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The Death of Me

The Death of Me

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The Death of Me

4.5/5 (3 valutazioni)
112 pagine
1 ora
Sep 26, 2014


The Death of Me is a true coming of age story of a young girl’s fight with Anorexia, Bulimia, LGBT issues, and Bipolar Disorder, which takes her on a frightening road through years of madness and dozens of hospitalizations.

Feeling the mockery of her peers, Shawnna never quite fit in in school. Feeling afraid and alone, her turmoil reaches a crucial boiling point as adolescence draws near. A very macabre personality begins to take over her, as she discovers her weight is something she can control, that her appetites were the issue.

All her life, something dangerous has been waiting in the wings. It waits to take her at her weakest moment. The monster comes forth, and carries her away.

"The Death of Me" is a tale of passion, repression, obsession, power, a desperation for meaning, drama, and desire. The fear of drowning in one's emotions forever. And repression of feeling anything at all and emerging raw and skinless, and feeling everything. This is the story of a young girl's response to the world and to the turbulent emotions that run tempestuously throughout her life, like snakes in the grass. She must come ultimately come face to face with the demons of her past and present - or die.

Sep 26, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

The thought of sharing my story with the world was pretty frightening. Yet the thought of not making an impact on the world with something I’ve learned, of not influencing at least one person, was even more terrifying. I hope mental health professionals, sufferers of my conditions, and avid readers alike will take something from this book. I feel that my story will appeal to anyone who, eating disordered, mentally ill or not, has felt their trust has been abused, suffered from feelings of isolation, a troubled history, and just maybe has never been able to quite get free. I wanted to be a beacon of hope for those who still struggle, and for their families or friends. It does get better. There is a light at the end of this tunnel of madness after all.

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The Death of Me - Shawnna Burt

The Death of Me

A coming of age story about a young woman’s victory over her addictions

Shawnna Burt

Copyright 2014 Shawnna Burt

Smashwords Edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



1 Childhood

2 End of Innocence

3 Going Under

4 Death

5 Purgatory

6 Recovery and Rebirth

7 Present Day

About Shawnna Burt

Connect with Shawnna Burt


Get up, screams the nurse from the eating disorder floor. Wait. I shake myself awake. There’s no nurse. It was a dream.

I get up. Drink too much coffee. Check the bathtub for intruders. Take a shower. My scale is broken. The world stops. I can’t function without my scale, without knowing my weight. You think by knowing you have control? Ha! I’ve been under its control for years. It has me by the throat.

I get another scale. I weigh myself and I weigh too much. I was right; I did gain weight, because I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve been flirting with the idea that I don’t need to count every last calorie like I’ve always done. But I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Does it occur to me that body weight goes up and down all the time, during the day, from day to day? Does it occur to me that it eventually evens out? No. I spend the next hour crying on my blue couch, wrapped in my furry blanket.

They never tell you, in the beginning, that recovery from an eating disorder will be more painful than the illness itself, that the illness is the easy part. It’s coming back to life that’s the hard part.

Maybe that’s why some of us don’t come back all the way.

* * *

I became bulimic at age twelve and almost starved myself to death at fifteen. I spent two years in residential programs and one year in an institution. In all, the amount of hospitalizations numbered thirty-two by the time I was eighteen. I went in at fifteen still a kid, and I left a well-informed adult version of myself. After years of playing the part of a very sick child, I decided I wanted to do something a little more interesting than starve. I realized then I was wasting my life as a sick person and decided I’d best get the hell out. Mostly, I began to get the idea that I was capable of a lot more than what was around me. There weren’t any solutions, per se, but I did a lot of talking and reading and growing up. I had to start over from scratch.

I had to break free from my painful history in order to survive. I had to let it all go. Some people think too much, fight too much, and talk too much (or not at all). I was bullied all through school. Some kids, who get bullied end up bringing guns to school. Or they kill themselves. I chose to go inward, to self-destruct. I chose a dark and elegant ballet, a dizzying waltz with my own demise.

Writing this book has not been easy. I’m not a particularly open or public person. The thought of sharing my story with the world was pretty frightening. I was afraid I would seem narcissistic or, at best, self-absorbed and that I’d be judged. Yet the thought of not making an impact on the world with something I’ve learned, of not influencing at least one person, was even more terrifying. The truth is often disturbing, and yet it heals. The truth can save a life.

