I’ll Be There

23 Apr

I saved someone’s life today. Literally.

I was on my way to Barnes and Noble, one of my favorite places to sit and blog. Surrounded by others thinking contemplatively with a Starbucks coffee in their hands, leisurely reading magazines or newspapers, or simply gazing quietly at the amazing selection of books, I feel comforted and tapping out  just feels right. I think there are some places that just have an air of inspiration and I often find I reflect most deeply cradled in the collective written work of so many authors before me.

Today, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about. Earlier today, I had mulled around a few thoughts- body image, the struggle of giving up the “size zero ideal,” the feeling of isolation with an eating disorder, a book review… But when I sat down to write, that all seemed unimportant today. Yes, there are huge issues for me and anyone with an eating disorder. But what happened today, changed my perspective and my obsession with staving myself seems silly. Something “clicked” and for right now, I am not in the iron strong grip of the eating disorder voice.

Two minutes after pulling out of the apartment complex, I reached the first stoplight on my drive to the bookstore and I was in a line of several cars. When the light turned green, the line didn’t move. I couldn’t see who was in front, but I figured there was a stall or the driver wasn’t paying attention. Because this particular light is pretty short, people started honking after about 30 seconds of standing still. The entire light cycle went through without any of us moving an inch. Then another light cycle. On the third, the cars in front of me angrily swerved around the first car and I got a glimpse. No flashers on. Hmmm… I thought, that’s sure strange. Slowly, I followed the other cars around the left of the car, but because I wasn’t flying away in anger, I stole a glance to my left to see if anyone was still in the car…

There was.  A young man- at the prime of life. Eyes closed, head slumped over the steering wheel, and no reaction to the loud horns before… OH MY GOD!

I couldn’t stop in the lane going the opposite direction, so I completed my turn, rushed to pull over on the side of the highway and whipped out my cell phone. I dialed 911 and within a minute or so, the squealing siren and flashing lights of a firetruck were at the scene. Some of the firemen came over to talk to me, asked me a few questions about when I had first seen the car, what the driver had looked like when I passed, etc. They thanked me for reporting the incident and then (probably because I looked so shaken up), they gently told me I had done all I could and that I could leave. Back in my car, I took a deep breath and turned the key in the ignition, prepared to go about the rest of my day. I didn’t see what happened to the man; when I turned and the firetruck came, my view was blocked, but the local hospital is on the way to Barnes and Noble. On my way, another firetruck and an ambulance with their sirens blaring passed me going the opposite direction about two minutes after I started driving again. I sincerely hope the man is okay tonight. Whether he was just passed out from exhaustion, had a seizure, or something worse, my heart goes out to him.

The event changed something inside of me. It touched me deeply. I was meant to be there today, I know it. Even though it may not always seem like it, life has a way of making sure we are in the right place at the right time.

What would have happened if I hadn’t been there? What if I had just decided to work or blog from home today? How many cars had angrily passed this man without pulling over and calling 911? How come people are more worried about five minutes, going-going-going, and their own anger than another human life? And maybe most importantly:

If I had given into the pull of anorexia a few months ago instead of bravely trying to battle the obsession, I would probably be dead or at least not capable of driving by now. Who would have been there to save that young man’s life then???

No one.

And how many more lives will I unknowingly save in the future? How many people will need me?

My eating disorder could have claimed more than one life after today, if I had never shown up. This recovery is for more than me now. It’s for all those who won’t have anyone else to take the time to care, who will be forgotten by the self-centered society, who will have no one to stand up for them, who will be too tired to continue, who feel as though they can no longer carry on, who will need to be saved.

I promise I’ll be there.

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One Response to “I’ll Be There”

  1. eodwyer April 24, 2011 at 10:22 PM #

    Sara,
    I’m sorry that you misinterpreted the meaning of my blog- the belief that true recovery from an eating disorder is possible. I’m sorry that you are struggling… God only knows I’ve been there. But my hope is not false and I am regaining the happiness I used to have. I do not believe I am better than anyone, rather that everyone has amazing potential to uplift and help others. And this is simply a virtual journal; it does not portray my reality, nor do I spend all my time hiding on it. In fact, I spend very little time writing on it, but I have found it is very therapeutic and conducive to my recovery. My blog is the outward expression of the hope that life can be more than the starving, desolate world of an eating disorder. But just because it isn’t on my blog, does not mean I am not facing my demons. Your comments stung at first, but when I stopped to think about them, I found the courage to respond. I am not self-centered- that would be giving in to the eating disorder and leaving my mother and little brother to grieve. I have potential, I am strong, and I will recover.
    If you do not like the topics or message that I convey, my best suggestion for you is to stop reading and following my blog. I will not change my writing, an expression of my life to conform to the likes of others. I’ve already done enough conforming to be perfect.
    Once again, I am sorry you are struggling. You are not alone. I wish for you some relief from the struggle, and most of all some peace. Recovery is possible. Believe it.

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