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For Part 3, click here.
My plan was working. Finally, I was doing something right. I did quit drinking. That right there allowed me to shave 5-7 lbs. off of my pudgy-to-me figure. And I did start studying. Well, at least I opened the books. And then I started to lose weight in earnest. And I got good at it. For the very first time in my life I was actually good at something. But no matter what I weighed, I wanted to weigh just a little bit less, just to have that buffer. Just to be safe.
By the fall of my junior year in high school I was down to about 95 lbs. I knew I had a problem. And so in October of 1980, exactly 5 years from my first visit to the psychologist, I went back.
This was 1980, however. The understanding of eating disorders was severely limited. This time I saw a psychiatrist. To be honest I cannot remember a single thing about it my appointments with him.
I can hardly remember a single thing about that entire year, which is a bummer because I made the best grades of my life. I had isolated myself socially and, considering I never ate, really didn't have the energy to do much anyway. It was the year that I learned all that Spanish vocabulary that I will never be able to recall. All that work for nothing, it seems.
One thing I do remember is how terribly I wanted to not be what I was. I didn't want to have Anorexia Nervosa. I didn't want to spend my days and hours and minutes worried about food and calories and pounds. I didn't want to be so alone and isolated and hollow. I didn't want the terror that I felt inside all the damn time.
One day, in English class, we watched a slide show of Dante's Inferno. There was a slide of a woodcut illustration. It was skeletons drowning in a lake of fire. And I saw those skeletons. And I saw me. But still, I couldn't stop.
Then came the day that Ronald Reagan was shot. I won't forget it. I walked in the door from school. There was all the hubbub on TV while my mother told me that I wouldn't be going to school the next day. I would be going to a psychiatric hospital.