Okay so it’s been a while, I spent 8 months in a secure unit with my weight dropping and my mental health declining, then in December an eating disorder nurse from my home team came to see me at 8am in the morning. I remember being woken at 7am and having a shower on a chair because my legs would not stand and then being whisked off to the relaxation room to see her.
The nurse wanted to admit me to a general hospital for refeeding but I refused as it was so close to Christmas and I just wanted to be where I felt settled for the festive period. That night I was driven back to my home county and admitted to a general ward. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. I had an NG tube inserted and was started on a feed straight away, drips were in my arms and blood tests taken.
A month later, here I am, still in the same bed, still being fed through a tube and struggling enormously. I feel fatter with each day, the sips of ensure are getting harder and not easier. The plan from here is to go to an eating disorder unit in London which I’m super scared about. I don’t know any more. This battle is hard.
The mirror is a very confusing thing that has somehow taken over years of my life. I mean if we really simplify it, it is just a sheet of glass that shows me a reflection of myself. I guess that’s where the confusion is, it does not show me my actual self, just an image of me but the mirror is the closest thing we get to seeing whole body, or a photograph. We can never see our whole self with the naked eye and that is where confusion slips in. For me, it feels like Chinese Whispers. I stand there in my body but somewhere between the image of me being reflected and observed with my eyes and reaching my brain that message gets confused. It’s always different. I never see the same image.
I’ve hung so much baggage onto my reflection, as I’m sure many people have. The reflection in the mirror gets jumbled up with emotions, mental illness, the food I have eaten and so I no longer see my reflected body but more the reflection of my mind except I don’t realise this at the time.
The mirror has led to many tears, many clothes thrown around the room and self-destructive behaviours. The mirror has withdrawn me from the world around me and pulled all my focus in. I have obsessed over every reflective surface and disengaged from conversation and life. I feel like I’ve been sucked into a funhouse mirror and then I have fallen down the rabbit hole and I’m stuck, trapped and unsure of who I am or what I look like.
Why is it so important? I don’t have two heads or green skin or tentacles. I look like a human being and we all look different. It frustrates me that I can’t just accept that this is who I am and it doesn’t actually matter how I look. Isn’t it more important to leave a mark on the world, to change it somehow in a positive way or to inspire someone or offer kindness, a hand to hold. Does it matter what I look like if the words that leave my mouth have a positive impact? No, it doesn’t.
My relationship with the mirror is both frustrating and confusing and so I wrote it a letter: