My husband has landed in Denver for a writers’ conference at which he will suavely schmooze with other writers over books, bombast, and booze. He is good at it. Very, very good.
I, on the other hand, am socially inept without a good-sized bowl of wine. And then I just get unsocially smashed. So that’s one reason I decided to stay back with the kids in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The other reason, of course, is the precarious State of the Nation of Kerry—the instability and sleeplessness, the engine at full throttle but only spinning my wheels, the spiteful and insidious resurrection of eating disorder behaviors, the frantic, clutching-at-my-throat anxiety. All that coupled with the given anxiety of being one writer among six thousand makes a volatile cocktail. And I’m not drinking these days.
So I’m flying solo until Saturday. A measly four days. Not even: two and two-halves. What does this mean? In the immediate, practical realm, it means waking up fifteen minutes earlier so I can squeeze in a shower (though not enough time to shave my legs), making sure the kids’ lunches are made the night before, having to buy my morning cappuccino instead of Christopher playing barrista, frying up blueberry pancakes in the morning and whipping up homemade mac and cheese at night.
But in IT’s deadly realm? 10 meals alone. 10 chances to skip the meal or purge. 6 medicating decisions: take the Abilify or not? Squirrel away the Lithium in case things get that bad again? 100 urges to cut myself. Countless moments of over-exhausted manic surges.
To counter IT? The realm of Health and Sanity. Stick to the mealplan. Take my meds. Stay away from sharps. Call the team when things go wicky wacky.
To be fair, my husband just didn’t abandon me to my, or ITs devices. He set up a roster of people who will call me each day, went over the Safety Plan again and again in the days leading up to his departure, and today, when I got home from work, I found an entire flowchart dedicated to my safety taped across three kitchen cabinets like a wallpaper of wellbeing.
Column 1: Why do you eat? } For your health, kids, sanity, to battle it. Why do you tell the truth? } For your health, kids, and sanity.
Column 2: Fudging, withholding information, skipping meds and meals, purging, alcohol use, excessive exercise } isolation, feelings of guilt, loss of integrity, insomnia, mania and/or depression, instability. Reaching out for help, taking meds religiously, being honest about the meal plan, resisting impulses to purge and drink, and moderate exercise } integrity, connectedness, well-being.
Column 3: My Mealplan: breakfast, lunch, and dinner mapped out along with a space for my honesty signature each day.
My husband has me covered. I can’t reach for a glass or plate, or run the sink, or really enter the kitchen without seeing all that conscientious love. It helps to see it. When IT is around and I’m flying solo, I need to remind myself that Love, which I am given in abundance, is the perfect co-pilot.