The post you’re about to read is not one that I am proud of, but it’s important to expose and talk about. I am deeply ashamed of the person I became, but I need to remember that the person in this story is not truly me. I can read this now and think, “who in their right mind would ever do that?” But that’s just it – I wasn’t in my right mind. That’s not to excuse what happened, but it’s important to acknowledge the overwhelming strength and power of this illness and how quickly it can take over. This was a typical day in the depths of my eating disorder.
It’s 10pm and the only thing on my mind is food. What am I going to have for breakfast? How many calories did I eat today? What can I do to eat less tomorrow? I reach for my phone and make a detailed plan for the following day. I write down everything that I’m going to eat and meticulously track the caloric number of each food. I tally it up to make sure that the number is acceptable, and crawl into bed feeling satisfied with my plan. When my head reaches the pillow and I finally let myself relax, the room spins, my head pounds, and my stomach gnaws in discomfort. As usual, I ignore it, pop a few too many melatonin and force myself to sleep.
I wake up at 6:30am and my first thought is always the same: scale. I’m extremely thirsty, but I don’t allow myself to drink because I’m afraid it will tamper with my weight. Even though I feel dizzy and lightheaded getting out of bed, I proceed to throw on my workout clothes and push myself to run as many stairs as I can before getting ready for work. When I get home, I strip down and eagerly step on the scale. The number is about to determine my entire day, and my heart sinks when it reads 0.5 lbs heavier than yesterday. Fuck. I’ll have to squeeze in an extra workout at lunch.
After a quick shower, I check the meal plan that I made the day before. I allotted one apple for breakfast, but I bet I can make do with half and save some calories. For lunch, I pack a hard-boiled egg and a small container of snap peas and carrot sticks. That, along with copious amounts of coffee, will be enough to get me through the day.
When I arrive at work the first thing I do is turn on the heater. The autumn air is still quite warm, but my internal temperature always feels below freezing. Once settled, I do what needs to get done and then spend every moment of free time looking at baking recipes or obsessing over dinner. It’s date night with my husband, Lasse, and he wants to treat me to a nice meal, but I already know I won’t let him. His cooking is incredible, but I don’t trust him to make food for me. What if he puts oil in the pan? What if he adds too much sauce? What if he doesn’t measure the food correctly and I can’t track the calories? He’ll just do everything wrong. While fuming with frustration and annoyance, I text him and say that I’ll make my own dinner. Besides, we’ll be watching a movie later and I’ve already accounted for snacks, so I probably won’t end up eating dinner anyways.
Lunch rolls around and I stay hidden in my office while munching on my rabbit food and feeling the world cave in on me. I hate this. I just need to eat and I desperately want to stop obsessing about food, but it’s all I can fucking think about and it’s all my fault. I got myself into this mess and one simple choice could stop all of the insanity, but here I am choosing to continue. My mom understands the struggle of addiction better than I do, so I call her in a complete breakdown and ask her what I should do. I can’t keep going like this, but the wait list is six months for any kind of treatment and neither of us know what to do in the meantime. I should be able to do it on my own, but it’s hopeless.
After a long day at work and the start of date night, my kind, sweet husband greets me with a kiss and wants to make love. But no – it’s all about me. My head is pounding, I’m absolutely exhausted, I’m beyond famished, and making love is the absolute last thing I want to do. I shut him down and go for a nap. My thoughts are spinning about how horrible I am, and soon I’m lost in one big pity party. I’m a horrible wife, I’m too selfish, it would be better if I didn’t exist, on and on.
By the time dinner rolls around I’m a miserable fucking mess, even after my extra workout to makeup for the soon-to-be binge night. I have a small portion of plain steamed vegetables for dinner, and absentmindedly partake in date night even though my thoughts are elsewhere. Twice, Lasse gets annoyed with me for being on my phone, but I snap back and explain that I need to log my snacks and meals.
Finally, we sit down for the movie and the only thing on my mind is the snacks that I’ve been waiting for all day. I check my food log to see how much I’m allowed, and then carefully measure out my popcorn and low-calorie ice cream. About an hour into the movie, I’m hardly paying attention because my brain is like a broken-record. Food. Food. Food. I have a twenty minute battle with myself before succumbing to my cravings and heading for the fridge. We have a fresh batch of Nanaimo bars that I swore I wouldn’t eat, but I reach for one anyways and hide it under another big scoop of ice cream. I feel ridiculous for hiding it, but I don’t want Lasse to see. I don’t want him to know that I’m eating more than I need. It’s disgusting and I have a problem.
I’m in absolute heaven as I bite into my treats, but as I reach my last bite, the absolute dread and guilt begins to wash over me. The rest of the movie goes by in a blur as I sit there writhing in agony and debating whether to purge. Lasse reaches for my hand, but I’m so angry with myself that I pull away and cross my arms. How the fuck am I going to get rid of all these calories? Lasse will know what I’m doing in the bathroom, so I decide to get up and do some quick exercises. The movie is still going, but I couldn’t care less. Lasse is beside himself at this point, but I carry on with my jumping jacks and try to make a joke out of it.
At the end of the night, I collapse into bed feeling like a pile of trash. My head spins, my stomach cramps, and I want to scratch my insides out. There’s only one way out of this agony, so I reach for my phone, make my plans for the next day, and the cycle continues.