I didn’t destroy my progress every night by binging. I wish I wasn’t so overcome by shame and guilt and self-hatred that I had enough energy to stop this awful bulimic cycle from repeating itself. Yet, I still wish things were worse.
I wish I needed stitches. I wish I had the courage to go deeper. I wish I could find something sharper. I wish, for fucks sake, that I could throw up. I wish purging with laxatives and exercise actually caused weight loss. I wish I could scrape memories out of my brain. I wish I could muster the energy to swallow the pills, step onto the road, jump from the building. I wish I could realise in reality all the twisted options that my mind offers in alarming detail. I wish things were worse. Because being depressed but not dead, bulimic but not medically unstable, bipolar but not psychotic, anxious but not obsessive-compulsive makes this harder. In every way.
No amount of wishes will make me feel better. And no amount of hoping is going to cause change. Maybe if I was dead, my wishes would come true. Maybe I’ll light myself some candles and blow them out before I slash my wrists, and maybe that will give me the courage. I keep being told that I’m brave to be going through this. I shouldn’t need to be brave. Bravery is not the job of lost souls. Bravery would be saving me. Bravery would be speaking out against my fresh scars, my comments about death, my shallow breathing and bitterly low mood. Bravery would be holding me as I cry, taking away the sharp things, calling an ambulance and explaining the situation. Bravery would be realising, that the very idea that I want things to be worse, is a sign I am desperately reaching out for you. Whoever you happen to be.
In summary: I don’t want things to be different – because the entire idea of chronic mental illness is that it doesn’t go away. The entire point of my super sad melodramatic story is that mental illness is part of me and my life, past and present and, undeniably, future too. I want things to be bad enough that reaching out is finally easier.