They say it takes a while, after anorexia, for the body to figure out that it can stop preparing for a famine. I guess that’s why they say it takes years or even a lifetime to physically recover from a lengthy period of self-induced starvation. Folks who fast for religious reasons tend to take precautions. I assume that each religious tradition has ways of protecting the body and nourishing in other ways besides physical food during times of fasting. I recall when I was a young child we’d eat a lot the night before Yom Kippur, and then go to temple all day. There was a feeling of cleansing oneself of sin (if you believed it). Some people ate an awful lot the night before so it didn’t really matter if you ate much the next day cuz you really weren’t that hungry till nighttime anyway. Others were quite hungry. Then, traditionally, folks ate quite a lot that night, breaking the fast. We would not drink wine at temple while praying about our sins. Drinking wine on empty tummies would have been dumb because a lot of people would have gotten sick. Whether or not there was a policy on drinking water, I don’t recall drinking much water at all during the day. I think that was my mom’s problem. We sat at temple all day and no water was passed around. She’d get real sick. Finally, she said she was getting too sick each year and was not going to fast anymore.
In 2002 I took a class on Eastern religions at Emerson. I kept mum about my history when we discussed fasting in Buddhism. The teacher said that he had experienced religious fasting. He said the Buddhists are very careful about fasting and it is always supervised. He said if any of us wanted to fast we should do it supervised as well. He said also that he had a spiritual awakening while fasting, and that many people do.
Now, looking back, I ask myself what is the difference between the delirium or even psychosis produced by starvation, malnutrition, dehydration, and low blood sugar level and the spiritual awakening produced by a fast done for spiritual reasons.
But everyone is different. Who am I to deny a person their miracle? Of course not. If someone feels something, they feel it and I will not deny it. I feel that I do not have this right.
So anyway, I treat my body well now, but it does not trust me. It is always on guard. In terms of water, my kidneys are permanently damaged and they need to be handled with special care. This means that “water balance” is a big issue for me, and always will be. I was seriously dehydrated in July 2011 and still have not caught up. I woke up at 3am and here’s what occurred in the bathroom:
Yep, I fainted. Totally unexpected. It’s hard to remember. I ran six laps yesterday morning and felt stronger than ever. I felt as though I could have run further but decided to postpone increasing by a lap until next week. Later, I had some rather bad diarrhea, and decided not to eat corn anymore, not in quantity anyway. It’s the second or third time I’ve had a reaction like that. In the afternoon, I packed to go to the library, but received a phone call just prior to leaving. We spoke for a long time and I ended up staying home. The library is only open till 5 on Saturdays. I went to bed very early, at 8pm.
I think I awoke at around 11:30 and went back to bed around 12:30 and felt crampy from my period, or I thought that was what it was from. Then, suddenly, I knew I was in trouble. Something wasn’t right. It’s like you don’t know if you should get up or get down. I had to use the toilet but didn’t know if I was going to make it over there. I grabbed my blood pressure cuff. It had been a while since I’d checked those figures. I had to take my watch off to put the cuff on, but kept telling myself I didn’t want to lose my watch or my glasses, and needed to know where the phone was in case I decided to call the EMT’s, highly unlikely of course.
I made it to the bathroom and shit my brains out, as they say.
I’m not sure when it was that I passed out. I fell on top of that quarter-circle table in the corner. No broken glass as you can see, just dumped soap, and nothing liquid spilled. I’m not hurt.
I managed to get up and took my blood pressure at some point. It was 90 over 44. And my pulse, which was in the mid40’s, and then dropped to 32, and then was in the 50’s, and is now safely between 60 and 72 depending on what I’m doing.
Who the heck knows what that was…dehydration I guess. I feel super lousy today. I made it to church and I’m glad I went but it took everything out of me and as soon as I got home, I ate lunch and crashed for three hours. My lips and eyes feel very dry, like I’ve had nothing to drink all day. I’m not particularly hungry or thirsty, mostly tired, but I know I have to keep up with eating and drinking so my body does not become dehydrated again.
Tomorrow, my DMH person is coming over. If she expects me to go to the ER, she’s wrong. No way do I want to show up there and get misdiagnosed (for certain, that’s what will happen cuz they don’t know ED in those places) or risk getting sectioned again. Cuz if I got sectioned, it would be for no valid reason.
Sometimes, you’re best off handling these things yourself. Survival, remember? Tomorrow, I’ll clean this place.