I can’t focus on anything other than the pain from my lower back teeth in my mouth. The ache is a brutal reminder that Bulimia comes with consequences and after eleven years those consequences are no longer things you hear about, but real.
I have recently had dental work done on fourteen teeth within the course of a few months. Some of the teeth were in much worse shape than the others and it’s a miracle they were able to be saved. Due to my eating disorder my teeth are very sensitive from enamel erosion and when ever I binge/purge even if it’s only for that one day my mouth suffers for it to the point where my teeth ache. In reality you may think you can out run everything, but eventually consequences will always catch up to you just to prove that you aren’t not as invincible as you once thought.
I am drunk. I am lost.
Really I’m just melodramatic and tipsy stuck between a rock and a hard place. Over thinking life and no one next to me is a deadly combination that leads to instant sadness. The type of sadness one can not shake. The sadness that feels like a bottomless pit growing inside your stomach that gradually takes over your body until you can not breathe. The type of sadness that would make me tear at my skin creating marks of madness or purge myself into oblivion. Parts of me wonder if recovery is possible or if I’m stuck forever? Doomed to a binge, purge, and restrict cycle followed by brief periods of recovery that are filled with urges and eventually lead to spiraling relapses. Eleven years in the making of kicking and screaming just to find myself drowning in regrets and wishful thinking.
My head is pounding not because I haven’t eaten, but because after deep consideration I took myself off of my stimulant that I have been on for several months perscribed to me by my psychiatrist. Stimulants in a way worsen my Bulimia. I crave sweets and various processed carbohydrates constantly to the point I end up binging and purging or occasionally my appetite is nonexistent. This is not only extremely difficult, but also confusing for me because once the stimulant wore off I would become so hungry to the point I would once again binge and purge. A huge part of recovery for Bulimia revolves not only around noticing how you feel, but mindful eating as well. This means being able to follow hunger ques, to tell the difference between when you’re actually hungry or simply in emotional mind and want to manipulate food and being able to nurture your body without harsh judgement. I found it difficult to do any of those things while taking a stimulant. Now finally being off stimulants for good I can continue practicing mindful eating and following hunger ques. However I can not place all the blame fully on the stimulant; I know there were several times I found myself in emotional distress and instead of distracting myself or delaying the binge/purge by using distress tolerance skills I chose to binge and purge instead. Constantly I am looking for quick fixes for my Bulimia. New diets, different exercise routines, food restrictions, moving to a new place and so much more. Instead of acknowledging that these quick fixes are not going to be permanent, but are just a bandaid, I throw myself in denial and say “this will cure everything.” Often the only cure for pain is pain because no one said addressing that pain and looking at yourself would be painless. If this all was painless and easy everyone would be in recovery. All those suffering from an eating disorder would jump right into treatment if it was completely painless. Sadly it’s not. Facing your demons and learning to love yourself despite the years you spent attempting to destroy yourself is not easy. You were searching for a peace of mind only to discover you were at war with yourself. You were destroying your own temple. To love yourself fully after spending years of drowning in self hatred is ultimately one of the hardest lessons to learn. The second is believing you’re worth it. And maybe it’s time I tell myself I am.
If I had to explain to you what the true meaning of “stuck” was or at least paint a picture of it, I would paint a picture of me at 1am in the morning in bed staring at a ceiling. Perhaps even a picture of 2am where I lay restless and gradually reach the conclusion that once again I will be getting barely any sleep as I look over at my lover on the floor sleeping off his drunken night. Maybe the picture wouldn’t be of 1am or 2am, but of me the day before instead. Where I spent the morning wondering from cafe to cafe on a binge/purge spree and spending money I don’t have on food I am only punishing myself with before entering work. Maybe I’d paint a picture of a girl who has no clue what she’s doing and keeps wishing she could at least go forward instead of always taking several steps back. Maybe fast forward passed the Bulimia or rewind it to the time it didn’t exist. Eleven years backwards is alot of rewinding, but maybe it’s also a long time to stay stuck. To suffocate and drown alone. To hide and keep secrets. Maybe the definition of stuck is the moment you find yourself crying because you read in an article that there are some people that do not recover from their eating disorder no matter how much treatment they receive. Stuck is the moment you read that article and want to scream because you don’t want that to be you. Stuck isn’t just not moving forward, but also it’s being afraid to do so because you’re so scared of letting go of what you know and replacing it with everything you don’t. I am stuck.
