Friday, June 17, 2011

Botox Beauty

 Despite all the distorted perceptions I have of my body, wrinkles never really fell into a category marked "important."  Put me in front of a mirror, and I would tell you how my thighs shouldn't be touching, or how I wish my stomach were a little more hollow looking, but wrinkles?  I couldn't care less.  Sure, I noticed the crease between my eyebrows getting deeper each year, but it certainly didn't send me into a tizzy the way not being able to see each rib did.  My face could have looked like a raisin, as long as I could just stay thin.
I achieved "thin."  And then "thin" took over.  Waves of anorexic and bulimic behavior, that began as ripples in the water at first, came crashing so quickly, that I got swept into it's ocean.  When I told myself to eat, made myself eat, my body refused it, sending me into panicked prayers above the toilet.  Eventually, my malnourished body went into a full revolt, leaving me with no voice, no energy, and no will to live.  So I checked myself in for treatment.  Not just for the eating disorder, but because I was so lost in "emotion ocean," that I was unable to make even the simplest form of a decision.
My first inpatient stay was 7 weeks.  I was given 18 ECT treatments, a few medication changes, and eventually discharged to continue intensive outpatient therapy.  Six days later, I was admitted to another hospital as an inpatient, where I spent another 12 days, in what I imagine hell to be like.  My medications were changed frequently, and without much monitoring, and by the time I left, I was already beginning to twitch.  Within a few days, my head was shaking, my arms were flailing, and I was told it was a side effect of medications and would go away in a few weeks.
Fast forward six months, hundreds of phone calls, a dozen doctors, two neurologists, and a movement disorder specialist later.  A diagnosis.  Tardive dyskinesia and tardive myoclonic dystonia.  The treatment?  Botox injections every three months to slow the movement, for what could be, the rest of my life.  I get about 6-8 weeks of relief from the sometimes violent whipping action, and my head slows it's pace and range.  With each injection, the "sweet spot" period seems to be lasting a little bit longer.
I still fight with the demons of mental illness and disordered eating, but  I know that I never want to hate myself, and self destruct the way I used to.  I worked hard at putting an extra forty pounds on my bones, and I know I am the healthiest I have been in all my life.  I occasionally inspect the crease between my eyebrows, reminding myself that I will never be perfect, but I will also never have to worry about a wrinkle on my neck.  Although, over time, I'll  probably have to lift up my face for people to see my flawless neck.

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