I am suddenly panicking about returning to the UK. New York has, and always will, represent health to me. A place where I am happy and stable. Despite recent years when I have spent time here, getting sicker and sicker, something about this city holds hope for me. A life. A life with a future. I think of the UK and I think about the hospitals, the sleepless nights, the crying, the pleading, the ambulances at 3am, the doctors, the needles, the tubes. What's strange is that all of this has happened in New York too, and yet somehow I feel like recovery is only an option in the US. It's a childish way of thinking, yet I struggle to grasp the concept that both recovery and sickness lie within ME, and my surroundings bear little weight on how healthy/unwell I become.
I don't want to leave because, in my mind, that means giving up on recovery. It means a license to throw myself head-first into my eating disorder. An inevitable crumbling under the ever-pressing urges to self-destruct. Every time I return, I feel like I am going "home" to die. I feel like I have permission here to be well, to be healthy. To keep striving for something more in my life than anorexia. Back in the UK, it's the complete opposite and it feels acceptable, expected, that I will stay trapped. I'm not ready to give up and leave this behind.
It makes no sense. I have had periods of doing well in both countries. I have had periods of pure hell in both countries. The difference I think is that I look at New York through rose-tinted lenses. I am different here. I don't quite know how- maybe it's just the way that the health care system works. Or maybe it's the mindset I have started off on when I have arrived each time, or maybe it's the simple fact that I believe recovery is possible here...and that I have people around me who believe in that for me too. And that when I am flailing, there are people here who still hold onto that hope for me. Back in the UK, I feel like I have been written off as a lost-cause, a "terminal" case. Why do I care so much what other people think? What happened to the 'old me', that would have turned around and just RECOVERED as a "screw you- I'll prove you all wrong!"? Where did that fire GO?.. I'm starting to feel like the character in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" who was so worn down by the end, he gave up completely. And I hate that. That's not me. I am a fighter, a survivor, someone who laughs in the face of diversity and stands up for what I, at my core, believe to be right.
What happened? Where did I go?..