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