The day after the day of my 54th birthday. Today is January 9.

I really can’t stay on too long.  I want to get back into bed.  I e-mailed my T and asked if we could meet later in the day or maybe tomorrow.  Haven’t heard back yet but I really want to lie down and shut out the world right now.

I didn’t sleep all night.  I was crying.  Dumb thing to do when you’re supposed to be sleeping.

You’re probably sick of hearing this.  I thought last night was going to be the night.  I really did.  I felt like it was only a matter of hours and that I had to lie down right away.  I quickly wrote some stuff in my journal and kept it lying flat open to that page.  I wanted the world to know.  I didn’t even undress.  I kept my hat on.  I curled up and lay there.

I got these wicked cramps in my legs.  Even my feet and toes had cramps in them.  I would twist them the other way and they would cramp up again.  Now that was an interesting way for God to announce to me that I was alive after all.

All I wanted was to be loved and wanted and cared for.  That is why, in 1980,  I went on a diet.  I thought if I were thinner I would be more pure and healthy and closer to God.   What I ended up with was a disease I never asked for and had never heard of, anorexia nervosa.

It is January 9.  I did not ask for January 9, but I have it and I have to deal with it.

Who is this man/angel?

If you are happening on my blog for the first time, and this is the first entry you are reading, you might want to skim this entry, or skip it altogether, and start with the next one instead.

Boy do I ever feel like an idiot for having just said that.  It’s just that this one is kind of long and I ramble quite a bit.  And the truth is, I’m stark raving mad right now.

In my chapter called “Dream,” I describe a man/angel carrying me in the desert.   I had always assumed that this man/angel was Mary/Maria, whom I loved.  I spoke with the chaplain at the hospital about the man/angel who carried me.  I realized that the man/angel was God, in a way.  God said, “I am weary.  I cannot carry you much further.”  Or something like that.  But God never actually put me down.  Not until I was ready, not until long after the chapter ended.

I gave him a name.  Michael.  Haven’t a clue why he’s named that but I figured I might call him something.  I talk to him enough and I can hear my own voice talking all the time, it’s rather embarrassing in fact, yammering the way I do.  I catch myself talking while walking Puzzle, and I tell myself to shut up, then I just pretend it’s Puzzle I’m talking to, but often, I’m talking to Michael, then I turn and say a few words to Puzzle, then back to Michael again.  That was the way it was this morning while I was walking.

I went right away to the church.  I talked to the minister.  He got me some water because I said I was thirsty.  I told him some things.  It’s cold out.  I am home now.

I am just waiting now.  It’s a little easier to write than it was earlier.  You know, at some point, I have no clue when this was, because I have completely lost track of time, I bought a dozen donuts when it was dark out, now I know it was dark out because there is no way that I will ever do this again when it is light out, it is simply too much of an embarrassment, and I brought them home, but before I left the house I made sure that I had a way back through the back door so no one would see me entering with a dozen donuts and know who I am, an anorexic woman on a binge, and I went and bought the donuts, saying “You can give me any kind of donut you want, ‘cuz I have no clue what they will want to eat,” and also bought a couple of oatmeal raisin cookies, and I ate the donuts in about 15 minutes real fast and also ordered the worst Chinese food I have ever tasted from Happy Garden, do not order from them or you will not be happy, let me tell you I can easily binge on dog food but I cannot for the life of me binge on “sesame chicken” garbage from Happy Garden it is the worst, I found myself ten pounds heavier and devastated to be over 90.  This is in my memory and when it happened I am not sure but it is written down of course.  I don’t want to look it up in my notebook at this moment.  I just don’t want to know the exact date.

I rarely show up at Dunkin Donuts because it is too risky.  If you are a binge eater you know exactly what I am talking about.  Also, if you are a binge eater you know the whole donut situation.  Some go down easier than others.   I leave certain ones for last.  People who throw up have told me that some foods come up easier than others.  I wouldn’t know.  That’s inside information I don’t need.

