McLennan’s Story

Site created on October 14, 2019

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Journal entry by McLennan Maxwell

       I’m at a loss for words, emotions, feelings and everything else. I don’t know what else to do. I feel rejected, denied, and dead. I say this in all literal, metaphorical and physical sense. 
History: Its been almost 17 years now that I’ve suffered from an eating disorder. I say eating disorder and don’t specify on purpose because the range is so great there is no category in which I fall. I have restricted to near death but I’ve also binged and purged to near death as well. I was diagnosed with “atypical” anorexia nervosa- binge purge at the age of 17. I have been in and out of treatment for over a decade and can practically teach every class given and psychologically profile any person set in front of me, mentally ill or not.  I have always known that I am a bright person but never have I known just how smart and manipulative towards myself to the point where it scares me. I’m there now. 
       Present Day: My insurance has denied me any further care. It did over a year ago and I pushed and pushed and pushed to get it over ridden with no prevail. I am now deemed “failure to thrive”, “unfit to travel”, “too high of an acuity level”. This has kept me from getting ANY treatment whatsoever inpatient or outpatient. The only thing they will cover is inpatient medical (hospital), palliative care, custodial care and or and hospice when deemed necessary.  This makes me feel like everyone around me is literally awaiting my death if they don’t already think I’m dead. 
       I am exhausted. I am in pain. Constantly, constantly, in physical pain and my systems are slowly shutting down. When it becomes unbearable I go to the emergency room just for them to tell me that nothing is wrong except that there is “not enough room or padding for my organs”. They are bumping into each other and causing me pain. Or so they say. I take their words as a grain of salt because I know my patterns and I know my behaviors. I know what I’m doing to myself. It’s not good. I’m scared. 
       In August I got to the point where doctors believed that my best option was placing in a peg for continuous tube feedings. What we didn’t expect was everything that came after. The complications of being in the hospital and me having no immune system to begin with nearly killed me with a deadly blood infection. I spent 22 consecutive days stuck, lying in a hospital bed, unable to see the sun or breathe fresh air. After that it was constant pain that never ended. 
       For the next month I was in and out of the hospital for stomach related issues and electrolyte imbalances due to the tube itself yet no one listened when I told them about the pain. Until the day before my oldest brothers wedding. I woke up and my father took one look at me and had me sent me straight to the emergency room. I told everyone I was fine. Whatever I could do to get to his wedding. Truth was that I was septic and in multi-system organ failure because of my tube. It was placed incorrectly. 
       My tube had caused air to seep into my abdominal cavity. When so happened, it caused my stomach to detach from the abdominal wall and create space for massive infection and a large abscess to build. If only they had listened. Because I was in renal failure at the time, a CT scan was not able to be done. For three days I lay there while they wondered why I was so sick. Eventually they said f*** it and did one anyway. I had a surgeon and anesthesiologist waiting in my room to take me for emergency surgery before I had even made it back to my room from the scan itself. Let’s just say, I missed a beautiful wedding... 
       Fast forward another month and the pain has returned. Similar but not quite the same. Again, in and out of the emergency room and frustrated to the point of tears and sobbing full front with nurses and aids unable to console me. Ripping out my own IVs and stumbling out the doors still in pain despite every time having a new doctor and new set of eyes. 
       I really think I’m crazy. I also think I’m scared. Because again I know what all I am doing. I know the habits I cannot break and the new ones that have formed. The fact that I stopped my tube feed completely two weeks ago and I still can’t get through a single day without a seizure or passing out. I don’t drive. I don’t drink. I don’t socialize even for fear of what could happen. I’m very scared. I’m very tired. I’m very lost. Most of all I am very alone despite everyone telling me that they are right here by my side. 
       I see so many doctors and I live on a budget. My budget includes using money for Uber and Lyft to get around and it’s hard because it leaves little for anything else. This just fuels my ED even more! It gives me an “excuse”. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know who to turn to. All I know is that I’m alone, in pain and scared. I’ve had an eating disorder for 17 years and I’ve been scared before but never once have I come out and been so terrified that I admit it. 
       The hardest part is my family around me. I hear the words “I love you” so much more and I know it’s because they are afraid it’s the last time they will get to say it to my alive and awake face. My mother comes in my room to wake me up because I fear she fears that one day I just won’t. I don’t want that. I don’t want to die. However I don’t want to live this life I am living either. It doesn’t feel worth it. My boyfriend thinks half of the time I am asleep and he checks my pulse, I’m not asleep. I know what he’s doing. I do not want to cause this panic in everyone around me. I can’t handle hurting another person physically or mentally. It isn’t me. It hurts me to hurt them. I would honestly rather suffer in pain to keep them free of it. It may be a selfless act but is it not a selfish act too?


Everything had become too much and the night after my latest admit to the emergency room the families worst fear occurred. My mother came to wake me up the following morning to me find me asleep. She could not wake me up. I was covered in my own vomit and not even under the covers.
      Nine hours earlier (approximated) I had taken a lethal dose of Tylenol and anti anxiety medication. I was cold to the touch and not breathing. For me, my memory is blank. For me, time elapsed but without sound; without light; without sensation or emotion; without fear. It was just a black epitomous hole of nothingness. 
     I don’t know the whole story. I woke up two days later in the intensive care unit attached to a ventilator that was breathing for me. I had been unconscious for over 48 hours. While I was technically in a coma, my family waited around to hear if I had killed my liver and or brain. I wasn’t waking up which lead to the doctors fear of brain damage. Thankfully I woke up with a brain that survived. The only major damage done was the vomit on which I had aspirated and that I had yet another stomach infection. The aspiration in turn caused severe pneumonia. 
       Everyone knew I was depressed but no one ever knew I was “that” far down. I told no one. I reached out to no one. I’ve attempted in the past and fear always stepped in. Before it was “too late” someone would have found because I told them. This time was different. There was no original plan. It was impulsive and I see now, stupid. I remember the act. Doing it. I was methodical in my ways and didn’t wing it but thought it out as I did it. Again, I told no one. Before I was able to give in to fear, I had fallen unconscious. There was no explanation for why and or how I managed to survive. 
      When I woke up, at first I was mad. I was still in pain and still unhappy. The only comfort was my boyfriend holding my hand as I woke up for the first time. Days later I was transferred out of the ICU and to a regular floor room. We thought I was going to be okay. However I’d done a lot more damage than the doctors knew. 
      One morning I woke up sick and nauseous from pain. I don’t remember vomiting or anything but it happened and after I passed out in the bathroom. Not only did I pass out, I coded. They lost my pulse and began CPR. It took three rounds to get me back. The doctors said it was from sudden stress to my heart that may have already been weakened by my eating disorder and overdose. Still, I came back. 
       It’s been days now and I’m fine. I have no lasting damage and am perplexed to why I myself’s life was spared. There has to be a reason. I want to think that “God” had something to do with it but I find myself not even believing in him. When I was down and near death, I expected to see a light or warmth or hear a voice. I expected to see people I loved who had passed but I didn’t. Just darkness. It makes me think that there is no beyond. That there is no afterlife. Just a land of nothingness. 
     I’m okay now. Mentally and physically I’m much, much, better. I’m not okay and I’m not recovered. But I’m still rejected and I’m still denied. Even psychiatric facilities have not wanted to take me and help me because I am a liability they don’t want.  Life is hard. I never thought it would be this hard. Holidays are not a friend of mine. 

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