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You can avoid life, but it won’t avoid you

I hate problems! I hate confrontation! And I hate uncomfortable situations! For a little girl who grew up in a very unstable family life, I learned a long time ago how to escape. I would spend hours in my room playing dress up, trying to make my little sisters laugh by putting on shows, or I would daydream of another world where there were no parents being sad or mad or eventually leaving me.  Even as children we are pretty keen to what is going on around us, and we learn pretty early on the world is not made up of rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes we are raised to or we cope with problems in our upbringing by avoiding them or being taught how to avoid them. It’s kind of like the old ostrich sticking his head in the sand thing when something goes wrong. The problem with that is as we grow up and become adults we do the same thing, and when that doesn’t work we find something… or someway else to avoid a bad situation.

I did this a lot growing up, and by the time I was almost an adult, I learned how to start using food and my weight to avoid what was really going on. Anything and everything that would go wrong I would numb it with the symptoms of my addiction which became a full blown Eating Disorder by the time I was the age of 17.  If I got in a fight with my mother I would not eat, and that would take me out of the situation instead of dealing with it. If I had bills to pay I would throw them in the trash and take a bunch of prescription pills to make me forget their memory. Anything messy, uncomfortable, or the least bit hard I would block out by binging and purging on massive amount of food ‘til I was weak and couldn’t even stand up straight. At the time I remember this seemed like a great way to deal with my day to day stress. I had many, many hammocks to carry me from one stressful situation to the next,

I had come up with a pretty good system for myself, and this system could be seen in my physical appearance of looking thin and unhealthy, but also in the everyday chaos that this was causing all my friends and family. Not only were they having to deal with the stress I wasn’t dealing with, but they were having to deal with the incredible chaos and stress it was creating in their own lives. Pretty soon they became tired of picking up the pieces I wasn’t, and one by one began to separate themselves from my life so they could still function in there own.

I may have been avoiding stress, but my way came with a lot of loneliness and isolation attached to it; as not a whole lot of people wanted to much deal with me anymore.

I remember I realized just how alone I was, and just how alienated I had become when 9-11 happened.

I, that day, was in the grocery store on a typical ”binge run” when I heard the twin towers had gotten hit. People were just gathered around TVs and their radios stunned in disbelief at what had just happened to our country.

I briefly stopped somebody mid-food shopping and asked them what was going on…? When I heard exactly the nature of the chaos I was stunned… like somebody had hit me in the gut… I remember immediately wanting my mother… to hug her… my father to hug him… my grandparents to hug them… but alas… I was at a loss. What is really horrid about this is that I had nobody to hug… I had nobody but a shopping cart full of junk food and a pile of people who wanted nothing to do with me.

That was an extremely hard part of history for any American to go through. People suddenly wanted to be home with their loved ones. People could only cling to one another during such a horrendous few months. The only thing that brought people any sense of self was for them to appreciate what and who they had in their lives. As we heard of the people who lost their lives… of the people who lost those in theirs, and of the hero’s who helped get us through… we could only sit and reflect on what it meant to be American… and what it meant to be human.

This was the first time in years that I actually recall a true mirror being held up to my face and unfortunately it wore the name of name tag world tragedy. I had nobody to cling to at that time… except my disease, and it wasn’t a very soothing sense of relief.

I sat in my cold lonely apartment surrounded by my junk food and my vices… all which offered me no sense of relief whatsoever. For the first time my Eating Disorder showed its true face and it wasn’t one I wanted to look at. Each and every day as I watched all the footage on TV I really realized how selfish my disease had made me and all the people I had lost because of it. I felt scared. I felt immense sadness… I felt so, so very alone.

No amount of starvation… and no amount of binging or purging could take away that sting.

Years later I remember that day, and I remember how for years my disease had driven people away… but that day Sept 11 was the day I actually felt I didn’t have a single friend in the world.

Addiction of any source can not only poison us… but it acts as a repellent to those around us. Its not that we want others to go away… but our disease sure does. It doesn’t want anything or anybody to get in the way of its destructive path. Sometimes it appears that those suffering don’t want help, but it’s a way of protecting them to stay sick. As horrible as that sounds… sick is the only thing that people with addictions and especially Eating Disorders get any comfort from. It takes us away from whatever is truly bothering us on the inside. Instead of tackling that problem… it creates a cocoon around it, wrapping it stronger and stronger around the root until it is masked by nothing but symptoms and negative behavior.

In a way I came to almost respect my Eating Disorder, because it was its way of protecting me and trying to help me deal with whatever had gone terribly wrong along the way.

Treatment was the only way I could deal with it, and it was the only way to unwrap the years and years of bandages my Eating Disorder had wrapped around what was really going on inside.

It has taken me awhile to deal with my life differently and to not run away from my problems, but to face them. I learned that the more you run… the faster they chase you, and that the best thing is to turn around and stare it all right in the face.

I really learned the hard way, and I am sorry to say that even now I haven’t regained a lot of  the family members I lost a long the way. Some of them have slowly started to come around, but my grandparents have all passed, and my parents do not speak to me as of now.

I have a glorious amount of friends and they are what keep me going… they are my family and have become my biggest supporters.

I learned my lesson the hard way I suppose, a way that cost me dearly.

It makes me appreciate what I have now, and has honestly made me a different person, that no matter what in life is gonna happen… you have to accept it… not avoid it… accept it… and just well I can’t help but think of one of my favorite Beatles songs “Let it Be”… there is a verse that goes…

“And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be… For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see there will be an answer, let it be”

~ Melissa ~