The Anorexia Virus
I am infected
** Possible trigger warning
It feels like a virus inside of me. Despite the causes of it (which I will discuss in a later post titled: The virus That Started it All) and even when there is not an outstanding weight preoccupation or anorexic cognitions-- as a dear friend put it-- certain behaviors feel necessary. Like a must. A result of having been infected with Anorexia. Like when someone has a cold, it doesn't matter whether they caught it from someone else or their own actions led to it, the cold causes their body to react in certain ways. When I awaken, my first thought is not always that I have to lose weight or not gain, though it may be to restrict a meal or skip it altogether just because I have to. Because it feels right. Of course, the weight aspect will come into play but it may not always start things off. I may know that eating this one slice of bread will not make me get any bigger and yet, I can't eat it. Because that would be wrong. Now is not the time to ask why because I have no answers. I only know what this feels like.
The worst part is remembering. I remember eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted; I still had the exercise addiction-- which I suppose was still purging-- but my eating habits were okay. Now, I really can't imagine eating nearly any of the foods that I used to especially in the amounts and portions that I would. Thinking back on it disgusts me. But why? I am still me. But I am not the same person, I guess. Not the same mind. It has been infected with an eating disorder. I even feel different, on the inside. My cognitions feel different. It's the weirdest thing and I don't even know if I'm describing it accurately. There is such a complete difference in my mind and body, and I'm not referring to weight. It's bizarre.
Sometimes it feels as if my ability to eat is under arrest... I know how weird that sounds but I have no other way of putting it that could convey as much as "under arrest" does. Does that make sense to you all? Lately, it takes everything in me to eat something as simple as an item on my "safe food" list, which I must confess has been diminishing quite rapidly. But I guess no food is really simple. Every food is complex, just like every feeling I bury. Even on days when I do eat a food that I established as okay, I feel the need to purge it or make up for having eaten it by some other ed behavior later. Because the need to feel empty is sometimes greater than the need to feel nourished.
This virus is so screwed up that there will be days where, in order to satisfy an ongoing and annoying craving of something I can not eat anymore, I will not allow myself a safe food or anything else except for that one thing. Sometimes that thing is a food which was once considered safe but is now unsafe-- however that works. Other times, it's something high in calories or fat and I just can't get rid of the craving for it so I allow myself to have it as long as I forsake any other food I was going to eat that day. Or I'll do this weird thing where I can have it as well as something else depending on how much I will spend being active that day or how many times I've gone "number two" that day. Insane. I know. I'm constantly thinking of a reason as to why feeding my body is okay for me to do. It doesn't make sense to me but at the same time it does.
The same way some people with addictions begin to feel that the only way for them to feel normal is by getting their fix or "high" or whatever substance or behavior they use, that is how it is for me with this virus. The only way I feel normal or okay is if I get my fix, my high from starvation. Restriction. The sad thing is, it doesn't even feel as good-- yes, starving myself in the past has actually made me feel better than whatever I had been feeling prior-- as it used to. Yet I continually engage in it.
Alright, I've reached the point in this post where I feel as if I'm going on and on and on. This was weighing on me a lot and I felt the need to express it and I wanted to be as clear as I could. I hope I didn't leave anything out but if so, I will make a part two and add what I forgot. This is one of the more difficult posts for me to publish because of its truth and ugliness. I hate that I feel this way, that I behave this way and live this way. Especially as a child of God. I know He still loves me but I have been doubting so much of my worthiness, I guess, to be used by Him still. But that's a different post altogether.
**Please know that it was not my intent to be triggering or to write with any air of competition at all. I know eds have that nature to them and I hope that it was not reflected in this-- or any other post-- in any way. If you think you or a loved one have an eating disorder of any kind or are concerned with your or a loved one's relationship with food, please reach out for help. Sites like renfrewcenter.com and nationaleatingdisorders.org are steps in the right and possibly life saving direction.