The irony of your safe haven

is found in the walls that keep away the very people and things you need

towers that shut the pain out while it festers into poison within

iron bars that numb the feelings away, it’s intensity burning you into disintegration when it resurfaces

Each brick sealed in concrete

safe haven turned into prison,

and prison turned into home.

You make do,

build a home with all that you have

walls to keep the pain away

anything for an escape

And now they say,

Restricting food is restricting life

Numbing pain is numbing joy

Somehow the war outside has turned into a war within

doors sealed shut as they try to break in,

clouds of whispering voices that blur your vision and mar your judgements,

each window slams right before you reach out

you’re exhausted but running is all you know, so you keep running

you can no longer stop, the wheel out of your control

prison bars presenting an illusion of safety and comfort, a facade of truths

The outside world is not safe, my dear, but neither is your safe haven.


Try as they might, they can never break these four walls, so please stop trying to tear me down. The key will always remain within, patiently waiting for the clock to strike. The time will be right, so let me let you in. Let me open this door and let me stay here for a while. Let me be.

Perhaps this is the pain of tearing apart everything you’ve ever known, the pain of being in the rubble of your destruction. I’ve told people- sometimes you need to break. Sometimes you need to let everything fall apart so you can rebuild. Sometimes you need to give up everything that’s kept you safe because it hurts you. Because walls build upon towers of false truths and false security and imposed aloneness. Numbers and weights and bodies and loneliness is easier than pain and feelings. Self-destruction so all the other pain hurts less. What are we running from? Perhaps we all have to face these demons at some point. Let them tear you apart. Let it hurt. Let the walls stay down and put your trust into the hands of those who care. Let it hurt. Comb through the rubble, walk through it one step at a time. Retreat into prison because it still feels like home. That’s okay. Stay for a bit. It’s been home for years, it’s a safe haven, a place away from the fears- honour that. Stay for a bit, but not for long. The irony of your safe haven is how it’s turned on you, keeping away everything that saves you and leaving self-destruction and brand new monsters. The war is inside now. It’s going to hurt. Let it hurt.

I’ve cried though the night but the sun is rising and I see the orange and purple skies outside the bars of these windows. Maybe we can rebuild.



As the floods tear apart the dam

I cling onto my best friend and cry

Curl into a ball and rock from side to side

Stare into doctors and therapists’ eyes and tell them I am so very very sad

Whimpering and kicking in my sleep as my roommates watch another nightmare unfold

Hum myself a lullaby to feel safe enough to close my eyes and sleep a bit

Too much pain to carry

The walls have been reduced to a pile of rubble

everything I’ve built, defeated

They try to break this down

Incinerate the rubble

But walls are constructed for a reason

An almost-19 years in the making

Every brick of pain keeps them up

Everyone that left

Mom. And Dad.

They look in and see these 4 walls- prison, they say

Look closer and you’ll see safety that comes with home and a numbness from all the pain in the world

Too much pain to carry

And nobody to trust

The heart keeps score, every scar a different story

And some wounds never heal

How many times do they want to tear me apart?

They don’t get

The pain of being left alone

The pain of being scared alone

The pain of never ever trusting anyone

The pain of carrying the weight of the world alone

And the worst is the searing sharp pain that comes with human connection

The ripple through the heart as it tugs you away and reminds you of old wounds

Pain that’s fuelled years of starving and binging and purging and cutting and running away

Running and running and running

They say the war is over

But the soldier never forgets

Every brick they tear apart, another shot to the heart

So please don’t make me talk

About feelings and memories

And anything at all

Please don’t let me trust

The floodgates have broken

This brain scampers to rebuild its defences

Close yourself off

Stop eating

Shut everyone out

Tear yourself apart so no one else can

Opening up is getting hurt

Trusting is being played a fool

And the heart never forgets old wounds

I hear her inside, the little girl crying to not be left alone again, the little girl crying because nothing in this world has ever felt safe. Because protectors turned into monsters and guardians turned their backs. Please stay with her.

I am so worn. worn from years of war and years of running and running and running as fast as I can. Alone.

somehow the war around me turned into the war inside me.

I am so worn. They tell me to stop running- you’re safe now. I’ll tell you a secret: all my life, I’ve longed for a safe place, stayed within these walls and longed for someone to trust. But the battle is within me and I am so worn. Trusting is painful and talking is painful and eating is painful. Just eat, they say. Just talk. They don’t see how it tears apart years and years of natural protective systems. They don’t see how my safe haven is all I have. How do you go against something your brain has literally constructed to save your life when the pain was too much to handle? I need to be alone. I don’t want to be alone.

