4 AM Shame

warning:  may be triggering for those with an eating disorder.

• • • •

It’s 4 am and my head is pounding, my heart is racing, my stomach is cramping and my hands are shaking.   It’s been another day of bad food choices and shame.   I’m sad — I eat. I’m happy — I eat. I’m lonely — I eat. I’m angry — I eat.  The sun rose in the east and set in the west so I ate.  I keep wishing scientists would come up with a pill to take the place of food but a) I know that’s “magical thinking,” b) even if scientists are trying to come up with such a pill, it’s probably decades away and c) that would still require me to be willing to take the pill instead of stuffing my emotions face and I know my behavior wouldn’t change.  I’ve spent three-quarters of my life dealing with the food issue in one way or another and I’m flat out exhausted.  But I’m addicted and I don’t know how to stop.  Or I don’t want it bad enough to stop.  Or both?  Once I get started, it’s like I go into a fugue state.  The “worst” is when I actually plan the binge; I get so excited thinking about everything I’m going to eat, and while I’m chewing, I don’t feel anything but euphoria.  The awful truth is that no matter how much I swallow, it’s never enough to fill the emptiness; no matter how much I purge, it’s never enough to empty me of the guilt and the shame and the self-loathing.  My ED behaviors are my fast track to self-destruction and I know that logically.  Emotionally, I crave this vicious cycle.  I don’t know what I would do without it.  And since bingeing is my version of getting drunk, I’ll confess that a lot of the time, I don’t give a damn that I purged, only that I binged.  There are a dozen health reasons I should care about the purging as much as the bingeing, but often, I don’t.  Right now, I don’t.  All I care about right now is that I couldn’t get rid of everything I scarfed down.

Having gone through DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) I’m supposed to have those skills but somehow … I don’t.  I’ve been able to use them for physical pain; when I had shingles, the skills were actually a big help.  But when it comes to using them to control/accept my emotions I get confused.  Maybe I should get my DBT workbook out again and do some reading.  And I think there’s a DBT self-help app available now. But I’m skeptical because I don’t believe the skills work for emotional issues.  (Gee, maybe that’s why I have trouble using them.  Sigh.)

One thing I remember very strongly from the DBT teachings is that you are supposed to accept yourself where/the way you are now while at the same time striving to change.   It’s hard not to give up, but I’m reminding myself constantly why I can’t.  Sam needs me, Lucy needs me, my Mother needs me.  They love me even when I don’t love myself.  And there’s still a spark inside me that keeps me going.  I have moments of happiness now, which is more than I had for a long time.  I need to hold on to that.  I am holding on to that.  I’ll keep holding on to that.  Even when it’s 4 am and I’m a ball of shame.

 

12 thoughts on “4 AM Shame

  1. yeseventhistoowillpass

    My friend… Have compassion on your suffering. It’s easy to have compassion on other people’s suffering. Own what you are going thru as opposed to it owning you. Food isn’t the issue. Look deep and see what it is. Then say I own you.. Sounds foolish but it isn’t. Peace

    Liked by 1 person

      1. yeseventhistoowillpass

        Everything passes… Your illness will pass. I knew a woman who had a severe ED. Something clicked in and in her mind she realized, “it isnt about food.” Its about my issues” Literally she has recovered.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Aaron

    Silly saying anything — pot kettle black etc — and much I don’t understand — just… that I listen and care, dear Lauren… and holding on to that spark with you =)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aaron, I have no idea how you found me, but I am so, so grateful for your support. I appreciate you and your thoughts.

      we’ll hold on to the spark together while we look at the stars (and “my” ducks quack, lol). 😀

      Like

  3. this may sound crazy, but for 20 years , i want to eat all the time & have desert after every meal, 5 times a day. i think about food constantly…for a different reason, i found out i have a very bad vitamin d deficiency 3 years ago & taking vit d , makes me want to eat a lot less.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. this is so weird — I saw a rheumatologist who did blood work and I got the results this morning. my vitamin D is 7 (eek!), so maybe part of the reason I’ve been so hungry (aside from the emotional issues) has to do with that. thank you so much for sharing your story! and it doesn’t sound crazy at all. 🙂 *hugs*

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Lauren, I’m not an expert in this, but I’m reading a lot about 3000 years old Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to that, our mind-body-soul are considered as one. Our soul is communicating with us through many channels which one of them is our body. Each organ reflects some emotion and has its own way of signing. (5 Elements System) You mentioned that you wake up at 4:00 am, this is time interval for your lungs to rest. Since you are awake they have a message. You may be feeling grief and sadness. If you are diagnosing any situation with your lungs (in the Metal stage), it means that the problem started two cycles ago, which is the Fire stage and its organ is the heart. You should have (I’m guessing) been generous to your world but at the same time impatient.
    Your stomach is covered within the third chakra-solar plexus. Since you may be feeling that things are out of your control, you may be trying to fill in the gap due to not receiving, you are trying to fill the void, as expected and naturally, with food. One day, you won’t be in need to take those actions. Universe is very generous and rich enough to take care of every one of us. I know you know how lovely and valuable you are.
    PS. I’ve noticed all the love over here in the comments. How fulfilling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Meyla, that is eerie! I have been experiencing more feelings of grief recently — well, it’s more that I’ve been allowing myself to feel, period. everything you said lines up with my situation. that was one reason I followed your blog, because I believe in the things you’ve referenced here. our body, mind and soul are absolutely connected in every way and if one suffers or is mistreated, they all do. I’ve neglected myself, mistreated myself, for a good part of my life and I know my body and spirit are telling me ENOUGH. thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge, and giving me more to think about and explore. and you’re right — the comment love here has been so heartwarming. I didn’t even think anyone would read this post, let alone take the time to respond. the universe really is a generous place when I open myself up to it.

      brightest blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I had the right words to say to you. Just know you are not alone. Although I don’t have ED, I have suffered with anxiety for years (and now depression). I have been through CBT and everything and still sometimes I don’t know how to help myself get better. Some days are good, others not so much. Just keep holding on. Trying to find snippets of happiness. That is what I try to do.

    Visiting from NaBloPoMo. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You had the right words to say to me, Brandy, and I appreciate every one of them. You also reminded me that yeah, some days are going to be like that but remember things can turn around. Thank you so much for your comment, but even more for sharing your struggles. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone but at the same time it’s “nice” to know I’m not alone –and neither are you. ♥

      Like

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