The End of the Illness of Discontent-The Beginning of a Brave Big World

This is the final ending to my “Illness of Discontent.” The short story was written in the fall of 2015, quite awhile ago.  I have travelled a long ways but where am I in recovery?  In the series I just wrote “The Cake is Now” I tried to show and explain how I got from feelings of euphoria to starvation and feeding tubes and hospitalizations.

I think with my use of the maniac’s hours, I try to establish the feelings of bliss without the food restriction and the excessive exercising.  I think it was quite clever for me to find a way to bring back that time of the day, feeling so high and doing so much work without the eating disorder playing right in the forefront.  I think it is an important step in any one’s recovery to find a way to deal with what we craved, before we got really sick.

I look at my own recovery, I said in the story, I coined it Radical Will.  There wasn’t a doctor or hospital that thought I could do it my way.  Staying in the hospital was not an option.  I learned to be the perfect anorexic while I was there, I was too far away from my family, and their idea of the therapeutic alliance was all wrong for my individual recovery for sure.  I came home and told them I was putting together, “Team Corey.”  It consisted of a very dedicated PCP, who saw me weekly for weigh ins and did my labs, I also had a nutritionist to work on food planning, a regular therapist and lastly the single most important person to my recovery, my eating disorders therapist.  With all these women medical professionals watching out for my care, I couldn’t fall backwards that would never be allowed.

My road to well went unremarkable for many months.  I put on a few pounds, and a few pounds more, but nothing to get me out of the darkness and give my body a much needed break from the starvation.  It wasn’t until this fall, between here and there, that I realized I had just done enough to put the ambulances away. But I wasn’t living, I was still sick, I wasn’t succeeding.  I carried on, my family and friends worried the whole time I played around.  Come January I looked in the mirror.  May would mark the two year point of my start of mania and euphoria with school.  I knew I had little time to get it together.

I felt my loved ones and friends as well as doctors, begin to give up on me.  I had put them through so much how could they honestly continue?  It was just what I needed as March and April blended together.  Yes I was in school, getting perfect grades, and still had my early morning time with work and my euphoria. I thought to myself, that I could only have mania and euphoria in the early morning with anorexia.   And the perfect grades where garnered without any slip in the scale.  No it wasn’t moving up like it needed to be, but I was maintaining my crazy, mayhem -laden lifestyle.

So when I merely slipped in my soccer slides in the last part of April, and fractured my bones and wrecked my knee.  I knew instantly the fall was not hard or like off a latter, as one would think.  These injuries were from the toll of the anorexia.  I vowed to myself and to God as my witness, I would begin to put on weight to get to a more normal weight I needed to be.  Since then I have gained 10 pounds, I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, when I have so far to go.  But those ten pounds I put on were out of shear will. They killed my psyche as my smallest pants got a bit too tight, it pained me, I wanted to die, but I REALLY don’t want to die from this illness.  So I went upstairs, and got some jeans that were aa bit bigger.  I put them on, I double checked the size tag; yes they were bigger.

So today, I just got done eating some stew for breakfast, something I have been doing every morning.  I feel with all the chaos with Jack dying, and Julia Bleu getting cancer I was tried.  By the Grace of the Universe I somehow got through it all and didn’t lose any weight.  Yes, that makes me smile. M ex-wife told me to eat a cupcake on Mother’s Day, I told her I would take it home.  My Bella said, “Mommy, I will eat one with you.”  It is this stuff that makes the tears run hard and fast like a gush of water.  It breaks my heart, right now so fragile yet so strong, to think of Bella and all my loved ones I have hurt.  I finally realized I was dying, and oh so close did I come. With that in my mind, and a leg on the mend, I want to run road races with Bella again. There is no place for this illness of discontent in my life.

I feel like I just accomplished so much putting on those ten pounds, but I mustn’t let up I have so far to go.  I would like to put on another 10 pounds by mid-summer with training-with me its always been about my body in one shape or another.  I am joining the gym today to start my workouts-they will be abbreviated with all my injuries.

So my story of recovery is quite simple I guess.  I chose life.  I chose life with my loved ones as long as I am blessed.  I will never hurt my body again like I did.  I am aware of the fall-out of my anorexia, I probably have long-term problems I will need to address.

