Fasten your seat-belts kiddies because I’m about to throw you ball out of left field. That’s right, I’m actually going to talk about my feelings.
As a kid, I basically had to light someone on fire to get attention from my parents. I was a well-behaved, A student with the average moral compass of a straight-laced teen . I generally flew under the radar and due to my handy-dandy perfectionist personality, rarely approached the parentals for help. Their attention was mainly focused on my tornado of a sister and as someone who generally thrives on being a wallflower, this situation worked to my advantage.
Due to the lovely economy and the thrifty thing known as the journalism field, I became unemployed in January 2013. And in its absence, my body decided that it needed to create a new profession, a new way to pass the time, and it surfaced by way of an eating disorder.
I’m the girl who had to run out of her psych class because she couldn’t handle the video where the bulimic listed everything she ate in her last binge. I’m the girl who looked at pictures of anorexic models and scoffed at how anyone could think that was healthy. I was the girl who basically thought, “I’m way too smart for that to happen to me.”
Well, it did. And I spent six months in and out of rehab in an attempt to kick ol’ ED out for good. My first rehab facility should have been subcategorized as a prison because their no phone/laptop policy nearly killed me. As someone who hates to be inside their own head, music, movies/television, have always provided the perfect outlet in which to escape. I can safely say that these three things have helped keep me sane. I was officially diagnosed with anorexia (binge/purge subtype) and orthorexia in July and it’s been a downward spiral of misery.
A character I’ve been relating to a lot lately is Cassie Ainsworth from generation 1 of Skins. The oldest, mostly forgotten daughter, Cassie is introduced as fresh out of rehab for her eating disorder and still struggling with her urges to not eat. She goes as far as hallucinating the boy she likes giving her messages telling her to, “EAT!” Eccentric and stubborn, she would later flee to New York after the death of a friend. She’s always been my favorite character from the series, and one of my favorites in general. Her eating disorder is romanticized (which I don’t agree with, beeteedubs), she claims not to have eaten for three days so she “could be lovely” for a date. But I appreciate and understand her struggle.
In her centric episode in season two, Cassie voices this to her exam proctor, “I stopped eating and then everyone had to do what I said. That was powerful…I think it was the happiest time of my life. But I had to stop before I died because otherwise it wasn’t fun.” This exchange has been in my head for several days now and I’ve been working through why it’s resonating with me. I don’t consider myself a petty person, but I am stubborn as all hell. And as much as I hate to admit it, I got more attention from my family this summer than I’ve probably gotten in my entire life. This attention was completely warranted, and as an independent person I found it irksome, but underneath it was appreciated. Greatly appreciated. I am not suicidal. I do not have a death wish. And yet I still refuse to make the changes that will save my life. I’ve had enough therapists, dietitians, doctors, etc. giving me countless reasons over the course of the past year, but nothing has cemented. Nothing has permeated this shell. And it’s a thick shell. Cassie’s relationship with Sid helps her to focus on her recovery. I don’t have a Sid nor do I want one at the moment, but I haven’t found my symbolic Sid either.
Hi Kate’s Symbolic Sid Jenkins. It’d be great if you’d make yourself present. I’m a bit clueless these days so I’m going to need you to wave neon signs. I’ll be right here waiting.
[EDIT: As of April 16, 2014, I am making the decision to check myself back into inpatient treatment. Maybe my Sid is closer than I thought…
Follow-up: No Longer a “Cassie” ]