“I’m Not Sick”


“I’m not sick,” the young woman says as she sits in the waiting room of the eating disorder treatment center’s admissions center, sitting with her feet on the chair and her arms looped around her knees in an effort to appear as small as possible.

“I’m not sick,” she says as they make her step onto a scale in nothing but a hospital gown to determine whether or not she is medically stable enough to be admitted into their care.

“I’m not sick,” she says as she packs clothes into her suitcase, most of which fit her too loosely and are bigger than necessary in order to hide the body wasting away underneath.

“I’m not sick,” she says, as she sits down for her first ever meal in an eating disorder center, rendered incapable of completing what is in front of her and forced to choke down a supplement.

“I’m not sick,” she says while secretly exercising in her room, leaving the door open just enough to see if someone is coming to pretend she was just sitting on the floor examining her fingernails or something similarly innocuous.

“I’m not sick,” she says to herself while putting her bloody shirt into the laundry, hoping that the evidence of her destructive behavior will wash away as easily as she wishes she could just wash away in the waves of the ocean, never to be seen again.

“I’m not sick,” she says as she breaks down into hysterics as her treatment team tells her that they are moving her to a higher level of care.

“I’m not sick,” she says while being woken up at six in the morning to have her unstable vitals taken, dragging a blanket into the community room with her and turning on the news to try and distract herself from the day that lies ahead.

“I’m not sick,” she says, insisting that she is fat, disgusting, and ugly, despite the desperate cries of her family that she is everything but.

“I’m not sick,” she says deliriously to the ambulance workers as they plead with her not to close her eyes and pass out because her blood pressure is so dangerously low, hooking her up to two IVs at once.

“I’m not sick,” she says to the doctor who comes to tell her that she is being admitted into the hospital.

“I’m not sick,” she says quietly to the empty space around her, watching rain fall by out the window of her seventh floor hospital room.

“I’m not sick,” she says to the care worker assigned to monitor her because she has expressed suicidal desires.

“I’m not sick,” she says, as the sight of food placed in front of her is enough to reduce her into a sobbing wreck that only medicine can artificially calm for just a short while.

“I’m not sick,” she says, as she is admitted to the hospital for the third time in a row at a life-threateningly low weight, still unable to see the way her bones jut out against her skin and her eyes have lost all of their shine.

:”I’m not sick,” she says as she refuses to eat part of a meal, taking tiny, birdlike bites of her food and fiddling with it to give the appearance that she might actually pick it up and put it in her mouth.

“I’m not sick,” she says as she expresses a desire to jump out the window and run far, far away from treatment.

“I’m not sick,” she says while asking if she can use the bathroom, something people usually take for granted but she is not permitted to do for fear she will cave and use a behavior.

“I’m not sick,” she says as they give her the good news that she will be transferred down from residential to partial, from partial to intensive outpatient, and from intensive outpatient into the careful, caring hands of her outpatient team.

“I’m not sick,” she says, struggling with her urges to restrict and overexercise that are sometimes so strong and omnipresent that she is forced to give in.

“I’m not sick,” she says, hoping that she will soon be allowed to exercise in a healthy way again and begin incorporating more colorful aspects into the gray shroud of her life.

“I’m not sick,” she hopes to someday say, and have it ring true.


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