Curl up in a ball of misery.

Curl up in a ball of misery, of sadness. Your plain dark hair covers your eyes. Your hip bones dig into your arms enough to hurt, but all you can think of is the fat that you are bruising. Your clothes have been getting bigger for months but you tell yourself that they're just stretching. The scale keeps telling you that the numbers are dropping but you're so scared that they'll reach new highs that you feel the need to overcompensate. Then you get a rush when you hit a new low and it becomes the new magic number which you must maintain.

You've always been a runner, but you've also always succumbed to overeating. As a doctor self-diagnosis is just too easy to fall back on. The pride, the control, the pure and unadulterated happiness that you felt when you were finally able to reassess your diagnosis - admit to yourself that your illness had changed from that of the weak and wishful to the disorder of the perfect woman - were simply overwhelming. Once you achieved ninety-nine pounds, a body mass index of seventeen, and managed to halt your menstruation, you continued with exemplary success for a week; you even lost another pound or two. But then along came the weekend. Even without work to keep you focused, you remained completely victorious on that first Saturday. The next day you did all of your regular exercises, you even ran just a little bit farther than normal, then you picked up a few things from work, did the groceries for the next week and came home to finish off the very end of last week's paperwork. Proud of your consistency and your self-restraint, you thought that you deserved just a little bit of a reward.

Open the fridge. Pour a glass of milk. Grab an apple to go with it. The apple isn't enough. Pull out the cookies that you bought because you're expecting company this week. Pull out your paperwork and tell yourself that you'll only have one. Reach in to the bag… Put away the last completed paper and look in the cookie bag. It's empty. You begin to tremble. You touch a hand to your bloated stomach. Panicked and shaking, you stumble to the bathroom. Lean over the toilet and try to expel everything that you ate. Retch and retch but nothing comes up. You're panicked, you're shaking, everything is a haze of wrongness. You're surprised when, the next time you look at your hands, there's blood on them. You look down at your arms and realize that you're scratching has been frantic enough to break the skin.

That night you fell asleep on the bathroom floor. You slept fitfully and your alarm woke you up on time even from across the hall. You managed to barely get to work on time, wearing a sweater to cover the evidence even though it was a little bit too warm with the climate control and shutting yourself in your office all day. You didn't eat a thing that day, desperately trying to get back to your beloved ninety-nine pounds. That day was a lesson that you never forgot and you let it open your mind a little. You had always prided yourself on the fact that, in all of your depression all through your life, you had never resorted to self-harm. Learning to appreciate it's advantages was what finally forced you to admit to yourself that you had a problem.

But anorexia, depression and self-harm were problems that you could cope with. Obesity was not. You learned to avoid the psychology department at work or to send Wilson in your stead. You altered the nature of your interactions with Foreman so that anything requiring important or complicated thought was done over email where you could check your words several times. You ensured that most things were filtered through Wilson or your assistant, both of whom saw a lot less of you as well. A huge amount of your concentration went into your interactions with House. Although you avoided him as well, his annoying ability to read people extended to those times when he realized that they were avoiding him. So you pasted a façade over your life at work and you pasted a smile on your face to cover the frown.

For the last three months you have eaten next to nothing. You know that some of your staff have noticed, occasionally you hear their whispers following you down hallways, but no one dares to say a word to the dean, to the woman who signs their paychecks. For once you are grateful for the loneliness and isolation provided by your seniority. As you are curled on your windowsill with your bruising blades of bone and shooting stabs of pain you are thankful that no one has the chance to see you this weak. There are no loved ones to see you chilled to the core despite the arriving warmth of spring.

Dizzy and pained as you are, you do not notice the sound of someone trying to open your door - trying to disturb your loneliness. You do not hear the sound of your lock being picked, you do not realize that someone has intruded until a long fingered hand roughly raises your face to meet his eyes and he speaks: his cynical tone somehow simultaneously angry and calming. "It's two o'clock in the morning. No one will note the irony of you being pushed out of the hospital in a wheelchair by a cripple."