WAMM, WIAN Part III; A bin-ge eater

Yes yes, my favourite of subjects again (feel the sarcasm). The binge-monster, but then the bin-ge one this time. This is where my internet-personality differs from my daily-life personality, because this is not something I will easily and openly discuss with anyone in real time. I can, however, share some of it now in real life too, yet I rarely ever do. Unless someone would specifically ask me. But, how often does one encounter someone who randomly asks; did you ever eat from the trash? So yeah… But with other ‘ED-people’ (I see ED-people!) or people extremely close, I can share some of it in real life now, too. This took me years however. I cannot stress the shame surrounding this subject (or, all of the subjects in my WAMM-series, actually). I understand if you guys, too, would rather not talk about this (and the other post subjects) yourself, but just know that if you ever want to, feel free to comment or email me whenever. So here we go, part III.

What anorexia made me part III; A bin-ge eater

As I told last time, after the ring-stealing incident, others incidents followed. The new incidents were always food-related though (which is why, in hindsight, they make me feel less guilty. I am still hugely embarrassed by the fact I stole things I could easily afford, but it was the only way to survive at the time).

I stole food because I needed food, but I was not allowed to spend money on myself.

At first, it were the bare necessities I stole. But when eating becomes extremely sporadic, you will end up bingeing because your body will switch into survival mode. However, I only binged on foods I ‘wasn’t allowed’ or that did not like. Later, when my bingeing lead to more and more fasting, and the over-fasting led to more intense binges, I would not just steal food (like, from work or from shops), but I would also eat from my roommate’s groceries (but always replaced it before she noticed). It was either to survive on or to binge on, but at that stage, they both meant the same thing anyway. Sometimes I even binged at work when no one was watching, either stealing from the kitchen or secretly scoffing up the food from customers plates if they hadn’t finished their food (I was working as a waitress in a cocktailbar Mediterranean restaurant back then).

I sneaked out food from work, from stores, from Uni. Even from friends’ cupboards or bags! They were never expensive things, but only things I ‘could not’ buy for myself. The more hungry I was, the more anxiety I experienced, the more off-limits it became to buy things for me. I felt ‘off of this planet’. I wasn’t really present.

Taking food was most of the time the only way I could allow myself to eat, because if the food wasn’t ‘mine’, it did not ‘count’.

This is how my bin-ge eating started. Bingeing itself started through pure desperation of my body. But my bin-geing, as in eating from the trash, has a different origin. When I ate from (whoevers’) trash, it wasn’t ‘real food’, and therefore it didn’t ‘count’. Eating from the trash was the only way to fool my anorexia sometimes, because trash didn’t count as food. People do not eat from the trash. Maybe some animals would, and anorexia, sometimes, would allow me to identify with an animal. Most other days I would not even consider myself to be of the animal ‘hierarchy’, but sometimes being an animal was acceptable and then I could eat from the trash. This was also the reason why I forced myself to sleep on the floor most nights, either in a random place in the house or, if I had visitors, next to my bed. Simply because animals don’t sleep in beds, humans did, and I did not count as human.

I ate from the trash for months and months and it was the biggest secret surrounding my illness. At first, while deep in ED, it was the sheer panic and anxiety (caused by hunger short-cuts in my brain) that led me to do it. Simply because anorexia had made food so off-limits and surrounded by secrecy and shame. Later in recovery I ate from the trash because I was so torn between the ‘AN-voice’ and the ‘please-eat-voice’. Eating from the trash was the middle ground; my AN would sort of approve because it emphasized how messed-up, worthless, nonhuman and dirty I was and my recovery-ninja-part would approve because at least I was eating something.

I only told my mother about it once, and it made her cry so bad. I made her promise to never tell anyone. I’ve only (multiple times) been caught by our dog and it truly upsets her too. She will start barking or howling or cuddling up against me. It broke my heart but I would not stop, as I knew the moments I was ‘allowed’ to do it were rare and they were the only moments I could get anything to go in.

To this day I am fascinated by how humiliating this illness really is. And I feel deeply infuriated when people suggest it is a ‘vanity’-disease. I see no vanity in secretly shoving days-old, smelly food, covered in milk gone bad from the trashcan into the mouth of an emaciated 22 year old girl. I see no vanity in sleeping on cold, hard wooden floors next to a perfectly made, soft and empty bed because you are considered (by yourself!) to be too worthless to sleep anywhere else. I see no vanity in deliberately keeping yourself awake night after night (while already being helplessly tired due to malnourished-insomnia) because it is just another way to emphasize your worthlessness. I see no vanity in anorexia, as I see no vanity in any (lethal) disease. So I would, hereby, like to dump that ignorant belief, indeed, into the trash.

