Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back on a dark note.

I have no one who understands. I tried to tell my family, I spelt it out to them, and they didn't hear me. I used to read those stories about people telling their parents about their eating disorders and depression and their parents not believing them, and I took comfort in the fact that I knew that mine always would. But I got it all wrong. First I told my sister, she's always been my best friend.

I have panic attacks.


I think I have an anxiety disorder.


I think I need therapy.


Today I told my mum. I never thought she wouldn't understand because she is such a worrier. I always believed that she would do something, all I had to do was tell her.

I know I have an anxiety disorder, I say. I read out the list of symptoms to her and point out the ones I have. I explain to her the difference between sadness and depression, the inability to control yourself when you begin to panic. I say it all, but I'm talking to a wall.

We can't have you on drugs, is all she seems to say. They will make you gain weight.

The minute you said those words I gave up the fight. Because those words say everything to me. I have almost killed myself to make myself the perfect daughter you want, I have starved myself for months, I have thrown up food, I don't remember the last time I ate normally. I don't remember the last time I saw food as simple. There are scars on my body saying how I feel. But it was the same with them. The day you saw them and asked for an explanation, and I suppressing the horror of the truth coming out muttered some lie, you took it. You didn't ask me for more, you never cared to look over my body again. You dismissed it. And I thought mothers carried the truth in their gut, that they always knew when you were lying, that if they saw burns all over your wrists, they would understand that you're not okay, that they would try to save you, instead of not even seeing them. You looked straight at them and you didn't even recognize them. I accidentally leaned onto an ashtray, I say. How could you have believed me? How did you dare to believe me? My wrists say everything.

As I hear you worry about my weight and not about me, I feel my heart disintegrate. I don't know if you're the reason I stopped eating that day, but I sure as hell know that you didn't stop me. Other kids lie, go to great lengths to hide their hungry stomachs from their families, but I say it to you as it is. I'm fat and I won't eat, and you're okay with that. You've never asked me to stop. And now that I'm falling apart, now that I am literally no longer in control of anything, now that the panic attacks have settled in to stay, you remind me to watch my weight. All I hear is that I should give up my mind for the size of my jeans.

You don't know what an eating or an anxiety disorder is. You don't know what depression is either. So when I accidentally brush my scars past you, or when I say it clear and loud over the phone, you don't hear me. I don't know how much louder I can say this - these three things are killing me, yet you still don't see it as serious enough. As long as I lay off the cookies.


  1. I can't say this clear enough sweet child if they're not going to help you and that seems to be the case, get help from someone else! But most importantly get help!

    1. Thank you. Sometimes help is so complicated to get even if you want it. I don't even know where to start anymore.

  2. You are in my prayers dear :-)

  3. Hey there, if your parents aren't helping you out then please see someone in school, or a different family member,call a hotline just get in touch with anyone who can help you out. Don't let yourself go unhelped because you deserve to live a happy life!

  4. Hi Vi,

    I'm here through my friend Jamie's blog. What you've written is very familiar to me. I have different on-line friends who are or have been experiencing every one of these things you're going through. They've been talking with me about it which I think is the best way to understand; not just to read about it in textbooks but to hear from people who are feeling like you do. Unfortunately most of their parents aren't supportive either, which to me is very disappointing because if anyone's supposed to look out for us it should be our mother and father. So although it doesn't make it any easier I hope you at least realize you're not alone in what you're going through.

    This is where the generation gap really seems apparent, young people are growing up in a world of their own that adults don't see and don't understand. And I don't think most adults want to; no parent wants to think of their daughter self-harming or fighting an eating disorder. It's much easier to just pass it off as "a phase", being over-dramatic or just wanting attention than it is to face the real issue(s). If people could take time to understand the reasons behind what you're feeling I believe it would make it easier for them to accept. It's scary and unsettling for anyone (most of all you I‘m sure), but it doesn't have to be overwhelming for the people you're closest to who can and should be helping you get through it.

    What they see of you physically really is only scratching the surface of what's going on inside you. The burns on your wrists should be an obvious indication to anyone. I know some people who self-harm, they most often cut in inconspicuous places that are hard to notice. It's usually a way of regaining a form of control over their body and their pain, not to draw attention. But burning your wrists where everyone can see it is to me a very real way of asking for help that people shouldn’t ignore.

