I’ve been in a very dark place recently, trying to dig my way out. Old demons resurfacing by way of old habits, isolating, evening binging.
One moment you’re in the shower, the next you poke and prod at your body and start crying, hoping the water will wash away the tears.
Today I craved a salad, and that’s good because the one I have in the fridge is set to expire. Then I was looking for something to watch on Netflix.
To The Bone is still in my list. Ironic, watching a movie about anorexia while eating a salad, being a bigger person who’s struggled the opposite of those in the film.
Having said that, I NEEDED to watch it! The harsh reality that only I can dig myself out of whatever hole I fell into.
The film is a slap in the face. The good kind. It’s not a love story, it’s not a happy-go-lucky in the end kind of film. It is a raw, real struggle that many have. It can also be applied for those of us on the other end of the spectrum.
Those that have a hard time eating, paralleled with those of us who have a hard time stopping, or eating the right things or at the right times. Paired with having rituals and/or habits that consume us.
Then add in what caused us to be this way in the first place. Family, bullying, depression, anxiety, abuse, or any other psychological or physiological issues.
This film would not do well at the theatre because it is so raw, because it doesn’t end with her getting the guy and seeing her all better. It shows how her family treats her and her illness, it shows how she shuts out those that try and genuinely help her, that fear for her life. The doctor that treats her being the one to tell it as it is, not what she wants to hear. That lets her hit rock bottom, because that is what she needs. The realization of what she can look like if she continues to let her illness consume her, that she can die, but yes there are people who love her and care. The willingness to pull herself out of that and say, “yes, I’m ready.”
My darkness keeps fighting to consume me. After doing something I loved, and after spending time with a good friend, I still came home and cried. I fell right back into darkness as if I never left. This is depression.
If I had my old stomach(before weight loss surgery), I would have automatically started binging. But luckily, I sipped on my tea, had a few nibbles, and watched a bit of Jeff Dunham on Netflix. Thought something comical might help “snap me out of it.” Just because I laugh, doesn’t mean I’m better. Some nights I’ll still cry, and/or toss and turn.
I did something a bit ago as a coping strategy. I drew a self portrait of myself with a bullet hole in my head. Because that’s how I have been feeling. So overwhelmed by darkness, so consumed by loneliness even though I’m not alone, so scared of life that I am not sure of living, so ugly with my body because of how much I yo-yo my habits not good- the poking of certain parts wishing “if only that was gone,” so anxious just because my brain decides it wants to be, so cold, so very very cold, so shaky, so drained of emotional energy.
Would I rather be skin and bone? No. I don’t want to be skinny. But I don’t want to be the way I am either. Or rather I don’t want to accept it. Certain people still don’t accept it, so why should I?
I fight so hard, then get shot down when I make a poor choice, so that brings me down even more. Can you not see that I am struggling? Can you not see that I try? Can you not realize it’s a disease I have developed and not a choice? Can you not see that depression and anxiety are real? Can you not see that you are hurting, emotionally beating me down?
Can you acknowledge the good when you see it, rather than shame the bad? Can you acknowledge that you know nothing of my struggle but just be there when I need you? Can you stay silent rather than make suggestions?
Unless you have experienced these illnesses yourself, you will never fully understand them, unless you take the time to research, to be patient, to listen, to educate yourself, to be there for someone else rather than beat them down, even if you think you’re helping, it could be an old way of thinking, it hurts, it doesn’t help.
Eating disorders are physical and mental. They, as demons consume us, feasting on our emotions as if we are the main course of a meal, our bodies laid out on a dining room table, open and raw as they pick us apart piece by piece.
Photoshoot done by Mathew McIntyre Instagram: @mthwmcintyre
I think To The Bone should be watched by those of us that struggle. To helps us dig out of the trenches, give us the virtual slap in the face.
I think To The Bone should be watched by those that see us struggle, but who may not fully understand, who may hurt rather than help, who need to have a virtual slap in the face, and perhaps more than once…
I am not alone. Neither are you.