This little girl is so scared. And I am so worn. Help.

Wandering in the Dark

It’s Friday, my 5th day in the hospital, and it simultaneously feels like both forever ago and just yesterday. Time has a funny way of working when you’re in the hospital, everything melds into each other and the days seem to pass in a flash. The pain changes everything. I haven’t been writing because my words have been choppy and incoherent, much like the way my mind has been. All that is visible is pain and numbness, and everything’s been such a blur, memories clouded by the foggy mist of sadness.

There are times where I write more coherently, recounting what has happened, and times where all I can do is say the same thing over and over, mentally going back into the emotional child-state. The brain has a funny way of protecting itself, dissociating one half from the other. Ever since the dam broke on Monday, I’ve been going in and out of that child state. Every time I’m vulnerable, physically tired or emotional, I slowly slip right back into it. Otherwise, everything is normal- everything is repressed and I am in control and feelings are blocked out in the back of my mind. I oscillate between the two states and I’m slowly getting used to it, though it still scares me how different I am in those states and how that is out of my control. I speak differently, write differently, think differently, act differently in both states. It seems like my ‘normal self’ has lost all ability to cope with emotions or vulnerability or needs, so my inner child takes over whenever that happens. Honestly, it’s confusing because my rational mind is totally okay and yet my child/emotional mind is in so much confusion and pain. It seems like it’s impossible for me to reconcile those parts of me because emotional suppression is so deeply ingrained, as well as acting as a self-defence measure, so my brain has to resort to turning me into a different person just so I can express my needs. I don’t quite know how to cope.

I can try to write but nothing beautiful is coming out. No nice words or eloquent poems- just exhaustion and pain. There are only so many words in the dictionary that can tell you about pain and none of them seem to ever describe and fully encompass how much this truly hurts. How much everything hurts. How it’s so difficult to have had to deal with these memories and flashbacks, to have had to deal with eating and not eating and my brain wanting to kill itself, to have had to deal with self-destruction and a vicious self-hatred, to have had to deal with pain and shame and inadequacy and fear. To deal with not just all the bad memories and icky feelings of the past, but the current state of mind where my brain operates on self-loathing and destruction and a constant ‘not sick enough’ and ‘not deserving’ and ‘you should die’ and how it shuts itself down, and deal with the struggle of having to try to eat and try to live and maybe recover and talking about things and just.. trying. It is all so much. And I know nobody who is ever in a psychiatric ward will ever have it easy, any mental illness is hell- but I genuinely feel like I have so much more on my plate than the girl next to me in bed 4 who’s dealing with depression and trauma or the girl opposite me in bed 3 who’s dealing with anorexia or the girl in bed 1 who’s dealing with bulimia. Having to deal with all of this at once, and having all of my issues so interconnected and dependent on one another makes it so difficult. And yet I don’t think I’m sick. If it’s anything I realised during this admission, it’s that I really, really don’t feel like I’m sick. So to claim that I’m having a hard time, it makes me feel like I’m overreacting. To ask to talk to the doctor makes me feel like I’m overreacting. To try to recover makes me feel like I’m overreacting. To need reassurance- that is the worst. But I do, I need constant reassurance and comfort. I need it so badly to survive this. Otherwise I have no reason to fight.

I am still exhausted. I look back at the past three weeks and all I see is pain. My social workers asked me if I still want to die. Yes, I still want to die. They asked again- if the painful memories didn’t exist, would you still want to die? And the answer is no. I told them, even if I had to continue dealing with my depression and ED, if the trauma symptoms never resurfaced, I would be okay. I would cope. I’ve been coping over the past 2.5 years and steadily getting better, very very very slowly. But I’ve been knocked over, and all my plans evaporated along with it. I no longer know what recovery from ED might look like, no longer want recovery, no longer try to do things like mindfulness and self-compassion. It’s hard, because the ED is so all-consuming in my everyday life but whenever I’m in the hospital or at a session, we never talk about it. I don’t know if it’s even an issue- it’s been so painful, the fact that nobody thinks I’m sick. The fact that everyone around me has been validating my worst fears, confirming with the voice inside that tells me I’m not sick. I believe that. Everyone thinks I’m not sick- my psychiatrists, my social workers, the nurses and patients in the ward, my friends and family. Even my psychologist who knows a lot about what I go through- she calls it ‘disordered eating’. I’m struggling because I am not sick but I will also never get better or feel better if I don’t deal with the ED since my entire life revolves around it. And yet, I’m not being helped. I just talked to the ward doctor about it after worrying the entire night and not wanting to open up. I finally decided to do it and then she said ‘well there are no plans to put you on protocol, let’s just take it one thing at a time. your blood test came back and everything is fine’. Perhaps I should just stop worrying about it, perhaps I’m really just not sick.

