This post was originally posted on Mental Health Monday, and I have decided as a means of getting word out about MHM, that I would post this on my personal beauty blog, for everyone to see. I don't condone my actions, in retrospect, but I do believe there is a lesson to be learned.
Do you really know me? If you saw me on the street would you know that I used to starve myself on purpose? Would you be able to tell? I bet you wouldn't. I wouldn't be on for advertising the fact. But its the truth.
People in my life, all of whom know me pretty well, will know that I am a big fan of my food. As a kid, I was the only person I knew, of my age, who would willingly eat a salad. My mother has even told me the stories of when I was maybe four, sitting on her knee in a cafe with her friend, helping her eat a giant plate of salad. We used to share salads when we went shopping, I remember them vividly. One plate, two sets of forks.
I don't know how or when I started skipping meals, but it certainly wasn't to be thin. I only say this because it will aid me getting my point across: I have been stick-thin since my puppy fat dropped off, around the age of 3 or 4. My family found it an unmitigated nightmare to get me clothes that fit. Being tall and thin as a child helps nobody, especially when the clothes are sold by age, rather than size!
I have never skipped a meal to aid in weight-loss, that much is true. I did so because I thought I deserved to be punished for the bad things I did, the bad person I was. If I had a fight with my boyfriend, I wouldn't eat til maybe, dinner the next day to punish myself for "being a shit person", as I rationalized it.
I hated myself for being weak (and to me being weak was my anxiety, my panic attacks, my constant battles with depression), for making people miserable, and so, I would deliberately skip meals to atone. I have lied to everyone at some point, maybe even you, the person reading this. "Yes, I had breakfast!" was the most common lie. Breakfast is the most important meal, so the old adage goes, but to me, it was the meal that I would deliberately skip, because it was easy to. When lunch came around, it was again, very easy to be really busy until the hunger went away.
At the worst of my self-inflicted punishment, I was working off maybe one slice of toast for a whole day, plus coffee or tea and my anti-depressant medication.
I ate alone, or I didn't eat at all. There was no middle ground. My family are well used to me disappearing with a plate of something to my room. It's never questioned. I can't abide eating with people, though. I make an exception when I'm out with people, but generally, if you pay attention, you may notice (at shoots, for example) that I will eat my lunch before everyone else, and then wander off to do something while everyone else is laying into their food.
In my head at the time, starving was the only way I could be punished for being the awful person that I felt I was. If I made someone feel bad, I would make myself feel ten times worse to, as I saw it, even things out.
Passing out in my back yard was the last straw, or the second to last, as you'll understand in a moment. I gave my mother the fright of her life, after I skipped two days worth of meals, on the third I got up to make something, because I felt ill and that was a warning sign, only to feel dizzy and go out for air. I don't remember anything after that until I was being rushed to the GP for an emergency appointment. It was brushed off as a drop in blood sugars. I had to have my blood pressure monitored every day for a week but nothing more. I went home and had a salad.
The next time I passed out, I did it in the kitchen, after another "punishment" session. I remember eating soup, sitting on my kitchen floor, when I came around. I think my mother was less fazed by the second collapse than the first because I wasn't hauled off to the GP, this time around. But two faints were enough to tell me to get my shit together. Mam was scared the first time. I was scared the second time.
Its only been in the past few months I've been eating properly again. It's been oddly tough, and I do slip into old ways on occasion, but mostly its been a conscious effort on my part. I still eat irregularly, but the irregularity is usually based off genuinely not feeling hungry at that moment. As someone who lied about food, day in, day out, I can admit right here that I was good at looking like I was eating, but when I was alone, I was doing everything possible to avoid food. These days, I make a mission of having food. If I do skip breakfast, I will pointedly eat a big lunch, and I love a good dinner now. Chris and I talk about this from time to time and he will usually be the voice of reason, my conscience on the outside.
To this day, I don't believe I have, or have had an eating disorder, though, I'm sure there are plenty who would disagree because I always try to eat alone. People may not even believe me when they read this as they may have seen me hoovering down a bowl of pasta, or chomping down a wrap.
I still eat alone.
Let me know if you have had any similar experiences, and if you have, have you overcome them? If you are struggling, I am here to talk to you.
All my love,