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  • …my book…

  • Esther

    Member
    June 22, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Day One in the hospital.

    It’s almost 2 am. The lights are out in the ward. I’m alone in the lobby, by the window. I like this spot, overlooking the highway. It’s kind of soothing to watch all the cars speeding past. But it makes me sad that they’re going and I’m staying. Stuck.

    Today was so overwhelming. I broke down hysterically just before lunch time, I was so scared. Of course, I didn’t go eat with everyone. I had a long meeting with my new dietitian and she wrote up a menu that I’m supposed to eat. Yeah, right, keep wishing. I plan to lose, not gain like they want!!! Hey, at least I got away with eating only about 400 calories today, they went easy on me for the first day. I even managed to sneak the almonds into my sleeve. Ugh, nuts are so fattening. I’m never touching them. But I’m glad I have them in my meals, because they’re easy to hide. I hope I can trick the system. I’m just really nervous about the methods they use to enforce cooperation. From what I’ve heard…

    The girls are really nice, so special and really strong. Stronger than me. But they were probably once thinner than me, so they deserve to eat and get better. I first have to lose more weight, I don’t know why. The staff tells me it’s silly, they say I’m already underweight. I say not enough. I know, somewhere deep inside, that this is very sick thinking. But I don’t care. This is what I have to do.

    I’m not able to sleep. We have these cute rooms, nothing like a hospital room. Really, more like bedrooms, all pink, with normal beds and closets and desks and everything. Though I have this hospital bracelet reminding me exactly where I am. It’s so uncomfortable, even if it does make me feel strangely secure. And of course a nurses’ station, lights on all through the night. I was just over there now, begging them for a sleeping pill. But silly people, they couldn’t reach a doctor who could authorize it.

    Okay then, they’ll have to deal with me tomorrow; when sleep deprived, I can be a horror.

    I’m staying here with my music for now.

    Good night.

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 22, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Esther, you have an almost magical way of stringing your words together. The scene you describe is painful, and yet there’s something uplifting about it, almost soulful. Right from this very first part, I can sense your strength and it makes me want to read on, through the hurt and all, because I know it’s bringing me someplace better. And as one of the great ‘masterpiecers’ noted earlier on, your struggle is everyone’s struggle. We all have inner battles that we have to conquer, and no matter how disparate our battles may seem, seeing someone overcome theirs is richly rewarding and downright inspiring.

    Thank you.

  • Elisheva Halle

    Member
    June 22, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    Does this mean that you’re writing a book!?!?! I hope so!

  • Esther

    Member
    June 24, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Day 2 in “The Ward”, as we call it.

    Today was not so bad.  Well, the beginning was horrible – I ended up falling asleep last night at 3am, after some hysterics.  I slept terribly, and woke up at 6, a wreck.  In the middle of breakfast, I broke down crying from exhaustion and overwhelm – yay, at least I didn’t have finish my food.  And all the attention was nice.  I’m thirsty for it, I wonder if subconsciously that’s why I do some things.  My assigned social worker took me to her room to talk but I was too worked up.  So they just drugged me and let me rest.  I slept really deeply and missed a meal!  Literally that is the most exciting thing for us all.  It’s also the most rare, from what I’m beginning to understand.  Meals are like, Kodesh Kodashim, and there are six(!) of them a day.  Afterwards we had this therapy group and my guard was pretty down, so I talked freely.  For the rest of the day too in fact, I was more relaxed.  Maybe something to do with the pill they gave me.

    A staff member took us out because most of us aren’t allowed anywhere alone.  What do they think we’ll do?  Run off all the calories, throw up our meal, or something?  Well, yeah, I guess so.  We went shopping, it seems some girls buy food for their meal plans, if they want something different from what the kitchen offers.  This whole system is weird, I’m trying to adjust.  The staff is nice enough, though, and the girls are mostly cute.

    I got the professor to put sleeping pills in my file so that I can knock myself out each night, I really need that escape.  My head is not a fun place.