I still question why I am trying so hard to eat and get better when I don’t even want to. I suppose, because I know it’s the right thing to do? Because a part of me wants to get better? Also for the sake of Eunice and fighting together. But honestly, I don’t think I can do it without help. I don’t think I can not-restrict if I’m discharged. I don’t know what to do because I feel so uncertain, how do I fight for something I don’t even want, how do I fight for recovery from a problem that myself and everyone around me doesn’t believe exists? The thing is, I’ve been in many many states of partial recovery when it comes to ED in the past, this sort of ‘well I’m kinda trying but not really‘, especially post-discharge. I eat a few normal meals, try to celebrate ‘recovery wins’ but mentally everything is still awful and I don’t truly want to recover and I never work on it mentally or get help and I still think I’m fat so I go back to full blown restricting very quickly. I’ve cycled through that a few times and I don’t want that to happen this time. I either want to be working towards recovery or not at all. I’m sick of that halfway place. I think writing this, I realise I’ve been working towards recovery for a while now, with the exception of the past few weeks, I’ve been working towards recovery slowly. I remember, I once wrote that recovery and healing isn’t perfect, it’s a really really long journey and sometimes I stop but what matters is where I’m looking. Regardless of what I’m doing or thinking, if I’m still looking up, I’m still in the process of recovery.

I don’t know if I’m looking up right now though. I haven’t been seeing any light and I feel really lost. I feel really invalidated. I feel like I have too many problems to deal with and none at all, at the same time. But I do know, in my heart, certain things:

– There is a tiny tiny tiny part deep inside of me that will always want to get better from the ED, even if I don’t see it.

– I trust my friends, especially Eunice. I can trust her and that she wants the best for me.

– I need help. I will never be able to do this on own without support. I remember I wrote this once a few years ago “if I’m really sick, then I’m screwed because this ed voice in my head is relentless and will never allow me to be better” and it still rings very true. Right now, I can try to eat but once I get out of IP the ED will be back in full force and nobody is bothering.

– I don’t know how to, or even want to let go of the ED. I need it to cope and there are more pros than cons right now. So recovery will be really hard.

– I can’t be pushed to do things I don’t want to, I need to do things at my pace and I also need to build a solid foundation of emotional, cognitive and behavioural change. I need to change these core beliefs if I want to get better and I need to learn how to be kind with myself and I need to learn how to accept myself. I need to learn how to deal with emotions and how to express needs. I can’t just ‘try to get better for the sake of it’. I need to find it in me to make the change from the inside out.

– I need to start allowing myself to have needs, for God’s sake. (I feel undeserving) I need all the support from everyone around me and whenever I chose to do the whole ED-meal-plan-recovery thing, I need people to be firm (but not mean) and tell me that I need to eat. I need people to tell me that I need to eat and tell me to get help because my brain doesn’t let me do it otherwise. I need people to reassure me that I am sick, that I am not overreacting. I need people to reassure me that I am not undeserving of life and needs and emotions. I need people to accept my emotions as they are without trying to change them. I need people to acknowledge my struggles and acknowledge that I am fighting so so so hard, that I am struggling despite the ‘I’m okay’ front I constantly instinctively put up. I need reassurance that it’s okay to struggle and that no matter how much I mess up and struggle, I am not a disappointment. I need reassurance that I’m doing the right thing.

-I don’t know if this will be my last admission, or the admission that will make everything better. The trauma symptoms might have been the most pressing issue as of late, but the ED is the hardest to deal with or get rid of. And I’m starting to think it might take a long admission to work this out, or being monitored and put on ED treatment. I have a feeling things won’t be peachy when I discharge. But I also have a feeling that things are going to be okay in the end. working with Eunice on this together, this admission marks the start of our path to recovery, even if it’s going to be a long and bumpy one. And I know we can’t give up- and I know we are both warriors because we’ve survived so much. Surely we can survive recovery too.


I feel like

one bite of food,

and I will implode.

Pieces of me


in the crevices,

in the dark.

I can only pick up the pieces and put myself together so many times

// each worn scrap held together by cheap stitches that thin and stretch and threaten to break

every tear stained cheek,

every clenched fist,

every strain of the heart,

every breath of exhaustion,

tugs the stitches further and further


so don’t blame me

for holding onto control

an iron heart

bones of steel



I am holding these pieces together.


and I thought this to myself, this morning on the treadmill, running and running despite the slowly numbing feet and pains on the right of my chest, left of my abdomen. burn what you ate yesterday.

and I thought this to myself, this afternoon on my bed, exhausted from doing nothing at all, wrapped up in a blanket from the constant cold. standing up would mean the world spinning around.

and I thought this to myself, as I heard my stomach rumble.. again. as I ponder the possibility of food for tomorrow, wondering if I need it to get through my presentation. but you cannot eat or you will lose control.