    I have a friend in the Southern United States who has GAD, generalized anxiety disorder. She's a Psych major (yes it can happen to anyone). It's very real but it can be controlled, like panic attacks a lot of diffusing it is a matter of positive self-talk. My wife gets panic attacks, not quite as often as she used to in the last few years but I've been with her when she's had them and I've seen what it's like. I've only ever had one and it was while I was driving on the highway in the winter, which needless to say sucked!

    I had a conversation with a friend a week or so ago who's in a similar situation as you. Her parents are in complete denial of her eating disorder (she’s been diagnosed with EDNOS, do you know what that is)? She wants to go for counselling when she enters college but is afraid her parents will find out. Your mother is concerned about you gaining weight through meds, which should probably be the last thing on anyone’s mind. But unless you’re seeing a psychiatrist you most likely won’t be put on medication; psychologists and counsellors don’t have authority to prescribe.

    Help is available Vi, there are options available if you want them. I haven't been through much of your blog yet but if you're in college or university there are almost always guidance counsellors available, sometimes support groups. There's also the option of confidential help-lines, you can remain anonymous and either speak with people there about how you're feeling or ask them what the options are in your area for seeking therapy. It's wonderful that you want to go and it shouldn't be denied to you.

    Whatever you decide to do please remember there are people who do understand what you're dealing with. Although it probably feels like it sometimes you're never alone.

    1. Hi Barry,

      Thanks so much for your reply and for taking the time to write it.

      My family came to visit me for a few days and I think they've finally seen just how not okay I am. My sister and I talked a lot, and I told her the things I'm ready to tell her, but there's still so much I can't share.

      My mum left this morning and she cried a lot while she was with me. She says she can tell that something is terribly wrong but she doesn't know how to help me, nor does she understand why I'm so sad when my life is 'seemingly' so good. The funny thing is though that I thought I wanted them to worry, but now I feel terrible and guilty. Now all of this is not only tearing me apart but them too.

      Im staying in france until the end of the month and then I'll be home for the summer, and if I don't feel any better I'll try and go see a therapist or psychiatrist, or whatever the hell it is I need. The thing about depression though is that it really does feel safe, and to me, it's not being negative, it's being 100% realistic. And getting better feels like putting on pink glasses and living life with some idealistic notion that is completely fake. But we'll see...

      I hope everything is okay with your family. Take care!

  5. Hi Vi,

    I was glad to read this, not because your family members are upset but because their realization of what you're facing is such a significant step. It's natural to feel like we're dragging people down with our problems but no matter how strong we are, we won't always be able to solve our issues alone. Please don't feel guilty about your sister and mother being upset. I know it's easy for me to say and if I were in your situation I'd feel the same way, nobody likes to see this. But honestly the people closest to you need to know what you're going through, even if they're not quite sure what to do about it. The worst thing is for you to feel alone, it can be consuming and that support can make a world of difference.

    You said you thought you wanted them to worry, do you think it was more that you wanted them to care and understand? I've grown to realize over the past couple years more than ever how incredibly adept people are at hiding their pain. I know dozens of people who are going through bad relationships, serious health issues, affairs, dealing with long-lasting effects of abuse etc. and if they don't want people to know, people won't. Your mother's reaction, thinking everything was so good is common; as you're aware parents know only a fraction of what's going on with their
    sons and daughters. It's not ignorance, they can only know what they see (or choose to see) and what they're told. The things you've experienced either inside or outside the walls of your home which you're not comfortable sharing yet (or maybe ever) with your sister or mother are things you will hopefully feel more at ease discussing with a therapist if you choose to see one. I'm secretly hoping that you will. Okay not so secretly now. :)

    I slipped into what I would term a mild depression for a year following my car accident, from the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2009. I won't say I know how you feel because we all experience things differently, but I do know it wasn't something I could just snap out of. I didn't make a conscious choice to take on a darker view of my life, it was just a feeling that quickly became very familiar and natural to me. It was like it was the way things were supposed to be and I couldn't see that changing. It was the second time in my life I ever considered suicide, although briefly.

    Your depression, like rose-coloured glasses of optimism, also filters the way things appear. Life can be harsh but it can be beautiful too and hold endless possibilities, there can be a very fine line between these views and it's easy to waver to one side or the other. Like the way an ED affects the way you see your body, your perception is your reality.

    Things are okay with my family thanks. There was a mix-up for Mother's Day so it didn't happen but we're all good. We'll get together soon.

    I won't ask where in France you are but I visited when I was twenty-two. My friend and I backpacked through Europe, we did eleven countries in five weeks and it was incredible! We went to the South (Nice, Cannes) and it was beautiful, but I absolutely fell in love with Paris. I wrote about that experience a little while ago: