• Rachel

Prodding the mattress

No, this isn’t a low-budget spin-off of Touching the Void. This is what I call the mental health version of “only I’m allowed to beat up my sibling!”

Sadly, I don’t have siblings, but from what I’ve gathered from the movies and observing the behaviour of peers, there seems to be a unique love-hate relationship that exists between brothers and sisters. You can insult, tease, and bully your sibling until the cows come home and that is perfectly acceptable...but as soon as that bully in the playground starts picking on your sibling, a line has been crossed. Only you are allowed to speak negatively of your sibling or treat them badly. No-one else has permission.

Anorexia isn’t my sister, obviously. And there aren’t any bullies in the playground that have it in for her. If anything, she’s the bully on the playground. She is used to getting her own way, pushing me about, and bagsying the top bunk. She likes to be in control. She often lays above me in that top bunk in the dark, waiting to jump out at me when I’m least expecting it. And it has to be said, most of the time I put up with it.

But, increasingly so, little by little, I'm starting to stand up to her. I'm starting to throw insults her way, too. Prod her mattress from the bottom bunk.

Though, I realised recently, that something within me isn't well pleased when someone else tries to do this for me. Parents and friends, of course, look in and see the woman upstairs pushing me about constantly, and naturally see it fitting to throw some shade her way. I can see why. But, for some strange makes my walls go up, and I find myself defending her...getting angry at the fact that other people want to insult her. I find myself....oddly possessive, protective even. As if she's my sibling, only I can call her that nasty word. Poking the mattress from the bottom bunk is my prerogative, not yours.

Strange. But I guess, if I'm being honest, this shows that I'm not wholly in a place where I want rid of her yet. Though I despise her, I'm scared to lose her. That can seem hard to conceive for anyone who doesn't have a woman upstairs, or bunk beds, or whatever. But it's a bit like Stockholm syndrome, I suppose. And even I don't know how I can rationally acknowledge the existence of this Stockholm syndrome and yet still be gripped by it. Jekyll and Hyde, much.

But I don't want this to end on a negative note, because me realising this this week has been a really positive thing. I hadn't really acknowledged my protectiveness of anorexia this time around, because, well, I hadn't really started to prod her mattress hard enough to be felt yet. Slowly, but surely, I am prodding harder...and she's starting to feel uncomfortable. Encourage me to prod, but let me do the prodding myself.


"At this point in my life, I'm just trying to not miss the goodness of each day, and bring my best self to it."

~ John Mark Comer

142 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All