I guess in the grand scheme of things, struggling with food issues every day of your life isn’t nearly as bad as, say, struggling with a heroin addiction. Odds are, I’m not going to wind up face down in a gutter with a needle hanging from my arm.
The odds are good, however, that I may find myself face down/ ass up in a pile of melted Publix Cool Mint Cookie Frozen Yogurt.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I went an entire day without worrying about food. I worry about what I should be eating, then I worry about what I”m actually eating, then I worry about how I’m going to do things differently tomorrow, because I am famous for my Scarlett O’Hara syndrome.
But worrying about things tomorrow and fixing things tomorrow doesn’t work out so well for me, because when it comes to my food issues, tomorrow never seems to come.
Now, some days are better than others. Some days it’s just a mild transgression, a little bit here, a little bit there.
But there are days when I become so consumed with food that it’s all I can think about. It takes all my focus all day long.
On a good day I can head it off and look at things from what I call the “right” side of my brain. By “right” side of my brain, I do not mean the side of my brain that controls my creativity. In this situation, the “right” side of my brain just means the side that isn’t broken, the side that works normally, the side that understands that not every Oreo cookie is sent from Satan.
On bad days, the “wrong” side of my brain takes over and it’s all I can do to stop the compulsions. I become obsessed with eating. I will leave my house at midnight to drive to the store and buy ice cream.
And then I will eat until it’s hard to breathe.
Even on the bad days, I can sometimes manage to talk myself down from the grassy knoll. More times than I can count I’ve carried on a running conversation with myself, trying to soothe myself and talk myself out of going in that bathroom and throwing up everything I’ve just eaten.
But on the really bad days I can’t stop. And I know the outcome before I’ve even begun.
Some days I’m hellbent on self-destruction. And self-destruct I do.
I envy those people who say they would do anything in this world to avoid throwing up. I envy those people that are so repulsed by vomiting that just the thought horrifies them.
I wish I could be horrified by it.
But perversely, it soothes me.
I’ve had many a conversation with a therapist about it, about how it’s a release I get after stuffing my feelings for so long.
And that made perfect sense to me.
Until I stopped stuffing my feelings and I started letting that shit out.
And the urges went away…. .for the most part. But they’re still there. They’re always still there. Some days they’re buried deep, some days they’re bubbling just under the surface. Other days they will not be denied.
All I can do is hope that on those bad days I can calm my spinning brain and stop the loop that it’s playing.
And talk myself down.