I realized in the shower today–no, no, it was well before this, it was sometime yesterday–that something clicked, I think it was yesterday–about knowing my body, how it works, what makes it tick, how each part works together, how I know it better than anyone, anyone else, that there is a beauty and wonder to it, especially to the inside of it, like the intestines, how they wind around and around, and that there are many, many feet of intestines with shit inside the intestines that moves along, and the fact that I have been starving myself for years and years and am underweight has slowed my peristalsis, so the shit moves very slowly, slower than most people’s, so much shit in there, and if I starve myself, eventually the shit dissolves, and gets used up or leaves me or gets eaten, and there’s very little in there, it’s pure, pure, pure as glass, just me in there, hollow, like you can hear sound echoing from wall to wall, and you can see right through my body, like, from my belly button clear through my spine and out my back and that’s just so fantastic, that is how humans were designed from birth and were intended by God until they were poisoned by adults and force-fed some baloney, or should I say bologna (another food my mother force-fed me, actually).  I have learned to say the word “baloney” instead of “bullshit” so that I won’t say a swear word.  Clever, eh?

My body is acting differently now.  My body has changed.  Strange, eh?  My T would just eat this up.  Last month, I wondered, for a bit, if I was pregnant.  Just entertained the idea.  This notion lasted for a short bit and then fled from my mind.  Virgin birth and all that.  Santa.  Yeah, sure.

Sadly, Michael ends up listening to this crap all day long.

It must be Tuesday, at around noon

I slept for a long time.  I woke up.  I have a headache.  I took a couple of aspirin and drank some filtered water out of the refrigerator.  I am having herbal tea, but I really want to go back to bed now.

I don’t know, really, what I want and don’t want anymore.  It’s a tough call.

I'm Scared Part Three

I spent some time praying tonight.  I wanted to know where the heck God was.  Where are You?

Then I found myself begging God to take my life from me.  I pleaded with God over and over.  Just take it away.  I have had enough.

I feel better now.  It’s kind of a relief to have done this.

I’m going to go to bed now, or in a little while I should say, and then in the morning, maybe go to church.  I think they said the building opens at 9.

I'm Scared: Part One

This will just be a quickie and then I’m hopping into the shower.  I need to be doing other things but I want so much to tell you what’s going on…before more happens and then there will be even more to describe to you.  Things are progressing very rapidly and not in the direction I’d like them to be going.

My last entry, apparently, was written in the wee hours of Friday morning.  I ended up going back to bed, if I recall correctly, trying to get more sleep.  I felt desperate, like I had a knife in my hand and was about to stab someone, but there was no one to stab, and no one I hated more than myself.  I went into Harvard Square later on and got some British money and that’s about all I did that day.  I was disgustingly polite to everyone, meanwhile wishing I had died of starvation in July like I was supposed to, and that I hadn’t been brought back to life.

Maybe you can see it in me.  I can’t stop myself from gritting my teeth, clenching my fists, and saying things to put myself down.

I just realized, while writing this, how incredibly tired I am right now.  I have had a sore throat for days that won’t quit.  I think it’s an allergy.  Allergic to life, I guess.  If I had the guts to throw myself into a wall, I would, just to express my intense hatred toward myself.  Sometimes I’m wild, wild, wild, and I don’t know what will happen to me because my self-hatred is so powerful.  I could do anything.  I feel kind of violent inside.

I will take a shower now and see if that helps.  Then I’m going to walk Puzzle and listen to loud, loud music.  I will try to pray.

It’s getting late.  I need to go.  More later.


It seems to be a new day, and….

At the moment that I am writing these words, I have not binged for about sixteen hours.

This has not been “by the skin of my teeth.”  This has not been “by sheer willpower.”  Over and over I walked into the kitchen and looked at the food.  I stared at each item.  I noticed how it smelled.  I imagined its flavor.  I imagined stuffing it into me.

Then, I was repulsed, and turned away.

The food has been sitting there untouched.  Most of it I had stashed in the refrigerator, because those maintenance guys were going to show up and I didn’t want them seeing any food sitting around on the counter.  Granted,  they wouldn’t have suspected a thing.  But paranoia had told me to hide it.  It’s still sitting on the refrigerator shelf.

It’ll sit there and in a bit, I’ll take the stuff I deem as useless, unhealthy “junk food” out into the hall for the neighbors to take for themselves.  What remains is food that’s healthy to eat.

The nutritionists at the eating disorders hospital tried to convince me that there are no “bad foods,” that is, I should get the term “junk food” out of my head.  I don’t agree with this.  Some foods have no nutritional value.  Why eat a piece of candy when you can just as easily eat a piece of fruit?

