23rd of July – It has been a yearBlog
It has been a year
23rd of July 2017, a day I won’t forget that quickly. In fact, a day I will never forget in my life! The end of a long, long journey, the beginning of something new, the finish of so incredibly much, and the start of a new life! It is the start of new hope, curiosity, belief fueled by gratitude!
I wrote down my thoughts a couple of days ago, but I wasn’t sure if I should share them all! They are completely open, real and reveal a deep dark side of my past! I decided to be exactly that and share them. It is a part of my healing, growing, letting go and I hopefully I may even be able to help others!
Getting closer to this anniversary made me thoughtful, even more than usual, and deeply content! Realizing I am just a part of something unexplainable, unforeseeable, uncontrollable, and unbelievable big- called life!
July 23rd, 2017 was the day I returned home, alive and nearly unharmed, after spending three days at the ICU, nearly dead and unsure if and how I would even make it! I finally reached my breaking point after dealing with an eating disorder for the past 16 years! That lead to extreme guit, low self- esteem, self hate, OCD, behavior disorder and many more painful issues.
July 23rd, 2017 was the day I finally read the lines I was waiting for so long: “Your case has been approved.” After 8 years of hard work, and 10 years after speaking out my wishes for the first time ever openly, I did it.
“I want to be a dancer in New York – and successful!”
July 23rd, 2017, a Sunday, a fact I couldn’t even remember and had to look up. Maybe because I hardly ever know what day of the week it is because it doesn’t really matter to me. But maybe because every day in my life looks completely different anyway. But maybe only because of the fact that three days prior nobody ever thought I would be and could be alive on this Sunday in July.
I am not entirely sure what day it was that I was admitted to the ICU. I believe it was the 21st. I have spent already several days at the hotel, half asleep, sick, never fully awake or aware, definitely more existing than alive. Haunted by guilt, fear and a never-ending voice of control. Control, it seemed but in reality, just thoughts created by an addiction behavior and controlled only by an eating disorder!
I remember canceling shootings; I remember extending my stay at the hotel because I simply couldn’t go any further. The thought of getting up and out of bed, stepping into the bathroom seemed like a marathon – a challenge unreachable to do.
Everything inside me, my true self – cried and screamed: I CAN’T, I JUST CAN’T do this anymore. I CANNOT!
Yet again my eyes and cheeks stayed dry. No tears, no sign of weakness, no weakness at all.
PUSH, – You HAVE to, you MUST! Directed by a voice, indescribable to those who have never dealt with an addiction, because that is what an eating disorder is for me. An addiction, that may even started with pure intent, developed into an unstoppable force – a monster, taking control of your body and your mind, despite better knowledge from you. The knowledge is there, but the addiction is too! No logic reason or explanation is strong enough to stand up against that voice!
After 16 years of torture, countless doctor visits, several hospital stays, and visits, conversations, journaling, endless tries of all kind of therapies, threats, and punishments my body had reached a point where it just couldn’t take it anymore!
The constant attack by the mind, stabbing, hating, judging, abusing, combined with the lack of sleep, food, water and most of all love had reached its breaking point!
And so: Every sip of water was rejected in every way possible, ever tiny bit of food…trying to make up for the past 16 years, feeling how life slowly but surely was leaving the physical being.
I knew I would die.
I knew that this time if I wouldn’t do something then that would be it.
The days prior I forced myself to drive to the grocery store, buy food I wouldn’t be able to digest, dictated by the sheer instinct of survival, overcome by the body simply not being able anymore to work. My stomach got rid of everything. There was nothing more to give and yet it did and so my mind started to separate from my body. That was the first time in all these years I truly felt pure fear. Fear for my life!
Thinking back to that moment, it is spooky and hard to describe. I could see my body from above. I knew the words that came out of my mouth, a brain trying frantically to express its thoughts, made no sense. My thought made no sense.
My eyes tried to adapt to a constant blurry view. My brain could not focus and make sense out of the information it received.
My heart cramping and burning, taking breaks, unable to beat continuously anymore.
My entire abdominal area, cramping, experience pains like fire, stepping knives making it harder and harder to breathe.
HELP – I need HELP, I can’t. I just can’t.
Scared and fearing for my life. A fear I never really experienced before. I felt down so many times and back then I would have given so much to just go….no need to fight anymore. But when you actually get that close and feel life energies leaving your body, things change! At least for me they did, because I truly lost control!
Control which had been taken away from me several times in the past. I am talking about losing control because I was admitted to the hospital, I was put on a feeding tube at the age of 13 and then again at the age of 14, to prevent my body from shutting down. Controlled by grown-ups because I was banned from dancing, monitored and my weight controlled daily!
But this was the first time I truly lost control over myself, my body and my own mind!