    I keep thinking – do I want to get better, or not?  Do I want to die?  Not everyone with an eating disorder ends up dead, some end up in a vicious cycle worse that death.  I’m petrified of that.  I think that I want to live, but like really live.  On the other hand, I’m not ready to give up my “best friend” yet.  It will leave too big a lack.  No, lack is not the word.  Crater, void, gaping, hungry, black hole.  But how much damage do I want to risk doing?  I want to have a family.  I’m scared of having to live with the harsh consequences of any bad choices I make.  As it is, there are things that I regret already, that I can never undo.

    And honestly – I don’t even know how to live.  Only to survive.  Barely.

    I’m such a perfectionist that I just want to be the best in everything, including my eating disorder.  I think though, that to be the best anorexic is to die.

    Which brings me right back to the beginning…Oh gosh, where is that sleeping pill???

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 24, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Esther, your writing transports me deep into your world…

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    June 24, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Esther, you are incredibly self-honest, self-aware, and deep. It comes through in your writing, which is, therefore, so refreshing to read.

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 24, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Wow Esther, you’re an incredible person. So in touch with yourself, your musings so real… such depth. In awe. And your phenomenal writing skills is just a bonus. 🙂 You have talent!

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 24, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Anagrammer, I just saw your post above… very similar to the one I posted. (I’ll take that as a compliment 😉 ) Which I guess just confirms the truth of the comment!

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    June 24, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    🙂 Yes, just proves how true it is about Esther.

  • Brocha

    Member
    June 24, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    I’ll “third” what Sherry seconded

  • Esther

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 5:24 am

    Thanks guys!  If IY”H I really end up with a book, it’ll only be BC of all your encouragement.

  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    June 25, 2020 at 6:19 am

    This is such an important book to write, Esther, and you are doing it with such a real voice that captivates the reader and pulls her in. Eating disorders are very prevalent and there are so many, many women–young and old alike, who struggle and suffer. I am not going to mince words here: You MUST write this book. Only someone who is intimately familiar with the excruciating pain; the devastating lows and the euphoric highs; the life and death battle with the mirror and the almonds, can write this story and give hope and strength to the frum world.

  • Sury

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Wow, Esther! I’m rooting for you to write a book! Your writing is so real and gripping, I feel like I’m there with you, experiencing all that you describe. And your strength is unfathomable; people need to read this. Go for it!

  • Esther

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Yes, the almonds:)  I hid them for 2 weeks straight, all 10 of them each time.  And then they caught me slipping one and were so proud of themselves as they watched me “eat” it.  (Sorry, not giving away my tricks…)

    Don’t worry guys, I have so many nuts these days, you would not believe I’m the same person…

    Gosh, so much to write!!!

    Thanks Riva, I need all the encouragement I can get to write this, it’s kind of overwhelming.  But I’m taking it one paragraph at a time, and remembering that even just putting it on this site can accomplish something.

    But yeah, about the age thing – the kids in my Bais Yaakov(!) kindergarten class – 6 & 7 year olds(!) were talking about how fat they are, and saying how the other is so skinny…and they are all size Extra-Tiny.  It’s so sad.

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    This is good, this is important, and I hope it’s good and important for you at this point in time.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    First Friday in The Ward

    I love mornings.  I’m usually up first, it’s so quiet and peaceful, just me and Hashem.  I really need that breather before the day starts.  Literally every day is super intense.

    I didn’t write for the last two nights because the pills knocked me out.  I’m glad, I’ve missed being able to sleep deeply; my racing mind just wouldn’t let me.

    We have to shower in the morning, with an empty stomach…at first I was so frustrated because I need my shower at night, but now I’m seeing that there is also something nice about starting the day freshly bathed.  I just hate the lack of a shower head.  I mean, I never would’ve thought to tie a noose there, so thanks for the idea, guys.  Seriously, I think we might just leave here with more tools to harm ourselves.  Is that the goal?!

