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The Other Side

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Recovery Stories

Tony Medina -- aka. MrFishy
(Amy's Husband)

September 13th, 1999

Hola Fishies,

What can I tell ya, my wife is amazing!

Mind you, I knew this when I met her... but now after about six years I'm still amazed as each day goes on.

I would love to take credit for my wife's recovery (the credit hog that I am) and say "it's because she met me that she is where she is now", but I can't say that. Sure, I was there to hold her hand... sure, I was there to listen when all she needed was an ear, but I was also there to say the wrong things and to think that it was just an eating thing. So actually, now that I read back what I'm writing, I'm more amazed because of the fact that she also found the time to teach me about the disorder.

Lets start at the beginning.

I can't tell you the exact time that I heard her say to me "hon, I have an eating disorder" but I can tell you somewhat what I felt. "An eating disorder? What's that? Does it mean I gotta give ya a burger every five minutes? Does it mean you wanna be thin like the models in the magazines? Does it mean you're afraid of being fat?" Obviously, I was confused, to say the least.

I remember noticing boxes of lax's and diet pills in the bathroom drawers and wondering "what the hell is this". I remember finding the seven or eight large cups of coffee in the garbage at the end of the day. I remember the "I'm not hungry right now"... "I'm too busy to eat"... "yeah I had something before"... but at this point I never really realized what they meant as part of the ED.

At one point I looked at her and yelled -- no screamed at her -- that I didn't want her drinking anymore coffee cause she was drinking too much. I now know that it was a replacement for true nourishment but this is in hindsight.

I still remember the cover of the first book we bought together on EDs. I remember reading it... I remember still not understanding it. But one thing that stuck in my mind that was written over and over again was the word death.

I believe if there's anything that I can say was just as helpful to Amy as it was to me in the beginning was the communication that we had about the ED. As I asked questions and she gave me answers, I began to see the ED for what it was. I would wake up in the middle of the night and check to make sure she was still breathing. I can honestly say it was one of the scariest things that I had to live with at that time. The fear that I could lose the person I love to a disease I couldn't totally understand and was totally helpless over. What could I do? What magic pill could I give her? What magic doctor could I take her to? What did I do? I must not make her happy. I must be a loser (yes, unfortunately, I tried to slowly turn it into a "me" thing).

"You look beautiful today"... "I love your hair that way"... "I love it when you wear that dress"... great things to say, but not what the ED hears. She heard "I looked sh*tty yesterday"... "he hated the way I had my hair before"... "he hates all my clothes"...

Now I'm really f*cked.

I think at this point I began to realize what the ED was all about. I began to realize that it wasn't a "me" thing or a "her" thing... it was an "it" thing. An ED thing. I began to realize that there was actually another force to reckon with -- the other force wasn't food... the other force wasn't how many compliments I gave her... the other force wasn't whether I made her feel safe every second of the day or not. The "it" was about how she felt about herself.

With this in mind, now looking back, I can remember things that my wife would do artistically and her never being happy. I couldn't relate. I don't draw but I write music... I can't say I'm always one-hundred-and-ten percent satisfied with everything I've completed, but I always have a general good feeling about things I've done. I can remember my wife doubting everything she ever did, ever thought, ever imagined... and again I couldn't relate because I can be stubborn, pig-headed, confident to the point of being a sickening S.O.B.

I remember her starting to work on things. I remember the self-help books... I remember the beginnings of the site... I remember the long nights of conversation of opening up and letting me in... and at the same time the beginning of her healing process. I remember her getting her first official therapist to combat the ED. I remember her coming home and doing her "ED homework". I must admit, during these times it was all her work and I kind-of understood... kind-of tried to give her the space to do her work... kind-of tried to do my best to not be discouraging or judgemental, but at the same time I still checked her breathing in the middle of the night.

Even though at this point I somewhat understood the ED and her struggles I still found myself asking, "did you eat today?"... "what did you eat today?"... I somewhat knew that it was something I should have stayed away from but to me, it was important that regardless of the struggles, and regardless of the pain, and regardless of the issues, the important thing was that she fueled her body and mind. Without that fuel she wouldn't have the strength to continue her battles. Do I regret bringing these questions up? Do I regret maybe sounding like a pest or a hound? I have to say no. I needed to know that she'd still be around for one more day, and that is what the fuel meant to me -- and she needed to know that it was the only way I could let her know that I cared. She may not have thought that way then, but I'm sure she understands it now.

I can still remember her calling me over to the computer for the FIRST TIME and saying "look what I've done" and saw a smile of confidence, pleasure, and pride. At that point I knew that Amy was moving forward in her battle.

I now sit and listen to the stories she tells me and see the glitter in her eyes that I always could see shining through, but never saw her project. I watch her interact with other people and can sense the confidence that her words convey. I see her fight every day to leave the ED further and further in her past.

She's my wife. I think I'll keep her.

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