Sunday Rumpus editor Gina Frangello has a beautiful essay over at The Manifest-Station (run by Rumpus Contributor Jennifer Pastiloff) that reflects back on her days dealing with anxiety, an eating disorder, and getting out.
“In an Afterschool Special, the crazy girl who is afraid of unopened packages of food would get help somehow, would have an epiphany and heal. But in real life, we often have no idea what we’re healing from. Kids I had grown up with had been brutally physically and sexually abused, had lived in apartments overrun with roaches where they were often left alone while their mothers hung out in bars and went home with men, had fended off the advances of their mothers’ parade of boyfriends, had—in a few cases—been murdered in gang violence or simply by crazy, enraged neighbors. Although I had grown up in the middle of all that, none of it had ever happened to me. My parents were nice people. We were below the poverty line, but there were only three of us and we always had enough to eat. My mother took me to the library every week and read books aloud to me. I had gotten out and here I was at a Big Ten college, having studied abroad in London. I had a sophisticated British boyfriend who sent me tapes of cool music and accommodated my vision of myself by packing condoms in front of me. I had scads of friends, who didn’t judge me as harshly as I may judge my former self, as we were all only twenty-one and they had their issues too. I had a massive case of Survivor Guilt.”