When you are mad, mad like this, you don't know it. Reality is what you see. When what you see shifts, departing from anyone else's reality, it's still reality to you.— Marya Hornbacher
The most irresistibly Marya Hornbacher quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
Anorexia and bulimia seem to be getting much more common in boys, men, and women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds; they are also becoming more common in racial groups previously thought to be impervious to the problem.
In truth, you like the pain. You like it because you believe you deserve it.
We think of bulimia and anorexia as either a bizarre psychosis, or as a quirky little habit, a phase, or as a thing that women just do. We forget that it is a violent act, that it bespeaks a profound level of anger toward and fear of the self.
Were I to put myself on... one of those online dating things, I would not include in my profile that I'm regularly hospitalized for psychosis. But I do know that when I get really bad, there is a place for me to go where I will feel better.
Never, never underestimate the power of desire.
If you want to live badly enough, you can live. The great question, at least for me, was: How do I decide I want to live?
...Someone speaks in soft tones to me and says I am psychotic, but it's going to be all right. I put on my hat, unperturbed, and ask for some crayons.
Recovery isn’t easy, at first. It takes time. It takes more work, sometimes, than you think you’re willing to do. But it is worth every hard day, every tear, every terrified moment. It’s worth it, because the trade-off is this: you let go of your eating disorder, and you get back your life.
I have not lost my fascination with death.
I have not become a noticeably less intense person. I have not, nor will I ever, completely lose the longing for that something, that thing that I believe will fill an emptiness inside me. I do believe that the emptiness was made greater by the things that I did to myself.
And so I went through the looking glass, stepped into the netherworld, where up is down and food is greed, where convex mirrors cover the walls, where death is honor and flesh is weak. It is ever so easy to go. Harder to find your way back.
I was used to sleeping with people because I endlessly found myself in identical situations where it was easier to just fuck them than to say no.
I either want to be completely recovered or completely emaciated.
It's the in between that I can't stand, the limbo of failure where you know that you haven't done your best at one or the other: dying or living.
I think many people with a chronic illness would prefer not to have their chronic illness, simply because it's high maintenance.
My bones are brittle, my heart weak and erratic, my esophagus and stomach riddled with ulcers, my reproductive system shot, my immune system useless... I'm not going to have a happy ending.
I have a type of bipolar that swings up and down all day long.
There are significant mood swings within a day, within a week, within a month. I go through at least four major episodes a year. That's really the definition of bipolar rapid cycle. But I have ultra-rapid, so I have tiny little episodes all day long.
One really ought to be afraid of self-torture.
But it tempted me. It begged. The dark place that my mind was fast becoming blends, in my memory, with the dark womb of church: the chant, the fugue of prayer, the strange erotic energy that carving a very small cross into my thigh with a nail had brought.
Starvation is incredibly frightening when it finally sets in with a vengeance.
And when it does,you are surprised. You hadn't meant this. You say: Wait, not this. And then it sucks you under and you drown.
You wake up one morning and there it is, sitting in an old plaid bathrobe in your kitchen, unpleasant and unshaved. You look at it, heart sinking. Madness is a rotten guest.
We turn skeletons into goddesses and look to them as if they might teach us how not to need.
You will miss her sometimes. Bear in mind she's trying to kill you. Bear in mind you have a life to live.
It's really interesting to me how all of us can experience the exact same event, and yet come away with wildly disparate interpretations of what happened. We each have totally different ideas of what was said, what was intended, and what really took place.
And so I am feeling numb. It's a curious feeling, and I get it all the time. My attention to the world around me disappears, and something starts to hum inside my head. Far off, voices try to bump up against me, but I repel them. My ears fill up with water and I focus on the humming in my head.
Some people who are obsessed with food become gourmet chefs. Others become eating disorders.
When you deal with nonfiction you deal with human characters.
The fact that you were essentially dead does not register until you begin to come alive.
It is, at the most basic level, a bundle of contradictions: a desire for power that strips you of all power. A gesture of strength that divests you of all strength.
The idea of my future simultaneously thrilled and terrified me, like standing at the lip of a very sheer cliff- I could fly, or fall. I didn't know how to fly, and I didn't want to fall. So I backed away from the cliff and went in search of something that had a clear, solid trajectory for me to follow, like hopscotch.
