Yep. I sure have noticed how bossy the ED is. I think i had this epihany sometime last week. I realised that it was the only thing in my life which consisted of 'have to's'. Just in case i am not being clear, this is an idea of some of the ED have to's in my life:
- i have to do some form of exercise 6 times a week
- if i have had a hard day at the ED office, i have to walk it off. But not just a short walk, i have to walk many kilometres to get rid of any negative feelings i have from the fact of eating.
- at the weekend, i have to binge and purge or exercise in the morning. If i fail to exercise when i have planned to, then i have to binge and purge as punishment. Since when was pain or pain a choice?
- i have to feel bad for eating food which is out of my control in terms of portion size (so today was a particularly tough day - i will explain more later).
You get the picture. You get my drift. There are many have to's in the ED world. Even God Himself doesn't give us have to's. He gives us a choice. And yes, there are sometimes negative consequences when we make the wrong choice but at least we have a choice.
I think i am writing this just to acknowledge the fact that the ED is a bitch, a bastard, a dictator, an autocrat/a despot and every other thing i hate. It essentially robs us of choice. If only we would use every inch of assertiveness that we have within us to just tell it to fuck off. (Please forgive the profanity).
So yesterday, the have to which made my day a tough one was this:
If you eat the lunch which is in front of you, you have to pay for it. And pay for it i did. I walked for a couple of hours and then made sure that i binged and purged when i returned home, even though my usual hunger precursor was non-existent. The story goes a little something like this:
I was kind of looking forward to lunch. It was not necessarily about the food but i was just looking forward to being with others, eating around the table and maybe challenging myself with the food (the latter shows just how crazy i am). Anyway, when it came to dishing out my portion, i was told to take double of the carb option which freaked me out because a single portion seemed more than enough for me. Added to that the protein and the vegetables which i was about to choose, my plate seemed mountainous. The plates we use are large and i think that heightens my sense of freakoutedness (invented word. i know. sue me!!!!!)
And so i spent a few minutes with the staff debating why i needed an extra portion and how i should not have to and then i was told that i could choose and extra scoop of either one, or the other carb option. Now to me, that was not a choice. I come back to what i said above: choosing between one kind of pain and another kind of pain is no choice at all. Would you rather be beaten with a whip or a belt? Where's the choice in that? So the tears rolled down my eyes, i turned my face away from said staff member and got annoyed when she talked about me being supported by the others around that table. I didn't want support. I just wanted to not have an extra portion. How many different ways can i say that?
I saw this was going nowhere fast so i chose the lesser of the two evils, as i saw it. Wrong move. It freaked me out even more and i was annoyed that i had to eat this monster of a lunch. I spent the first 15 minutes sprinkling salt over the food and mixing it in, hoping that somehow, this process would magically make the food disappear. For any of you thinking of following my lead, i can CONFIRM that this WILL NOT make your food disappear. Worse still the food gets colder making the whole process more unbearable.
When i became bored of this, i put my fork and knife down, bowed my head and watched the food grow before my eyes. I did not know this was what was happening till staff member pointed this out to me later on. Anyway, the staff member convinced me to return to the table after i said that i could not eat anything and that maybe it would be best for me to leave for the day. It was such a strange experience. I was still like a statue and couldn't pick up even a forkful of food. The other participants also helped me get over the fear of how much food i would have to eat by telling me not to worry about what might happen later on, which was my fear, and to stay focused on what i had to do in that moment.
I was glad i had their help but later on, once the day was over, i had to do 'pennance' for having eaten the devil's poison. I walked for hours just to get rid of the feeling of food inside of me and in order to drain myself of my emotions. It worked. By the time i had finished walking, i was so tired that i had no energy for tears and no space for anger. Of course i know this is all the ED ordering me about but i didn't know how else to deal with the situation. I was so angry that i had eaten that food, i felt as though i had let myself that, that i was not honouring my word to myself that i would not eat it. I hated myself for giving in and eating it. aaaarrrggghhhh.
I hate this ED. No amount of intelligence in the world saves me from it. The more i know, the more i am struck by how powerless i feel against it.It's like you can see the tidal wave about to hit but you are frozen on the spot.
Anyway, today was a lot better. I struggled a little with food and i am not sure why. It took a while to finish it. But overall, the group sessions were cool and i laughed a lot. I felt a lot more at ease after lunch, even with the knowledge of that food inside of me.
I did notice today that the new fear is that of what i ought to do once i feel the slight pangs of hunger in the late afternoon. Of course, another ED command is that i must binge and purge everyday. It tells me that i need to. I believe this lie so i end up bingeing and purging at least once a day if not more. I know this is a lie, that i don't need to. But i am not sure what to do when i feel hungry after the programme because my fear is always that i can only eat in an uncontrolled manner. Even though i have proven this not to be the case in the past, i still cannot detach myself from the all or nothing perception of food. Either i eat nothing, or i eat everything. Hmm. Something to work on next week perhaps.
Tonight was not good because i had serious shakes after purging which i think means that my blood sugar is low. Not good but i was kind to myself and gave myself some sugary drink. The last thing i want is to end up collapsing.
Not an inspiring end to this post but i feel a little down tonight. One of the therapists thought it was good that i was able to understand why i do disordered things in relation to food like overexercising or purging. But i just think it makes me feel more powerless. Like i know why i do it and how bad i feel later and yet i keep maintain that cycle. I just want to it to end now. Rome was not built in a day. I know. But when i think of Rome, i think of the final product. I don't know about the ocean of blood, sweat and tears which went into building Rome. No-one does. All we see is the final product. And that is what i wish for. The final product. Recovery. Not partial recovery, manageable ED or any of that. I lived like that for over 10 years. With a manageable ED. But it does at some stage get out of control. And that is where i find myself today. With and out of control ED, wondering when and if this will all end peacefully.