    I am kind of glad though, that they’re so watchful of any opportunities for us to throw up; it’s not really fun and I’m glad I’m being forced to stop.  I just don’t think I’ll be so glad when my menu is increased and I still can’t purge…

    I’m a drop apprehensive about Shabbos in here, but I do prefer it because going home is too scary.  I ‘m petrified that I won’t have enough self control to starve over the weekend if no one is watching me.  Ironic, right?  But here, there is this pressure to not eat if I’m not forced, and the first week they don’t force you, so I’m barely eating.  I’m not touching carbs, at each meal they ask me what I want and the only things I let myself eat are plain yogurts and cottage cheese, fruit and vegetables.  The other girls are so jealous.  It’s fun.  I’m really weak though, and super obsessive.

    I think I lost weight this week, but it’s so hard not knowing.  I miss my scale.  Maybe next week I’ll sneak into a clinic when I’m out, and try to find one.  I’m so happy they’re letting me out for camp!  I would not miss being swim instructor for anything, it’s a blast with my friends and the kids!  I actually refused to come here until they agreed that I could keep my job.

    Yesterday the family took me out to the mall.  Daddy gave me a bracha afterwards, I think I’m so going to miss Shabbos at home!

    And a major letdown – we were exercising and going crazy, and the social worker made us stop.  I was having such a good time with the younger kids, us older girls treat them like little sisters.  They’re tiny, one is eleven.

    But how will I survive without exercise?  At least I can swim laps these next few weeks.  Maybe walk extra too.  And ditch the food somewhere along the way…

    Everyone keeps reminding me that all good things end; as in, “We’re going to crack down on you…down one you…down on you…”  Shivers.

    Oh no, breakfast in 10 minutes – butterflies!

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for the titbit. It’s great that you do it this way, a small morsel at a time so that I can savour each moment. It is intense. But not in a heavy way. It just goes all the way deep.

    I guess, struggles are the universal human language. Of course there are a variety of dialects and such. And no two struggles are the same. Still reading your entries is more than inspirational. There’s so much I can take out from it. It’s unbelievable the way you face / understand / seek to conquer your battle. And I suppose that’s what winning means. Because that’s all we’re here to do. To face our struggles, recognise them and keep fighting. Thanks Esther.

  • Drop-a-line

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Wow Esther this is really really amazing.

    I’m already waiting for the next entry!

  • Leahle

    Member
    June 25, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Esther! Your book is fantastic. You MUST write it to the end because of 2 reasons:

    1. Your way of expressing These occurances, emothins, thoughts is incredibly grasping and keeps every Reader glued to the page.

    2. The world has to know what such People are going through. Many People just think People like that are stupid, suicidal etc. These People Need our support, our encouragement to continue therapy, cntinue progressing towards normality again – not our disproval or anything of the likewise…

     

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing These honest Feelings and thoughts!!!!!

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 12:14 am

    Leah’le, I don’t think that’s true. Whilst humans are by nature judgemental, I can’t believe anyone would be so harsh.

    I think Esther should share her story, but mainly because others can derive a lot of chizuk from it, particularly those going through similar challenges, though anyone really. I know I’m finding it a very inspirational read. It’s giving me chizuk in a totally unrelated struggle.

    And just knowing such sensitive, deep, honorable individuals exist gives me a lot of pride in our people.

  • Baila

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Dear Esther and the women of Masterpiece,

    I love that masterpiece is managed under the loving happy auspices of Riva.  And it is with a hope that I am not overstepping my bounds or the bounds of this group that I am disagreeing  in a respectful manner with the group.

    Esther, your writing is beautiful.  Your pain is real.  Your longing is honest. I bless you that your healing should continue and flourish.