But I’m getting off-topic here.  Let me tell you this: I have not been bingeing.  While I was writing what I have written so far of this article, another half hour passed.  Sixteen and a half hours now.

I went to bed, tired.  The new medication,  Desipramine, makes me more sleepy at night than I used to be.  I have been taking Desipramine for three nights.  Tonight will be the fourth night, and I will be doubling the dose.  Ever since I started taking it, I’ve been sleeping well.  Actually, that’s pretty amazing considering that for a month, I slept two or three hours a night.  Tonight, tomorrow night, and Monday night, I’ll be taking 50 mg.  Then Tuesday night and from then on, I’ll take 100 mg and that will be my dose I assume.  Desipramine, in my case, is supposed to be helping with three of my problems: sleep, depression, and bingeing.  Dr. P explained that even after the first dose, my sleep would be improved.  Then, after about ten days, the medication would help my depression and bingeing.  She said, as she was writing out the prescription, “This medication tends to work.”

For reasons unknown to anyone, I have always responded to medications much, much faster than most people.  Some doctors have told me, “No, this did not happen to you because nobody responds to x medication that fast.”  Please, asshole doctor, do not take my miracle away from me.

After one night of good sleep, of course I felt better mood-wise, and felt that I had come out of a fog, though the bingeing was just as bad.  That was Thursday, the day before yesterday.  Thursday is my day to go to therapy, so I went.  My therapy session went okay I guess.  We did DBT, which, I must say, isn’t really helping me much.  I’m going along with it because my therapist insists.

She let me cry some.  This is a horrible disease.  I don’t understand how anyone can have binge eating disorder and hold down a job or go to school.   I have only had it for a couple of weeks and already I am completely non-functional and not doing my ADL’s (showering, brushing my teeth, getting undressed at night, wearing clean clothes in the daytime, laundry, cleaning house, brushing my hair–none of these).  That’s what I told her.

That’s what I told my primary care physician, Dr. K, yesterday.  She examined me, took my blood pressure and other vital signs, listened to my heart and felt around and listened to my intestines.  She asked me a bunch of questions and asked me if perhaps I wanted to go to the psych ER to be evaluated for hospitalization.  I said no.  She sent me to the lab for blood work and said I could contact her anytime I needed to over the weekend if I had concerns.  She said she would contact me right away if anything urgent showed up in my blood.  I didn’t hear from her so I assume there was nothing urgent.  I came home.

I was coming to dead ends trying to find eating disorders groups.  I was coming to dead ends trying to find nutritionists.  It was getting frustrating.  But I realized one thing: I really couldn’t be at home.  I wasn’t coping.  I needed to go somewhere and get some intensive eating disorders treatment.  I needed to find someone who could take care of Puzzle while I spent 60 to 90 days in an intensive program.  I had a few ideas as to where I could find such a person (long story).

I’m not sure what time of day it was that I began my search.  I may have gone to bed and then woken up or napped or whatever.  I went to EDReferral dot com and went down the list of places.  I went state by state starting with Alabama.  These are ritsy, ritsy places that take insurance.  Well, yeah, they accept everyone unless you’re on public assistance.  I called one place that used to offer some kind of sliding scale or (supposedly) free care, but I guess I was mistaken.  The cost of 30 days of care was $14,000.  Even if you’re rich you don’t have that kind of money, because you’ve already spent it on your kid’s college education.  I kept trying.  I e-mailed places, offering $40 a day.  I can’t even afford that, but the part of it I can’t afford will go on my credit card.

Meanwhile, something weird was happening to me.  I hadn’t binged.  Time went on and I still didn’t binge.  Two, three, four hours passed.  I slept.  I got up.  I wrote some more e-mails.  Six hours, eight hours.  I slept until I’d had enough sleep and felt rested.

I got up.   Not only was the urge to binge completely lifted from me, but I actually wanted to take a shower.  Last time I took a shower, two days ago, I stopped partway through undressing, ran into the kitchen suddenly, and binged.  Today, I took a shower just as I have all my life.

I ran the water, got it to the right temperature, and stepped in.  I started bawling while I was washing my hair.  I let the tears come, and they mixed with the shower water and the shampoo.  I suddenly realized I was talking out loud.  I suddenly realized that I was praying, thanking God.  I haven’t had the ability to pray since my relapse began and I was convinced that I had lost my faith and completely lost my belief in God.  Well, it was happening.

