This is how I wake myself up:
I have been back nearly two weeks. They have been a blur of emotions and days and I cannot quite recall them in minute detail.
I have existed: gone through the motions, done what’s expected of me at work or home.
I have not eaten. I have eaten too much. I am now full of emptiness; of leavings and longings and loss.
In the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep (too scared to close my eyes, too numb to keep them open), I wandered into the kitchen in my underwear and started foraging for food.
The sight of my mostly naked body was simply an annoyance. Instead of halting me, it spurred me on. I made pasta without thinking about it. I could have gone to sleep hungry, but instead I started looking for comfort in carbohydrates, for happiness in the bubbling tomato sauce and for love in the soft, melting cheese. I let it caress my insides with warmth. I let it soothe me. I ate sitting on the floor with my fat rolling out around my panties and bra, cushioning the agony, shielding me from the dying sensation that will not leave me alone.
I sobbed into some wine. I wailed in a bubble bath. Tears and snot and mascara mingling with the grimy water, dull as my soul.
I am a tomb of nothingness.
They weigh me – backwards, of course.
They take my blood pressure: lying down and then standing up. The nurse watches me as standing up gives me a head rush and raises her eyebrow as I put my hand out to steady myself.
They check my urine for hydration levels because of all the purging.
They do blood tests and look at my electrolyte levels…because of all the purging.
They check my teeth and my throat…again, because of the purging. They poke me and prod me, feeling my stomach, listening to my heart.
They turn the heater on because I am freezing in my hospital gown. What a cliché. All the patients here are freezing, shivering, wasting away.
They give me endless papers to fill out. I have to rate my quality of life with ED, my body dissatisfaction, my mood swings, my anxiety, food obsessing.
They ask questions. They ask more questions. I go through the last 20 disordered years, dredging up stuff I have buried under tonnes of pasta. At one point I cry unexpectedly. I minimize and deflect. I confess to feeling guilty for wasting time and resources that could be better spent on other people. I admit to being embarrassed that I am not thin enough or sick enough to be here. I tell them that I honestly don’t believe this outpatient program will “cure” me.
My mother warned me when I was young that my ED would cause my kidneys to fail.
I’m scared. I went to hospital again on Tuesday for the same kidney infection that I have had since October. Despite IV antibiotics, this is the third time in as many months that I am being treated for the same thing. It won’t go away and I don’t know why. I am wait listed to see a specialist and in the mean time, I keep getting sick and it is terrifying.
Last time I was in hospital the doctor warned me that I could go into renal failure. It scared me enough to stop purging because of the extra stress that puts on my kidneys. I tried purging twice after my last hospital stint and was in so much pain the next day that I haven’t purged again in a month. Not purging has triggered all sorts of ED anxiety over weight gain. It has, however stopped me from bingeing which in the long run is a good thing.
I have been so sick that I haven’t been able to work out in nearly 2 months now. I am starting to realize just how much this is impacting my quality of life. On Tuesday I sat in the ER crying. I am too young to be losing out on life because I am sick all the time. We couldn’t go out for New Year’s Eve because I was sick. I have had to miss out on so many things in the last couple of months – work included – because I am so ill.
I started to panic that this may somehow be the unraveling of everything. All the years of abuse have finally caught up with me and my body is breaking down. I never loved myself enough to care and now that I love someone else and want a life with them, I am facing the reality of paying for what I have done. Last night I lay in bed with my boyfriend, the anxiety suffocating me. We are talking about moving in together, getting married and having children. I silently wonder if I am about to lose him and all we are dreaming of because of my ED. The irony of it is not lost on me. This man loves me enough to give me the life I have always wanted. I don’t even want to voice these thoughts and fears to him. Last night I told him I was so scared. “I am scared for you too,” he said.
I fit into my skinny jeans. I haven’t been able to wear them for 18 months. I am down nearly 20lbs since June. I really want to lose just 10-15lbs more.
My latest hospital stint set back my gym time and training, but on the plus side I didn’t eat much.
My boyfriend informs me that he feels insulted when I say that I am fat or ugly. He says it is as though I am questioning his judgement (which I am). He says that he is so infatuated with my naked body (cue some non-self-induced barfing) as well as in love with me and that it hurts him to hear the negative comments.
Later on I think about the conversation, feel bad, eat my feelings and throw them up. Problem solved.
We went out for sushi last night. I had eaten some grapes and nothing else all day. By the time we got to the restaurant I was ready to cry from hunger and agitation.
My boyfriend’s food came first; all four plates of it. I kept waiting for my tofu and rice to materialize. All I kept thinking was how f**king tired of being hungry I was. I am always hungry. Always. I can never fill the void. I don’t know what it is like to not be hungry. I am hungry as I write this…starving, empty.
After we stuffed ourselves my boyfriend complained about how much he had eaten.
“Are you going to throw up?” I asked.
“No. Why? Is that your plan?” He raised his eyebrows at me.
I laughed and continued shoveling rice down my throat, “we don’t talk about that. I’m old and ugly enough to do what I want.”
“You’re not allowed to do that,” he said in all seriousness.
I laughed some more. Nothing on earth would come between me and purging this meal.
When we got home I shut the bathroom door, turned the water on and threw up. It felt right and good and I was relieved afterwards. During the day I had accidentally caught sight of my reflection when I was taking a ballet class. It made my skin crawl. I am aware of how fat I am, but sometimes it still shocks me.
When I came out of the bathroom my boyfriend looked at me:
“You look guilty…”
I didn’t make eye contact, “of what?”
“That’s what I am wondering.”
I didn’t respond. I couldn’t sleep for hours because of the pain I was in. My kidneys still hurt.
The next morning I mentioned how awful I was feeling which is normal after purging.
“It must have been all the food we ate,” my boyfriend replied.
I shook my head, “it’s not the food.”
“Why would you say that?” He asked suspiciously.
I am not sure if he was asking me if I purged or is just hinting at it. Did he want actual confirmation? I don’t care to talk about it. I don’t need him to know and to ask questions and to fight me on this. I prefer to stay disordered. I don’t need help – I am beyond that. I don’t need saving – there is nothing worth saving. He can love me as much as he wants. I will never love myself.