And that terrifies me. One bite, and I might just break.

Connecting ED and C-PTSD

Note: Reading up on articles about EDs and PTSD/C-PTSD, I decided to compile the things that are most relevant to me for future reference. what I have posted below has all been taken from research and not my own writing.


Eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders share certain core features that explain some of their co-morbidity. The development of both disorders is based on emotion dysregulation. When a child has experienced chronic interpersonal trauma, he/she will experience dysfunction in multiple areas of functioning: including somatic, affective, behavioral, dissociative, cognitive, interpersonal, and self-concept. These areas are equally adversely impacted developmentally when a person has an eating disorder. Traumatic life events presumably trigger eating disorder gene expression in predisposed individuals, which leads to a cascade of events in the brain that is associated with trauma-related thoughts, feelings, memories and behaviors, as well as associated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and dissociation.

With C-PTSD, the danger of falling into eating disorders is even greater. People suffering from C-PTSD typically have difficulty with ‘affect regulation’, or managing strong emotions. Life for a sufferer from C-PTSD is an emotional roller-coaster with frequent and often unpredictable triggers sending him or her into extremes of anger or sadness. The urge to self-medicate is, therefore, very strong, and often uninhibited by the sort of ‘common sense’ instinct to hold back that most people develop over the course of a more healthy and secure upbringing.

Emotional Regulation

Traumatic experiences overwhelm the person’s internal (neurobiological) and external (psychosocial) resources, and behaviors typically associated with experiential avoidance develop, such as binging, purging and/or substance abuse, and they represent attempts to not only avoid trauma-related thoughts, feelings, and memories but to reduce emotional arousal as well. Clients with eating disorders often experience hyperactivation of their emotions as intolerable. When these clients have a history of avoidant attachment, their desire is to cut off or numb their emotional experience, so restrictive behaviors will become more apparent.

Another way that eating disorders are used for affect regulation is in a manner similar to other forms of self-harm. Binging and purging is essentially a cycle in which an individual would experience trauma symptoms, dysphoria, or another unpleasant affective state and the client would then engage in a binge episode to interrupt or stop the mood state. At times that can produce a dissociative state or another episode of problematic cognitions so purging behavior is needed to provide regulation.


People who have been through traumatic experiences often feel a sense of powerlessness, brought on to them by their inability to prevent the traumatic incident from happening or prevent themselves from being traumatized by it. The act of consciously starving oneself or engaging in purging in order to change one’s body shape is a method the victim uses to reassert control over his/her or own body. In effect, the individual with the eating disorder assumes roles of both the victim and abuser. S/he is typically at the mercy of the eating disorder symptoms as well as simultaneously assuming the role of the abuser who is in effect doing the harm to her own body. The sufferer is able to assume “control” by taking on both roles. The individual therefore is able to maintain recurrent and intrusive abusive events through the use of the eating disordered behaviors while simultaneously enabling herself to dissociate, distract and sooth the pain through the obsession with food.

Family impact

Families with children who develop eating disorders display more conflict and disorganization, low maternal and paternal care, less cohesion and expressiveness, more conflict, and less emotional support than families who do not have children who develop eating disorders. Similarly, in families who have children who experience attachment trauma or childhood abuse or neglect, many of these characteristics are present. The two disorders co-occurring in families with these dynamics is clear, particularly when additional characteristics such as increased isolation, less involvement, less supportiveness, increased contradictory communications, increased belittling, ignoring, trust, nurturing, and helpfulness, increased chaotic patterns, and hostile enmeshment are added to the description. Given this constellation of qualities, the child’s negative response to abuse or an attachment injury at the time it occurs and a negative evaluation in retrospect of the experience, is associated with eating disorder symptoms.

Eating disorder symptoms can become the transitional object for the client, so that when the client who has been traumatized needs comfort, the eating disorder behaviors soothe him/her like the primary caregiver would have, but when this soothing fails due to its very nature, then self-hate and blame arise, creating an addictive cycle. This experience is often re-enactment as it reflects the early experience of needing the primary caregiver as an attachment figure to soothe, and thereby needing to dissociate the experiences of abuse or neglect or attachment injury, which led the child to internalizing the blame for the traumatic experience in order to receive some safety and care and attempt to make sense of his/her internal and external experiences.

