The Food Thing has been spiralling out of control for the last couple of months. When I first mentioned it to my therapist, she suggested I keep a food diary. I did that for a few days, but it led to a rather serious meltdown, so I stopped. I just couldn’t cope with my disgustingness staring back at me in black and white every day. Of course, being unable to be “good” and complete my “homework” lead to a whole lot more self-flagellation, but that’s another tale for another time.
I put all that food/diet stuff in the last post in the hope that it would spur me into action, because looking at the food diary, on an average day I was (am) eating something like:
Breakfast: Rice flakes with soy milk or muesli (doing ok so far)
Rest of the day (in a bizarre lunch-dinner-snack all rolled into one endless graze):
Either a ham and salad sandwich – eaten at about 4pm – and very little else; or… two bread rolls with vegemite and cheese; a meat pie or sausage roll or a big pile of fat from a take away food joint; donuts (usually four, large ones, with icing and sometimes with jam); chocolate (about 250g); perhaps a packet of biscuits … I don’t need to go on. You get the picture.
Some days there are cravings, just as my friend Tampalama described:
“a child who is constantly pulling at your sleeve or tapping you on the shoulder, saying, ‘Hey. Hey. Hey. Look at me. Pay attention to me. Hey. Hey.’”
The secret pull of the something doughy, the chocolate, the salt or the … whatever.
But some days I go to the supermarket with a list of healthy foods to buy, and come home with a bag full of crap. Most days I’m not even sure how the crap got into the bag, and all the good food got left behind. Sometimes I go to the supermarket and allow myself one treat… but then stop at the bakery on the way home and buy a pile of stuff I had no intention of buying. Often I get home and wonder what the hell I’m doing.
Sometimes I even manage to bring the healthy foods home with me, but they sit in the fridge until they go off, and then I throw them out. I feel so guilty about all that waste. I could feed a small African country on the amount of food I’ve thrown away lately.
I have a strange ritual about supermarkets. There are five different ones within about a 5 to 10 minute drive of my place. I have to go to a different one each time. I’m not entirely sure why, but think it’s possibly because I go most days and if I’m buying crap, I don’t want the check out kid to recognise me from the day before. Silly, huh?
Do I have an eating disorder? May be. Possibly. My therapist doesn’t think so, but I’ll confess I’ve never told her the full truth about my eating. She thinks I’m just being hard on myself or, at worst, merely have a f***ed up relationship with food. She thinks that if I get back to the gym, I’ll start eating properly and start feeling better… which will lead to more eating properly and more feeling better. She might be right, but at the moment I can barely leave the house I’m so repulsed at my appearance, let alone go to the gym!
As my therapy has progressed I’ve started to become more aware of the triggers for the Food Thing. Over and above being generally emotionally wrecked, that is; although these triggers are usually a precursor to emotional wreckage anyway. Things like seeing my father, having a tough therapy session, a stressful day at work. Basically any situation in which I feel I need support (but still don’t know how to get it or how to support or nurture myself).
Perhaps I just hit the nail on the head? Perhaps learning to nurture myself, rather than punishing myself for all of life’s ills will help me get the Food Thing under control again? Perhaps all I need to do is find other ways to nurture myself after these stressful events (and get back to planning my meals a bit more so I’m not tempted to grab something nasty)?
I have a few things I find nurturing, But seriously, these aren’t nearly as satisfying as food after a day with my father, a gruelling therapy session or a whacky day at work.
I confessed to my therapist that I was gaining weight and contemplating ditching the anti-depressants. She wasn’t pleased. When it comes down to it, I think I’d rather be suicidal than fat – how dumb is that?
My therapist suggested I talk to my doctor, so I did. I took a positive step and went to the doc. She was very supportive and seemed to understand that I was freaking out about the Weight Thing. She suggested appetite suppressants but you can’t take those with anti-depressants, so we’re trying a new anti-depressant instead. She was wonderfully encouraging; she said that if this doesn’t work then there’ll be something else we can try. “We’ll find the solution,” she said. So good of her and seriously not the reaction I was expecting. Just doing something makes me feel a little better, but we’ll see how long it lasts.