What happened when I tried to drown out my eating disorder with an addicting hallucinogenic drug.

When I was much younger I tried weed and for the most part, it didn’t do much for me. Cigarettes were easy to quit. Drinking seemed disgusting to me. I don’t have much experience with illegal drugs at all. It must be about once every 9 to 12 months that I decide I’ll become an alcoholic or druggie, thinking if only I could do that much, my eating disorder would be put on back burner. I’d rather have cancer than an eating disorder, that for sure! As for addictions to illegal drugs, I’ve never had that problem, so I don’t know what it’s like.

I couldn’t tell you when it was. I have it written down somewhere. I tried a drug. Yep, tried yet one more time to become a druggie. This time, I used something readily available that supposedly is like pot or a hallucinogen. It didn’t get rave reviews, I must admit, but I don’t personally know anyone who has gone this route. I told myself just how stupid this was, but ignored my own advice.

I didn’t give a shit how stupid, how damaging, how whatever it was going to be. All I wanted was to drown out my eating disorder with something else. It didn’t work, though. This is what happened:

I decided to try the drug. I told myself “This is stupid,” but did it anyway. I was disgusted and hated having an eating disorder. All I wanted was for it to go away.

The “reviews” I found stated that it has an unpleasant taste. That part didn’t bother me at all. After a while I really did get a “high.” I can’t say there was anything at all pleasant about it. But all at once, I told myself, “I don’t ever want to be *not high* again!” That makes no sense, of course.  However, when you are high you don’t make much sense anyway. 

That lasted a while, longer than was safe really. I was high for over a week straight, oh, ten days I guess, and then suddenly I was bored with it all. I wondered what would happen if I stopped cold turkey. That’s what I did, and nothing bad happened except I felt a LOT better not taking it!

It gave me embarrassing flatulence and almost immediately constipated me. I began to swell up, I assume because my kidneys had to work too hard to excrete various toxins. I started to feel terrible. I didn’t want to go out nor did I have motivation to do anything. I heard you can end up with a weird look in your eyes from it, but thankfully, my glasses are plenty thick and hide most irregularities. I was more tired than ever. I didn’t want to get out of bed. 

One day, it dawned on me: “This is why I feel like crap. I need to stop.” And so, I made the decision to stop. I had no further interest in making myself more tired and more sick. To add insult to injury, I found that the drug also caused unwanted weight gain. I was so unhappy about that bit that I believe it was the deciding factor.

So for sure, I didn’t accomplish what I wanted. I wanted to get rid of my eating disorder, but trying to become a drug addict has failed the few times I’ve tried. I ended up furious about the weight gain, more upset and preoccupied with my weight than when I started. So instead of distracting me from my eating disorder, the drug made me sick and even more unhappy with my body. 

The weight had come on fast and noticeable, so I felt embarrassed and self-conscious.After I got off the drug, I felt better within a day and the excess weight gradually came off. I’d say it took at least twice as long to come off as it took coming on,

I kept telling myself that this substance was dangerous except now and then, and there I was doing it nonstop for over a week. How dumb was that? The high protected me from being scared. I kept telling myself I didn’t care if I died. Everyone would quickly forget about me and maybe no one would ever know what really killed me. 

Starvation protects a person, too. You know you could die, but you see yourself as only floating around in the world, just passing through. I remember going to bed every night wondering if I’d die in my sleep. I’m damn lucky I didn’t. The thing was, most of me was too far gone to care. I’d say a tiny bit of me was left that was desperately clinging to life.

What does it mean, to not even care if you live or die?  If you are in an altered state you can’t think straight anyway. It’s not a good state to be in to make a major life decision.  When you get out of “altered,” you look back and wonder what ever possessed you.

Another piece for Alice Gross, UK schoolchild, body now found

I have a lot to do today but thought I’d write this up.

Piece for Alice Gross

Dear Alice,

We don’t know what happened, and you cannot tell us. There was speculation and much mystery surrounding your sudden disappearance. Of course, this leads to gossip of all sorts, misinterpretation, and perhaps, misreading of your voice, words, and actions.

You wrote songs. I was a musician once, too. I think written word is far more subject to misreading or misinterpretation than is music, especially music without text, but perhaps I am wrong about this. It’s been a while since I composed music.

Often, I used to listen to pieces such as Brahms First Symphony and wonder what the heck made it so powerful. Why did that particular piece have such a grip on me? I know I’m not alone in this. Other pieces, too, hit me rather strongly.

That bass drum and plucked strings really got to me in the opening movement. Was it a bass drum, or tympani? Boom! Boom! Boom! Like a heartbeat.

Much later in life, I heard another particular piece that struck me, for unknown reasons. I called it my starvation music. I don’t often reveal to people what it is. It’s rock. I looked it up once, that is, being curious and wanting more information.

The album was created rather quickly. In fact, the year it came out was the year my eating disorder began, 1980. Again, that driving beat. The ever-present temptation. How many more pounds can I lose? Can I even stop it now? The writers said the sung text was random and meant nothing in particular. Written on instinct. Probably, they were rather stoned at the time. No matter. It’s brilliant. The wikipedia article discussed the mixing that was done, which was new stuff at the time.

Does anyone remember that AOL voice, “You’ve got mail?” Who the heck’s voice is that? New, new, new, now past and gone, for the most part.

So you are gone now, Alice. I can, as writer, make up stuff, recreate a scene. Shall I do that? Just a picture. Just that.

So I will be 14 for a sec. A kid with an eating disorder. I have known many. I got mine at 22. But I’ll stretch my imagination right now. This is gonna be fiction and I hope you don’t mind. I’ll change a few things, but again, we fiction writers are in the business of telling tall tales. If our stories are realistic it’s cuz we have them cleverly disguised.