And yet, I didn’t want to call the hospital! Too many traumatizing experienced in the past hesitated me to do so.
“How bad can it be,” said THE voice.
“Who should help you anyway,” said the addiction.
“They would just make you fat,” said the fear.
“Don’t be a burden to your society and family,” said the anancasm.
And then I thought about my siblings! I could not bear the thought of interrupting their lives violently, forcing them to be dealing with the loss of a sibling, a loved one, because no matter what, I knew they still did love me!
I have seen it happen. Too many times in fact.
I lost my first real friend due to suicide! Another best friend of mine from childhood to an addiction which therefore led to suicide and my sisters’ best friend and one of my friend driven by an eating disorder which lead to death!
I saw the pain, I felt it!
The more it scared me that it seemed out of my control now. This wasn’t my decision anymore to cause such pain to my family.
Or was it? I had to try, despite all fear, despite all insecurities!
And so I called my dad!
The one man who was always here for me! No matter what! Who never judged me, was never harsh or pushing, always trying to guide me, trying every possible way to help, always here when I needed something or someone. When I needed an open ear, advice, support or back up!
The first time in my life, that I can remember I said the words, in desperation. Meaning them and feeling them deeply: Ich kann nicht mehr!
“OK, where are you at? Where is your car? How long will you be able to stay by yourself?”
Questions, full of love and so smart, collected and seemingly in control!
From this point onwards, my mind let go and my body started to relax. Relax, not a good thing in that particular state of existing.
After that, it was just a matter of acting quickly. My mom called me back a few minutes later, convincing me to call the ambulance and urged me not to wait for my dad to arrive, making the trip all the way from Austria to Germany, still hours away by train, plane, and taxi.
I finally listed and shut down THE voice, my addiction. I called the front desk at the hotel and they then called the ambulance, who arrived shortly after.
I didn’t care what I looked like, what I was wearing or what I smelled like. I had no energy to shower or wash my hair days prior due to the lack of energy! Once they arrived I felt an inner release. The fight insight my brain finally stopped. I made my decision on fighting for myself, my life and against everything the addiction forced me and urged me to do!
I can stop fighting myself and start fighting for my true self!
I remember them looking at me in disbelief, nearly surprised, asking many questions. I believed I answered all of them just to find out afterward based on the documentation that nearly nothing of what came out of my mouth made sense or was true. My brain just couldn’t think clearly anymore or at least the connection between my brain and my articulation was not working at this point!
But the addiction was no gone. I remember at this point thinking: See they all just look at you, you are not sick enough to even take you to the hospital. You are fine. Just continue the way we did the last century and beyond. Don’t let go of me: the only consistency you have in your life. Clearly: If you would be sick, they would act quickly!
Later I found out, that based on all the vitals they took, which I was not aware of because my mind dosing off, they were simply amazed by the fact that I was still alive and so they didn’t really know what to do with me at that point!
“Nobody could have blamed the doctors if they couldn’t have helped and saved you, because based on your states that was expected!” was one of the sentences I have heard many times from nurses and doctors and the first time from my brother afterward.
My brother, who rushed to see me in the hospital and drove over 3 hours to see me, with his wife! A gesture I will never forget!
Seeing a familiar face of a loved one after hours of procedures where doctors tried to find a blood vein to keep me alive. Unable to fill my body and brain with the nutrition, water, and electrolyte needed desperately because all of my veins collapsed. So, I was put up-side-down for several hours to get enough blood flow into my aorta to gain an arterial access.
I didn’t know exactly what they did at that point. All I was wondering if “why don’t you do anything”
I then realized they have brought in more and more doctors, all of them trying to gain access to a vein to finally help me.
The next question was how much and how fast they could fill me up with much-needed minerals and electrolytes: Enough for me to survive but not too much to cause any brain damage. A game, they gambled, after asking me to sign the papers and therefore it was me who took over the responsibility and gambled. A game that would decide about the future of my life but given it was the only chance left, with the assumption they would actually find a functional vein, I signed the papers and took the bet! The game began, always monitored and under close supervision yet a big gamble!
I do not know the name of the doctors nor the ones of the nurse, but I feel truly blessed that they didn’t give up on me. Here I was admitting weakness, giving up and seeking for help, but after, what felt like the 30000 needle puncture, I felt utterly scared. “Ich habe Angst”(I am scared.), – I voiced quietly.
And for the first time in forever tears flow: Sadness, weakness, fears all of it displayed in front of others and admitting the loss of control!
“I know, I know honey, I am here for you. They are doing everything they can at this point. Just hold on a little bit longer. You will be fine – Es wird alles wieder gut!” A sentence you tell a scared child, a sentence you tell yourself during hard times. A sentence as the last resort to calm your mind, but at this moment it worked! I felt something. I felt like someone, not just like anyone, not just like a number, like many times in the past during hospital stays. Not just like a chronic problem, as I have been labeled in the past.
