Journal #75

March 21st, 2016

The past 24 hours have been unusually great. I’m not sure what to credit for this uncharacteristically nice weekend-whether it’s Jesus, Prozac, good nutrition, my support system, or a combination of all of the above (the latter is what I’m guessing), but I’m sure as heck going to take it. My mom said yesterday that I seem “Back”. Back to myself. Back to the old Bridgette, the happy, witty, joking and confident Bridgette who enjoys spending time with her family and friends, more than she’s scared of the conversation that may arise while doing so, or the food that may be present, or the questions that may be asked. The Bridgette that I know myself to be.

Two nights ago, we played the game “Sequence”. It’s kind of a running joke in my family that I’m not much of a game player, and I really don’t particularly enjoy board games. My mom suggested we play it, though, and we didn’t have anything else going on, so I was game. My mom had to teach me how to play, and almost as soon as she was finished explaining the rules, I cut her off. I’d been so entrenched in my thoughts about the meal I’d just eaten that I hadn’t heard a single word my mom had said. I asked her to please explain again, from the beginning, and I was really listening that time. She really appreciated my honesty about having not been present or paying attention, and we proceeded to have a fun evening. Excited that we’d found a game I actually enjoyed playing, Mom and I pulled it out again yesterday evening while we ate dinner. I won four out of five rounds (which isn’t a pertinent detail, except for the fact that I always lose at games, so it made it all the more fun for me :)), and though we were initially only going to play one or two rounds, I kept asking to do it one more time. I was just enjoying spending time with my mom. I was engaged. We were laughing.

I think laughter is such a key component of being healthy, yet it so frequently gets skipped over. Never once at an evaluation for entering a treatment program have I been asked, “When is the last time you laughed? Not like, forced a chuckle kind of laugh, but really, truly, laughed?”. My mom and I have both noticed how obvious it is when I’m not in a good place now, because I stop laughing. I chime in with a chuckle whenever I’m among other people who are, but I’m never laughing on my own, and never to the point where I can’t contain it. It’s like that switch is just turned off. I think a large part of it is because I’m not paying attention to the things that are going on around me 99% of the time, because I’m so preoccupied with the food that I’m not allowing myself, and the exercise that I’m preparing for, but there’s also a part of me that just doesn’t find anything funny. Even if I am paying attention. Someone could tell me the greatest joke of all time-Heck, Bradley could tell me he just had his most embarrassing moment ever, and I’d probably respond with, “Mmm.” It wouldn’t even register to me as being relatively comical.

Going along with laughter, is the presence of emotion. My mom and I went to see the movie, “Miracles From Heaven” yesterday with one of my close friends and her mom, and it was a tear-jerker. I cried at numerous points throughout. When I’m stuck in my eating disorder, not only do I not laugh, but I don’t show emotion. At all. Period. I’ve prided myself at times, to both my mom and to friends, at the fact that, “I’m just not an emotional person.” When in fact, I am. As a matter of fact, I’ve teared up at the ASPCA commercials at times when I’m in recovery! On the car ride back from the movie yesterday, Mom and I were talking about it when I brought up the movie, “The Help.” We saw that movie together with another family the summer before my Sophomore year of high school. During a time when I was struggling SO, so much. Right before everything went down and I went into the hospital. It hadn’t been identified exactly what was going on with me, but Mom knew something wasn’t right; I was making that darn well clear. We discussed how out of it I’d been, how irritable and disengaged, and how I’d actually gotten in trouble for my response to the movie. If you’ve seen “The Help”, you know it’s pretty powerful, and I vividly remember afterwards saying, “It was fine.” Mom then proceeded to ask me a question about it and I couldn’t answer it. I didn’t know what I’d just seen for the past two hours. I couldn’t even recall the main character’s name. What a drastic change from then, to now. Mom and I talked about “Miracles From Heaven” for the rest of the evening, and then capped it off, with our five rounds of Sequence.

Thank you, Jesus.

-Bridge

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One thought on “Journal #75

  1. If you’re a parent who has come close to losing your child, you know the relief that is felt when there are signs of recovery. Lack of laughter and being engaged was one of the first signs of trouble for us. Most of us know our kids in a way that others do not. We know their idiosyncrasies, when they react, flinch, what their eyes do when they sleep, when they cry and when they laugh. We know them.

    When I began to notice changes in Bridgette, I dismissed them. I might have mentioned to a friend or two and because they don’t know the subtle nuances of Bridgette, I was cautioned that I was overreacting. Bridgette could still present wonderfully. She is wonderful. But something wasn’t right, and as much as I felt it, I didn’t know it, and I even questioned myself. I remember however the moment I realized that I hadn’t heard her laugh. And later, when I couldn’t understand how she’d missed the value and the humor and tragedy of THE HELP. Let me add here, her perception of ‘getting in trouble’ isn’t quite my perception of ‘getting in trouble.’

    Our pastor, who is very funny, describes runway models and their strut down the runway. He imitates them with a scowl on his face. Unknowing that he’s got something to his perception of them he says, “The poor things, no wonder they’re angry. They’re starving!” I laugh hysterically at him, and at the same time, hurt for my own daughter, and the quiet others who might be hearing this, unmoved by the humor, and the sting of the truth.

    I don’t think laughter is the medicine for an eating disorder or similar diseases. It’s more complicated than that. ED robs us of laughter and emotions in general. For my daughter, laughter and tears are an of indication of heart, intelligence, and health. There is work to be done, but if she is laughing, getting my stupid puns, or shedding tears, she is coming back, and the umbrella is lifting. Let it rain. It’s ok!

    Liked by 1 person

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