I have days where eating a cheeseburger is easy, then I have days where each bite feels like hell. Where I can feel each pound added to my body with each bite I take into the greasy meal. My body feels heavy and slick, and my eating disorder is yelling about what a disgusting excuse for a human being I am. I’m repeating mantras in my head and trying to mechanically eat but I can’t help and feel fat. “But Sandy, fat isn’t a feeling,” the voice of my therapist says, “what do you really feel?”
Worthless, pathetic, stupid.
“Good, and what else?”
Unwanted, unlovable, disgusting.
“All that because you ate a burger”
No, it’s not the burger. It doesn’t matter if I eat a burger or half a banana, those feelings always come up when I eat.
“Why do you think that is?”
Because if I eat, I gain weight.
“What’s so scary about gaining weight?”
I’ll be ugly and fat.
“What’s wrong with being fat? Fat is just an adjective. It doesn’t define who you are.”
Yes it does.
Because I’ll be undesirable and unloved.
“But people love you even when you were bigger and when you were smaller.”
It doesn’t matter.
Because I don’t love myself. I never have.
“So it’s not about the weight?”
It was never about the weight. It’s not about the food or the number on the scale. It’s about what it represents.
“And what does it represent?”
Failure. That I failed at another thing.
“What did you fail at before?”
Life. I failed at being popular and smart and beautiful. I failed at being funny, I failed at having some semblance of control over my life I can’t fail at being skinny too.
“So, it’s about control?”
It’s always been about control. My life is a constant downward spiral of depression and anxiety that I can’t stop or control. Life is a current and I’m drowning in the water trying to find a stick to pull me up.
“And you’re eating disorder is that stick? That saving-grace?”
My eating disorder is a comfort. It’s my oldest friend and my biggest enemy. It tells me how to solve problems, but it creates even bigger ones. I use it as a way to get control over my life, but it ended up controlling me. I’m tired. I’m so tired. I’m in a restaurant with a cheeseburger in front of me and my friends are all laughing as they eat their meals while I struggle. And I’m mad. I’m mad when I see people nonchalantly eat their food because I can’t do that. I’m mad because I’ve been in recovery for three years and I still find burgers challenging. I’m mad because I’m having a debate in my head as I try not to cry while my friends are having a great time. I’m mad because no-one gets how hard this is. I’m mad because it’s a delicious burger but I can’t admit that to myself or else it’s a sign of failure. I’m mad because I want to recover but I’m still terrified at gaining weight. I’m mad that society tells me that I need to be skinny to be beautiful and I’m mad I still believe it. I’m mad, I’m tired, but most of all, I’m hungry. Even admitting that is scary and makes me ashamed of myself because I’m not strong. I’m not strong enough to not binge, I’m not strong enough to not eat all day, I’m not strong enough to avoid this delicious burger in front of me. But fuck it. I’m hungry, I’m hungry.
I’m so hungry.