Nothing is as simple as it seems. There’s no black or white, good or bad. There’s various shades of grey and many forms of “okay” that exist in between both these things. Ideally this is the same with a beautiful painted picture. Behind it is dirty paint brushes, messy hands and stained clothing. These are simple examples that can be used in a sense to briefly underline an eating disorder. It is not as simple as “eat normal again,” “well just don’t purge” and “well just stop.” Nor is it as beautiful as media describes it. Behind the “pro-ana,” “pro mia,” “skip dinner to get thinner” and all this other bullshit is complete misery. What starts off simple becomes complex and this eventually leads to an on going addiction you can not rid yourself of. Maybe earlier in my Bulimia Nervosa I could tell you stories of the pure bliss I found in my bulimia. I could glamourize it and paint a gorgeous picture that anyone would want. Until they truly can not escape it; until they know the ugly truth.
The past eleven years for me have been filled with various treatments centers, several attempts at recovery that would last for several months or up to a year periodically, slips that transformed into cycling relapses, severe dental problems, follow by physical and mental health issues and so much more. It’s a hell I won’t invite you into and a hell I still struggle to fully get out of. This isn’t “to lose weight” nor does it only have an impact on those of a certain size, gender, sexuality or race. Eating disorders are one of the few things that won’t discriminate against you. Make no mistake as weight is not even the actual issue let alone food truthfully. An eating disorder is a pure form of control and a way to manipulate food in order to not deal with the current issues and/or emotions. It is a cycle that in the end can and will happily break you. Most importantly it’s something you can not out run because it follows you wherever you go. Even into a new home you moved into with your boyfriend. So when I tell you nothing is going the way I need it to and I can’t control it so I look for something to control and it just so happens to be food in excessive binges that lead to the compulsion to get rid of it, believe me when I say it’s not as simple as just “stopping.” Would you believe me if I told you I spent countless times crying after purging simply because I no longer want to do this, but feel I have to? If I told you I am currently in the process of treatment once again and that each time I purge I actually end up hating myself a little bit more? How bizarre is it to do something to gain control only to discover it controls you and how bizarre and sinister is it to discover that your addiction literally lives and sleeps within your stomach? How the demons so to speak crawl up your throat periodically and escape out of your mouth? That hell and all those demons exist within you and this sinister addiction isn’t something you hold, but a part that sleeps inside of you? Is this the definition of irony because it screams “at it’s finest!” Nothing is ever as simple as it seems nor as beautiful as you may believe it to be. Hell is often not what we expect it to be especially if we created it. There is no uncreating hell, no running from it and the only way to fully get out alive is to finally face it. Often this is where the problem sleeps; after all how does one face hell if gradually they’ve grown use to living in it? If after all they are the creator and the demons that lay sleeping inside them? Certainly not alone and certainly not right away; only progression, only within time.
Maybe I’m in way over my head. Maybe I’m falling head first in the water without seeing the sharp rocks at the bottom. Maybe just maybe there’s no way for me to truly know how much it will hurt until my body hits the water.
Have you ever felt like your head was a little off? Maybe that it was crooked or even that everything around you was crooked? Did it cause you to see crooked? Did you ever see straight again? Did you find sanity in insanity or did you lose yourself completely as you attempted to find yourself? I have gone through these many motions as if they were a movie plenty of times and even when I was doing well all I could see was crooked.
My head is on straight, but everything looks crooked and it has been a few months since I could say I haven’t purged at all. However, within those few months it almost felt like years and the two days I have without purging seem so difficult to the point it is keeping me up at night. In a sense this on going obsessive thinking has lead my mind to roam in dark places. Perhaps when my mind begins to roam in dark places it begins to see things crooked and gnarled. Despite all of this I am clenching on to the fact that I see my eating disorder nutritionist this Wednesday. I can’t help, but feel relieved, which is ironic considering in both my first and second time in treatment I was far from any word called “relieved.” Maybe that’s what eleven years can do to someone, maybe that’s addiction. I miss being told “it’s okay,” as strange as it sounds I routinely went over my food journal with my nutritionist just for the sake of her giving me permission to keep my food down. In a sense I needed someone to tell me it’s okay to eat and to not purge. That the world wouldn’t end and nothing horrible would happen if I ate something, enjoyed it and did not get rid of it or ate so much of it until I was literally sick. I miss being reminded that everything is okay and perfection is just a unrealistic horrible idea that no one should listen to once it speaks, because right now all I feel is this world crashing in on me along with the constant burden of perfection and the many lies it whispers in my ear.