To all the brave, courageous people still battling this disease: I pray you learn you are so much more than your weight.  Don’t give up, yes there will be many hard, hard days no matter what.  If you don’t have support outside your family please try to get some.  I know my radical will is not for everyone, but I know it works, without the long struggle to get there.  If anyone wants to talk, or needs me to listen, I am here my address is thepoet@corysuniverse.com.  Please write me I will call you I will do what I can.  I pass no judgements and wish no judgements had been cast on me.  They did nothing but hurt me and get in the way.

This it Bella, for you this will be dedicated.  I am only survived because of you ultimately.  Now I am alive and well, eating for me.  Bella I am sorry for the pain and all the worry.  You are the greatest kid, and I am sorry I let this illness affect our life for two long years.  To Camie thank you for all your love and support.  But mostly for your friendship that hasn’t ceased in divorce.  To my parents, I am sorry “I just didn’t eat!”  I say that with a laugh but I wish you could understand me so much more.  Lastly to my friends, priest, professors, and everyone else who was so kind to help me, I say Thank you, I will never forget a single act of kindness or compassion.  I pray when this book is put all together by others than me, it will at least help one person, just one is what I ask.  If my illness and story helps one person back to recovery, I will know this was what was needed for closure and my new Big Brave life with my rock, Stephanie, to begin.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

“The Illness of My Discontent”- in review to be published as full story

It was the middle of September, 2014, I staggered out of the library, my legs shaking and my arms barely able to carry my knapsack.  Students briskly passed by me on all sides. I stared directly down at the floor as I made my way to the elevator, feeling the stares, the grimaces, the looks of utter disgust and disdain from other students. I finally reached the elevator and pressed the up button. Yes, my 2:00 pm English Comp class was located directly above on the second floor, however I had no strength nor an ounce of energy to climb the seemingly mountain of stairs. Embarrassed, I stepped into the elevator and pressed floor two. Almost there, just a little further, and I would be able to slump into my requisite seat. Then I would breathe deeply and pray to the gods above to get me through the class. My secret was no longer, and I could not hide from my hideous truth of the pathetic and sick person I had slipped into. No longer able to recognize myself in a mirror or concentrate on anything more than sitting in my chair, trying not to pass out and ignoring the disgust of my fellow students. From the depths of my soul, I began to weep, no longer able to escape a pain so complicated and sharp. Believing I had been in complete and utter control, I sat precariously in my chair, a wave of being completely out of control enveloped my fragile, child-like body that was now me, created and designed through a twisted sickness of anorexia nervosa.

.

I started at school in the summer of 2014; I was on top of the world or so I thought. I was earning my requisite 4.0 in all my classes and beginning to cut back on eating just to be sure, I was perfect in every way a twisted and manic perfectionist should be. Getting up every morning no later than 2 am and working feverishly until 6 am, I was so proud of my “control” over my body, as well as what I thought was every other facet of my life. I was filled with the rushing sensation of adrenaline, like shooting up drugs as I have read about in so many other crazy poets’ stories.  It is still a time I look back on with wistful nostalgia. It was for a “girl interrupted,” the single most acutely twisted amazing time I have ever experienced. I sought out this feeling; it satisfied me on all levels. I loved what I called my “body checks.” This was when I would lay down on the couch and run my hands over my jutting hipbones, making sure they were jutting out more than the day before and making sure my wrist bones protruded out, stretching my thin, malnourished skin. With just a little bit less weight, my bones would break through my hollowed body.  Then I would go to the mirror, take my shirt off, and make sure every vertebrae on my back was nearly poking through the skin, along with my shoulder blades.  My favorite part was a toss-up between my prized ribcage where I could take my fingers and run from the top of my ribcage to the bottom, as my rail thin fingers went bumping along the deep fissures between each rib, and looking at my face, one I no longer recognized but loved to look at as my already high cheek bones made a chiseled portrait that was hideous to others. However, it assured me that I was in control, getting closer to perfect. Sadly, missing those days tells me I am still held in suspended animation by this best friend who has steered me so wrong, who I trusted, and with whom for a brief time I experienced a high like only a seasoned junkie can describe.

