I have found that humans have the infinite capacity for self-deprecation. We seem to perversely enjoy replaying painful memories in our minds. We endlessly and effortlessly playback our darkest moments as if we were watching a DVD. Music is also one of the tools we use to perpetuate and prolong our pain. In this era of mp3 playlists we can now create streams of musical memories which are knowingly designed to drag us further down into that dark place that only our demons inhabit. Of course, the reverse is also true. Thankfully we also have the infinite capacity to create endless streams of beautiful musical and video memories that make is feel warm, safe and loved.I remember when my anorexia had complete control over me that I created my own anorexic playlist. This only had one obvious purpose. I created it to persecute myself even further. To compound my guilt and to reinforce my dedication to my anorexic cause. I wanted to create as much pain for myself as possible. And it worked.
Last night I revisited remnants of that playlist. I have Spotify on my Ipad, so I tried to recreate some of those anorexic songs from my past. Here are just a few that I found. I can remember why I chose some tracks but not all.This was my anorexic playlist. A document of tremendous pain and confusion. The tracks aren’t ranked in any order.
1. Manic Street Preachers. A design for life.
This song had a special significance for me. When I first went to the Eating Disorder Unit at Seacroft Hospital, Leeds, I was shocked and appalled by the strict dehumanising routine, where we were all stripped of our identities and submitted to terrible indignities. The opening verse always made me cry:
“What price now for a shallow piece of dignity.” What price indeed.
2. Idlewild. The remote part. The whole CD
The track American English always had me in tears;
“Songs, when the truth are all dedicated to you, in this invisible world I choose to live in.”
Those words still upset me, even though I have fully recovered. To be anorexic is to live in an invisible world. It’s a truly horrifying place to inhabit. It’s lonely world with only two people in it. Yourself and your anorexia. To be anorexic is to be two people, constantly at war with each other, never in harmony. Never as one. Only those people who have been there can truly understand this.
3. Doves. The last broadcast. Whole CD
This is a tremendous album. I still like this CD. But back then it was an entirely different album. Track three is called “There goes the fear.” How I prayed that my fear(the anorexia) would go. The final track “caught by the river” I found it very haunting;
“And you give it all away, would you give it all away now.”
I suppose this meant that I had just given my life away. Relinquished control to the anorexia.
4. British Sea Power. The decline of British Sea Power. Whole CD
Another great album with some rousing tracks. Track four “something wicked” speaks for itself;
“And something wicked this way comes”
Track five “remember me” was very poignant. At that time I was convinced that I was going to die. One November night in 2007 as I lay on the verge of death and told my mother my darkest secrets, I also pitifully begged her not to forget me. I pleaded with her to remember me. This was probably the worst moment of my entire life. I have never been so terrified and in so much pain. This memory still reverberates and make me cry;
“Oh remember me, oh remember me, will you remember me?”
“A guided tour of your deepest fears” I had to endure this nightmare every single night when my anorexia wreaked havoc me. Terrifying and almost unendurable. I have no idea how I survived. When things were at their worst these waking nightmares visited without for fifteen months continuously
5. Slade. How does it feel?
This is a brilliant song by Slade. Noddy Holder had such a powerfully resonant voice.
“cos many years from now there will be new horizons. How does it feel?”
More songs from my anorexic age to follow. What songs are on your playlist?