the wrong lesson

     i feel calm this morning, at least i did when i woke up, which is a nice change. the raging noise and pressure that is neither noise nor pressure that fills my brain most of the time had eased. my anxiety was asleep. it would be tempting to decide that the things i did yesterday led to this desired state but to choose to pursue those behaviours and actions wholeheartedly would be a bad call.

i threw up again last night. eight months of not purging down the drain, in this case literally. i can hear my therapist’s voice, telling me it’s not down the drain, that i achieved something fantastic and the time wasn’t wasted. after all, eight months of sobriety after a near-lifetime of vomiting is no small accomplishment.

i’m counting this slip as official though and resetting the clock.

my anxiety has been building for days and weeks as the stress i’m under has grown. i have been feeling not unlike a pressure cooker. i upped, on the advice of my psychiatrist, one of my medications this week to help with the problem. unfortunately, it’s been only two days, not enough time to make a difference.

food was very problematic for me yesterday. for starters, i bought grapes. the concord variety, which i love, but which are also, like most round and bite-sized foods, problematic for me. i have no idea why round foods make me compulsive, but they do; they are an enormous trigger. the grapes sat on the counter, and i would grab one or two each time i walked by. every time i did, my brain took note and kept score.

too much food. you’re eating too much. you’re out of control. can you not feel your stomach?

breakfast felt too large and too wrong as soon as i ate it, and lunch came too early. food was almost all i thought about yesterday. the space that wasn’t given over to food was given over to an obsessive examination of the flaws in my face and some minor cutting came from that, another regret. it’s been a fair number of weeks since i’ve had to wear bandages on my face. the truth is, those two behaviours are very intertwined for me. eat, cut, purge. it’s the pattern of years and yesterday i fell into it again with very little in the way of second, third, or fourth thoughts.

the problems started in earnest after dinner, which also came too early. i ate a piece of licorice after, but immediately knew it wasn’t right. i thought it would be fine but i was wrong. there were too many calories, and i’d already eaten too much of the “wrong” food to be comfortable. the licorice led to eating the leftover crust edge from one of my family member’s pieces of pizza. that was also too much. my brain started to review everything i’d eaten over the day, trying to decide if i was still on the “acceptable” side of consumption. ultimately, it decided i was not and so i stepped into the abyss in earnest. i didn’t give it a second thought, just gave in to the behaviour that i already knew deep down would lead to a purge.

i followed up the licorice and crust with more grapes, and then more, leaving me feeling overfull. ordinarily this would send me into a panic, but i was okay. the calm that comes from giving up had set in along with a sense of inevitability, chased with a bag of microwave popcorn. i fleetingly tried to make it okay even then, reminding myself it was only a snack bag, but i didn’t believe myself at all. after that, i ate a rice cereal square and then took myself off to my room, to watch a movie and eat a chocolate bar i’d stolen from the stash my children keep in the cupboard. i’d long since given up on the idea of not purging so once the bar was done it was up off the bed, video on hold, lock the door, turn on the bathroom fan, and fingers down the throat.

even after eight months, my digestion is slow. even after four hours, bits of dinner came back up with the rest. how horrible is it that the sight of leftover bits of my meal filled me with relief? it’s not digested yet, i can get it out, i can be safe, i will be thin.

i finished, cleaned up, and turned off the lights. i avoided the mirror. the puffy, post-purge face is not one i enjoy seeing.

here we are then, at today. i’m calm. i’m empty. my head is quiet. my anxiety is temporarily appeased by my slip but i’m not fooled. i know that it’s not a sustainable solution. i know that i can’t win by staying off the wagon. it would be so nice though. it seems so tempting. to just do what i know how to do so very well and have some peace and ease.

except that it isn’t peaceful, and it isn’t easy. it’s hard and ugly and painful and soul-body destroying. the peace i feel is a lie, brought to me by a disease that does not want to go gently into the night. i need to remember that. i need to remember that my eating disorder does not have my best interests at heart. after all, my eating disorder is trying to kill me.

3 thoughts on “the wrong lesson

  1. Thankyou for sharing so honestly. It’s not an easy thing to do when it comes to eating. I don’t know about you, but for me sharing about anorexic behaviour is easy than sharing about bulimic or binging behaviour.

    Wishing you a better day today.


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