I’ve had regular meals since yesterday afternoon. I don’t have time to fight this shit: I need to move on. I’m not going to play the life-sucking game of am I ready to work on it or not, am I worth it or not, do I have the determination or not. I am not going to let this control my life just like alcohol and cutting did. I don’t have time for it. I’m not going to be so foolish as to wait for a rock-bottom moment.
Yet there is almost a thrill to not eating. It’s like swimming a race: I get a high from pushing through and accomplishing things with little to no resources. I feel super-human and have a false sense of power and strength. This is before the crash: before the hangover from the high. I go from frantically powering through to crashing hard. I’m acutely aware of the gnawing emptiness in my stomach, the lethargy, the fatigue and numbness. If I have the sense to sit down and eat the affect is almost immediate. What I notice first is a warm feeling descending down my legs – physical numbness dissipating. Anxiety lessens: my thoughts that are moving at a frantic pace begin to slow. I am able to handle challenges with more patience and less rage.
It would seem like a no-brainer, then, to just get my shit together and eat. But I don’t believe in “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”. “Get your shit together” is equally shaming and unhelpful.
In the past when I’ve tried to talk to friends about my eating concerns saying that I think I have a problem. They dismissed my fears. Déjà vu: when I initially broached the subject of my worries about my drinking three years ago to my best friend and my husband they both (lovingly) dismissed my concerns. I know they were trying to make me feel better but the result was doubt, shame, and secrecy. I stopped talking about it and kept my excessive drinking a secret.
I have been alternately concerned and apathetic about my eating problems. I have been sweeping it under the rug. I lost hope of it ever improving because I desperately needed help. I needed a plan, I needed to not be alone in this fight. That is finally happening. A kind, wise, trustworthy person is coming alongside me: not dismissing, not diminishing the problem, helping me face it. He tells me that I’m worthy and not deserving of neglect. He encourages me to speak this truth to myself, to extend grace to myself.
I’m keeping a log of what I eat. It’s not to use against myself and hear the inner critic who berates me and is always saying that I’m not enough – not worthy. It’s to encourage me. It’s so that I can look back and say to myself in the words of an astute three-year-old friend: “Good job, me!”
It’s time to move on. It’s time to not have yet another specter of self-harm casting a dark shadow over my life. It’s time to eat.