there are times in life, when you just get tired, really tired. tired of normal. normal is sameness, and normal is not being in control. control for me only alluded to one thing - how many calories am I putting in my mouth? there I was, with the same problem, over and over. the measurement of success or failure strictly delineated by weight, and how few calories I’d ingested - which had me constantly verging on starvation. I considered that a good day.
after a few weeks, or months of this, there’d come a breaking point, and the bingeing would begin and round and round it went. this was painfully consistent, this circle I traveled in. social isolation becomes pretty top tier at this point. self esteem from this behavior hits ever new lows, with depression sidling in closer and closer - either from lack of food, and nourishment, or self loathing, or loneliness. take your pick, any one alone is a killer, but eating disorders seem to wrap it all in one svelte package. but not until I could fit in the exact right thing, would I go anywhere, or do anything different, at all.
I had the 500 calorie a day phase, and there was the hot air popcorn and bran muffin phase. that was my favorite. it allowed for lots and lots of time to slowly and deliberately chew, and feel relatively guilt free. the bran muffins of course, were considered to have some laxative effect, so that was a plus. it was always, how fast can I get rid of these calories? I used exercise and laxatives and enemas as companions on the journey of seeking less and less of me, until I was so thin, I felt almost invisible. but that was good, right? when I was so very thin, no one saw me, and I liked it. it felt safe. it was the same if I ballooned up to my highest weight. no one saw me then, either, because my body was padded and insulated from the world I clearly found so terrifying.
this drama I realized, was never going to end, and I was exhausted. I wanted it to stop but I had no idea how to make that happen. the pattern I’d created and fallen into had been with me for so many years, from that tiny beginning in my teens when I asked myself - am I too fat?
so it was then, when a couple of women I knew who were bulimic, told me about a clinic in San Francisco. they said you didn’t need to pay for it if you qualify for medi- cal. which of course, I did, as I was barely able to hold a job. working at all depended on how tight my skirt was. if it wasn’t, I could work. otherwise, the shame and embarrassment I felt about my body was so strong, I wouldn’t show up.
I did go to that eating disorder clinic - which was not an eating disorder clinic at all - but a psychiatric hospital. desperation breeds strange bedfellows.
to be continued