As well as continuing to document my life with Mental Illness, I’ve been wanting to have a go at some ‘creative writing’. After a quick Google Search I came upon this website, which provides 365 creative writing prompts. Theoretically, this should be one each day for a year but I’m reluctant to commit to that at this point. I will, however, endeavour to get through two or three a week as well as maintaining the other aspect of this blog.
If you’re vigilant, you’ll realise I’ve skipped Prompt 4. The topic is giving me a slight problem in terms of imagination. That is to say I’m having a bit of writer’s block. Further, I noticed that Prompt 5 was somewhat topical so I’ll crack on and come back to Prompt 4 when I come up with something sensible.
5. Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a café.
**TW: Discusses, in some detail, the difficulties of eating a meal with an ED**
I sit in my bedroom, at my desk. I may be drawing, writing, listening to music…distracting myself as best I can. But it’s hard, because I’m watching the clock. I’m watching it go from 5:30pm, to 6:00pm, to 6:30pm, at which point ‘the call’ is imminent…’DINNER!!’
My stomach sinks as I make my way to the kitchen. I wonder what will be on my plate…will there be safe foods, large portions? Will I have to help myself to food from serving bowls in the middle of the table? How many potatoes can I get away with?
I sit. I fidget. My Brother gets us something to drink (small amount of liquid for me). The plate goes down and my immediate reaction, upon seeing what’s on it, is to mentally divide the plate into sections. There will be the easier bit; people might think this is the salad, or the vegetables, but they’d be wrong. Because these are nutritious foods and we, as slaves of an ED, strive to deny our bodies of vitamins and minerals. For me, the easy bit is the (to take last night as an example) fishcake. With something like a fishcake, you can feign eating by mashing it up, removing the filling from the crispy coating. Eat small morsels. Meanwhile, I’ll eat the salad, albeit while silently incanting my mealtime mantra ‘when it’s in, it’s in…’. Then I go back to the fishcake and try, My God I try, to eat it. I move to the oven chips (the dangerous bit) and eat a couple of the smaller, crunchy ones for effect. And then back to the fish cake.
By now, everyone else is finished, my Dad is washing up and my Mum and I have started to negotiate…she tells me to eat all of the fishcake, and I try. I leave a couple of pieces at the side of my plate and my Mum tells me to eat them. I do. Then we start a conversation on the topic of the chips, which are (more or less) untouched. I refuse to touch them and, at this, my Dad removes my plate, muttering angrily as he does so.
And it’s over. But not without cost; everyone is exhausted. I’m tired with the effort of eating the food I could manage. It doesn’t go down easily (my gag reflex is in perfect working order). My Mum is tired of our nightly stand-offs. She probably never envisaged this, with me at the age of 32. We sit for a while. I deny I have an issue, she tells me I do, that I’ve lost a bit of weight recently. She points out (rightly) that I can’t undertake my upcoming study with the Open University unless I start eating properly…where will my energy and concentration come from…
Finally, about an hour after I sit down, I can go back to my room.