Treating eating disorders is hard, but treating eating disorders with co-morbid conditions is way harder.

When a person with PTSD seeks therapy for an eating disorder or other issue, it usually becomes clear very quickly that they have PTSD, often they will have vivid memories of this event which they struggle to escape from. By contrast, C-PTSD is frequently characterized by absences of memory. Indeed, one way of understanding C-PTSD is an elaborate and self-destructive strategy by the brain to force out memories that are too painful to bear. People starting therapy will often have forgotten entire chunks of their childhood and be highly resistant to the idea that their problems are related to childhood trauma. (this is so accurate for me though)



“It’s okay to need to disorder to cope, I get how it feels safe for you, how it’s comforting. But when you feel like you don’t want to leave the disorder, that you are nothing without the disorder, that you are not ‘sick enough’ to get better but the thing we often forget is that the disorder can be so sneaky and manipulative, much like an abusive relationship. It sort of tricks you into thinking you can’t live without it, into staying with it, into thinking you are nothing without it- but the truth is, what you have accomplished is in spite of your illness and not because of it.”

~my therapist

I just wonder if it’s simply my fears holding me back. It’s different than being in the thick of the disorder, different than being unable to differentiate between you and the disorder, different than needing it. I am finally in a place where I recognize that my illness is no longer serving me, I am finally in a place where I want to be normal again, I am finally in a place where I am getting better at learning to deal with emotions and cope and accept myself but I am just too scared of change and just too scared to leave. I am scared of not being good enough, not being sick enough, scared of losing control, scared of losing my safe haven. Are these fears always going to hold me back or will I learn to overcome them someday? I suppose, like she constantly reminds me, I just need to remember it is not just one huge change, it is not black and white, not just completely letting go- it is a process, and it’s okay to feel negative emotions too (and sit with those negative emotions and accept them instead of fight them!). To be honest, despite all the efforts in recovery, I still want desperately to get to my goal weight. I want to feel sick enough, I want people to notice, I want to prove to my doctors that I am sick. even if it doesn’t bring me the happiness I think it would, I just want to see how I feel at that weight. I want to be skinny for once. maybe then I’d feel good enough for recovery- wishful thinking, but maybe then. I still hate myself too much, still find too much comfort in the negativity.

then and now

This morning I was at the gym doing my usual Friday morning kickboxing/mixed martial arts class and several negative, self-hatred kinda thoughts ran through my head. But then I realised that those mean thoughts no longer pop up as often as they used to, and when they do, I can quickly identify them and I am able to be more objective about them. When things like ‘you’re not worthy’ pop up, I can counter it with something like ‘well, I believe everyone is equally worthy and so am I’. I realised that the disordered voice is a lot.. quieter. I guess that means somehow, the effort I’ve been making in therapy has really helped, and yet it really unsettled me. I feel like it is ‘too much progress, too fast’. For all of my life, the only constant has been this intense self-hatred that drives the core of my self-destruction and my life. It is one of the most painful things I have to deal with, but it is home, much like how depression and sadness is home, and the moment I realised that I no longer hate myself as fervently as I used to- I felt like I lost a huge part of myself. I don’t quite know how to be.

I was writing a letter to my future self last night and for the first time, I felt just the smallest glimmer of self-love. I said ‘I love you’ and I meant it, I really did. I reached deep inside and I saw the essence of myself beneath everything that I’ve been through, beneath everything that I struggle with and I knew I had to love. I know I have to love her.. me. Because nobody knows me better than I do, nobody understands me, nobody knows the extent of what I’ve been through- so who better than to love me, than me? I have been through so much, fought myself and loathed myself for almost all my life- how much war is enough? I look inside once again and I no longer see someone I despise. I just see a girl, who perhaps- just perhaps, deserves better. I finally get how important that relationship with yourself is- because you could be the most beloved person but if you don’t love yourself first, nothing matters. You are the only person that is going to be with you for the rest of your life. And I have to love who I am, who I really am and not who I want to be.

And that is a really, really big breakthrough. Self-love. Acceptance. Kindness. Things I have been working on.. but once again, it feels so horribly uncomfortable. It’s easier to say I love you to my future self, because I think deep deep down, I am slowly starting to accept and love who I am. Over the past year I have been working on accepting myself, accepting my sensitivity and my feelings, accepting my journey, and I think this progress is what I have to show for it. But loving myself right now? I don’t think I can do it, there seems to be this giant roadblock that stops me from loving myself. This morning, I fuelled the negative thoughts on purpose and stopped myself from automatically CBT-ing those thoughts, just because the I missed how the self-hatred drives my disorders, just because it felt better and more natural, because it is what makes me ‘sick’ and what makes me ‘different from everyone else’. I genuinely want to relapse, so badly, let the negativity take over and let go of everything I’ve learnt.