The semester ended with a perfect GPA, with great relationships I carried forward with classmates and professors, and oh, by the way, 22 pounds lighter on a body that did not have a pound to lose in the first place. Yes, my family and friends were worried about my life-long struggle as a perfectionist of the extreme sorts. Calls for me to run not walk to the doctors were being tossed about, but I paid no attention to any of it.  I could not wait to keep this party going right into the start of fall semester.

Fall semester began September 2, 2014.  By October I was overtly struggling to hold myself together, continuing my nocturnal ways, losing more weight (down below 90 pounds), but of course achieving that necessary, nothing else is acceptable, 4.0 GPA. My biggest thrill since the birth of my daughter was the vile joy I got when 00 pants just slid off and I had finally reached being only able to wear kids’ clothes.  It was a momentous day, one that I will always remember for the rest of my life.  My fall from grace can only be summed up as the “The Tower of Terror,” a ride at Disney, which simulates an elevator plunging downward in free-fall.

It was not until the end of October with my family’s ever growing concerns and pressures, I conceded to see my doctor. As soon as I saw my primary care doctor, the “fire alarm” was sounded. My ill-fated decision to push through the latter part of the semester was instantly vaporized. Told by my primary care that I was, for lack of any better words, starving myself and on course that would ultimately result in my death. There was no other choice except to leave school and enter an in-patient hospital for eating disorders. I argued until I no longer could breathe that leaving school was not an option, adamant about staying in school and finishing the semester. I was not losing my GPA and all my hard work for a little bump in my road; I was absolutely dismissive and patronizing to my doctor and to the illness that held me ever so tightly in a death grip.

For the first time I no longer had the physical or emotional stamina to keep up with my course load. I was still clasping rigidly to the idea of staying in school, as my hollowed shell of a being was slowly but surely being swept out to sea, amidst waves that were rising dangerously above my head, threatening all the precious and priceless elements of my life. Entrenched in anorexia as it flowed rapidly through my constricted veins, I was consumed in a blinding wintery white out. I was holding and clinging on to each passing  minute resulting in my self-inflicted denial of life-saving medical care, which the inner most sanctity of my soul longed to receive.

On November 8, 2014, my family drove me to Waltham, MA, to be admitted into an inpatient eating disorders hospital called Walden. The nurse who was handling my paperwork abruptly took all my belongings from me and ordered me into the nearby bathroom. She dryly instructed me to undress, including my underwear, socks, and any jewelry and to put on the johnnie left for me inside the bathroom. Once I was dressed to her specifications, I tentatively stepped out of the bathroom where she ordered me into a room where I was about to experience my first “weigh-in”- the Walden way. It is imperative to note the weighing-in process for a person with an eating disorder like anorexia. At home, I had  a very strict ritual of getting up early every morning, peeing as much as possible, and getting completely naked before I stepped on my highly sophisticated scale and held my breath as I looked at my weight for the morning. Then I meticulously recorded my weight onto a long list of paper taped to my bathroom wall. I learned I  did not ever get to know my weight while being an in-patient at Walden as the weight read-out is covered up. So stricken by the sickening loss of control I was experiencing, I did not hear the nurse tell me I was all set and to step off the scale. Clinging desperately to the churning in the depths of my very sick brain, I might be too fat or weigh too much to be admitted.

Finally, without any explanation or any words whatsoever, the nurse muttered something about following her as she quickly left the admitting suite, leaving me scrambling to follow her. Thankfully, she carried my bags, but a big balloon of trepidation ready to burst filled my head as the anxiety about entering Walden reached an all-time high. We approached the double doors labeled, “Walden Behavioral Hospital for Eating Disorders.” As I walked down the hallway following the nurse, people who did not look nearly as sick checked me out with a few muttered “HI’s” and faint waves of hands. I was told to sit, so I sat. Soon I discovered I was the thinnest (71 pounds) and sickest of all the patients on the unit.

