My chest feels heavy. Invisible elastic is tight around my ribs, aching with each breath.
I stand up and feel weak. My head sways, my vision blurs.
I have no energy. I get up, dressed, go downstairs and collapse onto the sofa, exhausted before the day has begun.
I am cold. So cold. I huddle under blankets, hugging a hot water bottle and struggle to remember what it’s like to be warm.
My fingers freeze, my nails are blue.
Sitting down hurts. Lying down isn’t much better.
My knees are bruised. My back is sore.
Guilt. There is guilt when I eat. Guilt when don’t. Guilt when I lie. Oh the lies. I promise I’ve eaten. I hide the food. My tongue lies with ease. It is my conscience that pays the price. Guilt is heavy. Guilt hurts you. Guilt does not let you forget. Guilt stares you down, forces you to see the pain you are causing.
I can barely function. I don’t remember what it is to be healthy. To have energy, and strength and concentration. To be care-free, unburdened by scales and numbers and calories. To make plans, see friends, to run and laugh and be free.
The thought of food scares me.
The thought of death panics me.
My brain is slowing.
My hair is thinning.
My skin is peeling away.
My heart beats slowly, still bravely fighting, but fast running out of strength.
I am spiralling downwards. I cannot stop it.
Food consumes my every thought, taunting me. Torturing me. Food is the answer. The only answer. I think of food, I dream of food, I smell food, I look at food, I touch food. But I cannot eat food.
I must hold on to hope. I refuse to believe I will be like this forever. I will get better. Hospital awaits me now. I will keep fighting. Each meal, each mouthful, each bite, I will keep going. I cannot comprehend the scale of the challenge ahead of me. It will overwhelm me and break me.
But from the broken pieces shattered on the floor, I will build myself again.
Because this is not me.
This is anorexia.
And I will be free.