6 years ago today, I was stuck. I made the choice to go to The Renfrew Center and two days later was referred out due to an alarmingly low heart rate. They sent me to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I assumed I would be out within a day or two because I was convinced I wasn’t “that sick.” I remember a doctor telling me that I could die, and I truly thought it was some sort of joke. I remember thinking that my weight was not that low. I remember thinking about the DSM and how at this time I did not even meet the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa. I kept saying it was not that bad, my heart rate is just low, I am a runner, I am a vegan, I am the epitome of health. How could I die?
They placed me on bed rest, meaning I could not get out of my bed. I could not do anything. If I wanted to go to the bathroom I was monitored. I could not get up and walk around, I couldn’t even get on a wheelchair and be moved around. I sat on my bed, attached to monitors, and had to eat. If you want to know what my hell would be, that was it. I cried every single day I was there. I yelled at nurses and doctors because I just wanted to leave. I remember asking God why this was happening, what did I do wrong?
At this point I was begging them to send me back to Renfrew. I would rather be there then stuck in this bed. I remember staring at the cords and the machines, and praying my heart rate would stay at 40 BPM so I could leave. I remember praying and telling God that if I got out of here I would never relapse again. God I will stick to my meal plan. And God I will do what I am supposed to do. And God I will even stop working out. Please God anything to get me out of here. I will do anything.
I remember finally being able to be wheeled around on walks. Then I finally could take a walk around the circle of the floor I was on. And suddenly, my prayers stopped mattering. Maybe I knew it was all lies the whole time.
When I got out of CHOP, I went back to The Renfrew Center and went back to doing what I did best. Being sneaky, lying, manipulating, and being stuck.
I did what I always did. I hid my Gatorade and my ensure and did jumping jacks in my bedroom and purged in the shower. I played the games I always did and got out of treatment only to do what I always did.
When I look back at my life six years ago I wonder why I could not change, I wonder why I did not listen or care when a room full of Doctors told me I could die.
But I am also grateful. This pain, and the pain I have felt since then is embroidered in my soul and reminds me that I have to keep going. Two years ago I called The Renfrew Center back and considered returning. But I knew what to do and I knew that treatment was not going to cure me, I had to cure me. And I started trying to get better. And while it has not been the most beautiful journey, it has been worth it.