From the get go I knew I was an outsider. I quickly discerned that most of my fellow patients had been to Walden before. I left Walden one day before Thanksgiving. I had not come in with the “right attitude” to get better and I needed to go home and regroup. I knew I would have to come back. The medical staff was adamant that I not leave. I had to resort to drastic measures to get out of there, such as starving. Yes, starving myself even further at an eating disorders hospital, losing six pounds and warranting my primary care doctor to require that I be released home into her care. I was the rock star of Walden for my punitive starvation towards the medical staff.  Everybody wanted to know my secrets. So I told them, cockily knowing nobody’s mind was as maniacal as mine to be able to pull such a stunt. I was damn proud of my starvation tactic at Walden, and I know it is still talked about.  It would be a lie if I said I write about this without a smirk or a gleam in my eye.  My real secret: I was double-dogged dared and told I could not possibly do it. I left knowing I would be back in December and would be getting a very drastic measure: a feeding tube insertion.

I believe I lasted at home all of six or seven days before I could no longer manipulate my family and my doctors.  Immediately I was sent back to Walden where they had been expecting me. Upon arriving, a naso-gastric feeding tube was inserted up through my nose and ran down into my stomach. This allowed me to be hooked up all hours of the day and night, except for when I was supposed to be eating real food, to a pump that continuously infused high caloric/nutrient dense liquid into my emaciated body. It was one, if not the most, humiliating experiences of my life. Still able to talk, and eat normally, but having this tubing running out of my nose and taped across my face was as bad as I thought it could get. This time I had played with fire and got torched big time. What I did not realize is that the whole time I was sick with anorexia, I was slowly destroying my future health. On multiple occasions, I landed in the ER where my life was in eminent danger, as well as my relationships with my beloved daughter, my family and friends, and school, which was so important to me.

I left Walden two days before Christmas. In toll, I had only gained three pounds and again the medical staff was adamant I stay. However, I knew I needed to get out of that environment, which only taught me all the tricks of how to be the “perfect” anorexic. There was a great need to do things differently than they had been done before. When I left, the medical staff was nice, tongue in check, and oh so patronizing because in their minds I would indeed be back. This is because everybody returns to Walden. Nobody ever gets better. Being at Walden, I realized I did not need this sickness anymore. I did not want this to be my life. I had too much to do, too much to live for, and, most importantly, a daughter who desperately needed her mommy.

My road to well began from a quote on a girl’s journal that read, “One day I woke up and decided I didn’t want to feel like this anymore…and so I changed, just like that.” The concept was coined, “Radical Will.” I attacked my illness as a full-time warrior. I deconstructed myself; I  was finished being an anorexic patient-no long therapy, just a radical attitude adjustment to change the direction of my destiny. Most people involved in my healthcare doubted my unconventional method. However, I knew this was the only way for me to bury this illness and get back to a “new normal” that provided me the opportunities to engage my daughter as a full-time mom and successfully attend summer classes.

Now I have returned to school, resumed being a mom, and am filled with utter gratitude for all I have in my life that I was so precariously close to losing. No, my health is not perfect. I fear and know I will always on some level be battling this monster that lured me into its hellish cave, never to see the sunset in the same way ever again. I realize I am far from being out of the darkness yet. I still miss those body checks and kids’ clothes.

**First written by Corey Britton in the Fall of 2015.  All Rights Reserved.  Any use of this story or characters is prohibited by law.*****

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

The Cake is Now…….part4 Finishing out the semester

I last left off with this series talking about deconstructing myself and especially what brings a person to actually, physical begin the process of starving themselves.  So up through mid-July I has on a tremendous euphoria kick.  However, as fast it originally arrived in May with no special warning-so was the case with the strict restriction of all types of foods.  Gone were my happy good lucky days, it’s as if my body and mind sensed imminent danger ahead, but nonetheless were heading for the  crash course.

No longer fun, no more a game; nothing about this illness was quiet the same.  I was now nearing the 100 lb. mark, down from my slender weight of 125 when I started all this.  Never once did my mind or my work ethics worry about school because I held on to it tight and knew in my heart my grades were all mine.  I tried as I could to wrap my mind around my lessening body.  I knew plain as day, I was not eating enough and still I did nothing about it, except keep my maniac’s hours in the middle of the night, and exercise with the same gusto as was always the case.

I began to feel my body fail me, in the subtlest of ways that quiet frankly only an anorexic would notice.  I no longer had my hallmark strength. Barely able to walk to the bus station with my knapsack, and get to the bus and over to campus to find my way in an increasing daze, to my classrooms.