    But, I would not publish this as a book.  Here is why.  As a young woman, I had an eating disorder.  Through a lot of work and a lot of siyata d’shmaya, today I don’t consider myself to be a woman with an eating disorder.  Today, that piece of my life is a blip in my life long journey that needs to be dealt with.  I may still struggle with food and I may need to tend to food issues – but it now is in the realm of normal struggle.

    When we publish a book with our story, we become the standard bearers in the community for that issue.  And that is in and of itself a challenging place to be.   In twenty years do you want to be “the woman who wrote the book about the eating disorder?”  Maybe – but maybe not.

    People have opinions about our writing – like it or not- and not everyone in the world will be as kind as Riva’s world.  And a space where someone is vulnerable, such as recovery is not a space that people need to comment on.  But when we write, they do.

    I want you to write this book – for you.  So that you will look back on it in twenty years and see how you have grown and evolved and changed.

    But before you trade “my eating disorder” for “book about my eating disorder,” be strong and healthy and well and happy.

    In terms of plot, it will make a better book and it will make a better life.

    Writers write about what interests them – so you can write about the topic – but in a way that is distant from you.  This will give you space to learn.  Pitch an article to a magazine where you interview specialists on the topic, start a column of other girls who have gone through similar issues and tell their stories under anonymous names, Raise awareness in the community on the issues through your wonderful writing, or create a fictitious third person or omniscient narrator story on the topic. Be the woman who writes about eating issues.  But for your own health and wellness, please depersonalize the topic.

    Sometimes, it is hard to put things in words and I hope I have not offended you or anyone here.

     

     

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 27, 2020 at 11:04 pm

      Baila, thank you for weighing in on this thread and for speaking about your own experiences with an eating disorder.

      I want to give a little perspective here, for Baila and Esther and for all the women on Masterpiece who are reading this thread.

      Masterpiece is a safe, supportive space for frum women to nurture their creativity, hone their skills, and achieve their goals–whatever those goals are. Our motto is Unite & Write, which speaks to that support and encouragement. When a member posts a piece of her work, we can a)read it and evaluate it in our own minds, b)read it and leave feedback, or c)not read it and move on to the next thread. If we decide on B, we must be judicious in the type of feedback we leave. If the writing has been posted under the “Can I Get Your Feedback?” category, then that is a welcome mat for constructive critique which is best given with gentleness and specific suggestions to help better the piece. If the piece is featured under “Showcase”, it means that the writer thinks it’s awesome and just wants accolades, so no critique should be offered.

      Esther’s piece appeared under “Non-Fiction” and she titled it “My book…” which many of us took to mean that she intends to publish these pieces as a full work eventually. She is not specifically asking for critique, nor is she putting this under Showcase, so it isn’t clear what she is asking from us. But one thing is incredibly clear: this is a personal account of a very challenging experience that Esther has been through and she is writing it with honesty and courage. Therefore, we, the trusted recipients of Esther’s diary, must tread carefully when giving feedback.

      Baila, you are correct that it can be detrimental to a writer to publish personal information that may bite her back one day. Furthermore, it is often imperative that a writer be safely on the other side of a challenge in order to write about it with the kind of healed, solid impartiality that would make it palatable for a reader. However, as you say, a diary is a completely different genre than a fictional story and its chief attraction is the writer’s openness and brutal honesty as she pens her account. That’s why diaries can be so incredibly moving and are often life-changing reads. In this case, there is no danger of Esther coming to be known as “the girl with the eating disorder” because there is no way that Esther would even dream of publishing this book under her own name! As regards the concern about her needing to do interviews and publicity, the frum publishing world requires none of that at all, so there would be absolutely no harm in Esther publishing under a pseudonym. The only thing Esther would need to consider is how she could be reached by readers who want to be in contact with her for chizuk after they read her story, which is easily resolved by creating a gmail account using her pen name. So Esther’s privacy or the worry about branding herself are non-issues.

