After four horrible days of bingeing following my hospitalization for dehydration, malnutrition, and severe anorexia nervosa, I have reverted to starvation as a desperate measure to prevent another nightmare bingeing episode.
I left the hospital as soon as my Section 12 ran out. I left last Thursday. My doctors there had strongly urged me to stay the weekend. But when I was handed a conditional voluntary form, I realized that they would then have the legal right to hold me there for as long as they damned please. And if I wanted out, I would not be able to get out immediately, but would have to wait three long, grueling days in that “prison.” For indeed, that was how it seemed to me. They had taken away my privacy in the bathroom and shower, my telephone rights, 75% of my belongings, and severely rationed my fluid intake to the point where I was suffering constant thirst. My therapist supported my decision so long as I was planning to eat properly when I got out of the hospital. I said that I intended to. This was a lie. This wasn’t a tiny lie. This was 100% a lie.
I was devastated, and taken by shock, by the first binge. I was devastated by the second. I was devastated by the third, and fairly certain that this series of them was over. And when I binged the fourth time, I was, as they say, hanging by a string. I came into my therapist’s office desperate to make the bingeing stop, and would do anything at that point. But it had to stop immediately. I could bear it no longer. I am 53 years old. I am not 20. I just got out of the hospital for malnutrition and extreme reduction in caloric intake that had been gradually increased. I have edema that is getting worse and worse. My heart pounds when I binge and my heart rate increases. My stomach sticks out on one side. I eat to the point that I load myself until the food reaches the top of my throat, or so it feels. I eat so fast that I risk choking. I risk infection because the inside of my mouth is so bitten up and damaged. In the past, I have passed out from extreme exhaustion. And the emotional and mental effect? That’s the very worst of it.
I told my T about all this. And I told my T about the behaviors–what I do, what I eat, what happens to me…a lot of what I go through, a lot that I have never told anyone. She asked a lot of questions. I cried and cried and cried. If anyone has ever believed me, if anyone has ever understood me at all, it was my T. I am so, so alone with this, and have been for most of my life. Anorexia? Many people understand anorexia. No one understands what an anorexic person who does not/cannot throw up goes through, because this is such a rarity…that I know of.
What we ended up doing was working out a great plan to stop the bingeing in its tracks. Immediately. The plan is tailored specifically for me and my behaviors and no one else.
Upon leaving her office, my eating disorder took over. I got on the Red Line subway and then ended up at a drugstore after a while and gazed at all the goodies. But I didn’t buy any? Why I didn’t buy any…I do not understand the complexity of my thought processes at that point. But I do know that at the drugstore across the street, the prices were ridiculous and I turned down the junk food for that reason. That plus the bus was arriving shortly. I came home. I was terrified that I would binge. So I got in touch with my T. S.O.S. She never got the message until late night. I ate a few things that I shouldn’t have eaten, but it didn’t trigger a binge–why? I think I was simply binged out. From then on until I went to bed, I followed the plan we had set out. Meanwhile, my T got the message and said she’d call me in the morning.
I woke in the night hysterical. Crying over the bingeing, though I hadn’t binged for a while. I woke up in a desperate, distraught, panicked state this morning as well, weeping, and it took a while to calm down.
Since then, I’ve been starving myself. I have eaten…nothing. I looked at the food I’d promised my T I was going to eat, though. I looked at the package. Nothing.
Very soon, I felt…nothing. No emotion. No panic. No more crying. Just sitting here writing to You. I ran a few errands and did some very much needed cleaning around the house.
I started the starvation last June…or I think it was June…and the more intense starvation in July, and the structured daily activities, specifically to end the bingeing. Don’t tell me this is happening again. I want it…but I don’t.
Why have I made so many secret promises to myself? Why do I lie so much? Why do I hold back? Isn’t this exactly what the chaplain was talking about when we met the last day I was at the hospital? God sees everything. God sees through all my lies, all my secrets. Everything. I can hide nothing from God. God is all-seeing and all-knowing.
Isn’t it God that I now seek? Isn’t it God that I now hunger for? Didn’t the chaplain say that anyone that hungers, hungers for God, and has God in their heart, and that God has never left me, but has walked by my side all this time, all through my relapse in fact, though I have thought I did not believe, that I had lost my faith and had lost my ability to pray?
Wow. No wonder I cry so much.