It was about this time as the end the semester was coming to a close, my body getting smaller by the week, that the stares, glares, and outright distain would infringe upon me and rob me of my secret: my eating disorder was no longer a secret, it was  front and center for all to see.  My family and friends well they were worried sick.  I disrespected them as well as myself.  I told that I was getting this “thing” under control and would soon it would be a non-issue.  I hadn’t a clue as to what I was saying, this illness was gigantic and engulfing me.  I had yet to go see my doctor. That visit so desperate was still a couple of months away.

Not all was lost, because when I didn’t feel weak, I was amped up beyond control…..I could still distance myself from this illness, enough to enjoy my slide in to 00 jeans and my quick descent into children’s clothes, that brought me to a very happy spot deep inside of me, I never shared with anyone else.  On top of that my grades my kicking it, a solid 4.0 GPA was again in the cards. So on those days, where I didn’t feel weak, I fond a way to bring that euphoria, albeit momentarily.

The days of just living and getting to school were getting harder and harder for me to do.  Faced with finals in the last week of the semester, the maniac’s hours well they brought me no joy or euphoric pleasure.  My golden elixir was not working the same as it once did.  It would be the hardest semester for finals I would ever experience,  I somehow made it through the last final, expending my energy beyond which  is healthy. I knew with just one week and a half to the start of a full schedule of classes for the fall semester, I realized I needed to do, some big to change the trajectory of my fate.

I spent the two weeks off in between semesters, gathering things I wouldn’t have time to run and get during the regular school year.  I did nothing except disrespect the nature and the vice-grip that this insidious disease held tightly to me.  I started the fall semester, weighing less then when I just ended the semester two weeks before.  My pain and my struggles were not just mind, the entire student body was watching go up in flames, and well meaning students would aggravate me, “Just ate something and you will feel better.”

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

“The Cake Is Now” part 3 Decontructing the Euphoria and Highs

It is beyond belief that I, a seemingly intelligent person could actually begin to starve myself in early June 2014.  How could my mind played such a terrible game? How could I fall for such a tormented game of both my body and mind?  I easily began restricting my food just because my mind could, and coupled with the ensuing weight loss, I received such a feeling Euphoria

Anorexia is not well understood in the professional medical community.  There is a stigma of ‘self-blame” that is often attributed by the healthcare provider. In the early stages of this disease, there remains a potent euphoric high, for seemingly having control over your mind and body.  This high is something that is hard to explain, it is so powerful it seems improbable without some sort of drug intervention.

The idea or the concept of starving myself, is so maligned and deeply rooted in the recesses of the brain, and the body is just a mere puppet. As I let myself go back to the high of euphoria, it seems almost inconceivable that such restriction would ever be possible.  As humans we need, we crave both to fuel and nourish our bodies.  Such is not the case with an anorexic. In the height of the disease for the patient, in the beginning months nothing could be further from the truth.  Running on adrenaline and pure euphoria, I was delighted beyond belief, at both my body’s declining weight, and the pure satisfaction I got from the ultimate control I elicited from every facet of my life.

Perfection was the doorway that lead to restriction and over exercise in the months of May, June , and most of July.  At that time I felt invincible; nothing could get in the way of my new routines I created in my life. Unfortunately looking back in hindsight, there were plenty of warning signs that I was headed to deep health ramifications.  However, it took months, for loved ones to somewhat piece it all together.  Another factor as I got deeper into my restriction, extra exercise and my heightened euphoria, is that I went quiet. I went really deep, not sharing this with any other.

People speak about infamous closets, and for me who was always so wide open and honest, I hid my truths from the rest of the world, and covered my body to divert concern.  I wore big clothes that did not fit me, I also began to spend more time alone.  For when I was completely alone, I had no worries of eating for “show” in front of the people who loved and cared for me.

In the medical world, health-care professionals speak not so highly often of the anorexic patient.  There are instances when the patient denies any problem of their own.  Hidden in clothes  which are way too big, and the biggie; starting to eat the little I ingested in a day, home in secrecy.  I spoke of routines in earlier blogs, but an almost ritualistic pattern began to develop coinciding with the heightened Euphoria.  What little I did eat, I planned it out and made much a to do. Since eating was getting to be less and less, I coveted those times I did feed my body. I would go most of an entire day, looking so forward to my 80 calorie Greek yogurt.

