Drink tea, she says, gently, not sure how far to push. We are new to each other, polite, on the surface still. Make it a ritual, time for you. Twice a day.
Tea is safe, I think. I can do tea. OK, I say, trying to stay with her, trying to commit as my head grows heavy, foggy, intrusive voice sneaking in.
TEA IS A RESTRICTION FOOD, she screams. TEA IS FOR WHEN YOU ARE STARVING YOURSELF. Why bother trying, when you know you are going to fail. You will always fail at this. You cannot eat properly! You binge, you stuff yourself, YOU HAVE NO CONTROL.
I want to, I do, I want to get better. Another voice, somewhere close yet so distant I almost don’t hear her. I want to do this.
NO YOU DON’T. You don’t want healthy. You want THIN. You want to be DEAD. You can’t handle life. YOU STUPID WEAK FAT BITCH.
It’s too noisy in here. I feel jittery. My feet wrestle themselves, one atop the other down there on the ground, I watch from the top of the ceiling, floating. I want to exist but I don’t want to take up space. Feet twist, hands fidget. Make me small, please.
Grounding techniques, she says. Colours. Breathing.
I say yes, yes, I can do that. The tears dob me in, body betrays me again. Just let me out of here. I want to go home. I want to sleep forever, I want to hide. I can’t do this.
YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING, YOU STUPID FUCKING LOSER FAT COW.
I can pretend. I can smile and engage and be the helpful good girl. Sometimes even the laughing jolly fat one. Get in first, make fun of myself before anyone else can. Talk. Talk a lot, loudly, drown out my head. Or try to. It never lasts long.
What, you think that they LIKE you? You DISGUST them. Look at you, YOU GIANT BLOB. No shape, no bones, no definition. Just fat. Everywhere. Spilling over, uncontained, too much, too visible.
Hold on, hold on. Listen to what I’m actually saying, not what your head says that I’m thinking, a friend said recently. I trust her, I respect her. She’s not bullshitting me. I think, I hope.
I make lists of safe foods, binge foods, in between foods. I resist the urge to throw out all the food on my shelf.
Try again tomorrow, she says, quietly determined.