Know what I did at 14? Played hooky. That’s what we called it in the USA. I decided not to go to school one day. I hid under a tree, or rather, a shrub, right next to my own home. Just sat there, my back to the concrete part of the house wall, almost as if frozen in time, for the whole day. I had my journal with me. I sat there writing and thinking about things.

You wouldn’t believe what happened. Suddenly, my mom came. Right in front of me. She stood there and pruned the tree with a manual tree-trimmer. Yep, the tree I was sitting under. She never saw me. She finished, and left.

I thought of Anne Frank. Wasn’t she 14, too? Hidden.

Sometimes, my eating disorder was about disappearing. To get smaller and smaller and suddenly, no one can find me. I slip away. Unnoticed. Not that anyone ever noticed me to begin with, no matter how many waves I made. Or didn’t make.

There were times I walked in the local park, a wooded area enclosed between some back yards of a rather densely populated town. It was a public park and well-lit at night. We weren’t supposed to walk there once it got dark. This rule was never enforced. There never seemed to be crime there, although I heard once some people met there for a drug deal and one person got his stuff stolen, maybe an iphone, in the process.

I’d walk there at night. Avoiding the cops, who patrolled the streets incessantly. I hated the way those cops looked at me. I was known to them, but I suppose not all, just the regular ones. I wore dark clothing so I wouldn’t be seen. I never wanted to stand out. I never asked myself if the park was monitored by CCTV, but seeing as it was a potential crime area, I suppose it was. Nearby was a local speed trap over on Main Street. A cop always there, eyeing passersby. Their job. Monitor, monitor, monitor, for the sake of god-fearing citizens. All I wanted was privacy. No eyes upon me. I’d wonder if people peeked out their back windows and saw me walking. And yet, I didn’t do anything wrong. Having an eating disorder isn’t a crime, nor a moral issue. So many are wrong and think, in fact, that it is.

You did nothing wrong, Alice. Nothing. You are only 14.

What were you thinking just then? What did I think, walking alone? I wasn’t scared. Sometimes, I’d tell myself, “No one cares about me. Someone might as well come along and kill me, and no one will give a shit.” I felt like poking fun at god, or fate.

Many times, I’d be so starving I had no clue what on earth would happen next. Other times, I’d come home along that woodsy route shoving crap food into myself the whole time, trying to keep my activity concealed. The woods were better for that. Although, if it was rather late, 3am or 4am, not too many people would peek out their windows, so chowing down would never be noticed. If anyone was within eyesight, I’d put everything quickly into my bag, and for godsakes stop chewing.

I’d arrive near my home. If I thought it was at all possible that a neighbor was peeking out a window, immediately I’d hide everything. Once at my back door, I’d slip in, cross through the darkened “Community Room,” hoping no one was up late in there watching the Big Screen TV. They’d be so absorbed in their TV show, what did they care, anyway?

Up my back stairs. Only a few feet in the back hall, I had to cross over to my door while within view of my front door, where neighbors gathered to gossip. Just in case, I kept my bag behind me. I doubt anyone had a clue what I was up to.

Home. I could open the bags, all of them, the food out in front of me. Exposed. No one was gonna barge in during the wee hours. My shade was down.

I hated every damn minute of binge eating.

I’d collapse on my bed eventually. Hide the evidence as best as I could. You never knew who would show up, after all, when I wasn’t expecting them. The freezer was a good hiding place. It concealed odors, too. Crumbs swept up. If I had to toss anything into the trash, it would go directly into the outside dumpster, pushed as far back as I could so my snoopy neighbor who used to go through the building’s trash bin couldn’t reach it. I’d never leave it in the hall trash, nor did I ever want to be seen walking down the hall with it. I’d turn boxes inside-out so the label couldn’t be seen. Stuff plastic wrappers inside paper coffee cups, if I had any, and replace the lid. And the dishes, oh, the darned dishes. These I’d throw into a closet sometimes, or into the fridge, way back, or under everything, till I had a chance to wash them.

If I was thin, I often felt the need to hide my thinness. Cuz I’d get caught. I had only a vague idea of how or who would capture me. But I’d feel this. Just like that bass drum. Always there. Like death awaiting.

I love you, Alice.

Julie Greene

I eat out of trash bins

I eat out of trash bins
I eat rotten food
I shove pieces of bread and cake and old, dried-up candies
into me that no one wants anymore,
even the rats, or, rather,
What they’ve left behind.

These leftovers are now mine.
So I brush off the coffee grounds and tossed-out cigarette butts.
Anything I can eat, or try to, goes into my mouth.

This is my secret history.
My life.

So I have tried, for decades, to get “help.”
There is in fact no “help.”

I get those bored, blank stares.
The person, a few decades younger than me
Glances at their cell phone regularly,
Which, apparently, is far more interesting than I am.

Or, that “look” that tells me they are clueless,
Grasping at straws
And this person has no idea how to help such a malady.

I have told folks
I could care less if the thing I eat will poison me.
So I get the question,
“Do you care if you die?”
I know I must be cautious in my answer.

Sure, I have tried and tried
And all I get is “No, I refuse,
I refuse to help.”

Many times, the only thing I can do,
If I can manage to stop it from happening,
Entirely on my own,Is to eat next to nothing
Because it’s the only way I can survive.
And I feel powerful that way
It’s a great way to say, “Fuck you.”
I get skinny.
I get creepy-looking.
Fuck you to those who care more about their cell phones
Than they do about me.
Fuck you to those
Who won’t lift a finger.
Fuck you to all those hundreds I have called who
Said to me, “No.”

Either way, I suppose the ending is the same
I’ll be some old, creepy-looking skinny lady
Found dead somewhere in the garbage.