As I write this now, I am digging deep, deconstructing myself and my vile patters.  I am also concerned with articulating what exactly was my mind set at this time. Without a doubt this is very difficult and trying to write, for it was sickly enough a very romantic time; a time I felt I loved myself like no other time in my life.  I write these words and know now I was sick, and by romanticizing this part of the this illness’s journey, I am at an utter loss, how the medical community can get involved at this stage.  For me it was the single most important of times, yet I was still months away from seeing a doctor.

So as I find myself on a slippery slope with my recovery, of these smashing memories just over flood me. I try as I may to attach to the euphoria with what would come nearly close to brushes with death.  It does not quell my longing for this time, so perfect in just about every way.  I was in ultimate control, with school, my body and my exercise.  The high of euphoria is a painful mental illness drug, that doesn’t require any type of pill.  And this was all going on, when my health on all levels was not in any imminent danger.  I certainly don’t mean to romanticize, but I honestly must dig deep in my fragile recovery to not fall backwards into that seemingly, no it really was a brilliant place, for three short months before everything  changed.  The euphoria would sadly die, and that is when my body took its own first steps to an impending death.  No that was not euphoric in the very least;

but the brutal reality of this insidious disease.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

“The Cake Is Now” part 2. My story of my anorexia jorney

bd8b8044d26746e299724f71d60c748bSummer courses continued at a frenetic pace.  I kept up my routines and lived for the maniac’s hours.  Between the golden elixir I took, my blissed out feelings, and my steroidal concentration, I tackled my studies and all facets of my life.  I started getting grades back; they were perfect scores. The scale was going down, and quietly without a word, I started actively restricting my food intake a little bit each day!  My anorexia was creeping into my world; I had lost enough weight on my already slender frame.  People began to notice, giving me the encouragement to do it even more, better, getting it perfect.

Things reached their  peak by late July, I was truly on top of world.  My body was starting to ‘wow’ me with its changes.  I started not believing I could get to this thin.  It began to propel me to even greater restriction.  The more weight I lost, the higher I felt, and I continued to increase my active restriction.  I don’t have a clue to what brought on the restriction, it wasn’t because I had an absolute goal.  I believe it was the first time in my life since my divorce 4 years ago, that I had control, and my mind was not right.  It forged control of my school work and seized my body. Little did I know this state of euphoria would soon quickly pass by.  It would be replaced with weakness and no more control as my anorexia would end up stealing from me, all the controls that brought to this place-high on a mountain just filled with pure joy and knowledge that I had complete control for a minute.

On top of excelling at school, and the scale dipping down further than ever before, I also increased my exercise routines.  Walking 5 miles in the morning, followed now by 2 more miles at night, and the addition of hiking on every weekend.

As sick as I was diagnostically, I never felt happier, more euphoric in my daily life. I wish with all that I am, I could have frozen that time in a forever after space.  But as the month of July wore on, visible signs of my anorexia began to sprout.  For starters to others, I appeared too thin.  I thought I looked good but had further I could go.  Not ever one to care about clothes size, I found they made a double 00, and on my slender 67 inch frame, I tried a little harder to get there quickly. Never in a million years would I ever think, that I could wear a 00 size pant.  With each passing day, my friends and family did worry.  I had gotten to the point where I didn’t want to go out to eat anymore.  I mainly ate Greek non-fat yogurt, and sometimes when weak a spoonful of Nutella.  My own little daughter of mine, only 12 at the time, began to worry and air concerns with me-it was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life.

Looking back I wish upon wish, I could have caught myself and negated the rest of this sad and horrific story.  Tomorrow I blog when this all became serious and frightfully dangerous at the very  least.  It is when I realized my mind was not my friend; I couldn’t stop my behaviors if I wanted.  I had no idea what spurned me on, but looking in the mirror I didn’t recognize me anymore.  I had fallen from 117 pounds to barely a 100 or not even so.  At 67 inches this was much too thin…….looking ahead to my journey I will tell-my weight dropped below 80 at its very worst.  It will take a while to get to that part, but with thanks, gratitude and a big sorry, I pray my friends and my family can see, I am slowly getting to better as quickly as I can.