      I am concerned about what happened in this thread and here’s why: Baila’s feedback caused Esther to retreat. Plain and simple. After receiving Baila’s feedback, Esther immediately voiced self-doubt and made a bid to withdraw her vision for writing a book. I think we need to look at that and ask ourselves: Is this in consonance with our vision for a safe, supportive space or for unity in writing? Ladies, much of the writing posted here comes from a very deep, exquisitely sensitive place! We need to carefully consider the way we give over our thoughts and how another member will receive them. We especially need to give careful consideration when the topic at-hand is something that perhaps strikes a chord in us in a jarring place.

      Baila,I know you are trying to be helpful here and I do not doubt your sincerity. Still, I need to tell Esther, loud and clear: NO ONE can tell you whether or not you should write this book! It is not anyone’s right or place to do that and please be strong in your conviction and do what is right for YOU! To me, it seems to me that the writing you are doing on this thread is cathartic and therapeutic and I was actually looking forward to reading more of it, as I believe were other Masterpiece members. I see no reason to discontinue it. Much love and hatzlacha to both of you!

  • Esther

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Baila.  Thank you so much for having the guts to say all that, this is exactly one of the reasons I’m on here.  I want to figure out together, what is OK to write and how.

    You’ve made some great points, which should be taken seriously coming from someone who has been there.  I also have some other hesitations in addition to what you mentioned.

    I’m going to get thinking.

    Everyone, please feel free to comment.  Sensitively, but honestly.

    For now, should I continue this diary serial on here?  Or try something different?

    The main thing is to keep writing, right?

  • Baila

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Keep Writing!  Whatever you do, keep writing.  People who like Breslev speak a lot about hitbodedut.  As far as I am concerned a regular writing practice filled with honest searching is one of the most incredible things a person can do.  I think the Piazecner Rebbe speaks about this and his writing – written while he was in the Warsaw ghetto gives some of the most incredible insights on how to get through struggles in life.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    And what about sharing that writing?  I’m not always motivated to write for myself…!!!

  • Esther

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    BTW Baila, I would never think to publish this under my real name!  (Forget my kids’ shidduchim, I still need to get married…)

    Do you mean that even under a pen name I need to be careful?

  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    June 26, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    This is a very important thread, ladies. Baila, you have raised a super valuable point. Other women are sharing very honestly here. Esther, you have some questions. I did not have time to address this today, but be”H on Motzei Shabbos I would like to chime in here. I would also like to say that the timing is perfect because this Sunday, Chaya Baila Leiber will be able to answer questions about this topic for us as well. Working in the publishing industry for over 20 years, she is supremely qualified to give input on this issue. Don’t miss it Sunday at 2:30 PM EST!

     

  • Esther

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Gosh, total Hashgacha that it got pushed off a week…!

  • Baila

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    In my opinion – and anyone else with different ideas please feel free to chime in – there are different types of writing.  There is writing for ourselves and writing for other people.  Diary type writing gives a look into people’s lives and is very raw.  Think Anne Frank.  I don’t think, that if she had lived she would have wanted her writing published.

    Some of the best books I have ever read are based on diaries.  But they are written further down the road. People document their lives and then a few years later go back.  My sense from things you have written is that the story is pretty new.

    In terms of publishing under a pen name.  As I understand, (I haven’t published a book, just watched lots of friends do it) when you publish a book, you have to market the book if you want to sell it.  Which means that you need to talk about it, which means that people will eventually know who you are.

    Masterpiece is a perfect place to keep writing.  If you need people to read what you are writing – a real and normal need, there is a super group of women who are reading and commenting and listening and encouraging.

    That is a big part of why Riva made the space.  Because writing can be lonely.  Keep going.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 27, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    OK.  I think that right now, I want to continue writing this for myself, and for you, but not to publish.

    It’s too raw, it’s 100% true and based on actual diary entries at the time.

    I want to write and share my experiences to get them out of my system, and then hopefully I’ll be free to write lighter stuff, fiction maybe.

