Last night I dreamed that I was in an ED institution…on an island. I had been put there against my will, but the worst part was that some of my students were there too. I was sent every day to counsel them. It was eerie. It was so real, it scared me.
All day I thought about this dream. It seems to reflect the position of responsibility I have as a ballet teacher. I have to counsel my students on good nutrition and against eating disorders. Sometimes there are individual cases that require one on one counseling and all the while I hide my dirty, little secret. I feel like a hypocrite to be in the clutches of ED as I preach against it, but I have the solace in knowing that some of my students might learn from my mistakes. I might save some of them even though I cannot save myself.
Part of the dream may have come from talking to two colleagues this weekend. One teaches the academics at our school and asked me in depth how to spot ED in students and what to do about it. He asked me if I was fully recovered and when I smirked at him, he asked if I needed help or if I was healthy enough. I lied and said I was healthy enough.
Another conversation was had with an ex-colleague who worked in the residence and is a counselor for eating disorders at a clinic….on an island. She told me a lot about her program and her past struggles. ED seems to have featured heavily in my conversations in the past week.
Although I have gone to hospital for complications from ED on numerous occasions, I have never been institutionalized. When I was growing up back home, nothing even remotely close to that existed. And yet, I have recurring dreams about being in a recovery centre. They are so vivid. I wonder if it is a premonition rather than a memory.
One of the first things that happens to you when you are born and enter this world (after the obligatory slap on the bum to make you cry) is being weighed. Any wonder why some of us have an obsession with weighing ourselves for the rest of our lives? Your weight when you are born is very important. The doctors note it on medical charts. Parents put it on birth announcements. Mothers discuss it all the time.
“How much did your baby weigh?”
“7lbs 6oz, but then he dropped to 6lbs 5oz.”
We know to the ounce or gram how much we weighed when we began our lives. I, for instance, know that I was the heaviest baby out of us three siblings. Why should that bother me now that both my brothers are 6’3″ and weigh about 220lbs each (sheer muscle), and are almost twice my body weight?
I don’t know.
Tonight I binged and purged for the first time in four days. I planned it. I waited for it all day. I barely made it through hot yoga because I was so hungry and so fixated on eating something, anything. I had hoped the last four days of restricting without bingeing, purging or laxatives would have yielded better results but I had no such luck. I have been bloated and have even gained weight while eating egg whites, vegetables and rice crackers. The fat attack got to me. I stared at my puffed up reflection in the studio and lost the will to carry on. It boggles my mind that I can be expanding despite my best efforts to the contrary. I have terrible urges to rekindle my sordid, dysfunctional love affair with my scale. At least that way I will know for sure. No more ‘feeling’ fat. The numbers can just say it for me.