I will continue tomorrow with part 3. I thank you for all that read my journey.  If you don’t understand, and think it is a choice, keep reading please, it is so much more than that.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016

It’s Time To Eat The Cake-part. 1 My Road Back From Anorexia

A little over two years ago I began embarking on getting into school for my PhD.  I set my goals high, and enrolled in a nearby college to do my generals that were required for my impending PhD.  It was the first time in a long time, nearly 3 years exact, that I was terrifically excited about.  I longed to be a student again, to have the opportunity to learn all over again.  This time it was a want, not a have, and I was beside the moon in anticipation.

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I spent the first two weeks of May, organizing and shopping for the semester that would start around May 18th, 2014.  I changed my bedding, I did extra food shopping, got my hair cut, and a myriad of little things which would be hard for me to do once I was in school fulltime.  At about that time I started thinking about ‘routines.’  I knew I would need them to manage my school and other facets of my life.  I could have never guessed that the insidious disease anorexia, was planted at the very same time, as I gleefully pondered the impending routines.

I have admittedly been always obsessed with my body to some degree.  Given my status as a division 1 full scholarship athlete, I viewed my body as both my temple and my machine.  Of course now those days of elite training are far behind me, but I continually strive to stay fit and strong.  Its allowed to road race and compete in obstacle course racing.  Both help to quell the competitive nature that roars inside of me.

So by May before I started at school, I already had begun to routinize my life.  It started every morning before 6:00 am, I would take my pug, Julia Bleu for a 5 mile walk.  I was driven, determined, which later would add  gasoline to my fire. I kept a tiny notebook handy, and jotted the date, time, the name of the route, and lastly most importantly at least to me; the complete time it took to complete. At some point in that window of time, I made the fateful decision to weigh myself everyday.  I recorded the number right down to the hundredths, in the very right corner of the same notebook of exercise.

It doesn’t seem like much for sure, but trust I can trace the beginnings of my illness to then.  It is amazing how quickly the mind and the body work in such unison.  I believe for a fact, that my body almost expired in the midst of the storm that went so terribly wrong, because of the maligned wiring in my head, that quickly without warning the disease  began to spread.

I started classes on May 18th, 2014. I couldn’t have been happier it was almost obscene.  I was taking three classes and a seminar, to ease myself back into the rigors of school life.  I believe it was the first morning after my very first classes, I woke up at 1;30 am and sprang from my bed.  I was excited, I couldn’t wait to do my  course work.    I decided before I began for the day, to run to the store and get a coffee.  Thus started the maniac’s hours as they have become to be known….out of  nowhere my illness was building momentum.  I sat at my desk on that first early morning, so excited so high, so absolutely blissed.  I was comforted by my school goals I had set; a solid 4.0 GPA was all that I aspired.  I promised myself I would work as hard as it  possibly took; perfection was what I ultimately sought. From my body to my studies and everything in between, I viewed myself is nothing more than a machine.

One that first morning, I floated with shear determination and my will, to get as much work done as I possibly could.  I worked right up until five am, weighed myself with the delight as the scale was moving down, and grabbed Julia Bleu’s leash and we continued on for our 5 mile walk.  I can’t begin to tell you the high I FELT. I  was fully blissed out, I was on cloud nine; it would in time only get better.

I  continued with school, my maniac’s hours, my walking routine, and I added my prescription medication, my Adderall,  I began to take it with my coffee. It developed into my ‘golden elixir’ the feelings I had during the maniac’s hours, were some of the best crazy, epic times I have encountered.  Fueled by my golden elixir, I devoured my work with the ultimate concentration, I walked my pug, went to school and got perfect grades.  The scales kept slowly going down day by day.  For over two months, it remains one of my most momentous times.  Living high off the power of my control, propelled with my ultimate perfection.  I was Corey, I was in control, I was thriving all around.

I often think back to that magical time.  Sure I miss it; it will never be the same. The next section of the story takes a turn, one unexpected and life-altering in hindsight. I will write again tomorrow, to continue my story.  My hopes for this writing are mainly two parted: help others afflicted by this insidious disease, and say to my family and friends I am finally on the road to recovery.  I am so sorry to all who suffered with me.  But this story yet long, has a happy ending. Forever grateful to all those who loved and helped me.

-Corey

BORN THIS WAY-2016