My treatment certainly inconvenienced my eating disorder, and I regained a healthy weight, but it was never fully exorcised or rooted out, as if not all the cancerous tissue had been removed during an operation. It grew back, with a greater emphasis on exercise, to compensate for a slightly increased calorie intake. I ate quite a lot for tea in the evening, but I exercised more.
So the second episode of anorexia was simply a continuation of the first. I think I knew I wasn’t cured, but hoped my anorexia was so weakened that I would be able to manage it. In fact, I probably felt it could be harnessed and used as an engine that drove me to stay slim: a textbook example of Hubris.
I think I always wanted in-patient treatment. I think I knew that supervision at home wouldn’t work and wasn’t working. I was too dishonest, too lacking in self-awareness and commitment. But I also felt it was wrong to want to be an in-patient, partly, no doubt, because it wasn’t offered. I guess I wasn’t considered ill enough. And I’m constantly aware of how stretched the NHS is.
In Ascot House, I could embrace the fact that this is what I needed all along. I felt an enormous sense of relief when Abi suggested it. What I needed was for somebody else to make decisions for me.
But what does this say about me shirking responsibility? Is it sensible to indulge one of my worst vices? Low self-esteem leads to indecisiveness. If I’m rubbish, then my decisions will be rubbish and will always be the wrong ones. Surely I needed to keep practicing decision making, or I’d completely lose the ability?
Anorexia makes this indecisiveness much worse. Everything is so uncertain; you’re so distrustful of yourself, yet all decisions are momentous and threaten calamity, especially those relating to food. I’ve watched, with that hostile sense of identifying one of my own, some tiny, shrivelled woman returning and returning to the chiller cabinet, replacing one snack item with another, then going back to her original choice, over and over again…