Again and again I hear my friends who share the fight of living with an eating disorder upset about yet another idiot who wants to be ‘just like them’..
I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. But I think I would love these idiots to at least spend a day in our shoes. So I thought I’d try and recapture a day in mine.
I’ve slept for an hour. I can never seem to stay asleep for more than an hour at a stretch. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to go back to sleep. My throat and chest are burning, screaming – reflux. I try and sleep more upright, but the acid still burns it’s way up.
“GET UP! GET THE F**K OUT OF BED UGLY B*TCH!”
Oh shut up Ed. leave me alone. I don’t want to get up. I’m starving hungry and you want me to binge. You want me to rub my nose in my disgusting lack of control. You want to steal more sleep from me? Bingeing will take hours – the preparation, the cleanup, and in between.. ugh. Go away.
“I F**KING SAID GET UP. NO SECOND CHANCES.”
The anxiety is bubbling up and I’m finding it hard to breathe properly. My heart is pounding. The acid is burning more than ever. My stomach is roiling, hungry, growling, but the liquid from my last drink before bed swishes around and then up with the acid burn like a radioactive wave in my throat.
I get up.
Into the kitchen, survey the fridge. I’m not allowed to binge unless I eat safer stuff first, not that anything at all is safe.. I grab some carrots and some fruit, but they have to be scalded. Boil the kettle, pour the water over the fruit and veg. Peel and chop and layer in order – they must be eaten in order.
What else? I have to be careful. If I eat too much, I’ll run out towards the end of the week. If I run out, I’ll find myself panicking endlessly and likely to shoplift. I can’t risk that. I want bread, I grab some, it has to be wholemeal. It has to be toasted, because that makes it ‘safe’. I chop and toast it, then i have to boil water to dip it into.
My binges have to be ‘finished off’ with something that feels like a hot meal to me, so I cook up half a pack of pasta until it’s slimy and cover it with boiled tomato sauce. It all looks really disgusting.
The next few hours are lost hours. Eat the carrots. Purge. Eat the fruit. Purge. Bread, with purging. Pasta with purging. Then drink and purge, drink and purge, drink and purge, drink and purge, until you are dizzy and your throat is sore and you are falling over.. it has to be out. Even a slight bit of carrot is not safe.
“STUPID UGLY FAT BITCH. NO SELF CONTROL. DISGUSTING. TRULY DISGUSTING. THAT IS ANOTHER FEW KILOS OF LARD ON YOUR BUTT. YOU ARE SO LAZY. ALL YOU DO IS SLEEP. GO ON. GO BACK TO BED. NORMAL PEOPLE GET UP AT THIS HOUR. ARE ALREADY UP. PEOPLE WHO DO THINGS. WHO CONTRIBUTE TO THE WORLD. WHO DON’T SLOTH AROUND ALL DAY LIKE YOU DO. SPONGE. LAZY FAT SPONGE.”
I have to sleep. I’m so tired. I have to get up later – have to see my case manager in just over 3 hours. And i can’t be tired, can’t be falling asleep on her. I’m always so tired. And now even more drained from the bingeing and purging.
Tumbling out of bed, bleary eyed, oh so sore. Still feeling weak, still feeling so tired. Only really dozed all morning. I have half an hour to be dressed and at my case manager’s office and I’m just aching and as slow as a snail. i can’t seem to get my eyes open – they stick at half mast.
Into the bathroom with a handful of random clothes. Where i encounter our friend the mirror. Not a friend.
“FAT LARD ARSE. LOOK AT THAT! HOW COULD YOU? LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO YOURSELF. YOU NEVER WERE EVEN SKINNY AND YOU WENT AND PUT ALL THAT ON! AND YOU ARE GAINING! EVERY DAY YOU ARE FATTER! GET ON THE SCALE, WHAT IS THE DAMAGE?”
I obey. 46kg.
“YOU FAT FAT FAT FAT F**K! IT’S JUST GOING UP AND UP! YOU HAVE TO STOP BINGEING. YOU HAVE TO STOP EATING FULL STOP. YOU ARE SUCH A GREEDY COW! OTHER PEOPLE DON’T BINGE ALL THE TIME! HOW CAN YOU LET YOURSELF GO SO BADLY? HOW COULD YOU LET YOURSELF BE SO SOFT AND PUDGY AND HUMAN? YOU AREN’T HUMAN! YOU ARE A MONSTER, HOW DARE YOU HOW DARE YOU HOW DARE YOU?”
I jump in the shower and roughly soap myself down, tears streaming. it’s as hot as it will go – I’m dirty. I’m always dirty. I scrub out my mouth and turn the water off. Scrub myself down, rub on deodorant, jam my false teeth in my mouth. Go to moisturise my face, itching from the hot water – it’s a fight. That’s indulgent. But I win with the sunscreen. It would have me die as horribly as possible, but an illness might cheat it out of the sole power to torment me. I think it enjoys it.