I kept on praying and talking to God long after my shower ended.  I wanted to go to church, and just sit there for a while, and I called over there, but no one was there and I assumed that the building wasn’t open.  That’s okay.  Tomorrow’s Sunday.

The search through EDReferral dot com is over.  I had gotten as far as California and I don’t need to go any further.  None of the places called or e-mailed me back.  I’m not surprised, actually.

I assume that I’ll be on that plane to London on November 14th.  I had thought I was going to have to call the trip off.  But it’s actually going to happen.  Of this I am certain.

London, I’ll see you soon.

The consequences of a three-day eating binge are all too familiar to me

It can vary, but everything that I am experiencing right now has happened to me in the past.  Mostly, I am not okay with it.  I really want this over with as quickly as possible but it looks like this may drag itself out for a longer period than usual.  I think it is because of what I binged on.  Well, never mind.

I haven’t eaten yet.  I have no plans to eat today.  I generally don’t eat the day after a binge.  Clinicians have told me, “Get back on your meal plan.”  Yeah, sure.  They’re not the ones going through this.  My stomach is still stuffed with food when I wake up in the morning and there’s no way I’m going to put anything more into it.  Not always.  But frequently enough so that I’ve made it a habit to go on a fast.

Fasting is an “eating disorders behavior” and it’s bad for you.  Definitely.  I’m not going to defend myself further.  Just let me be.

My food is sitting in my intestines  and I’m panicking over this.  For every minute it sits there, my body is absorbing nutrients.  I imagine my body is absorbing nutrients at an alarming rate.  Of course, I haven’t a clue if this is the case.

It bugs the shit out of me that this is happening.

So…what’s the point of eating, if I’m getting plenty of nutrition coming into my bloodstream anyway?  Again, I don’t know if this is true, but I seem to have loads of energy today.

Okay, here’s something else that happens: My back is bothering me. My lower back.  Whatever’s in my intestines presses against my lower back.  The pressure seems to be worsening.  When I had a real bad case of bingeing, my backache was chronic and I was in pretty bad pain.  Now, it’s just nagging at me and I want it over with.

Okay, what else….Rude awakening: I got on the scale.  I’m glad I did.  It hurt like hell to see the number.  But…reality.  I didn’t get angry.  I didn’t get upset.  I didn’t put myself down.  This is familiar to me.  After three days…I know what happens.  I knew it but…I didn’t know it.  I was relieved it wasn’t more.

I don’t know precisely how my body will behave over the next week or two.  I know my body but there are so many factors involved that it is hard to say.  I do, however, know how I will behave.



I don’t know when I’ll end the fast.  It’ll end, and then, well, I’ve been in a really bad “restrict mode” anyway for a while now.

I wrote this letter of gratitude a little while ago that I choose not to post because…well, I’m keeping it to myself for now.  It’s in a Word document in my files.  I feel this gratitude with all my heart and the fact that I chose not to post it doesn’t mean I feel it any less.

There is only one thing I want to repeat that I said in the letter.

I didn’t put it in these words at all, but I’ll say it this way for you:  I discussed the silent clarity that I can never catch.  It is generally beyond any possible reach for me, but sometimes, it slips through my fingers, very quickly, and on the way, I feel it touching my skin, and passing through.


Church on Sunday mornings

For the past few Sundays, I’ve been going to a UU church service.  UU stands for Unitarian Universalist.  The church is right in town on one of the streets Puzzle and I travel on our morning and evening walks together.  It happens to be one of the oldest congregations in the country, dating back to the 1630’s, but of course the building is not the same building as the original.

I started going right after I left the hospital.  I didn’t know what to think when I walked into the church building the first time.  I was scared.  Someone immediately came up to me an introduced herself and asked me if perhaps I wanted to wear a name tag so that others might also know my name.    She explained to me that the choir was singing that day.  There was a newcomer breakfast coming up, that I could sign up for a newsletter.  She and many others seemed very happy to see someone new show up.

I felt welcome right away. I didn’t quite know what to think that someone would accept me for who I was, simply for my interest in attending this church and nothing else, and didn’t care what I looked like or what my background was or whether or not I was a sinner or “saved” or Kosher or pure or talented or how much money I had to offer them.  I tried to hold back my tears.

