I am my own worst torturer
Have suffered but am the perpetrator of my ills
Need to break free
A life is passing
The facets of my mind are like clashing personalities
The heart is longing, yearning, reaching
The head a cruel totalitarian
My brain is like a wound-up spring
I have analysed not lived
Help me surrender
Let me live on air and water
Let me dance and never stop
Let me be
So that others can be too
I wrote this poem in 1994. The eating disorder I'd had since my mid-teens was really getting me down and life was pretty much unbearable.
A good friend whom I'd been confiding in suggested I look back over my life for any events which might have contributed to the problem. The unravelled a lot. I began to understand myself better and realised that whatever had happened in the past, the future was in my hands. The change I wanted was up to me. So, instead of 'telling' my body what is should be like, I started 'listening' so that it could tell me how best to live. After many ups and downs, a new rhythm emerged. Regular meals replaced bingeing and fasting, and exercise was no longer an obsession.
Later on, I discovered a book - Bulimia Nervosa, a guide to recovery - by Peter J. Cooper. His explanation of the various eating disorders was a revelation. For years, I'd been convinced I didn't have a problem because I wasn't vomiting like 'real' bulimics. Cooper confirmed the reality of my condition, and gave further pointers to a solution.
Life is much more enjoyable now. A major factor has been the happy decision to accept myself as I am. This was made possible by the inner healing of past hurts, self-inflicted and otherwise.
Laura Trevelyan, UK