A Runner's World

You think you know...but you have No Idea

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Year of Loss

If I had to pick a theme for 2005, I would call it "A Year of Loss" or something like that. I lost my sanity. I lost weight. I lost some good friends.

Losing my sanity came from losing a battle with what is turning out to be an ongoing war with anorexia/bulimia/depression. I was doing really well for a few years...totally beating the sh*t out of my demons. Yet a few events left me in a headlock and I'm still struggling to get out.

Eating disorders can literally kill you. But they can also kill you by slowly taking away everything that you value until you no longer have any other reason or desire to live other than to strive for a level of thinness that goes unmatched. Running was the first to go for me. I still had a relatively successful year, but the passion and love I had for running and competing ceased to exist when I became consumed by the anxiety I felt when running races in my uniform. I felt fat and unfit and I was sure that everyone else noticed but was too nice to say anything to me. Instead of fighting it out with my competitors on the course or the track, I was fighting it out with the voices in my head. During races I had to hold back tears that came from feeling fat. In almost every cross country race the idea of running into the woods and hiding crossed my mind. In track, when races weren't going well, I wanted to just collapse on the side of the track and be taken away in an ambulance. Anything that would get me away in a speedy manner, because I certainly wasn't feeling speedy on the track.

I wasn't speedy, or at least not as speedy as I could have been, because I was malnourished and in a mental hell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I had three chances to make nationals this year, and I failed each time. Not because I'm not capable. But because of the torture I was putting my body and mind through. I would starve myself all day, go to practice, and then eat dinner. I would eat breakfast before races, but I would be so upset about getting fat that it would affect my race.

And starving yourself is one thing. But starving yourself, running 80 miles a week, and swimming and lifting three times a week...that's something completely different.

I loved Sundays because I could run 16-20 miles in the morning, go back to sleep until the afternoon, and then eat just a small dinner. I was obsessed with the way my hip bones jutted out and my ribs showed.

I would stare at pictures of other anorexics for inspiration, and read pro-anorexia websites for tips and ideas.

So losing my sanity made me lose weight. And my obsession with losing weight made me lose friends. It's hard to be interested in the lives of others when you're so wrapped up in yourself and how you look. It took energy to hang out with other people, and I didn't have that energy because I didn't eat enough.

The lack of food also made me extremely moody, and even if I did have the energy to hang out with friends, I doubt any of them would have wanted to be around me as I wallowed around in despair.

The eating disorder also affected my mental capacity. I used to be witty and full of life and laughter, but eventually I was unable to complete an entire thought, let alone participate in the lively banter with my friends and family that I used to enjoy so much. Academically...I survived, and I stayed on honor roll, but I don't think I turned in one paper in a class that I felt was my best work. I did everything half assed, if I even did it at all, and that is completely out of character for me.

I also gave up fast food, cokes, and I cut back majorly on candy...which isn't all bad because those things aren't the best fuel for your body anyway. What's bad is that when I eat a piece of pizza, I feel like I'm covered in grease. I can spend 20 minutes in the shower scrubbing my skin and still feel like I gained 10 pounds and there is oil seeping out of every pore on my body. I don't really thing that's normal...

I'm writing this partially in past tense and partially in present tense, which would drive my English professors crazy, but I can't completely write this in past tense because I'm not over it yet. I've got a long way to go.

I started writing this post over Christmas Break and it's now Spring Break and I haven't made any significant improvements. Well, physically I have. I've gained 10 pounds and I cut back on miles in hopes of running faster. I did run faster...I just missed qulifying for nationals...but if you know me well enough to read this blog, you know that already. But my love for running remains absent. My fits of violent anger have progressively worsened to the point where on almost a daily basis I can at some point be found laying in a heep on the ground, sobbing, surrounded by the things I've just thrown, strands of hair in my hand I've pulled out of my head, bruises all over my legs from hitting myself, and voice hoarse from screaming.

I can't afford a therapist off campus and the one I went to last semester on campus didn't really mesh well with me. I plan to try her again though, after Spring Break, because something's gotta give. I'm still throwing up occasionaly. Combine that with the aforementioned violent fits and overwhelming desire to sleep as much as possible because sleeping is the only time I don't hate my body...and because hating my body is so exhausting...and I don't think I have much to lose.

This post has no rhyme or reason to it...so I'm just going to wrap it up with the one amazing gain I had this year, and that's Ron.

Ron had every reason to hate me after this summer. He could have dumped me and walked away and never given me a second thought...but for some reason he didn't. Instead he's become the rock I cling to when the rest of my world is swirling around me like a violent rapid.

I know that everyone on the team is probably annoyed by how stuck up his butt I seem, but I think that if they spent even one day with me they'd probably be just as amazed and impressed by him as I am. It takes one hell of a person to maintain a relationship with a psycho like me. I know I take him for granted from time to time but at the end of the day, I know he's the reason I'm still alive and doing well enough to be kept out of a treatment center.

Annnd since this post is random enough, i'll end it.


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