    Does that make sense, that my imagination is not able to invent fake drama BC there is too much real turmoil in me that wants to be written?

    Thank you so much Baila, and everyone…

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 28, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Esther, keep writing.

    My post got lost in the shuffle, that I hope this is good for YOU at this point in time. I’m glad you feel safe with us, though I don’t think there’s any reason you shouldn’t. But I do hope you have a mentor/therapist/etc. to bounce this off of.

    That said, when I’ve done beta-reading, sometimes I get so caught up in the story I forget to read critically. I’ll try to do so be”H. With the realization there might be some gaps, or things that might seem a bit cryptic, but necessarily so. So we might point things out and you won’t be able to do give answers. Just file it away to hammer out with a future editor.

    And maybe this is why the Ribbono Shel Olam created pseudonyms ;-D

     

  • Esther

    Member
    June 28, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Just clarifying for Fayge and everyone that I definitely have therapy and support.  I have an amazing team, and I share my writing with some of them too.  So no one needs to worry…:)

    About things being too cryptic, glad you mentioned.  I was wondering about that.  BC the author knows what she’s talking about, so she doesn’t always realize that her readers won’t…

    Like, it occurred to me that from my description, no one would understand how the water came out without shower heads.  So basically, the water would spray awkwardly in random directions straight from a metal faucet high up in the wall.  Clearer?  Or maybe it’s one of those things that you have to see…

    And yeah, there are some things that I’ll want to hint to and המביו יבין.

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 28, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    [quote quote=19521]Just clarifying for Fayge and everyone that I definitely have therapy and support. I have an amazing team, and I share my writing with some of them too. So no one needs to worry…:) About things being too cryptic, glad you mentioned. I was wondering about that. BC the author knows what she’s talking about, so she doesn’t always realize that her readers won’t… Like, it occurred to me that from my description, no one would understand how the water came out without shower heads. So basically, the water would spray awkwardly in random directions straight from a metal faucet high up in the wall. Clearer? Or maybe it’s one of those things that you have to see… And yeah, there are some things that I’ll want to hint to and המביו יבין.[/quote]

     

    A middle school student who loves to write would give me copies of her latest stories during library. I would write questions  on the side and tell her to reread what she wrote and ask questions too. Now to go back and to read more of your installments before I get too far behind.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 28, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    That is a great tip!

  • Esther

    Member
    June 28, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    First Motsa”sh

    This Shabbos did not feel like a normal Shabbos.  We had to eat exactly on time, whether or not someone came to make kiddush for us, whether or not we were kove’a seudah.  It felt so wrong, though we kept being reassured that we were doing the right thing.  I don’t know, would it have made so much of a difference to our health had we done things according to halacha?  Though to be really honest, I don’t think any of us care enough right now to do anything about it.  Definitely not enough to have extra calories in the form of grape juice and challah.

    I made a friend from outside the ward.  Someone we know, who knows that I’m here, told us to contact her sister-in-law who lives nearby.  This really sweet woman came to visit me Friday night with her daughter, who is almost my age.  I really hit off with the daughter, and she came again the next afternoon without her mother.  I feel like I know her forever.  And it was so good to connect to the normal world.  Because face it, my world is pretty far from normal.

    Tonight, no one came to make havdala.  Because, guess what, it’s Tish’a B’av and no one can make havdala.  But once again, we had to eat anyway.  On Tish’a B’av.  Without havdala.  The staff  were joking that for us, it’s a pleasure to fast, and therefore eating is a more fitting way for us to feel the pain of the churban.  I didn’t find that funny, for some strange reason…

     

    Early Monday Morning

    Maybe I’ll mention that it’s 5am and I can’t fall back asleep.  Only to you I’ll admit why – my stomach is cramping from hunger – I hardly ate anything yesterday.  (OK, what else is new…?)  I  need to take advantage of no one being on top of me, to lose as much as possible as fast as possible, before I’m forced to gain.  What’s the point, you ask?  I don’t know.  Even I recognize that it’s twisted logic.  No, ditch that, there is no logic.

