I can remember the day like it was yesterday. It started off like every other morning, I woke up, ate half an apple and got dressed. I remember my smallest shorts no longer would stay up, they were far too big on my decaying frame. I pinned my shorts in the back and put on an oversized sweater because despite it being almost summer I was ice cold. My mom drove me to school and reminded me of my doctor's appointment later. I walked to my classes so consumed with when I would allow myself to eat next. At lunch I walked the track counting my steps, tirelessly trying to burn calories. I smiled and laughed with my friends, like nothing was wrong. I told myself I was ok and that the sickness and the tiredness wasn't serious. In class a sat with my legs raised and embraced my core trying to build abs. It was a minimum day so I got out early. When I arrived home my grandma was there to take my sister shopping after school, I made her a sandwich and lied that I had already eaten lunch. My father and mother got home around the same time and we left for the doctors. I had previously gone to my pediatrician with a very low heart rate, and she was worried about my weight. My doctor had been telling me to gain weight for weeks but instead I kept losing more and more of myself. Now I was going to see a specialist. My mom hinted that maybe I should pack an overnight bag just in case. I laughed at this, I thought I would be coming home. After a long car drive we arrived at the office in Westwood, it was right next to Ronald Reagan hospital and UCLA. Me and my parents waited silently in the waiting room. Once taken into the office the doctor checked my weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and took samples to test my electrolytes. I remember changing into a hospital gown and getting weighed, I remember the arm cuff squeezing my arm and the alarming number of 33 pop up on the screen. I remember the doctors reaction and being told I couldn't go home. I was days away from death, my heart could have stopped at any moment. I explained to the doctors how I had been feeling and how I lost so much weight so fast. Everything I was saying screamed anorexia, but I was blind to it, I thought I was healthy, I was finally skinny. Some time passed just sitting in the doctor's office, I cried and hugged my parents, still confused and so unaware of what was going to happen. Luckily a room was opening in the eating disorder unit in the psych ward at Ronald Reagan hospital. My parents walked me down to get my blood taken as we waited for the call that my room was ready. I remember the women taking my blood being scared of me and how I looked. My skin was slightly green and plastered to my bones. Still waiting for the call my parents and I got food at the hospital cafeteria, I filled a bowl with lettuce and cucumbers. My parents were done fighting with me about food, so they didnt say anything. I remember being somewhat calm because I was confused still I didn't really know where I was going or how terrible it would be. We had a little extra time before admission and my parents decided to take me shopping in Westwood to get Pjs. We walked down the streets to the stores. I walked in the middle holding both my parents hands. I looked up at them and said with tears in my eyes” why can't it just be like this forever.” I had been so sick and miserable for so long, I had been depriving myself of one of the many things we need to live. I didn't realize it but I had been numb , waking up and living on autopilot for the past couple months. My entire life was about eating and exercise. I had isolated myself away from my parents and friends. I didn't go to parties because I was scared of the food that would be there. I didn't talk much or show love to my parents because I was so engulfed in my thoughts all of the time. I had stopped living. I was merely surviving and almost not even that. Eventually, admissions called and we returned to the hospital. We walked slowly through the hallways as I sent my last goodbye texts to my friends. They let my mom and dad walk into my room. I began to sob as reality set in. I was staying in a psych ward. I was not allowed my phone, not allowed to leave, every door, cabinet, and bathroom was locked, I was going to be forced to eat, and live among strangers with hours of therapy a day. My mom and dad were taken into another room to talk to doctors and therapists while other doctors asked me billions of annoying questions. My parents returned both sobbing, reality has set in for all of us. My father went home and packed a huge suitcase full of all my clothes, a pillow, a blanket, and pictures to get me through the days. An over enthusiastic nurse walked into my room to help me fill out my menus for the next week. As we flipped through the hospital menu I listed everything” I can't Eat”. My anorexia had just about convinced me I was lactose and gluten intolerant. Eventually we filled out a day of food and he left. My mom helped me shower in the airy bathroom, kept locked most of the time. My mother teared up at the sight of my body. I stepped into the burning hot shower hoping to rinse off the tears of the day. My mom hugged me and cried. She was eventually forced to leave and it was time to sleep. I layed in the bare hospital bed, so scared for the future, but for the first time in awhile I didn't feel alone. The weird thing was that I felt almost overwhelming relief. I had been miserable living on nothing for so long. I felt like I was dying, I needed someone to wake me up to stop me from slowly killing myself. I could finally eat. I could finally sleep well. I could finally stop, breath, and look at what I had become.
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