Growing up Jewish, we kids were told to be friends with other Jewish kids, and to stay away from the Christian kids, the kids that had Santa Claus and Jesus.  We were taught that Jesus was bad and that we should not use the word “Jesus” in the house.  Once, my Christian friend down the street taught me a song called “Jesus loves me.”  I sang it for my mother and she spanked me.  I thought this was strange, because I had been singing a song.  I had been singing music, and music was good, no matter what it was about.  Later, I developed a love of Christmas carols, much to my parents’ dismay.  Religious music of any faith always deeply moves me.  You don’t have to have any spiritual beliefs whatsoever to  have an appreciation for this type of music.  That which is created from the heart, whether it is from romantic love for another, or from love of God doesn’t matter; it is that it is felt  that matters.

So I found my way to a seat, and sat down, and knew right away even before the service began that I was in the right place.  Already, I had begun to weep freely, just sitting in the chair without any tissues for my tears, so I wiped them with my sleeves.

The church has a hymnal, which has, of course, hymns in it, as well as responsive readings.  There are hundreds of these that are spoken or sung to choose from each Sunday.  In my synagogue, we had a Hebrew prayerbook that started from the right-hand cover and worked its way to the left-hand cover.  This is because the Hebrew language reads from right to left.  English reads from left to right.   Instead of reading the same readings and singing the same songs each week, at the church I attend, each Sunday seems to be different.

Today we sang, “Morning has Broken.”  The first person I heard sing that song was Cat Stevens back when I was in junior high.  We kids thought the song was cool even though it was religious.  We didn’t realize that “Morning has Broken” is a hymn.   When I was in high school I tried to teach myself to sing “Morning has Broken” and accompany myself on guitar.  It’s not a difficult song to learn.  I sang it very, very quietly.  I didn’t want anyone to hear.  I didn’t want anyone to know that the music and text were sacred to me, and had to be handled with as much care as one would handle the paper Torah scrolls.

Cat Stevens later changed his name to Yusaf Islam.  I guess he went through some sort of religious conversion and wanted his name to follow suit.  He disappeared from public view for a while.  Times have changed.  He is not Cat Stevens now and it is not 1972.

I think about how I’ve changed, in my life, in my spiritual beliefs, and about how people have seen me and accepted me.  I remember that my Bat Mitzvah was supposed to mark the end of childhood and the beginning of taking on the responsibilities of an adult.  I began to babysit at that age.  I menstruated for the first time.  I was in the eighth grade, and for the first time in my life, I was excited about people and about learning and I secretly believed in the God the rabbi wanted all of us to believe in.  That lasted about a year.   Whatever happened afterward gave me reason to seriously doubt that anyone or anything good was masterminding the universe.  When I was 21 my belief in God was rekindled.  No, I did not believe in God as I was taught by my parents to believe in God.  I saw God as someone who spoke to me very personally, who was very close to me and came into my heart and guided me and gave me strength.  I didn’t see God as someone who would punish me for being bad.

And yet, I was bad.  I just couldn’t stop myself.  God was slipping away and all I could think about was my weight and how if I could lose weight I would be pure and uncontaminated in God’s eyes, and without my fat, the channel between God and me would be direct, clear, and free of clutter.

It is clearly etched in my memory that shortly before the illness anorexia nervosa took grip on me, I got down on my knees one morning, alone under a tree, and begged God not to leave me.

The chaplain in the hospital told me that every person who hungers, hungers for God.   That is what hunger is.  And because I hunger for God, she said, I already have  God in my heart.  God has been by my side all along.

There have been times that I have been so starved that I have developed sores in my mouth.  I might go for days without food, and then as soon as food touches the soft tissues inside my mouth, blisters develop on contact.  My body has gone without nourishment, and is now shocked to have it and doesn’t know what to do with it.

Maybe this is why I cry in church.  I am so overwhelmed by the kindness of the people there.  Everyone is so welcoming and accepting of members.  There are no requirements such as rituals or confessions that must be performed, nor do you have to be “saved” or free of sin.  The services are held in a language that I understand.  The prayers and hymns have meaning.  The sermons are awesome.   I just sit there and cry and I don’t think I’m the only one who cries in church.

