Another blast from the past (what a couple of days!)
I found a food diary. Now I’m only calling it a food diary because that’s what it is titled, whereas in actual fact it’s only 3 days long…but scribbled in the middle of the secret notebook I had a couple of years ago.
12.30 – hot chocolate
16.00 – apple and cranberry juice.
16.00 – galaxy bar
23.00 – rooibostea
13.00 – hot chocolate and almond rusk
And that’s the end of it. I read it, and had to laugh because the only other option would be to cry. It’s funny how I lose sight of how completely lost in some dark hole I have been in at times. I say “I was very depressed” or “I didn’t eat.” But seeing it written down by my slightly younger self kinda brings it to head.
What is my relationship like with food? My therapist asked me this the other day and I immediately felt a knot of panic, and stared at the floor. She wanted to know whether eating certain foods that I ate as a child would be soothing.
I continued staring at the floor and mumbled “I was scared of food as a child. Nearly always drugged. And then they’d hurt me. But I had to eat else I’d die. I had to feed the children else they’d die. But if we ate, then we got hurt. Sometimes I thought to die would be better.” I didn’t cry when saying it; still refusing to let the therapist see me break, but it came close.
I glanced up and she was giving me a sad smile, and said “ah.” She paused and then said “have you always been afraid of food?” I nodded. She carried on “for the same reason?” I shook my head. “For what other reasons?” she asked.
“It’ll take the control away from me. It’ll make me fat. It’ll make me lazy so I can’t move because I’m full. People will judge me if they see me eating. The food will be poisoned and I will die.” I said it all very quickly.
“Can you tell me when the last time was that you ate *anything* without feeling scared or anxious at some point?”
I thought. And thought and thought. I vaguely remembered eating an ice cream at my friend’s house when I was 9, and I didn’t feel scared or anxious at any point. “nine, I think. Maybe a little younger.”
It had never properly hit me that for at least 11 years my relationship with food has been dysfunctional. At times (around twice a year at least) it becomes extremely dysfunctional, and I eat/drink barely anything, and lose weight quite rapidly (as above food diary shows). However, generally speaking at my current time in life, I can eat okay. I’ll be the first to say I don’t have an ideal diet, and I still often throw up immediately after eating because the panic swallows me too much. Every time I eat anything (even a biscuit) there’ll be a moment of absolute panic, but I can keep control over it.
Sometimes though, I’m just too drained and exhausted with other stuff…and the energy to keep control of that panic is too much, and that’s how I fall back into the spiral. I don’t eat because I enjoy it, or because I want to. I choose food that I like to make it more bearable, but if I could actually get away with never eating again I’d be extremely happy. I eat because I know I have to. It’s just something that helps me survive, and that’s it. If it’s something that tastes nice, then added bonus.
If I’m on my own, then I struggle even more. I don’t have helpful friends reminding me that if I don’t eat, I’ll faint etc. Plus nobody can see I’m not eating as much as what’s perceived to be “normal.” So if I’m on my own I’ll maybe have one meal a day…and just pick at it for a bit.
To me this all seemed so normal until it was brought to head in the therapy session. Now I know it’s perhaps not the healthiest relationship with food. When I feel the panic, I am convinced that food is going to kill me. I am convinced it’s going to betray me. I hate it at that moment in time. But I must eat else my friends will worry and I might die. What a total mindfuck…
Add that to the long list of “things that I must work on in recovery.” Honestly, it’s never-ending… Hey ho! 🙂