Live To Fight Another Day
“It might not seem like it now, but this is more than just a fight.”
—-Adonis Creed, Creed 2
The last couple of weeks have brought some very intense emotional days and nights. I’ve manage to, once again, keep the smiles and laughter present and to hopefully not let on that I have been feeling every emotional strand that holds my psyche together. Sometimes the emotions are not just one but all of them at the same time. The toll, both physically and emotionally, that these intense emotions can take on a body and mind words cannot do justice to try and replicate. The only description that I can find, at this moment, is a slow, creeping death. And these are the times when I begin to question every decision and mistake made in my life including whether staying in Texas is still the best decision.
Lately, the battles with my behavioral addictions has been the ones to seemingly take me over. The battles between my ears are crippling. I’ve battled anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. Within the last few years depression seems to have intensified so much that I don’t even know the name to give it. And my anxiety has me wondering why I don’t have a cardiac “crash cart” available on a moment’s notice. Also, the fight for every bite of food and the urges of self-harm never stop talking to me.
Coach Nick Kolinsky told our team time after time, “Little things make big things happen.” He was obviously talking about us working as a team. He reminded us that as players if we do our jobs fielding, batting and running individually that we are doing our part to help the “team” as a whole. I’m now much older and his words about working as a team still ring true. The sometimes little irritating therapy assignments are all for one goal…….FUNCTIONALITY. Not only individually but again as a mother and a spouse. And as a well oiled system.
Then there are the times that I get buried in questioning my diagnosis. I’ll still try to find a way out of my condition being true. But within minutes one or more of the symptoms return only to confirm that the diagnosis is, in fact, correct. I think I’ve questioned this diagnosis since the day I was told that I met criteria.
The last few months has been filled with neck surgery, back surgery and very soon a hysterectomy. With all this stress and others my eating disorders thought that it was a perfect time to raise their ugly heads higher and with sometimes an unbearable strength. If I look at this opponent as a whole it becomes too overwhelming to think about challenging its poisonous power. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been struggling for years with this big, smelly beast. Life with ED (eating disorders) has gotten stronger over the years. I know what to expect on each level of starvation. The pain of anorexia and bulimia I cannot explain. But there have been many days lately where just lying in my bed hurt. The dehydration and everything that comes with it like dry mouth, cramping muscles, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting (there’s no food but there is bile), dry skin, brittle hair, lack of energy and this time it was a good ol’ case of thrush. And along with it the added messages of those who spoke venomous comments to me as a teen and an adult are on some kind of marquee being seen and spoken one after another. I usually lie in my bed crying about having to make simple food decisions. My ex-husband would call this immature, senseless and childish self- loathing. And for a minute I try to pull myself together. My effort would be for nothing when the towering thoughts about how everything about food and body image is bad unless he takes total control to tell me what I can and cannot have to eat. Those painful thoughts and sometimes realistic situations leave me paralyzed not knowing what decision is the “right one” so that I don’t get in trouble. All in the name of “not wanting to have a fat wife.”
“You would be as big as this house, Dana, if you didn’t have someone managing your food for you. You’re just too dumb to make decisions about healthy food, I guess” he would say daily. “Remember this…..” he would say. “I’m not living with a fat woman! Go look at yourself in the mirror and tell me if you can even see what I’m talking about.” I would go to the nearest mirror where I could see down to my knees and look at everything about myself. In my eyes and apparently his too, I looked like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man from the original Ghostbusters. I could see how disgusting I looked or at least I better be able to see it. I would again, as I had many times, gone back to where he was waiting and told him, whether I did or not, that I saw the problems areas on my body and that I would fix it.
Obviously, that was another time and another place. But every time I try to put a piece of food in my mouth, I hear those words screaming at me. Day after day and night after night his torture emotionally was more than I could take. I would nod like I understood but I would soon lose what he was saying and me and my brain were elsewhere. Nevertheless, I would do my best to follow food orders and always in sequential order came the secretive self-harm behaviors. The combination of surgeries and trying to deal with the trauma of my eating disorders has been difficult at best.
There have been times when I just needed some cry time. The time again when I lie in my bed cry and hating the things that were done to me. “I don’t want these problems!” Are the words my heart screams as each painful word rolls down my cheek. ” I want everything I fought so hard for and loved so much. ” I wake up every morning pissed off that I have to face another day. I want the road I was already on to be successful academically and professionally. I want my family that I’ve tried so hard to preserve. Divorcing him was the easy part. The frustrating part is facing it all again daily after I’ve survived it once. ” I shouldn’t have to be doing all of this! I didn’t do this to myself! Someone make them pay so there’s some type of justice is sought for all the things done.”
My tears continue to stream down my face as I write this because I do remember so vividly the abuse that happened daily concerning food and body image and how powerful his criticism were and at times still are. Mistakes for me are the “end of the world” and that includes food, body image and food choices. I trust my dear coach despite the pain. I continue to follow her guidance and know that these days are the ones where I have to trust that she’s still taking me down the right path. She hasn’t failed me yet or led me astray in any way. So you see the first quote is right in that this difficult time is more than just a fight. It’s an ongoing war with myself. These days I simply LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY.
“He who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day;
But he who is battle slain
Can never rise to fight again ”
― Oliver Goldsmith