I haven’t had a relapse this bad… maybe ever. Or maybe it’s just the first time I’ve really consciously decided not to fight it so it feels more out of control. I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that I ate cake for breakfast and pasta for lunch. For me that’s about the equivalent of a heroin addict mainlining.

I’m not proud. In fact, for all my talk of forgiving myself for my addict-driven transgressions I feel horrible. Awful. My stomach hurts from eating as well as from the guilt.

Of course, I’ve noticed over the past few days that the only time I don’t feel anxious is when I’m eating.

Duh.

That’s why I do it, right? It’s the moment of closing my eyes, letting out a big sigh, and just falling into the taste of the food to block everything else out. It’s that moment of dissociating from the world around me. It’s that moment of feeling buffered against the swelling anxiety that won’t let me sleep.

(The sleep medication didn’t work as well last night. I think it may have been that I went to bed too late or that the anxiety had built up too high before I went to bed.)

But then after the anxiety free moment of actively eating the effect of eating hits me and I feel gross and sick and shamed and despondent. I hate myself for it.

My insight comes from this feeling. I think I’m making myself feel this way on purpose. No one likes to feel gross and sick and shamed and despondent – not even me. So the question that begs asking here is, “If I don’t like it why am I doing it?” The easy answer is that the addict in my head doesn’t give a darn what I like or not she’s just getting herself fed. But right now I don’t buy that answer and the one I’m leaning toward is that it’s giving me something that I do want I just have to figure out what that thing is.

Every thing that we do serves a purpose for us psychologically. Even when something seems not to be in our best interest it is still accomplishing something or else we would have done something else.

So what purpose is this relapse serving me?

This morning, after eating cake for breakfast, it dawned on me that I’m punishing myself. I feel that I deserve my own hatred. Why?

Because I feel helpless to do anything to help my son with his health issues. Because I feel responsible for him and feel (however irrational this is) that I have failed him as his mother for the troubles that he’s facing. Because I condemn myself for my focus on myself over the past two years when maybe he needed me more than I needed me. Because I hate myself for being able to sleep when my greatest fear is that he’ll die in his sleep. Because I keep thinking what gives me the right to rest when a moment of inattention on my part could mean I lose him forever?

Rationally I know that my attention is only partly relevant here. I can not predict nor control if or when he suffers. All I can realistically do is be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. But instead I’ve chosen this as a metaphorical whip with which to self-flagellate.

I can’t make myself not hate myself for my inability to make sure nothing bad happens to my son. I mean, I can, long-term, but that’s going to take quite a while in therapy to work through and I only started back last week. In the meantime I have to find some other way of approaching this.

Maybe I should just allow myself to hate myself flat out and not hide behind the food? Maybe I should allow myself to numb out and dissociate to music instead of to food despite the fact that it makes me really dissociated? Maybe I should just channel that anxiety into cleaning the bathroom, or taking long walks, or sewing my kids’ ripped clothing? Maybe I should take up running again so that when I get anxious I could just pound the pavement? Maybe I should learn to meditate? (My husband’s all for the meditation option.)

For now the thing that feels possible is that I’m going to try to write the anxiety out before I pick up something to eat. So there may be a lot more posts than anyone would even want to read because I get anxious a lot these days during all sorts of different times of day.

But in the meantime I suppose it’s a start because whatever I’m getting out of this self-hating eating is wearing out its welcome in my heart.

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