"I see no end to being lost. You can spend your entire life simply falling in that direction. It isn't a station you reach but just the general state of going down. Once you make it back, if you make it back, you will stand before your long-lost friends but in some essential way they will no longer know you."
-nick flynn, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
I got to Partial pretty early this morning, so I sat outside by the wall overlooking the train tracks, with my coffee, trying to warm up beneath the early morning sun.
Going to the hospital campus makes me dizzy. I lose a sense of time, the past blurring into the present. There is the medical office building, where my pediatrician was as a child. the long connecting bridge where my mother carried me when I was too sick and weak to walk. the hallway where i choked back tears, angry and betrayed, dates for more tests scheduled in my mother's purse.
Across the driveway is the hospital where I was admitted for inpatient eating disorder treatment. summer, winter, spring all blending into one. the apartment buildings of the residential program further down the drive; I walk in each day and the walls spin. I see Michele's scarf turning the corner, catch a glimpse of my 85lb body in the lobby mirror, then look again and it's the me of today, alone, lost.
This is where it started and where I've ended up. This is where I became sick as a child, where I've come as an adult because I've kept myself sick. I am going around in circles looking for something.
I meet with Lauren, my case manager. She smiles at me with her white teeth and keeps saying how proud she is of me, and that after this week I can step down to IOP. That I'm doing so well. But it doesn't feel good at all, there is no pride. Instead there is that old fear that doing well means I no longer matter, and worse, will dissolve into nonexistence, while those who are more sick, more important, will overshadow me as I fade away. Every other time I have left treatment I was not ready. I ran, and they warned against it, they told me I'd be back. I was angry and scared, but I was safe. I wasn't being let go of. There was comfort in the string tightening as I pushed away, a person, a team at the other end, my name in a file, telling me I am here, I need.
In expressive therapy we go around the room, say who we are when we're in our illness. I am the one..."I am the one who needs to be sick to know I exist." There is my sickness, but nothing underneath.