…deep down inside…
As someone who is overweight and has diabetes and an eating disorder, let me tell you that depressive episodes are somewhat less than a fun way to spend my time. And, add to that the fact that I’m a woman in my mid-forties with hormonal fluctuations that can send me hurtling unsuspectingly into a dark, dark place with no warning, and we have a recipe for a week or so in which food is the enemy and the comforting blanket and the thing I need to survive all at the same time.
I’ve always been an emotional eater. When I need comfort, I turn to food. Usually things like bread and pasta and things like that. Sometimes, cake or cookies. Chocolate. Mmmmm.
I’m also a binge eater. Particularly when I’m stressed out. Take last night for example. I ate three large pork chops. No. Seriously. I cooked them all with the intention of taking the left overs for lunch the next two days, but once they were out of the oven I just…ate them all. One right after the other.
I knew it was stupid. Even while I was eating them. I told myself to stop. Instead, I ate them.
I did manage to not go back for the baked potato I had made to go with it. I packed that up to take for lunch today. But that doesn’t change the fact that last night I binged.
As binges go, it wasn’t my worst. I’ve had binges that went on for days and involved cleaning out cupboards and refrigerators. However, it is the first in a while.
This week has been a ridiculously hard week. A depressive cycle brought on by menstrual hormones and work stress has my head in a stupidly dark place. I’m convinced that I’m hopeless, that no one loves me, they merely tolerate me for the things I can do for them or give them. I’m searching for ever more grandiose gifts to give people to make them like me…or pretend they do. Whenever I call someone and they don’t answer, my head tells me that they’re ducking my calls, that they’re avoiding me. I come home and hide in my apartment, half convinced that no one would even notice if I never came back out again. My brain is filled with stupid, self-berating commentary on everything I do, everything I wear…and it’s mostly telling me that I’m fat, ugly, stupid to think anyone would want me for anything other than the money I’m willing to spend to make people like me, might as well just give up and eat.
Now, on some level I “know” this stuff isn’t true, but try telling that to a brain that is in full on “feed me Seymour” mode. Deep down inside something is broken, something I haven’t been able to find and fix, despite all the ways I’ve changed over the years. And no matter what my head will tell me, food isn’t going to fix it.
Food is rather like a drug in this scenario. I crave it. I want it like a junkie three days from his last hit. But, like a drug, food is the enemy. The things my body craves when my head dumps me here in this dark cavern inside myself are the things that my body can least tolerate, the things that turn my body into a weapon against itself.
And yet, unlike a drug, I can not just….stop. I have to eat. All the more because of the diabetes. I have to eat regularly. I have to eat foods that are good for me. I have to eat.
Every meal is like a battle. Eat the right things, not the things you want. Eat enough, but not too much. Don’t binge. Don’t stop eating all together (which is often my instinctual response to wanting to binge). Find a way to just put food in your mouth and swallow and move on.
It shouldn’t be so hard. But it is. Right this minute I should be getting ready to get out the door. I’m thinking about every fast food joint between my apartment and my job. I’m thinking about the peanut butter and bread I have at work and the muffin makings I have in the cupboard. I’m thinking that I’m starving (I’m not. Trust me on this). My stomach is growling for food.
I know that this will pass. Tomorrow or the next day I will wake up and be back to normal. The hormones will level out and my head will clear and I’ll go back to the day to day tight rope I walk, eating healthy, walking as much as I can, trying not to lose weight so much as keep my sugar numbers in check and feel better.
I know this.
But right now, I have to get through today.