“The absolute worst part of being depressed is the food. A person’s relationship with food is one of their most important relationships. I don’t think your relationship with your parents is that important. Some people never know their parents. I don’t think your relationship with your friends are important. But your relationship with air – that’s key. You can’t break up with air. You’re kind of stuck together. Only slightly less crucial is water. And then food. You can’t be dropping food to hang with someone else. You need to strike up an agreement with it.” Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
My “agreement “with food is fucked. It took me a long time to admit that I have an eating disorder. It’s been festering since 4th grade, but got dangerous about 5 years ago. Professionals call it EDNOS – an eating disorder not otherwise specified.
I have a bad joke about my eating disorder. Wanna hear it?
“So yeah…I throw up my food. BUT, ya know, I’m like Dexter! I only throw up the bad food.”
Replace “killing” and “murder” with “purging” and you have my ED code. You know when you are going through something but it’s not as bad as something else, so you dismiss it? I never sought professional treatment because my disorder wasn’t as bad as the other ones. I’ve been a binge eater since I’ve had taste buds but I was never anorexic and wasn’t a true bulimic. I would only make myself throw it up if it was things I had labeled bad. Sweets, fast food, pizza. I mean, logic, right?
My disorder has evolved over time. There is a lot to say on the subject I’m exploring and want to write about. I am better than I was 5 years ago when this started. I describe an episode as manically eating everything and then throwing it up. It’s been 8 days since my last episode. Before that, 42.
There is progress in sharing. I wrote the piece below a little over a year ago after a super intense episode. I have not had another episode to this extreme since. I have learned to support myself by paying attention to what is causing the need to do this to myself, and then adjusting. Eventually, I’ll lose track of how many days it’s been since the last one…
“Nighttime comes and I run to the bookstore to pick up this book for a school project and I get lost and before I know it I’m inside an ice cream parlor pouring every topping I can find on the sundae bar onto my ice cream to two slices of cheese pizza and a craving for buttery, salty popcorn so bad that I’m in line to see a movie I could care less about just so I can get some fucking popcorn and that’s not enough so with a face full of shame and a chain of events that cannot stop once it’s started I walk into Whole Foods, lock eyes with the bakery, walk around the grocery store five times, and settle on a giant cookie and some cheesecake before I go sit in my car in a dark parking lot alone, eating this cookie and wishing this bitch in the car next to me would leave so I could shove my face with food in peace and she does and I move onto the cheesecake but I can’t take more than few bites because I’m about to burst and I realize what I’ve done and regret settles in and I wish I could take it all back and I know I can if I can just throw it all back up so I find a brown paper bag with my winter clothes in it in my car and empty the bag and then bring it back to the front seat where I stick two fingers down my throat and make myself throw up but I can’t make myself completely throw up because I’m in a parking lot and I’m convinced everyone is watching me so I throw up a little there, move my car to a street, throw up a little there until a car pulls up and no one gets out which means they are watching me, to another block in a neighborhood I don’t know until I’ve filled the bag up with all the food I just consumed in under thirty minutes and it’s warm and smells disgusting and I’ve ruined my jacket and my nose is running and I’m saying out loud to myself WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME and I’m feeling even worse because I’m unemployed and I’m spending money I don’t have on these emotional food binges and I haven’t even eaten half the cheesecake but I can’t possibly keep it because I have no willpower so I put the cheesecake in the vomit bag and set the vomit bag outside of my car and I drive away until I realize I’ve just thrown up all my food and I’m actually physically hungry and I contemplate for at least twenty minutes whether or not I should go through the drive-thru for a burger but I say NO there is no possible way I can do that and I go home and raid the cabinets of my house until I’ve made a plate of pepperoni and cheese and morning glory muffins and I somehow convince myself to go the fuck to sleep.”
Reading that breaks my heart. I vividly remember that day. The sadness and vulnerability and confusion. I’m grateful those days are farther and fewer between. Here’s to showing up, writing, and supporting myself in these ways this week!
Tell me how you are supporting yourself this week! Or anything! Thank you for your support. I am over the moon you’re here.