    I hate that people think anorexics have no appetite.  It’s so far from the truth.  In fact, we are so starving that we can’t stop thinking about food.  We actually do want to eat.  It’s just that the fear of being fat is so much stronger than the hunger pangs.  And more than the fear of the weight, is maybe the fear of being weak, imperfect, needy.

    And maybe by being above food, we can be seen by others as superhuman, powerful, in control.  And maybe we want to delude ourselves, as well.

    But I need to stop thinking about such things, I might give in and – never!  I’ll never get fat!  And no one can make me.

     

    Tuesday

    We had weigh-in today.  I lost 1.5 k”g in the week I’ve been here.  I’m at my lowest weight this year.  But it’s not low enough.  And somewhere inside I know that it never will be.

    After weigh-in each week, the whole staff meets privately with each girl, adjusting the program based on the number on the scale.  Can I just say that for people that are telling us to de-emphasize the number, the doctors put an awful lot of emphasis on it themselves!

    As soon as I came in for my meeting, the professor said that I’m exercising too much, and that I have to stop.  I was laughing because he’s saying that after seeing me jog down the hall once or twice, maybe do a few jumping jacks.  If he knew what I really do…but anyway, who cares what he says, I’m going swimming tomorrow.  Think of all that fat I’ll burn…

  • Elisheva Halle

    Member
    June 30, 2020 at 6:45 am

    Esther, personally, I feel I grow and gain the most from reading about personal struggles…but here is a suggestion for you (like Riva said, ultimately this is your decision and no one else…) Maybe don’t decide yet if you want to publish this…for now, write it for yourself and for us (please!) and then at the end when all your thoughts are written out, you can decide if you have enough to work with to publish it into a book. Right now you might be writing for therapeutic purposes, but perhaps at the end of your writing, you will see that there is a lot to offer to the world within your words…but you can only decide that when you have all the pieces written out.

    Just my thought

  • Esty Mendelowitz

    Member
    July 1, 2020 at 12:53 am

    My thoughts exactly, Elisheva!

    My teacher in seminary, Reb. Dina Fink, always used to say, (cue British accent)”You can’t run before you can walk.”

    I’d like to borrow her phrase here: you can’t publish until you’ve written.

    Should you write?  ABSOLUTIVELY!  It’s a fascinating window into your world, it’s probably cathartic for you, and it’s beautiful in a haunting sort of way.

    Should you publish?  That’s a question to consider when you have enough material for a book.  Very often, even if there aren’t the considerations Baila mentioned, people decide not to publish for a variety of reasons, the most prosaic of which is financial feasibility.

    But you have time for that.  Right now, just WRITE!!

  • Esty Mendelowitz

    Member
    July 1, 2020 at 12:54 am

    Totally off topic, but it sounds from your posts that you were in a frum facility.  It’s fabulous that those are available!

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    July 1, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    [quote quote=19657]Totally off topic, but it sounds from your posts that you were in a frum facility. It’s fabulous that those are available![/quote]

     

    I don’t think it’s off topic at all. I was thinking the same thing.

  • Leahle

    Member
    July 1, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Same here…

    Coming from a place where there are no frum facilities I was first wondering… then I just guessed that it’s normal everywhere else besides in Switzerland… 😉

  • Esther

    Member
    July 19, 2020 at 6:13 am

    No, it isn’t actually.  It’s one of the few frum inpatient units for EDs in the world and I don’t know much about the others.  It’s also pretty new.

  • Esther

    Member
    July 19, 2020 at 7:09 am

    2nd Sunday

    I cannot spend another Shabbos here.  It’s so hard.  I can’t believe I once thought that this place was OK.  Friday night something in me broke and I decided that I just want to get better, I’m sick of being sick.  But I still want, no – need, to lose more weight, which is not conducive to recovery, obviously.  Will that never go away?  I’m stuck in an impossible battle, a prison with no way out.  So I was depressed the whole Shabbos and didn’t talk much to anyone.  There’s a new girl in the psychiatric unit who’s cute and super hyper.  I think manic-depressive, but I can’t see a trace of depression.  Everyone was having a good time but I just introduced myself and then ditched the party. 

