One of the terrible symptoms of ED behaviour that make you feel like you are really going crazy is making a decision. Even simple decisions like buying food. I remember going into supermarkets and getting so overwhelmed about trying to buy something to eat, I would just walk out not buying anything! I would be so dam hungry but the eating disorder could give me every excuse not to buy anything. A vivid memory I had of this is when I was living in Byron Bay. "Wellness" capitol of the world, and I did get sucked in.
I did not think I still had an eating disorder, I was not binging, nor was I purging,(not regularly anyway) but I had so many food rules my eating was very restrictive. Not to mention I did about 5-6 hours of exercise per day, and worked as a housekeeper in a busy hotel that was very physically hard.
I also had social anxiety, I remember going to my friends 21st, all dressed up ready to celebrate, but I did not know any of her friends. I got to the door of the venue and I turned around and went home. I could not deal with the thought of eating, or drinking in front of new people. I don't think she ever forgave me for that.
This picture I drew from when I lived in Byron Bay sums up how I was feeling. "I can't see where to go, blinded by the temporary insanity that fills my mind from the indecision that plagues my inner goodness"
Those who understand... understand.
I am recovered now, and have a great relationship with food, my body and my friends.
Recently, an act as simple as buying cheese, recently became the perpetrator of an almost-meltdown within the isles of the supermarket.
I am a student in recovery for anorexia nervosa. This means that I have the responsibility of deciding my meals and snacks, buying said food, preparing it, and of course, eating it too. For many people, this process is a very normal and simple task that they do daily. However, due to my eating disorder, there are many barriers that make this process difficult and stressful.
I looked down at my grocery list to see that my last item to buy was cheese. Walking up to the wall of different cheeses, I felt panic set in. I haven’t specified on my list what type of cheese. I scan over the labels to see blocks of Colby and Edam for the same price. I knew this was a moment of either giving in to the ED or fighting against it.
Instinctively, I pick up the block of Edam due to the “28% less fat” printed on the front. I recognise this as a choice of my eating disorder, so I replace the Edam in my hand with Colby as it is the option that is in line with recovery from my ED. But again, the irrational ED voice comes in, scolding me for choosing the Colby telling me to buy the edam because I “don’t need the unnecessary fat”. I replace the Colby in my hand with the Edam block, my heart racing and stare at it.
In this moment I remember that I am in public and that there are indeed people around me. I can imagine how confusing it must be to them to see me, in a panicked state, picking up and putting down the two blocks of cheese repeatedly. Moments like these remind me of why I chose recovery in the first place.
So again, with clammy hands, I switch the blocks and place the Colby in my basket. I take a few deep breaths in attempt to calm myself, turn, and speed-walk to the checkout, trying to block the loud and intrusive thoughts of disapproval from the eating disorder.