Hunger equals tears because I have to confront the eating disorder. Confronting the eating disorder equals saying goodbye to it (even if slowly). Saying goodbye equals
everything that I know about myself.
Because everything that I know about myself is somehow tied to my eating disorder.
Why am I in the fetal position, wrapped in my weighted blanket, tears in my eyes, at 3pm on a Tuesday?
I’ve been extremely hard on myself for thinking that I am excessively needy. There are so many moments when I just need a hug but the thought of reaching out like that means I’m deliberately going against the eating disorder because something that will cause comfort and lead to less anxiety will cause weight gain because I’ll eat more. Even just the baby step to that–reaching out for words of affirmation or to vent is hard because I think I’m failing at doing things myself and bothering the recipient. Judging is my eating disorder’s favorite pastime.
But OF COURSE I want/need physical touch. When you’re scared of something, what do you want? You want someone to be close by. You want someone to hold your hand and walk through the scary thing together. You want reassurance and not to feel alone and sometimes a hug is both of those things. Sometimes a hug is accepting energy from someone that can offer it when you feel like you have nothing left to give yourself. I was viewing this as weak, and not allowing myself to even entertain the possibility that my love language is actually physical touch and I need it to battle the eating disorder. It’s the eating disorder part of me that wants to deny and destroy accepting love because that makes the eating disorder weaker. I get as much anxiety around physical touch as I do around food. It comes from the same place.
The family I was born into does not give out words of affirmation or physical touch freely; of course I’m starving for both when both are necessary for my emotional survival.
Even if I can’t always accept it, I can make a concerted effort to stop judging myself for needing love. I am human, this is simply a matter of being a living, breathing, human being. It has nothing to do with being weak or needy or annoying.
Love, in whatever way I need it, is acceptable.
Today, my anxiety was sky rocketing over lunch. I entered the kitchen–tears. Sat back on the couch. Ok, this sucks. I’ll just watch something and then maybe try again. 15 minutes in, I am so hungry I can’t focus on the show at all and decide to try again but this time I am frozen on the couch and just start crying without even getting up. Call your therapist. Leave a voicemail. Say all of this out loud. I call, leave a voicemail, and remain frozen on the couch. An hour passes. I am so hungry I can’t see straight but I cannot move. I text my disheartening distress.
I receive a response: “walk in with me.”
All the blood in my body rushes to my face. What??
“Call me, …”
No way. There is no way I’m calling. I can’t do that. Fuck, fuck, fuck, just call her.
At some minutes in, I am able to walk into the kitchen, and start to make toast despite feeling on the verge of fainting, having a panic attack, or bursting into an unstoppable sea of tears.
She says; “It’s hard because you’re challenging the eating disorder.”
I have heard this 6 dozen times. But this time, it clicks.
It’s hard because before I would have just skipped lunch. I would have ignored all my hunger signals. I wasn’t challenging the ED voice at all. I wouldn’t have texted, or left a voicemail, and I certainly wouldn’t have been willing to call to figure this out in real-time. I was letting it rule and ruin my life. Reaching out was not an option. Now, I am constantly challenging it. The past 7 days I have challenged it every single day, all day, with varying degrees of success and a lot of tears.
And that is overwhelming. Very overwhelming. I am so afraid of weight gain. On a scale of 1-10, I am 11-afraid-of-weight-gain. But today I found peace in realizing that it’s hard and scary AND THAT’S OK. I can be here, where things are very hard. And I can do them anyway. I can ask for help to get through it. I can figuratively allow for some hand-holding to make it through, and make it through.
All of this is progress, maybe even a tiny bit of surrender.