A Long Road Home

I’m living a luminous life. Time has passed since my return from Africa and my words have dried up. It’s insane. The chatter, jottings and poems have evaporated. When I think about the time that I spent, honestly recalling my anorexic years and I feel the same way.

The story will remain unpublished. It’s not escapism. It is resolution.

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Life After Anorexia

At 60, I have finished anorexia. Life had pushed me into a corner, no exit sign. I’d come a long way on my own but  the roots of my ED remained alive within me. Inter-generational trauma proved to be the fertiliser for my ED. I was sub-clinical. The world saw me as normal, even enviable.

I lived a life that didn’t belong to me.

Winter brought illness. August brought respite, a trip to Africa. In Africa, I integrated seven months of therapy. Bouncing along the road, looking out the window; I gave myself time with me. In the process the shadow, my anorexic self slipped away. The revelation blew my mind. It would be rosy from here on, right? And that’s when I began living with a gap.

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The Day I Walked Out on Myself

My therapist said, ‘Anorexia is a form of self flagellation.’ I knew what she meant. I didn’t want to own it then. I’d been working really hard peeling back the layers of inter-generational trauma. I understood why I befriended the shadow: anorexia. And I went to Africa. My brain was fried.

I’d physically recovered by 23 and didn’t give anorexia much thought. By 30, I was pregnant with my first child and by 35, a mother of three. I returned to work four years later, weekend ICU, an intense world which kept me enthralled for 18 years. I needed a break and moved into community health. Writing called. I answered.

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Inner World Mayhem: awaiting feedback

I have given my manuscript to four readers, one reader has daughter traversing the anorexic landscape. I’m mulling through the feedback as it rolls in. My body is sick; a winter bug that has left me horizontal, vulnerable and deaf.

Yesterday, I saw my psychologist. I’m struggling: illness adds a whole new dimension to redesigning the inner world. It flays you. So, I’m stuck with the unpleasant feelings. Loneliness bites. It invites me to run towards myself not further away.

‘The Anorexic yah, yah,’ doesn’t go away. I’m still learning to live with it.

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The End: lessons learned

I’ve been writing a lot lately driven by an undeniable urge to finish my second manuscript. Writing a memoir is personal, mental health one even more so. A choice exists what to divulge and what to withhold. It’s weird, say too much and be vulnerable, say too little and appear bland.

For me it was anorexia.

We form attachments to our writing projects. Born through us, the umbilical cord twangs. But we have to let them go. We have to trust and accept help. Last time, I didn’t ask for help: a big mistake. So I’m sharing some simple lessons  learned with anyone who is finishing a manuscript.

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