My Reflection is a Dichotomy

I am not my anorexia, but I am.

I am not the girl who looks at herself in the mirror every morning and feels fat, overweight, and a general waste of too much space.

I am not the person pulling at her stomach to see how far out it extends, who cries when she realizes she can’t count her ribs by running her finger along them anymore, whose stomach turns at the thought of eating anything, and who shies away from the public for fear of them judging her weight.

I am not the voice that commands me to restrict and to exercise compulsively.

I am not the mindset that bends me to its will and every whim and desire without any consideration for the strain it puts on my breakable bones and spirit.

I am not a calorie counter whose expression glazes over with terror at the sight of foods containing carbohydrates, sugars, and fats in any quantity other than virtually zero.

I am not the individual who can barely consume fifty percent of what is on her plate without voices screaming and raging at her until she’s left cowering in the corner alone.

I am not the girl who wants to be diminutive, with a slender, birdlike frame and angular features that jut out abnormally under skin that contours far too closely to her skeleton.

I am not the numbness that takes over when I see or think of food, gaining weight, or appearing any differently than an ideal that has never existed and will never exist, yet somehow still occupies every corner of my mind ever second with the most ridiculous clarity. Less. Less. Less.

I am not driven to exercise compulsively even on an empty stomach, even though it means excruciating pain and blood, even though it means I’m hurting myself.

I am not sick.

But I am.

I am not my depression, but I am.

I am not curling up into the smallest of balls and an irrepressible, invasive feeling of cold that grasps at my bones and my soul.

I am not rendered speechless by mental pain and sorrow.

I am not made to feel completely devoid of feeling and vibrancy, or to believe that I have no will to live.

I am not days spent in bed because getting up seems impossible.

I am not tearstained cheeks that never seem to dry and lips that chap from the salt of that sadness.

I am not the girl you see with a vacant, empty expression; a hollowed out version of herself.

I am not an angel with broken, tattered, ragged wings who has spent so long on the ground that she has forgotten how to fly.

I am not sick.

But I am.

I am not my anxiety, but I am.

I am not the all consuming fear that takes over for seemingly no reason and brings me to my knees in seconds.

I am not the girl who is rendered speechless and thoughtless by a buzzing fear that leaves my whole body simultaneously tingling and alive yet numb and deadened.

I am not an individual who breaks down into nothingness when things do not go as planned.

I am not laughably frightened by change and by unanswered queries nor statements that go unacknowledged.

I am not the way my hands fly around madly or my heart rate skyrockets, my palms sweat, and my mind flatlines.

I am not sick.

But I am.

I am not my OCD, but I am.

I am not compulsively driven to do things meticulously to the point to exact repetition every single time.

I am not seemingly strange habits or rituals.

I am not driven mad when something is out of place.

I am not pushed to tears when I cannot control what transpires.

I am not a person who resorts to counting numbers, tapping fingers, cleaning surfaces, mincing words, and countless other little behaviors, just to keep me mildly sane.

I am not sick.

But I am.

I am not free yet.

But someday, I will be free.”


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