Inspire – Women of Dartmouth Stories

Limericks and Reflection

Alice Merryweather D’21 shares the limericks she wrote while spending time in treatment for an eating disorder.


Thankful for Therapy

I once had a bout of ED

Not the kind with a broken pee-pee

I struggled with food

Always had a bad mood

But I’m fine ‘cause I do therapy


Don’t Google “ED”

I once Google searched for “ED”

Out of hope that I’d find therapy

But the algorithm thought

That I was an old sot

Now Viagra ads are all that I see


Entering Therapy/No More Travel

I once had an eating disorder

So bad I could not cross the border

I wanted to go

But my doctor said no

So I’m now here on medical order

Ode to Lori

When sometimes my heart starts to quicken

And therapy just isn’t stickin’

Dear Lori will say

That it’s time to go play

And she’ll tell me to go fling a chicken


Snack-time Bandit

During snack was a strange goings-on

To the windows we all were a-drawn,

We watched a man hit a car

And then run near and far

‘Til he hopped on a bus and was gone


Staying in Recovery

On Thursdays in the conference room

I meet my emotional doom

I’ll spare you a summary

But “Staying in Recovery”

Brings out all my tears in a flume


When I first entered a treatment center for my Anorexia Nervosa, I had no idea just how much down time I would have every day. Realistically I think time just passes slowly when you’re in and out of therapy and proctored meals for ten hours a day, but nonetheless I had to adjust to a much slower pace of life than I was used to as an athlete.

I quickly found solace in this downtime by writing limericks. My family, my mom and uncles in particular, have a habit of emailing out limericks based on holidays or major family happenings every year. Like, even for pretty serious or gross events like colon cyst surgery (I know, I’m sorry). These poems have always been a way for us share stories and love through humor, and so when I was going through my own dark times, writing limericks to send to the family felt like a natural way to share that I was in treatment. It also helped that I entered treatment just before Thanksgiving, so I was excited to jump into the family email chain with my own creations as a way to let everyone know that I was doing okay.

Most of the limericks that I wrote over the six weeks in treatment were highly specific to our daily activities. They address things like people-watching from ED Care’s giant, thirteenth-story windows as a way to pass mealtimes (as seen in Snacktime Bandit), and the sticky rubber chicken-flinging toys we would shoot all over the milieu (Ode to Lori). Staying in Recovery addresses one of the most difficult group therapy sessions I was a part of, where for two hours we would discuss what life after treatment might look like. It was always tearful, always brutal, and always a great bonding experience for us patients.

I hope that anyone reading these limericks can find some humor in them, despite the serious matter that they cover. For me, sharing these with my fellow patients, family, and beyond feels cathartic. The poems bring up the brutality of my lived experience with anorexia but add a layer of levity. They were a powerful coping mechanism at a time of overwhelming darkness, and are a reminder today that there can be joy, even in pain.

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