The Weight of Her Words: “Trial and Error”

Today’s poem is about those times that so many eating disorder patients experience when they relapse right out of treatment. It’s difficult for the people around them to watch, and it’s difficult for the patient herself to experience. Relapse is almost always an inevitable part of the recovery process, however- it doesn’t mean the end of the road.




Trial and Error


I’m lost, I don’t know what to do

I’m killing Mom and others too


I fill them with this single dread:

That this latest lapse will leave me dead


I can’t say I don’t fear that myself

For God’s sake, that’s why I’m getting help


But they think that I’ve lost all I’ve gained

They can’t see how much I have sustained


I admit the behaviors are back

But now I have skills I once lacked


I can reach out for help when in need

And that helps the urges recede


I can go to my safe place inside

Where every danger and threat just subsides


I can ground myself in different ways

To keep myself here in today


Just because things look the same as before

Doesn’t mean I’ve lost all I worked for


Doesn’t mean I won’t try anymore

There are options I’ve yet to explore


Please hear me when I tell you this truth:

I know that I wasted my youth


Just swear you won’t give up on me

I’m still working to set myself free


And the best way that you can assist

Is to trust as I try to persist


© Sarah Henderson 2007



About writingforrecovery

Sarah is a writer and poet who speaks out about issues that make people uncomfortable. Sarah advocates for causes such a sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental illness, and often speaks openly about her own experiences. She is determined to abolish the stigma associated with these issues and believes that it starts with people telling their stories, so she started a blog called Writing for Recovery where people can do just that. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and is currently at work on her fourth. She is convinced that there's a novel somewhere in her, and occasionally picks at the chapters so far. View all posts by writingforrecovery

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