Force Fed

I got out of bed, stomach growling. I hadn’t eaten in almost 3 days. But as soon as my body told me I was hungry, the thought of food sounded like dust.

I put on my comfort hoody. I drank a cup of coffee. “That’s a start, right?”.

I got in my car. I thought maybe I would go shopping. Retail therapy helps, right? Buy something nice for myself. Maybe the cute shoes I saw a thrift store the other day. But instead I sat, and I stared at the steering wheel for what seemed like ages. I had taken my medicine, but it only helps so much. So I stared. I stared until the tears started, but I had cried so much I forced myself to stop.

Close your eyes.

Breathe.

Finally I left my house. Knowing I only wanted one place to go. So far away—just out of my grasp. But instead I drove to Starbucks. And then I sat. Again. I stared at my steering wheel, and this time I allowed myself to cry. There’s nothing to numb this. The thought of going inside and ordering a drink and food felt like someone was stepping on my chest. But I did. I forced my legs to move, like bricks were tied to my ankles, through the door and to the counter. I even ordered one of my favorite foods—a tomatoes, spinach, and mozzarella panini with pesto. I got a chai latte. “That’s a start, right?”.

I took it outside. The air helps. Hearing the birds helps. And I stared at the food I ordered, and I forced my lead arms to pick it up and eat. It tasted like cardboard. It tasted like heartache.

But that’s what heartache does, doesn’t it? It takes away your will. It heightens your mental illness. It feels like every time you have to force yourself to do anything, you die a little bit more.

But I ate. I sat and I ate. Every bite feeling like a log down my throat. They keep telling me I’m strong. But I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel resilient.

I feel sad.

I feel lost.

I feel empty.

Nothing helps. Nothing takes it away. I chose sobriety so there’s nothing to numb it. It’s just this overwhelming pain. All consuming loss. Pure, raw heartache.

I suppose, in a way, this is the death of myself. So that I may be made anew. I’m not giving up on myself. And I’m not giving up on you. And I’ll keep forcing myself. One creaking, aching step at a time. There is a light. And I can see it.

But for now, I’ll sit. And I’ll stare, in silence. I will allow myself to feel the pain so that I may heal. The darkness can’t last forever. After all, without it, we would never see the stars

“The pain is necessary.  Sometimes pain is the teacher we require, a hidden gift of healing and hope.” —Janet Jackson

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