I look back at a few years ago and regardless of eating behaviours, I was so much ‘sicker’ back then. I was consumed by self-hatred and disordered thoughts and the ‘negative voice’- I really really hated myself so much, every single day. For 3 years from 2014-2016 part of my ‘new year’s resolution’ was to continue distancing myself from everyone, to isolate myself emotionally in order to protect myself, to build up even more walls so that I can stop feeling so much and caring so much and being dependent on people. I was so resistant about talking about to anyone for years, not even my therapist- my disorder was my protection and it was my way of yelling ‘leave me alone’, it was my way of building the walls even higher and I believed it wasn’t a problem. I wrote that ‘the need to self-destruct is more pressing than the need to heal’. All of that is different now, I’ve made progress. I don’t hate myself so much that I feel the constant need for self-destruction, even if I’m restricting now my mindset is trying to come from a good place be kind to myself.  I’ve opened up completely to my therapist and we’ve been working on it in therapy, I’ve been pushing myself to open up in general, I even told a friend. I worked on accepting that feelings are not bad, that asking for support and reaching out is okay- and I am so much more comfortable with that.

The disordered voice was so loud and I believed that once I got to the ‘perfect weight’ everything would be okay, that the disorder would solve everything. I wrote that ‘maybe then, this constant pain will hurt less, the sharp voices will ease up and the unbearable self-hatred will become more bearable’. I was so wrong, it never truly gets easier. I was in so much pain, I see it in every word I write, I feel it. I was in so much pain, I wish I could go back and tell myself to just stop because this ED cycle never did anything but make me miserable in the years to come. And yet, a small part of me still holds onto that belief. I know it’s not true though. ‘this voice is relentless, unforgiving. it’s never even going to let me believe I’m sick at all, let also sick enough to recover’. That has changed too, not as much but it has changed slightly because I can now see it much more objectively even though I still feel the same way, still feel like I’m not sick. The disordered voice is less obnoxious though, and at least I can counter it now. In another post from the past I also mentioned how 90% of my identity is my illness and negative beliefs and it reminded me of a recent therapy session where she asked me how much of my identity was my illness and I answered 75-80%, which is still a lot but you know.. that number decreased over the years as I worked to build my identity around things that I loved. I never even noticed the change though.

Back then, there were times where I wanted to recover but I hated myself more than I ever wanted to get better. I used to struggle with relapse and recovery a lot, I felt so trapped, so unable to get out of it, I wondered if it was possible to get better, wondered if I was even really sick. To be honest, I’ve always wanted to recover. But I truly believed that I could recover only when I was thin enough, when I was sick enough and good enough. When everyone knew, when I had to be forced into treatment, I just wanted someone to help me. And in so many ways, years later it is still exactly the same struggle, still the same fears holding me back from recovery. Maybe I really am going in circles? I do see a difference, in that I feel validated in therapy, that I feel hopeful that recovery is possible, that I am much more capable of working on recovery now than when I was younger, that I want it more because I got sick of how miserable I am. I am not good enough or thin enough and I am trying to accept that and let go of my perfectionist standards. That is something.

It is interesting, to see how much I have changed. I think I have, and that isn’t a bad thing. But I still don’t know how I could ever love myself in the present. I still don’t know how I can want to recover more than I need to be thin, or feel like I deserve it, or let myself make the change. It’s easier to stay where I am comfortable- I can hope is that the things I’ve learnt will take me forward. Maybe someday love and happiness won’t be so terrifying after all.

now the calendar’s just one page

It’s the first of December today and it’s going to be a blink of an eye before 2018 rolls around, and I can’t help but feel like it passes so quickly. Yes, it’s so cliche and I say this every year, but it really does, and it makes me scared. I feel like I *just* relapsed but I actually relapsed in May, which means more than half the year was spent in this relapse, which yielded.. nothing. I’m at the same weight as I was before the relapse, but is that even a surprise anymore? I’ve been considering recovery, and yet, it feels like there are so many things in my way, I don’t know if I can do it. Do I want to fight? I don’t know. What do I want my 2018 to be? More relapse? More trying to lose weight? More obsessions and messed up eating and hiding in toilets purging? More isolating myself? It’s not a choice of course, but at this point it feels like this disorder is a part of me, a part of my lifestyle, and even if I wanted to change, it’s not that easy. Just like with depression, I’ve probably spent most of this year (and the 4 years before) in depression.. not that I know what life without depression is like anyway.