The feeling I get is that all the members have our own lives, and that we come together at this one awesome point once a week, no matter where we’ve been all week long in our separateness.

So today when we started singing “Morning has Broken,” I kept thinking the word “broken” over and over, and thinking about what a broken person I was.   I have an illness called anorexia nervosa that has broken me to pieces.   Not long ago I simply allowed myself to fall, and crash, and not stopped myself.  There are bits of me everywhere.

I think I left a bit of me at church this morning.  I forgot to bring it with me when I left and came home.  I thought I had remembered everything, but there’s this bit of me that is still standing in that chapel singing, and greeting people, and wearing a name tag.   There’s a bit of me that’s still there listening and being quiet and watching people light candles and lighting candles in my mind.  There’s a big bit of me that’s still there at church, the bit of me that knows that church is a safe place where no one will judge me by my appearance or my behavior or find me weird or strange.

In a little while, Puzzle and I will be taking our evening walk.  We’ll do our usual route.  We’ll walk right by the First Parish Church, the church I go to.  We walked by there every day for years without thinking that I was going by a church that someday I’d be attending.  This afternoon when we take our walk we’ll walk by the church I’ll feel like I’m walking by a friend’s house, and that that friend is watching over me.

I want to say thanks to that friend.

The Two Doors

I looked up today and saw before me two doors:

The Door of Bingeing Hell


The Door of Death by Starvation.

I suppose each  door has its pretty decorations.

I have peeked through each doorway enough times to know what’s inside.

I guess I see myself inside those rooms.  I see different shapes and expressions and feelings and colors.  I feel pulled into the space beyond the doors.

Long before I put these words into writing, I resigned myself to the Door of Death by Starvation.  If I pass through here, The Door of Bingeing Hell won’t need to close in after me anymore.

At some point in a kid’s life, she is taught that if she is good, she will be rewarded, and if she is bad, she will go to Hell.  I tried to be so damn good until I found out that life has nothing to do with fairness.  It isn’t a moral issue that I ended up with anorexia nervosa.  Some people get other horrible diseases.  Some people get their taxes audited.  Most don’t win the lottery.  I’ve never even won “free groceries.”

Maybe there is a Door of Free Groceries.  Maybe there is a Door of Free Stuff that Nobody Ever Wins.  Maybe there’s a Door of Stuff You Can Just Have.  Maybe there’s a Door of God.

If there’s a Door of God, is there a God?

If there’s a Door of Me, is there Me? and…do I even fit through my own door?  Have I made the door so rigid and narrow that I can’t ever get through no matter how thin I get?

Remember the story in one of those Peter Rabbit books where Pooh went to visit another of the creatures and got “stuck” in the hole after having eaten too much honey.  Pooh didn’t fit back through the hole.  If I remember correctly, Pooh had to “diet” his way out of the hole and home again.

Beatrix Potter, shame on you.  Unfortunately, the problem of Pooh’s honey-eating sticks in my mind vividly.   Surely, this story had a much, much more profound influence on me than any fashion magazine.

This is probably true for a lot of kids my generation who grew up with Pooh Bear.  I used to believe that babies came out of their mothers’ stomachs, like Roo came out of Kanga’s stomach.

If there’s something in there, just pop it out.

Get it out on the table.

Let’s eat.

Then we grew up and learned that we could pop things into the toaster, and later, the microwave.  We  were the Pop-Tart Generation.  Never mind how many calories are in Pop-Tarts.  The point was that you could press a button and change the world.  You could even have the world decaffeinated.

Then along came Starbucks and changed the whole definition of “choice.”  People forget about the simplicity of plain coffee and order these multifaceted mocchafrappawhatever and wonder if maybe, having spent so much on these fancy “coffee drinks,” they may need to rely on Free Groceries for the rest of the month.

My supermarket offers Points for Free Gas.  What good is Points for Free Gas if you don’t have a car?  What good is Points for Free Gas if you don’t even have a driver’s license?

So yes, I do have other doors to consider.  There is the Door of Useless Free Gas and Unwanted Fancy Coffee Drinks.

There is the Door of Wasted Lives.

There is the Door of Possibility Unseen.

There is the Door of the Last Breath.

And as weather gets cooler, people will be closing their doors more and latching them.  So if I’m going to get through before one closes, I’d better do so, soon.

Batten down.  It’s already October.