Bang. Bang. Bang. Thump. Metallic sounds somewhere to the left of me creep into my subconscious, gradually infiltrating the dark fog enshrouding my mind. I feel cold, damp, and numb. I stretch my fingers; I’m on the ground. It’s hard like ice, and cleaner than the kitchen floor of an OCD patient. I open my eyes, but my vision is obscured. Rubbing them vigorously, I scrape out the gunk that has secreted onto my lashes, and a congealed mixture of white and red pus clings to the tips of my fingers. Bizarre.
Before me is a room tainted in shades of white and silver. I muster what energy I have and sit up, only to be met with a searing fiery pain across my abdomen. Confusedly lifting the now tattered and torn remains of my top, I notice red markings carved into my flesh. Violent and fresh. Blood trickles down towards my waistline in thin jagged lines and immediately, fresh waves of revulsion and shame roll over me.
Staggering gingerly to my feet, I sigh. So weak. So dizzy. But I am used to it.
Hate. And Hunger. More hate. And then more hunger.
Slowly, I turned to look around me, puzzlement rippling through me like tattered streamers caught in a summer storm. What was going on? Who? Where? What? Why?
The contents of the room, whilst random to some, look so carefully laid out to me. An open empty fridge with its softly flickering light, a lifted toilet seat, a toothbrush, a sink, and a bed stuffed with food. Suspicion mounts in my chest; it all seems far too deliberate.
Hate returns and with it, the voice of darkness, a hollow rasping of rage… building… building… building…
Scared for a moment, but suddenly terrified, goose bumps ricochet across my body in pinpricks of heat. Someone knew. Someone knew my secret.
Who was behind this? How did they know? I’d been so careful! I race through my mind trying to remember what had happened before I woke up in this hellhole, but nothing arose. It couldn’t, everything was a blur, a distorted mess, much like my life I suppose. I anxiously pace the room in an attempt to experience a memory rush, to just have everything come flooding back to me. On the verge of tearing out the feeble remains of my hair, I see a series of marks, all too similar to the ones on myself, etched onto the wall, evenly spaced, and evenly placed, glaring at me with the same judgement I’ve seen a million times before. In a crook behind the bed, I see them all, there’d have to be at least sixty plus. Engrossed in this discovery I become startled by the sharp scrape behind me.
A mirror had gracefully shifted itself on the wall behind me, and carefully enough so as to place me in its line of fire. Though streamed with cracks from one corner to the other, it still revealed a nauseating image that I refused to be real. A large, grotesque blob, layered in rolls of fat, cellulite and stretchmarks was reflected back at me, not even worthy of the term human. Suddenly enraged I feel the blood boil beneath my skin, circulating its way down my arms and into my fists, I smash the corner of the mirror. I don’t give two fucks about where I am or what’s happened anymore. My fear evaporated as if the mirror had taken to it with a shamwow. Grabbing one of the jagged shards that littered the ground I hacked at my thighs, once, twice, thirteen times to remove from them the flesh that repelled me from society. Resting for a moment in the pool of blood that was my victory, I take to its twin, twice as hard with a shard twice as sharp. Slicing through my flesh like a fresh loaf of bread. Mid slash I catch a glimpse of myself in the glass beneath me. It was no use. I needed more.
Dragging myself to the toilet I plunge the toothbrush down my throat. Again and again I gag as sick pours from my mouth. The toothbrush was no longer effective I needed to go deeper. I shove my hand down the back of my throat and scratch and pull with every ounce of energy I can muster. Blood this time. Mildly satisfied and only somewhat exhausted, I admire the blood stains embedded in my nails as I return to the broken glass, hovering over it like an assassin and its victim. No change. Still the same. Not good enough.
I feel the colour of my face slip away as something snaps inside of me. I can’t do this anymore. I launch myself from one side of the room to the other, hoping with every part of my being that I can knock it out of me. With each slap into the wall I hear the ringing in my ears, its back. The voices. Ugly, fat, disgusting, worthless, nothing. The voices get louder, I go faster, have to make it stop, I don’t care where I am any more I’m not scared anymore just angry, frustrated, done. Harder and harder I throw myself, my heart pounding as I test the limits of the human body. Bang. Bang. Bang. Thump!
Cold, wet, numb. The nurses peer over me. Literally immersed in my own blood, sweat and tears they tend to my wounds, but it’s too late. I’ve won. The voices are fading, and the pain is slipping away. As my vision becomes lighter, and the voices around me more faint, I remember where I was. St Vincent’s psych ward for eating disorders. They’ll say it beat me, but I did what I had to do to make it leave. It consumed my life, like a nightmare that my body refused to wake up from. But now, as the nurses and the room in which I spent my days crying, and cursing the life ANA and MIA had given me slip away, I find I’m in a dreamland.