Thursday, March 21,
I was up early that morning. I actually beat the sun. Of course, it wasn’t by choice. My mother had come into the room and woke me at four. She said we had somewhere we needed to go, and that I had to get dressed.
At first, I had panicked, thinking something was wrong or that we were in trouble. I had bombarded her with questions, but she ignored me, leaving them all unanswered.
I only grew more uneasy. By the time I was dressed and ready, I was so anxious I couldn’t eat. Not that it really bothered her. I guess by then she was used to my anxiety.
She rushed us out the door and into the Volkswagen, then we were off.
Eventually, I dozed off, and when I woke up the car was parked and the sun was beginning to rise. I was alone in the van, and when I looked out the window I saw my mom. She was a dozen feet from the car, talking to some man.
I didn’t recognize him. He had salt and pepper hair and wore slightly rumpled business attire. He noticed me looking at him and waved through the window. I didn’t wave back.
My mom came over and opened the door for me, asking me to get out. She led me toward the man saying his name was Dr. Chev-something and that he was going to help me. I had stopped walking then.
I didn’t know what she meant and asked what was going on. I didn’t need any help. She didn’t answer. That seemed to be a common theme today.
I stopped in front of the man keeping four feet between us. He introduced himself as Jacob Chevalier. He didn’t try to make small talk, and I was glad. Instead, he just turned around leading us to a brown brick building across the parking lot.
They left me in a waiting room while they talked in his office. They didn’t come out for another thirty minutes. When they finally did it was with three other people. The room suddenly felt crowded, and I was itching to get away. It was only then that they told me what was going on. That we were currently in a hospital. They said it was an Inpatient treatment facility for people like me. I had taken a step back and looked to my mom in betrayal. She was sending me away.
I can’t remember exactly what happened in the moments that followed, but I know I’d tried bargaining, then pleading, then flat out lying. I told them I didn’t have a problem. That it was manageable. That it didn’t affect my life at all. It didn’t work. They knew not to believe me.
My only option left was to run. I didn’t know what I was thinking. There was nowhere to go. I didn’t know where I was, my mom had the car keys, and even if she didn’t, I had no idea how to drive. But none of that mattered anyway because the second I took a step in the opposite direction, I was stopped.
One of the three people from the office had grabbed my arm. My skin began to itch. I tried to shake him off, but his grip was one of steel. He wouldn’t let go and I started to panic.
I yelled at him to get off me, pulling and thrashing in his arms. I jumped and wriggled. I began kicking at his legs and someone else had to help him contain me. They grabbed me from behind, telling me to calm down. They said that they weren’t going to hurt me, but they already were. My skin was burning. It seared where their hands made contact. It felt like they were skinning me. Slowly peeling back layers of flesh, exposing the meat underneath.
I screamed. Louder and louder, over and over. Each breath I pushed out of me was one of pure terror. My limbs were flailing and I couldn’t see. Tears were pouring from my eyes and everything was a blur. Over my screams, I heard my mom yelling at the men to let me go. They didn’t listen. Instead, I felt a sharp sting in my arm, and the world began melting away.
When I came to, my mom was gone and I was all alone.
Saturday, March 30,
Mom, you have to come to get me. I can’t stay here. I’m not safe. There are people everywhere. There’s nowhere I can go to be alone. They say I’m not allowed. They say it’s for my own protection.
They don’t care about my safety. They don’t consider my peace of mind. Every day they test out a new technique to torture me, watching how long I last before I break.
Dr. Chevalier calls it an exercise. He says it’s in my best interest. That it’s making me better. But nothing was ever wrong with me. Not until I came here.
I spend my nights dreading their return in the morning. I spend my days pretending. Pretending that I’m okay with the people around me. Pretending that I’m fine, and not terrified of the next time my skin will be touched.
You have to help me.
Don't you love me?
Tuesday, April 16,
I got a roommate today. Her name is Anna, and she likes to play with fire. She’s nice, and I like talking to her.
I was nervous before she arrived. All these possible scenarios running through my mind, but I was surprised to find that my biggest worry wasn’t if she would touch me, it was whether or not she would like me. I told this to Dr. Chevalier and he said that it’s good. He said it means I’m making progress.
It was kind of disappointing though. I see people in this hospital every day being released and returning to their homes where they can start again as a new person. I see people making progress and taking these huge steps towards becoming better. I know that everyone heals at a different pace and that I can’t compare our weaknesses, but I can’t help it.
Avery from down the hall ate a full burger last week, something she couldn’t do two months ago without purging. And while she’s over there pushing herself towards the finish line, I’m here celebrating a thought. Well, Whoop-de-doo. Congratulations me.
Wednesday, July 24,
Wednesdays are visiting days, and today started like most of them commonly do. I woke up, got ready, and collected my journals.
We are required to write daily. There is no rule about what you write as long as you’re writing something. It can be anything. I normally just do logs or journals. On visiting days we bring them with us as a reminder of our progress. It’s up to us whether or not we share the contents. I usually do. My mom likes hearing what I wrote. She says it gives her hope. Today I collected my notebooks and met my mom in the family room. The visit went as it normally did, but at the very end of visiting hours, something terrifying yet magnificent happened.
She was standing up to leave, and I don’t know what it was, but something made me get up too. Suddenly, I reached out to her and pulled her in for a hug. It only lasted a couple of seconds, but it was an achievement all the same.
It was my leap en route to the finish line. My rush toward better. That hug was my hamburger.