    And it didn’t help that the nurse in the afternoon was way too strict, making up new rules as he pleased.  First of all, he wouldn’t let my friend come in to visit.  I mean, she came last night, and last week twice, what changed?!  And second, we couldn’t nap in our beds, so I was curled up in this uncomfortable chair the whole afternoon.  OK, that one’s no different.  So I was completely exhausted, and then third, he decided not to let us into our rooms for two hours after the last meal, even though usually we go straight in and the staff just lock the bathrooms.  Which, between us, doesn’t always stop everyone…

    We had weigh-in again today.  I lost more weight and the professor said my time is up, they need to see some gain next Sunday “or else”.  I don’t know if I want to find out what that “or else” is.  Everyone here seems pretty scared by the consequences.  What are the threats?  That I’ll get more supervision?  A diet of Ensures?  A feeding tube?  No one can make me do something I don’t want to.  It’s funny, what most seems to keep the girls in line is a), taking away our biweekly outings.  But hello, it’s not worth it for me to be fat just to see a bit of blue sky.  And b), the threat of being kicked out of the program.  That I get, it’s like taking away our last hope.  Basically, we all believe that if we leave we are doomed, this is the way out of our pain.  We just have to push through the suffering.

    I want to go shopping again.  Especially since I might be losing that privilege soon.  It’s like the only enjoyable thing in my life right now.  And I have two friends coming later, though I’m a bit nervous about them seeing me here.

    Gosh, this place is so demeaning.  I feel like I have no self respect left.  But then, I guess I didn’t have much beforehand anyway.

    Talk about an overdose of negativity.  Seems that’s where I’m holding right now.  Sorry.  Not.

  • Elisheva Halle

    Member
    July 19, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Yay! so excited to see you’ve started writing your book again. I love how you are so real and honest with your feelings. And your writing is superb!

  • Sury

    Member
    July 19, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Esther, your writing is a magnet… it’s so authentic and sincere. Can’t wait to see more!

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    July 20, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Today seems to be my day for sensitive comments. This isn’t at all in real time, is it?

  • Esther

    Member
    July 20, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    No, exactly a year ago…

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    July 20, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Good.

    And bH. May you have be granted, and feel that you’ve been granted, the koach to keep on.

  • Esther

    Member
    July 20, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Amen.  Thank  you.

    Thing with challenges is that they never end, they just change.

  • Sherry

    Member
    July 20, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Esther, I like all your writings and I love this line above: “Thing with challenges is that they never end, they just change.” A fantastic truism.

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      July 21, 2020 at 10:00 pm

      [quote quote=20197]Thing with challenges is that they never end, they just change.[/quote]

      Esther, this is so profound because it is so profound. This is the exact reason we are here in This World. “Adam le’amal yulad”. This World is a gym, not a spa. This is, in fact, a timeless theme that has so many applications to so many parts of our lives, and the most interesting part of this theme is that we constantly FIGHT it! We, humanity as a whole, intuitively feel that life should be easy, smooth sailing. When things get tough, we balk and want our money back!

      My friend @Naomi Elbinger and I were talking about exactly this point, as she is in the process of writing a novel around this theme and she knows that it’s something I am also passionate about. Whether it’s an eating disorder or a difficult marriage or parnassah problems or acne or corona or whatever, we are always shocked and dismayed when things don’t go right. We are even more dismayed that even when things do get better, something else inevitably pops up to keep us on our toes! But the undeniable truth is that this is the default setting of Life. It’s even in the Owner’s Manual! In fact, it’s how we earn our keep :-). Very, very profound on so many levels.

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