I would be going about my day with hunger seeping through every inch of me. Bland foods fill me and I feel weak, bored, fed up. I am craving fattening junk food.
Everyone knows the meaning of a craving and everyone has them, but for a bulimic I believe it’s a whole different ball game. An addiction; I would need a fix to carry on. The comfort of it, the de-stress, the pure sickening greed – one of the seven deadly sins. Disgusting but beautiful.
I would be nervous to go to the shops in case people saw me, caught me committing my secretive crime. What if they looked in my basket with horror or saw the biscuits bulging through the carrier bag or eyed up how chunky I was looking these days. But the drive for my drug would override it.
I’d get dressed, quickly, into anything. I’d pop in some contact lenses. I’d up and out.
On the walk down I would plan what to buy whilst trying to be discrete to the normally functioning world. I felt like I was naked. I felt like I had an unheard of, unseen physical disability that made people stare. I wanted to hide, to walk through a tunnel or burrow, I didn’t want to exist to anyone but myself, I wanted to pretend I was in a different reality. I’d try to look confident and normal but inside I’d be burning up with shame and an excited dread at what I was about to do. I was a disgusting person but the world had to forgive me for it because I couldn’t forgive myself but I couldn’t help myself either.
I’d draw out £20 from the cash point outside Sainsburys, and idle in like a thief planning what to steal, trying to look normal and unnoticeable. I would pick up a basket with a masked calm on my face. Inside, I wanted to tear the food open there and then without anyone seeing. It’s a little like telling a kid to wait half an hour before opening their present on Christmas day.
I’d wonder around, and would ensure an aisle was relatively empty when I picked out an item. If somebody caught me picking up one of these unhealthy things and loading my basket with foods of failure I’d want to rewind and make sure it didn’t happen; that I wasn’t caught. I felt criminal, evil, vile.
Cookies, humous, cheese, pitta bread, yoghurt… All of it. I wanted it all but my self-consciousness limited me. Sometimes I would buy something healthy like a bag of carrots or spinach to kid people that I wasn’t totally self destructing my body with filth. Of course I wouldn’t touch that good stuff. Not today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe.
I’d pay at self service so some poor cashier didn’t have to encounter my embarrasment. I would wait til the queue was relatively small as well, to try and prevent people seeing my food choices.
I’d rush back to my room, desperate to be back, trying to imagine I wasn’t real on the walk home and just thinking about what I’d eat first, praying not to be seen. I wanted a sign over my head reading ‘I know I’m a failure, please don’t stare and judge’. Pitiful. I hated the walk back. It felt like a walk to my death sentence that I’d been yearning after decades of imprisonment. The public would be crowding round, chanting hatred and loathing me.
In my room I’d twist the lock. I felt incredibly naughty, excited, alive, desperate. I would push any thoughts of my weight out my head. This time, the nth time, would be the last (it never was). I wouldn’t do it tomorrow and as one last time it wouldn’t harm. I had to bid farewell to my eating disorder with one last binge, for closure that never came.
The first few bites were bliss. I would hardly taste it but my emotions were being fed more than my mouth. I felt like I was spinning in a whirlpool of satiation. I was fulfilling a need like sleep. I felt high. Wonderful. Today was a good day, for now.
I’d eat and eat. I’d switch from one food to another to satisfy every taste bud on my tongue, every neuron in my brain, every inch of me that had been craving this so badly. I would keep going, through the bliss into a phase of tastelessness as my senses returned to me and I began to realise what I’d done, into a phase of bitter deep resentment. What had I repeated? Who was I? Why had I done this to myself again and how would I ever recover? I’d be left in pieces.
I felt sick, like food had filled me right up my esophagus and into my throat. Indeed, I’d often puke in my mouth through being so full. I couldn’t move. I felt so full. So, so desperately tired as my body worked overtime to try and digest this. I couldn’t understand why I was doing this to myself, and if my body were a separate entity I’m sure it would hate me, a little like I hated it. When will it end?
I’d lay down for maybe half an hour. Then I’d eat a bit more. I’d want the day to be over so desperately because I absolutely loathed the person I was right now. I didn’t want to be me, I didn’t want my body. I could do nothing because I’d made myself ill. I was an absolute failure. I was a terrible person. I hurt physically and mentally. My face would puff up with the water retention and belly was abnormally distended. And I felt so hot.
I’d get tired relatively early due to the digestion of the rich foods. The remains I would cover in apple juice or water to prevent myself eating it when I awoke in the morning, as I was too sleepy to make the 10 second trip to the kitchen bin to dispose of the evidence.
Tomorrow I had to be different. I couldn’t do this to myself.
Sad thing is, tomorrow was often exactly the same.