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Ashamed Of What I've Become

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Dismal Saturday morning! The sky is grey, it's raining. I'm here on my own. Husband at work, daughter on a sleepover and just the animals to keep me company. The chickens became agitated an hour ago wanting to come out of their shed but it was raining so hard that neither myself nor the chickens would have ventured any further than the step.


The house felt cold. We'd let the fire go out overnight, so I planned my attack on the day by first lighting the fire with new logs and coal from the bucket. My next task was to put on the washing!

"How's my fire doing -- Mmmm slow but it's getting there." Fingers numb, no chance of starting my external feeding pump yet, best plan is to warm up and then attack the day!


A well deserved cup of coffee was my next plan! I know, I know, coffee isn't good for you! But if we all avoided things which were considered bad for us, we'd never do anything, and what can be worse than not being able to eat. My personal motto is, if it goes down drink it, if it stays down eat it, if it's bad for you then what more damage can it do when no more is to be done! Stupid motto I know but it's true you go with whatever suits and let's be honest I don't have much choice!


I'm often asked the same question -- "Does it bother you that you can't eat" Well! What kind of question is that? Of course it bothers me. It's not like giving up chocolate, or a new diet. It's a way of life, and that's why I don't talk about it much because it's the one thing that makes me different from everyone else! My answer is always no! And then I sound like a martyr -- "You poor brave thing" is usually the reply. P l e a s e!---- Don't give me sympathy because now I feel like I'm really ill.


It happened yesterday at the supermarket. I was walking in awe down an isle full of things I cannot afford when my attention was turned to a woman that I hadn't seen for quite some years. I waved manicly then walked at speed towards her. The look on her face was one of take flight and run, because she obviously didn't recognise me. Too late to pull out or she might think I was her worst nightmare come true.


"It's me, It's me" I shouted, and although she was smiling, she didn't have a clue who I was. I could have been the Tesco Frozen Food Phantom for all she knew and she looked scared to death as I approached.


"It's me -- Barbara. Don't you know me now?" Her face changed from bemusement to one of shock.

I was, let's say, in a past life, a well rounded jolly lady -- now I'm a twiglet bordering on a skeletal framed cartoon character, much older looking and feeling the effects of a chronic disease that shows when I walk!


Her hand went over her mouth. "My goodness I didn't recognise you - you, you look er-- great!"


That was probably her attempt of a compliment without saying how she really felt, but I'm used to that now. "How are you, I heard that you'd been ill" She uttered without wanting the full script.


I'm a master of white lies and how not to bore people with compaints of afflictions, especially when it's myself I'm talking about. "I'm fine really -- how are you?" I'm an expert at turning the whole thing round.


We chatted for a while and then she came straight out with it. "You're a lot thinner now aren't you. I heard that you can't eat so good"


Oh no, time to make an exit. "Yeah! But it's under control" Control? what am I saying. I'm painting a picture of anorexia. I can't eat and it's not something I chose not to do!


"It's not a problem for me because they sorted me out, is what I meant to say!"


"Oh so you're okay now -- you can eat?"


Oh no, I was digging myself deeper into a hole. "Yeah something like that."


I'm sorry -- I'd love to talk to you all day," she said as she fumbled with her shopping list.


"Me too -- we'll have to catch up some other time!" I said my farewell with my heart pounding to get away.


I concluded later that I'm ashamed of my illness. I am it's true! I'm ashamed to tell my friend past and present how I really feel. I have this protective forcefield wrapped around me. I'm unbreakable, un-emotional and afraid to speak the truth for fear of rejection.


Maybe my take on life is not that good after all. I'm false, fake, call it what you will, but I certainly wouldn't call it brave!


My outgoing nature reduced to a quivering wreck. Maybe I should go and stick my head in the sand like an ostrich, but that would be defeatism wouldn't it?

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