Time is flying by, and it makes me scared and sad. I want to make the most of the time I have now with these people around me, in this school, with my family- before everything changes. I was freaking out about turning 18 and look, now I’m turning 19 in 3 months. That’s insane. I mean, we’re going into our final year and then graduating soon, that’s insane as well. If I had a choice, I would want to do it all over again, I would want to put myself out there more, I would want to get to know my classmates more, spend more time with my friends. I would want to volunteer more, work more, do more. But alas, it feels like my life isn’t dictated by important events like everyone else, it’s dictated by the state of my mental health, dictated by what I was eating or not eating, how much I weigh. When I think about 2017, certain periods of time stand out to me, mostly the times I was really restrictive.. and I’m not sure why. Do I remember those periods better because I was doing better? Because I was more miserable? Or maybe those I just remember it better because it’s easy to recall- nothing mattered in my life but how much I ate and walked and exercised. Even now, it seems bittersweet, even now I miss it. And yet when I look at my instagram, there are the best moments of 2017- our devised drama performance, mine and clarissa’s 18th birthday, travelling to japan and seeing cherry blossoms/snow with mum, our finding fatin performance, the launch of lumiere, our family trip to Gold Coast. So much has happened, these amazing things that I loved, and yet what I remember most is the times when I was losing weight or eating x amount. I’m not surprised, but putting it this way.. it just seems sad.

I can look back and say I’ve come so far, in mental health, in life. I’ve survived. I cope better, I’ve learned, I’ve gotten through every bad day. I can count the number of times I self-harmed with two hands, I haven’t tried to kill myself or ended up in the hospital, I’m okay. And yet, most days I feel like the exact same person I was when I was younger, still chained by the same fears and same thought patterns and negative beliefs. I still feel inadequate in every way, still hurt that I will never be good enough, still hate myself, still isolate myself, still feel out of place, still struggle to rely on anyone emotionally or open up, still trying to lose weight and hoping that would be a magical solution, still triggered by family. I could go on. I feel like I’m not changing, and this hurts like hell to say. That despite every external change in my life, despite good times, despite times where my mental health was in a better place- ultimately I haven’t changed. I suppose this is why I always felt the ‘good times’ were temporary, the supposed ‘recovery’ was false because I never made any effort to actually recover, it was merely circumstantial that I was doing better. I haven’t changed, because I haven’t fought for it. Change isn’t just going to happen, not when we’re talking about years of beliefs and thought processes and mental illness. It hurts to think that I’m mentally and emotionally stuck here (even though I feel so stuck all. the. time.) and what if I’m stuck here for the next 5 years, or even the next year?

So now the calendar’s just one page, and there is nothing I can do about it. I can try to document moments as much as I want, try to record everything and take pictures and write, as I have, in fear that I wouldn’t make the most out of those precious moments. But what is the point of doing all that if I can’t even live in those moments? What’s the point, if all those amazing, heartwarming, filled-with-love moments pale in comparison to the times where I only ate half a bun on the day of my rehearsal or the mornings I woke up shivering (with no air-con) at the pre-u seminar, or the times when I was purging at 4am. I don’t even know what I’m writing this, because I’m not going to write this and then have a sudden realization that I should definitely make a change and recover and live life!! I feel like I should do that- be positive! and definitely recover! and be great at recovery and life!! (note: sarcasm). But you know, like what I learned in therapy, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I just thought of this, but what if I’m a perfectionist when it comes to life itself? When in fact, life isn’t going to be perfect and I’m not perfect. What if I have all of these ~grand expectations of what life is supposed to be like, this perfect little image of what I want life to be.. when the reality might never come close? The literal cause of my long-standing relapse/recovery tormenting internal battle wasn’t because I truly wanted recovery but because I felt like I should make the most out of life, I’d already wasted so much time after all. And even when I decided I actually wanted recovery earlier this week, I had all these expectations, and I felt like I was failing at everything, at recovery. I think I feel like life should be perfect, and if it’s not, I’m doing something wrong. And I wonder if that’s stopping me from getting better, because I’m scared I will never reach my expectations I have of myself and of life.

