Sunday, July 24, 2011

Slipping Away

Today is Saturday.
Today, I ate a Clif bar.  I also had some coffee.  I agonized over putting sugar in it because there was no zero calorie sweetener available.  I didn't add milk.  If there had been Splenda, I would have been allowed to add milk.

Yesterday was Friday.
Yesterday, I ate a Clif bar.  I had the same battle with my coffee.  Sugar, no milk.  Those are the rules.

The day before that was Thursday.
Thursday, I ate a falafel wrap at midnight after riding a bus for five hours after working nine hours.
Ten minutes after I ate it, I was holding my hair back with my left hand while kneeling over the toilet.
I washed my hands, splashed my face, brushed my teeth, and turned out the bathroom light.
All better.

Am I starting to sound like a twisted version of that kids' book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar?  It wouldn't be that far off from the truth, because lord knows I'm hungry.  Or, at least, I think I am.  I don't know what the word "hungry" means anymore.  It's certainly better than full.  Often, it means empty.  It always means success.

I could continue with the daily food report for at least the last three weeks, but it'd get pretty boring.  The brief summary given comprises the tenets of yet another diagnosis I can plaster across my forehead, lined up neatly beneath that of BIPOLAR DISORDER.  This one reads: ANOREXIA and BULIMIA.  Or, if you want to get technical, BULIMAREXIA (but that just sounds like some extinct species of dinosaur, in my opinion).

I could write a long-winded post about when this all started (nine years ago), when this wormed its way to the surface again (December), and when it turned into its current, monstrous form that has effectively taken over my life (February).  That would be a very long post.

What matters is not the duration or the dates or the numbers or the weight or the calories or even the fucking food.  It's not about the food.  It's not about the weight.  "Well," you might say, eyebrows furrowed, "Then...what IS it about?"  And there is not a single person with an eating disorder who could answer that question truthfully.  Because the real truth is, we don't know what it's about anymore. (And Lord have mercy on your soul if you so much as suggest that it's about that ever-present, overused word control.  Trust me.  It's not that simple.)

I am not unique.
There are millions of people with eating disorders.
There are thousands far sicker than me.
But if we're being honest here, I'm pretty damn sick.

Since I graduated college, I've dropped four clothing sizes.
Since February, I've lost almost forty pounds.
I don't own clothes that fit me because I cant afford (or have any desire) to buy newer and smaller items.
I hide behind baggy sweaters and loose leggings in the ninety degree heat of the New York summer.
When I look in the mirror, all I see is too much.

The face that looks back at me - eyes bloodshot from the burst blood vessels purging causes, cheeks hollowed, eyes sunken and with dark circles underneath - I don't recognize myself.  It is not myself anymore.  I don't remember who myself is.  What I see in the mirror is every imperfection, every shame, every bad thought or nasty word, every choked back cry and hateful look written all across my pale, freckled skin.  They merge to form one word, one thought, one theme that runs my life: Fat.  I am both too much and yet not enough.  I am success and failure.  I am numbers up and numbers down.  I am a vessel, a shell of who I used to be.  And while the eating disorder is eating my flesh and muscle, it's also eating my soul.  I can feel it slipping away.

And I want it back.


Anonymous said...
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dmsegel said...

I wish I knew what to say, but I'm thinking about you, and hoping you feel better really soon. I know what it's like to feel yourself slipping away. Hugs.

Kate said...

Sweetie, you're right when you say you aren't alone. There are SO MANY people who care. I'm so sorry we were never close when we had the chance to be friends all through school, but I read your blog and I worry about you and I want you to know that I am thinking of you.

Lauren said...

You've been heavy on my heart since I read your post yesterday. I am so impressed by your candid sharing of this aspect of your life, and am very much hoping things get better for you soon.

Cait said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind, heartfelt words. I feel your words around me like hugs from friends, even if you are all far away. Some days are better than others! That one was a hard day. I'm hanging in there :-)

Sarah said...

I've been thinking about you too... I keep checking the "mark as unread" box by this post in my google reader so I won't forget to finally say something. I don't really have any perfect thing to say. Life is tough, and even when it seems like everything you're going through is a first-world problem, it's still difficult to grow up, be a girl, get married, and add that it's a gay wedding and you have food issues and it's just even tougher. So hang in there and call me if I can help and know I'm thinking about you. xoxo

Katherin said...

Sending positive, loving vibes your way. Wish you were closer so I could give you a hug, and wish I knew you better.

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew what to say to help you. But if I knew that, I'd know what to do to help me. Sending you lots of love and good vibes.

Cait said...

Thank you for all the virtual hugs. I can almost feel them...

And, oh Anon, I'm so sorry you're dealing with these demons as well. The pollyanna side of me believes that we WILL get through them, somehow, some way. Keep your chin up and I will too.