I still have so much anxiety about what and how much I’m eating because my body will stop at nothing to get what it wants–even if I think it doesn’t need it, even if I think I did everything right, even if I think I know what I am supposed to do.
Words from friends play over and over in my mind as I observe myself:
“Looks like you’ve got some good meat on you now,” she says, gently pinching my arm. I feel the heat rise in my face. Anger? Frustration? Guilt? Embarrassment?
“Yeah, I thought you looked different from the last time I saw you.”
Do they really see more fat? Do I see more fat? Have I gained more since they’ve seen me? What makes me skinny or fat? How am I supposed to know, how am I supposed to see the difference? How the hell am I supposed to know anything about my body anymore if I don’t even know how to eat? I’m scared of hunger, yet I love it. I love eating. I love food. But is it my body that loves eating? Because I feel so detached from food when I am sitting at a meal. I’m scared to feel full, but I feel that my body wants to feel full.
What did the eating disorder give me?
It gave me a ravenous appetite that still has yet to fade. A confused body. I feel like a food addict, stuck in a cycle, yearning “to be like everyone else.” I cherish a “bad day” at school once in a while because it’s nothing in comparison to the guilt and torment I put myself through at each meal. If I avoid eating, it puts me back in the euphoria of restricting–my addiction–only to fall back into bingeing, when I feel I lose all control of my body.
I want to get rid of the guilt, to let it go, and some days it feels better, but most days? Most days it hurts. And every day I have to eat. And if I have to eat, guilt returns.
If it is not as strong today, it may be tomorrow, or next week, and it will still linger even on the good days, because now I am breaking all the rules I strictly followed in the past.
The ghost of the voice, even after the death of “Rawchael,” keeps grasping my arms, whispering, reminding me of all the rules I had before, how I had been so good, so disciplined. Even if my dietician tells me I can do it, sometimes I believe her, and sometimes the ghost of Rawchael whispers that she’s wrong, that I should just try again, that I am so capable of gaining back what I had before…
The guilt is what does it.
How could I have fixed that last meal?
Why do I have to eat so much food?
Why can’t I eat like everyone else?
What is wrong with me?
I know everyone eats. But my mind tells me that I am the only one in the world who eats. So when I walk to the cafeteria, when I pull out a meal in class, if I am ever seen eating when no one else is, I have to battle the Rawchael that tells me, This is shameful, this is wrong, you hoarder, you pig, you glutton.
Sometimes it means waiting out the bad days, knowing that there is improvement in there somewhere, that these frustrating times are becoming fewer and farther apart. But the lessening of guilt is so gradual, so painful, and sometimes I wonder whether this is really recovery or just my own torturous death.
I learn to battle the guilt and reach for hope—
Because it’s the only thing that keeps me going.