They occur every day.
Mine occurred Tuesday, at 7:15pm, laying in a hospital bed in the ER with the taste of nitro and aspirin in my mouth, the heart monitor pounding out a rapid 145, my blood pressure at a sky high 196/92. I tried to speak, but couldn't form the words. Tried to think, but could not string together a full thought. As the hours ticked by, my pulse barely dropped. I became too weak to keep clutching a chest that was tight, the muscles strained. My head began to droop. My arm fell. My eyes fluttered.
That was the moment my reality shifted.
My first true hospital admit. Rushed upstairs to a bed, at the age of 23, placed in the cardio unit. Wide eyes from nurses, 'She's the youngest we've seen!', 'She has an eating disorder. We get them sometimes', 'She's too young for a heart attack'. Three days of nothing but morphine, carefully selected foods, and major tests. The final night, being informed by my doctor of the damage done.
We have to forward your results to a cardiologist and gastrointerologist. I don't see any reason to keep you. You're out of major danger now, but we need you to follow up soon. There's some anomalies on your EKG and it looks like you might have developed a problem where your body can't derive the nutrients it needs from what you do eat.... Your potassium is the lowest I've ever seen. That in itself could be serious....
Realizing all the foods my damaged stomach may never be able to tolerate again....
Overall, I had 5 visitors in two days. Seven phone calls. Texts from nine people.
And a hug from a nurse.
I realized how much I'm loved.
They found out work.
Some of them already knew.
But when you have a heart attack near the end of your shift in front of other servers, customers, a talkative MOD, and another cook who's also one of your good friends, you have no choice but to own up to it.
The words came out in a panic,
"D, I think it's killing me. Oh god..."
The MOD (manager on duty) rushed over as soon as Dave got her. My hands were shaking, my words already short, my vision blurry. Not a panic attack. I k now those. This was different. My heart was squeezed in a vise. Boy was on shift, and S, the manager, called him over. She ordered him to take me to the hospital. I wouldn't have made it had he not driven me. Wouldn't have gone, and probably would have died, had they not forced me.
A moment of truth was faced when those doors opened and I was rushed inside. When the ER doctor sat me down by myself and told me, "You need to stay here. You have no idea what you've done to yourself."
I had never felt so much fear.
Returning to work, all eyes are on me. Some are of judgment, but the rest aren't. I take my potassium, and all at once, I get the questions.
What was that?
Was that a diet pill?
If that was an energy pill I swear to god I'm going to kill you.
Multiple people, hard stares. I show them the bottle, they immediately relax.
Don't worry me like that.
Another one hugs me tight.
You need to stop hurting yourself. I'm going to make sure you behave here. No more scaring me anymore, you hear me?
I should feel offended--I've been told that before. Instead, I feel in awe. How many years have I hated myself?
How long now have I tried to self destruct, convinced there was nothing worthy in me worth loving, only to now have so many people, so many veritable strangers, loving me when I cannot? Caring for me when I've been so obliviously spiraling into death? So blindly overwhelmed by self loathing, casting everyone aside in feeble attempts at self punishment?
What if I stopped?
What if I let myself be loved, for once?
What if I didn't turn away from those open arms and extended hands?
what if I took them?
What if I said yes?
What if I stopped dreaming of flight,
and what if I decided to just fly?
I guess this is my goodbye.
We've suffered long enough.
I'm tired of being the moth.
I'm tired of hating myself.
I'm tired of wilting at every turn.
This disease has taken my life away from me. It's taken my health. it's taken my soul. Laying in that hospital bed in the ER, the only thought I could string together before the nitro kicked in was, "Fuck you, Ana." It was a feeling of betrayal.
She offered me perfection.
And all I got was a fat death.
From the abuse of anti depressants in Jr High, to the meth addiction in high school...crash diets in college, to the point where I finally starved. I've given up my childhood, my friendships, my health, my life, my writing...I've given up my morals, my integrity, my everything.
I've lost me to this disease.
And I'm ready to lose the disease to me.
I've decided to get better.
I don't want to be the Prettiest Wreck you've ever seen.
I don't want to be a wreck at all.
Sure, there's romance to the writing of it all, but there's nothing pretty to a car wreck. It doesn't matter how thin you are if you're dead--you're still a rotting corpse, and you'll be a skeleton only after the maggots are done with you.
Death is terrifying.
I'm not ready for it yet.
I'm done with wishing for when I'm thin, and I'll do it when I'm skinny. I'll never be thin enough for me. I accept that now. I can't see me, and that's fine.
I don't want to be a Pretty Wreck.
I want to be a Butterfly.
I want to be the best god damned success that's ever spread her wings.
I want to write again.
To go outside.
To have friends.
To go to dinner without panicking.
To be able to eat healthy.
To be able to eat without binging.
To live again.
To never have to stroke the back of my own throat after I have a meal again.
I never want to count another calorie.
I never want to strive for the body of a thirteen year old girl.
I never want to suffer like this again.
This will be a struggle.
But I've lost eighty pounds the bad way.
It's time to enjoy it the right way.
It's time to finally fucking be free.
They say this disease is a disease of adolescent girls, but they're wrong.
It affects girls of all ages.
But it still affects girls.
There is something inherently childish about the female (and male) that possesses the disorder. Something that strives to hide, to be protected, to be hidden. To somehow be powerful but frail. To burn away everything about ourselves like a martyr, victims of a blaze that we do nothing but stoke.
And I am sick of being a girl.
I'm ready to be a woman now.
I'm ready to grow up.
There is safety to the disease, of the emotional variety.
But with that safety comes too high of a price. At some point, the cocoon becomes too small for the butterfly, and they must leave, or they will die.
My cocoon has started to choke me, now.
I have jumped from disease to disease my whole life.
And I am finally ready to be free.
I am finally ready to be healthy.
I am finally ready to recover.
My change has come.
My awakening hit me hard in the form of a heart attack and a stomach disorder.
As I have with my ED, this is not an attempt to convince you either way.
But I hope you all find your path to happiness. Either through pursuit of your self destruction, or by shaking off the notions of romanticism, and breaking free. This will not be easy. This will not be pretty.
But fuck it.
I want to be me. I want to know who I am again.
I am finally ready to be better.
Fuck you, Ana.
Fuck you even harder, Mia.
I am loved, and I swear, if it is the last thing I do, I am going to learn to love me, too.
I will still keep in contact with any of you, if you'd like.
And all my friends on here, I will be contacting you soon with information on how to reach me.
But this is, officially, the end of this blog.
I love you all, and thank you for coming on this journey with me.
But I am finally breaking free, and I need to leave this me behind.
I love you.
I'm going to miss you.
And I hope you'll miss me, too.
I'm scared shitless.
And I'm so afraid of falling back into this again, and even more afraid of letting my disease go. But I have to do this.
I'm not ready to die.
I'll give you guys way to get a hold of me if you request it. And probably a link to my private blog, if I ever decide to make it public.
Be strong, my girlies (and boyos).
Wish me luck.
If I ever post again, it will be about recovery, and my efforts in it.
I have to get better.
I'm just not ready to die yet.
For the last time,
No longer a PrettyWreck,
just damned Pretty.