I remember talking about this in therapy, all these ‘I should‘ statements I have about.. everything (myself). I just didn’t realise I did that to life itself as well. ‘I should make the most out of every moment, I should live well, I should give the best I can at everything, I should be happy, I should chase my dreams.’ And those are not necessarily bad things, but maybe they are bad when they turn into self-imposed perfectionist expectations. Because I beat myself up for not ‘achieving’ those expectations and my brain works in such a black-and-white way that if I’m not achieving those expectations, I’m inadequate and might as well be in the depths of hell. You see, I always have all these goals and expectations, of myself and what I want for myself. Every new year, and even every month or week, I set out all these goals.. not necessarily realistic goals. So, what if I let go of that? Underneath all the things I feel like I should want or should do, what do I really want? It’s hit me that underneath all the things the disorder wants, underneath all my expectations, underneath every relentless voice in my head- I don’t know what I want. I haven’t ever made room for, well, me. Even if I chose to try to really recover, it’s not going to be perfect, and I’m going to have to accept that. So what if I chose to let go more? What if I’m try to not be so hard on myself? And I keep referencing therapy, but it feels like what we’ve talked about is just about finally clicking- mindfulness, taking a step back from the beliefs and voices so that there is room for me.

Looking at my new tattoo, the cherry blossoms.. it means to me that life is fleeting and we should make the most of it, but it’s also about mindfulness and living in the present. It’s not about the pursuit of the perfect life or perfect moments, it’s about living and appreciating. So maybe that should be it. Living. Accepting that it’s not going to be perfect because these negative thoughts are still crowding my mind, these fears and even this unbearably intense self-hatred, it’s going to be there. That I still very very much want to relapse, to be sick, because that means something to me, because I need it to cope. But I also want to be happy. Honoring my feelings and thoughts, both the good and bad. It’s never a clear cut recovery/relapse- nothing is going to be easy anyway, so what do I want? I guess I’ll figure it out as I go. I hope 2018 is kind to me, but more than anything, I hope maybe I could be kinder to me in 2018, that I could grow in 2018, really just.. grow. Make the most out of therapy (my last year and a half? yikes) and make the most out of family time and make the most out of DADP, but really just taking it a day at a time. Remembering I’m trying the best I can, remembering there are people around me who care, remembering I don’t have to listen to every thought in my head, remembering there isn’t always a ‘right or wrong’ thing, that it’s great to fight for life and good things and recovery but it’s okay if I’m not. This isn’t a ‘positive recovery post’, but somehow I feel like with this post I have made progress, through honesty and acceptance. It’s.. different. Let’s see how December goes, now.

too much/ light

why is it so hard to be myself?

it seems like all my life / i’ve been cutting myself into pieces, stuffed into the boxes others create, throwing out parts they deem inadequate. too emotional, too unstable, too crazy, too impossible to understand in my parents’ eyes. not thin enough or talented enough or smart enough or cool enough or pretty enough for everyone else / and this little girl swallowed it all, turning their boxes into a self-imposed prison.

it’s not hard, not when you’ve always been alone / so painfully different.

when you spill and overflow in every direction, build the foundation of your soul upon feeling and intuition. when you see the world in a fundamentally different light. when you’re filled with too much to contain, too much pain and brokenness and darkness, too much love and life and light / you hold the world within your soul, a soul older and wiser than your years, a soul longing for life and growth and peace. you’re the kind of soul who was never meant for half-hardheartedness, you love deeply and ache deeply care too much and think too much. you crave life, you live apologetically and fearlessly / you hold it all inside.

prison turns into fear, and fear winds itself into chains that keep the door tightly shut.

prison turns into home, too.

so i continue to kill myself. slice away parts of my soul, turn the self-hatred into poison that runs in these veins / starve away life / i couldn’t stop if i wanted to- and i want to, so badly. I want to, and yet i find myself holding back, even when i try to allow myself to be. i rein myself in. too much. always too much, or not enough, i don’t know. 

taking away these chains would cause an explosion, and taking away this prison would take away home. too much. light can too, be blinding, when you’ve been in the darkness for so long.

why is being myself so painful?

someday i will find in it me to live again. i’m sorry i’m still scared. but i’m trying. i’m growing. i’m getting there.


She stretched out, leaned in

felt every inch of this body 

this home,

that’s become so alien

turned into a battlefield 

scars stay where love should be

a war, branded upon

she breathed in


she touched her soul once again 

looked upon the child still inside 

the multitudes that exist within her

right on the other side,

of paper thin walls 

close enough to break

one touch would let it all explode

let it all go.

she sees it, hauntingly close 

the answer is within, it has always been right here inside

there are mountains and galaxies

stories and magic, inside.

she wants to live

yet she turns away

quietly whispers

i’m sorry

i’m sorry for branding this war upon you

i’m sorry for turning home into hatred

i’m sorry I can’t find it in me to love you

to make peace, or find the courage to leave this illusion i’ve constructed 

i’m sorry I can’t come home,

not yet