It appears that I have hit the self-destruct button. All week I have alternated between starving during the day and bingeing/purging during the evening. This is my usual ED manifestation. During the day I go to yoga. I teach ballet. I survive hour by hungry hour. I try to eat ‘healthy’ even as I am restricting. As soon as I am finished work, I am starving. If I am home alone, I let loose and eat whatever I feel like. I just don’t care at this point. It goes down and it comes straight back up. As a result, I constantly feel terrible. I suffer excruciating migraines, stomach pains and I shake. I shake from the jitters (induced by caffeine), the cold (I am always cold) and the debilitating anxiety over my relationship crisis.
The nights that I am not alone I still binge. My boyfriend took me out for a romantic dinner on Thursday (we are attempting to recover), and I ate everything I could see. The bread basket arrived and he had the tiniest sliver of bread. I ate the remaining three bread rolls slathered in butter without a second thought. I drank copious amounts of wine. I ate bruschetta as a starter. I ate the most enormous plate of pasta and then polished off a tiramisu and half of his dessert too. After dinner we went to a club and they had free pizza. I ate the free pizza. Then we came home and I purged until there was nothing but bile. The entire time, my boyfriend didn’t once comment on my mammoth eating extravaganza. I wonder if he notices and keeps quiet or if even worse, he is still clueless. He has no idea that I am barely eating during the day when we are apart.
I went out for girls’ night with some of the other dancers on Friday. I ordered just one tapas (vegetables only), but after about ten minutes, I realized that I was ravenous. I ordered a plate of nachos too. The girls dissected my relationship in the same way that I dissect my food: aggressively and without remorse. On the way home, my boyfriend texted me and asked if I wanted to join him and his friends for a drink as my evening with the girls had ended early.
“No,” I texted back from the inside of a pizza take away. I was more interested in a pizza and a date with the toilet bowl than spending time with the man who has hurt me so much. I ate the entire pizza on the drive home. It was beyond description. After puking up everything, I treat myself to an Emergen-C and a handful of vitamins and probiotics. I know this seems ridiculous beyond explanation.
Last night my boyfriend took me to his team’s BBQ. As usual, I had starved all day through ballet and bike ride. I started with a glass of red wine. Alcohol always manages to dissolve my good intentions of starving the rest of the night away. I was wedged in a corner chatting to a girlfriend when not one, but two appetizers made an appearance. They were plonked on either side of me. I am not lying. Out of all the places that these plates could have been put, the hostess saw fit to pit one on each side of the bulimic. I looked at them with a mixture of lust and horror. At first I nibbled on a few crackers. After the first couple of bites, I gave in. I devoured the crackers and cheese. I munched my way through the vegetables and ranch dip without pausing to breathe. After appetizers came the burgers. I slathered my veggie burger with every topping available, including cheese and avocado. I piled my plate with potato salad that was dripping in mayonnaise. Even though I wanted to vomit half-way through my meal from being so full, I continued like a champion and washed it all down with more red wine. Dessert followed: cake pops and nutella crepes. I didn’t even flinch. They went down the hatch and then I sat twitching and freaking out and planning my escape home to puke. Eventually we made it home. I ran upstairs, left the taps running and purged. I went downstairs, cuddled up to my boyfriend on the couch, then passed out from exhaustion as we watched a movie. I had a migraine before I even fell asleep.
Today I am sitting in a cafe as Autumn arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. I hate it. Everything is dying. Winter is coming for me. As any ED sufferer knows, being excruciatingly cold all the time is painful. I miss home. I miss the sunshine and warmth of Africa. I miss my family. I am unsure of my being in this place anymore. I want to sit under the Jacarandas with my mother and be well. I want to drink tea with her and eat cake that I won’t throw up afterwards. I want to walk with her in the evenings past the giraffe and zebra and enjoy the sensation of walking for the sake of walking rather than to burn calories. I want to go home.
In this sweet cafe by a river, I am drinking a matcha latte with almond milk. It is late afternoon and all I have eaten today are some grapes. I am trying to resist the urge to binge before my boyfriend comes back to join me for a late lunch. I want this coming week to be different to the last one but I have no motivation to change. I looked at my chest bones this morning and felt a sick satisfaction. Two months of recovery have disappeared after our relationship derailed. I have never needed much of an excuse to indulge ED but this unexpected downturn on our journey has left me wasted. If there is a vestige of control that I can salvage in this chaos, it seems to be in starving my unloved heart and broken body.