In a way, writing this book has carved a more direct path to my own happiness and peace. It has led to a more authentic life. I wrote this book not only because I wanted to inspire readers, but also because I needed to. Its therapeutic value has been very high.

I offer no real solutions to my problems—only my experience, which I hope has value. I’ve learned that one, crazy or not, I am not a product of my circumstances; two, I am not personally indestructible; and three, my value is not wholly attached to a number on a scale or categorization as such. Unlike my case history, I am more than a mere succession of diagnoses and mysterious illnesses, and I have more to offer than some fragile, cardboard, skinny version of myself. I deserve more. I’ve learned that my desires are deadly and that I have to keep them in check. I’ve learned that I’m fucked up, no question about it—and that it’s okay.

Mine is a tale of passion, repression, obsession, and hunger for all sorts of things. It’s about trauma, power, desperation, drama, death, and desire. Fearing I may drown in my emotions forever and then emerging raw and skinless and feeling everything. This is the story of a response to the world and to the turbulent emotions that run tempestuously throughout my life, like snakes in the grass. Mine is a story of my own death as a means to survive.

The eating disorders, although they were very different from one another, were only a symptom of how I wanted desperately to be saved, loved, admired. For me, the anorexia indicated wanting to be loved but wanting that was a problem, a hindrance to admitting my muddled emotional weaknesses and responses. Food is a substitute for nurturance and caring. Bulimia indicates more of a raw admission of need, a hungry sea of feelings boiling over. It was need vs. not-need. And yet I screamed for both.

The two illnesses were a way of saying,

Hey, I’m feeling a little neglected here. And I was. But I’m not sure if anyone could have heard me.

Perhaps, by then, I’d been too far out.



I was born in 1983 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to the extraordinary people I call my parents. It’s weird but I sort of remember it, parts of it at least. I am told I was a very alert baby. I was the only one in the nursery that never slept.

Back then, the days melted casually into one long progression of hide-and-seek and hot summer nights and Kool-Aid. Each day was just a speck in time, and yet, at the same time, it was an eternity. The astonishing heat of summers all rolled into one. Sitting under a window during a storm and feeling very small, so close to something so huge and powerful.

Curling up in the corner with my stuffed animals around me, my tape-recorded stories in my lap, my blanket over my head, the rain drumming in hypnotic beats on the roof. I was safe and warm. I loved to let the rain, whether drizzling or stormy, wash me away to sleep, a soft and sweet lullaby, no matter how tumultuous in reality.

The colors I recall from this time are red and purple. I was a very willful, yet painfully shy child with thick banana curls and pouty pink lips. I was tanned and had lispy speech that struggled to form words like ‘shark’ and ‘ocean.’ I do remember the ocean, the mystery it was then.

I distinctly remember things according to sound, touch and taste; songs by Madonna on MTV, which I sang under my breath in the living room, already hypnotized by her glamorous life, her catlike and dominating beauty.

I remember swinging on the hammock in my grandparents’ backyard, and the hot pink waffle print it left on my skin afterward. Eating fried dough at the fair on a hot summer night.

My mother’s parents were a huge influence in my life. There was a crucifix in every room. There were old, yellowing papers on the walls that blessed every room and kept evil entities away. As a child, my mother had slept with a human skull in her room, which my grandfather had gotten somewhere.

My grandfather hoarded things in his garage, odd things, like a harpoon, a wasps nest, a dozen or so lawnmowers, an accordion, a wooden arrow, an X-RAY machine, etc. He was a funny man, and popular, even with people much younger. He was tall, thin, dark, and rugged, and he had a single curl on his head that he slicked back.

No one messed with him, because he could become frightening to anyone who provoked him. Apparently, when my mother was a child, an older boy pushed her down some steps and she chipped her tooth and cut her tongue. My grandfather, subsequently, went over to where this boy lived, and hell if know what he said, but that family moved away within the next week.

My grandmother was a chaste, quiet woman. She watched me with a careful but loving eye. Her little house was immaculate – the complete opposite of what our house was like, which was

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