I am feeling fine. I remember these words and recite them. These are the things you say when asked how you are. After all, it would be odd to say: I'm not feeling. Or, more to the point: I'm not, I have ceased to be. Where am I?
People take the feeling of full for granted.
But in some ways, the most significant choices one makes in life are done for reasons that are not all that dramatic, not earth-shaking at all; often enough, the choices we make are, for better or for worse, made by default.
My parents say that even as a very, very little kid, the way that I acted was dramatically different from other little kids.
Because I'm not, in fact, depressed, Prozac makes me manic and numb - one of the reasons I slice my arm in the first place is that I'm coked to the gills on something utterly wrong for what I have.
I developed a deep, abiding fear of jeans, which I still have.
I hold my breath and shut my eyes when I pull on a pair in the dressing room, afraid they will now, as then, get stuck at my hips and there I will stand, absurd, staring at the excess of hips that should, if I were a good person, be „slim“.
There is, in the end, the letting go.
I get absolutely shitfaced. I am shitfaced and hyper and ten years old. I am having the time of my life.
I was perpetually grief-stricken when I finished a book, and would slide down from my sitting position on the bed, put my cheek on the pillow and sigh for a long time. It seemed there would never be another book. It was all over, the book was dead. It lay in its bent cover by my hand. What was the use? Why bother dragging the weight of my small body down to dinner? Why move? Why breathe? The book had left me, and there was no reason to go on.
The madness is there, and will always be there.
But it will keep sleeping, as long as I don't wake it up.
This is the very boring part of eating disorders, the aftermath.
When you eat and hate that you eat. And yet of course you must eat. You don’t really entertain the notion of going back. You, with some startling new level of clarity, realize that going back would be far worse than simply being as you are. This is obvious to anyone without an eating disorder. This is not always obvious to you.
I have a remarkable ability to delete all better judgement from my brain when I get my head set on something. I have no sense of moderation, no sense of caution. I have no sense pretty much.
I am often drawn to what appear at first to be 'dark' or 'difficult' subjects, but which, upon further examination, are always and only reflections of the ways human beings attempt, however clumsily, badly, or well, to connect with others.
Soon madness has worn you down. It’s easier to do what it says than argue. In this way, it takes over your mind. You no longer know where it ends and you begin. You believe anything it says. You do what it tells you, no matter how extreme or absurd. If it says you’re worthless, you agree. You plead for it to stop. You promise to behave. You are on your knees before it, and it laughs.
I'm a driven perfectionist, very self-critical.
When I was growing up, I always felt there was an expectation that I would do one of two things: be great at something, or go crazy and become a total failure. There is no middle ground where I come from, and I am only now beginning to get a sense that there is a middle ground at all.
Hospitalizations in general are blurry.
The days are the same, precisely the same. Nothing changes. Life melts down to a simple progression of meals. They become a way of life fairly quickly. You may welcome this transition. It may seem inevitable to you. You have been removed from the world. It is all right, in a way, because there is nothing so sure, so safe, as routine.
When you believe that you are not worthwhile in and of yourself, in the back of your mind you also begin to believe that life is not worthwhile in and of itself. It is only worthwhile insofar as it relates to your crusade. It is a kamikaze mission.
My god! people say. You have so much self-control! And later: My god. You're so, so sick. When people say this, they turn their heads, you've won your little game. You have proven your thesis that no-body-loves-me-every-body-hates-me, guess-I'll-just-eat-worms. You get to sink back into your hospital bed, shrieking with righteous indignation. See? you get to say. I knew you'd give up on me. I knew you'd leave.
My relationships with both my mother and father are good.
We spent several difficult years hashing over the problems and the past, and worked out a fairly solid middle ground. I wouldn't say my relationship with either of them - they're no longer together - is exactly typical, but that would be difficult after all we went through.
You will not stop. The pain is necessary, especially the pain of hunger. It reassures you that you are strong, can withstand anything, that you are not a slave to your body, you don't have to give in to its whining.
He leaned down and whispered to me: No matter how thin you get, no matter how short you cut your hair, it's still going to be you underneath. And he let go of my arm and walked back down the hall.
I have never been normal about my body.
It has always seemed to me a strange and foreign entity. I don't know that there was ever a time when I was not conscious of it. As far back as I can think, I was aware of my own corporeality, my physical imposition on space.