Having pulled on my shoes I am dashing down the road. My legs are KILLING me. I have stress fractures in both femurs from osteoporosis and I’m not meant to be doing this, I’m meant to stick to walking. But I have to make it on time.
I just make it.
“I’m good, thanks..”
“It’s really really hard.. yes okay actually I’m really depressed… more depressed than ever. I’m still bingeing. Shoplifting is a problem. I hate myself so much. I don’t think I can do this anymore. I just can’t cope, this is just too much. I’m so tired…”
“Yes thanks… I know I’ve come a long way! And I know I can do this. Things are so much better aren’t they! I’ve maintained my weight and stayed out of hospital! Yes, it’s a miracle and I’m so thankful! Life is so good!”
To her credit, she helps me a LOT. Developing coping strategies and she listens. But I feel that everyone sees the outside – the fatter girl, who is doing just fine, and likes to have a whine..
“YOU FAT ARSEHOLE. HOW DARE YOU SAY YOU NEEDED HELP. AT LEAST YOU BACKED DOWN. I’M GLAD YOU SAID YOU HATE YOU. I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU I HATE YOU. AND YOU ARE FAT. FAT FAT FAT. GET YOUR BUTT GOING. IT’S TIME TO WALK. MOVE IT!”
It’s been ordered by the physiotherapist that I get out and walk around every single day without fail. Now she didn’t mean the kind of flogging myself I am doing. I’m tired, my stomach is growling, my legs are aching, my back is aching (I’m still not quite strong enough to hold my posture for more than a short period though it is a lot better than it was).
I drop home and change my clothes, and I’m out by the hour.
“FAT UGLY STUPID BITCH
FAT UGLY STUPID BITCH
FAT UGLY STUPID BITCH
MOVE IT MOVE IT MOVE THAT BUTT
GET THAT ARSE MOVING WORK THAT FAT
FAT UGLY STUPID BITCH
I HATE YOU I HATE YOU
HOW COULD YOU HOW COULD YOU
FAT FAT FAT BITCH FAT FAT FAT BITCH
MOVE IT MOVE IT GET UP OFF THAT BUM AND MOVE IT….”
it’s a harder day, often when I walk, I can shut it up temporarily, because I’m ‘doing the right thing’. But on days like this, it’s all i hear, in time to my steps, like yes, a drill sergeant. Loud and fast and scornful and hateful and the faster it screams the faster i must walk. I’m out of breath, my legs are screaming, my back too, but there is no option – not at all.
Home again.. i crash into the shower, hot, sweaty, exhausted. When i’m out, my cat is weaving in and out of my legs. She’s been cuddling up to me whenever i’m home, but i’m so preoccupied. i feel like shit. her life sucks and it’s all my fault. I owe her a better life.
I grab Shalimar’s lead and together we go out across the road to the church grounds. She’s in heaven. I’m struggling to stay awake, my feet and legs burn, I have to shuffle as standing hurts so much. Hot and tired and sore. But seeing my cat in her favorite setting is worth it. I stay as long as I can despite how I feel, which is not long enough – and i’m berating myself when I have to pick her up and take her back, Shalimar meowing to stay longer.
I’ve scalded a hunk of cabbage and some pumpkin, shoved them in a pot, topped them with frozen mixed vegies and into the oven they go. In a bowl I chop scalded watermelon, oranges, and apples. The carrots are scalded and set aside in a drainer. And at last i can go back to bed. Oh, blissful bed.
“GET THE F**K OUT OF BED. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
It’s so hard to wake up. I could stay here all night. If I stayed here, I wouldn’t binge. I could sleep. I want to sleep so badly. I cant remember when I last actually slept properly. But that would wreck things. That would leave me hanging. I’m scared, I can’t cope. It’s nearly night time. The anxiety is revving up. The day is nearly over. Everyone’s going home. I’m scared… stupid me. Because I’m safe. Trepidation. Snakes in stomach.
I get up and turn on the computer, log onto the net. Distraction. Turn on the TV too. Immerse myself in the world of the web and bad telly, as it tugs on me and my head whirls.. I can’t think straight, I’m shaking. I need food – my body is telling me it’s ravenous. My gut is telling me I’m terrified, I can’t cope.. I just can’t cope.
And I binge. And purge. And binge. And purge. And all that disgusting stuff. The kitchen is a mess. I’m trying to wash up as I go, but it’s a mess. I have to clean up and try… I’m so tired…
I fall into bed. Rinse, Repeat. In an hour, it will start again.