I don’t even know if I can call it a mindset because I have no control. When the urge hits, it’s as if a switch gets thrown and I am not myself, I’m someone completely different, someone possessed. And there is no stopping me once I start, no stopping the gravy train, so to speak.
The Before – Anxious Anticipation
Sometimes I know when it’s coming and I’ll prepare for my binge, stocking up on food and thinking about how I’m going to eat and where and when and hating myself even as I prepare for the binge. And the self hatred and the tension and the anticipation will rise and rise and rise and the urge will get louder and louder until it drowns out everything else and I can do nothing else except start eating, knowing that there was no end in sight and hating myself but not caring enough one to even consider stopping the rollercoaster I was buckling in to ride.
And though that seems conscious, and it is, because I’m actively thinking about what I’m going to eat, how I’m going to get the food that I want to eat, where I’m going to eat it, how I’m going to hide and all, all, all of it, I can’t stop the thoughts, the intrusions, the planning.
It reminds of when I used to smoke and I ran out of cigarettes and the LENGTHS I would go through to source a cigarette, from wandering the streets at midnight trying to find an open shop to trying to bum a cigarette off a stranger, I would have stopped at nothing to get that cigarette.
And this feels a lot like that too, except this is food, not cigarettes or alcohol or drugs, FOOD…food which we have to eat to survive. Biologically, you can live without cigarettes and alcohol and drugs and, if anything, your body will thank you for it. But food addiction, well that’s a whole other ballgame, isn’t it?
The During – Mindless Mastication
This can last hours, this can last days, this can even last weeks. And at first, I didn’t realize this. I used to thing that hours was the most and then once I slept and woke the next morning, it would be a new day and new dawn and I could try and reset. Now though, looking back, I’ve come to realise that I have had binges that lasted for days on end – actual days on end when I would have no control, none whatsoever, over what was going into my mouth so much so that I would even resort to eating food that was stale or even turning if I had to, if I had nothing else and couldn’t get to a shop or didn’t have food.
Thinking on it now, I’m so disgusted by myself and yet, I was disgusted in the moment too, but I couldn’t stop myself. And nothing and no once could have stopped me either, I realise. I would have found a way. I would have run away and hidden away and be filled with shame but unable to stop myself.
I remember so clearly the first time I hid in the toilet to eat. It was a fried egg that my uncle had fried for his lunch and I must’ve been around eight or nine, maybe and I had gone in the kitchen and taken the yolk portion of the egg from the frying pan and then ran into the toilet so I could eat it. And I remember the shame of it and feeling so disgusted with myself but I COULD NOT STOP MYSELF.
And that was the first time but it was certainly not the last. Even now, I shudder to think that last week, just a few days ago, I did the same damn thing – hid away in my bathroom to eat cheese so that no one would see me and no one would ask me to share my cheese. I’m like Golem and the cheese was “my precious” and there was no way I was going to share it and no way I was not going to eat it, disgusted and ashamed of myself as I was.
The After – Hateful Hopeless Helplessness
Oh, and then there’s the after. Stuffed. Bloated. So full I want to vomit, but I don’t, because then I really would have an eating disorder, wouldn’t I? Such a fool I am. And the worst is the feeling of wanting to scream and scream and scream and scream over what I had just done and over the fact that I was a woman possessed, a woman possessed – weak and ashamed and disgusted, but more that that – I was disgusting. I was shameful. I was a pig, a big, fat, ugly, disgusting pig. And how I just wish I could die, literally just die in those moments because life is not worth living if “someone else” is living my life. This is not me – it can’t be me, and yet it is and there’s no way to reconcile that in my head. It’s hopeless. And I feel helpless. Helpless and hopeless and so fucking full.
The Future – Seeking to Understand
Doing this, I suppose. Journalling my thoughts. Acknowledging. Accepting. Trying to understand. Without judgement. With love. And with compassion. I hate myself already so much in those moments. But when I’m not in it and when I’m conscious enough to write like this, well the least I can do is remind myself that I can choose to love myself, even as I continue the struggle to heal myself of this condition. If you are going through the same or similar, love and light to you, love and light to me.