I spent three days at the ICU. Miraculously after those three days there my blood results were nearly back to normal (at least the ones deciding about life or death!) My heart found a regular heartbeat again and I could actually think somehow clearly again.
I don’t know exactly when it was that my mind shifted and developed this new and victorious goal, seemingly unreachable for so many years prior. Decades of wishful thinking, simply not believing it could actually be possible and now it shifted! Maybe because there was no other way to go then right towards life, facing all of my problems head on! And that meant not just dealing with the problems of food and the fear of it but also past traumas and self esteem issues. The reasons for my addiction where so many. I had to face all areas of life that were so long suppressed from an addiction.
I replaced fear with hope, believe and joy and most of all gratitude!
I smiled although I had little to smile for.
I believed even though I had no reason to.
I hoped because it fulfilled my heart with joy!
I used every look of disbelieve from doctors, family, and friends as a motivator to change. Every negative word of people, who maybe didn’t know better or simply were not aware of how much they could actually harm by careless words I used for my healing and to prove them wrong!
“You have been sick for so long, I guess you will always be sick.”
Focus! Focus your energy your thoughts your energy on what you want, on your goal.
Don’t look at all the things you will lose, focus and all the joy, independence, respect, pride you will gain! They can’t know what is possible or not, because they never dealt with it!
What is my goal, what is my plan? Death is a good motivator!
I am here. I am alive! After sixteen years of self – torture, abuse, and torture by others. Sleep, love and nutrition shortage: I am here!
Obviously, there is still a reason I am here. If I should have been dead by now, there were many occasions I could have died and it would have just been understandable! And so I faced all of my emotions straight on!
The first days, weeks and maybe even months I experienced life in a way never lived before, driven by another force. There was no looking back just facing forward -only one direction! I become alive, imagined my goal. I ate despite the pain and the fear, I accepted the fact- even though the uncertainty, I hang in there, against all odds. The pain in my stomach, the pain in my gut, the sleepless nights, the acid in my throat, the restlessness of THE voice, the sheer fear… I let it be, accepted it, welcomed it, and kept going. I took the uncomfortable emotions and took them as a sign of change, embraced them and used them as a reassurance that I was heading in the right direction. I gathered all my logical knowledge and planned ahead. So, I calculated nutritional facts, calories and guided my body like a little child. The best role model was my niece, who was 1-month old back then. She had to learn how to eat as well. You could do everything right, and yet she still had pain sometimes. I learned from her. Not giving up, being kind to myself and believing my body will learn, will relearn, will trust again!
That feeling of a functional digestive system after 3 days was one of the most empowering moments in a long time and the start of the whole journey! It provided me true hope because it proved me wrong. It showed me that my body can and will learn to function again! Be patient, stay positive, act out of love, provide your body with all the necessary supplements and food and truly give it your all: I can recover!
Never in my whole life did I truly think I had it in me, to make the change, allow the shift. Giving it one more try, after all these years, but this time for the win: Learning to accept setbacks and standing up proudly again afterwards; learning to accept emotions and feel deeply; letting go of forced behaviors; connecting body and soul. Most of all accepting womanhood, sexuality and forgive. Never forget, and don’t force myself to do so, but learning to forgive- Filled with a heart of gratitude. I was reminded by doctors on a regular basic how lucky I was, because at each follow-up appointment they looked at me again in disbelieve after they have seen the states: how is It possible? How did you change?
Short answer: I just did.
Step-by-step, no Plan B going towards one direction, trusting my bare instincts. Just plan A, once again! As I have said in the past: If you don’t have a plan B, you have to make plan A happen, no matter what!
On July 23rd my case got approved and I received my Green card. I archived it as an artist, without marring a foreign person, even though it was recommended to me by many lawyers as an only alternative.
Even though I was raped by another lawyer who offered to help me with my case, taking ruthless advantage of me and my situation.
Despite an addiction, called an eating disorder, which ran most parts of my life for more than 16 years.
On July 23rd I finally committed to truly heal, to open up, to accept myself with all its flaws, to let go, to recover for myself!
To do so on my own terms, my speed! Reaching out for help even though I was diagnosed with a chronical eating disorder many years in advance, discharged from the hospital as a hopeless case in the past.
I am still pushing my comfort zone every day because as they say: It doesn’t get easier – you just get stronger! Never stop learning or working on myself, always aiming for more. Embracing mental work and shifting thoughts! I had to learn that some days are not perfect, sometimes you fall back into old behaviors, but that just keeps me human, but doesn’t stop me from moving forward, becoming the true me! All of that with a beating heart, full of gratitude!