And I will not eat my words.

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30 thoughts on “WAMM, WIAN Part III; A bin-ge eater

  1. I am absolutely with you on the NOT A VANITY DISEASE thing. It is a humiliating, belittling, crippling disease that squashes us like bugs underfoot – and that’s what we believe we should be treated like. I totally felt like a creature and not a human being or worthy of human being’s things.
    I totally have eaten from the rubbish. Yes, it’s a way to get around the ED, I used to liken it to ‘creeping around behind Ed’s back’. It was also that utter desperation and loss of impulse control thing. Survival instinct. I can still to this day not bear to see people throw away good food. I still struggle very strongly against the urge to go back and fish whatever they have thrown away out and take it home with me. And it grosses me out, because it can have goodness knows what germs on it by then, and people don’t usually throw things away for no reason!
    I hate ED. HATE it. and it makes me so sad to read you feeling about yourself these things – these very things I felt and still to some extent feel about myself. We have to beat this for good.
    Lots of love xx

    • I think the fact we try and ‘fool ED’, ‘creep behind its back’, etc says enough about it not being a ‘choice’ and therefore a vanity thing. Maybe some girls get it from a pro-ANA road (I can imagine that happening when being around the wrong people? But that would take a long and serious negative relationship to make it turn out into a full blown ED?) but I think that RARELY ever happens. And even it if does, the second you’re ‘in the hellhole’, there’s no LOGIC way out. Like, when the ED really takes over your brain, you cannot just reason your way out. Its a DISEASE, not a choice.

      I’m all with you with beating this for good hun. We can make it outta here aliiiiiiive (> said in horror movie voice)

      • This is where we need to differentiate between eating disorder, and disordered eating. I’ve always been a bit doubtful that people can get an ED by the pro-ana route. I would, however, believe they can end up with disordered eating. And that if they do get a full blown ED, then they were actually predisposed to have gotten it in the first place.
        I struggle not to want to throw pro-ana people to the monsterrrrrrs though ;)

      • I dont know, I think anything can eventually lead to an ED as long as your mind gets fucked enough. If that happens through not allowing yourself food for too long (even when the ‘motivation’ is pro-ana or pressuring friends) I think you could, theoretically, fuck up your brain enough to develop an ED. I dont know though. But there is definately a big difference between disordered eating and eating disorders for sure!

        I have never explored pro-ana. I didnt even know about it until recently I suppose? So I have no idea about what it is and how it works and I dont wanna dive into there either, because I know myself well enough to become too emotionally involved and feel like I need to save everyone there. So I’m staying away, and also not (wanting to) throwing it on anyone I dislike. Though I seriously wonder if there truly are people I dislike atm? Hmmm………. I actually think there’s not!

  2. *sighs* again.. its amazing what ED makes us do… absolutely illogical and horrifying that I’d ever eat from thrash, but like fiona..it’s like. OMG!! how can they just WASTE food like that?!?!? how could they not finish that ?!?! who cares if they’re STUFFED???no no no no… must. finish. food. It didn’t count because it was thrown away. Not wanted. thrash. in other words, not REALLY food…then there was the ” i want to taste EVERYTHING mode… so just a tiny taste here, a tiny taste there… it all didn’t count because it was just little tasters…

  3. phew. love…your writing (it’s beautiful). it gives me chills. if i could i would hug you right now, and squeeze as much love into you as possible.

  4. Pingback: WAMM, WIAN, part IV; A liar and a cheater « THE WORLD OF CHAOS IN MY HEAD

  5. Ah, ‘bin food’, been there(‘bin’ there?), done that. Also stealing food from housemates, I’ve done the EXACT SAME THING, only he caught me out one time. He’s Singaporean and he got really upset. Real foodie culture and that. He couldn’t understand how I’d abuse food so much.

    It’s scary how similar we all are. Half the things you’ve described… I’ve done them at some point or another!

  6. Oh, and bingeing is probably one of the most humiliating aspects of having an ED. I have eaten CAT FOOD! Something to do with not deserving human food… I dunno what I was thinking. I was thin! I had to eat… Also I used to ‘punish’ myself post binge, usually walking until my feet bled… I did the ‘no sleep for 72 hours’ thing too… Water fasting… I wouldn’t keep food in the house because I’d binge on it (I’ve ‘binged’ on rice cakes and high fibre cereal…) I would ‘destroy’ food, by putting loads of salt on it/ emptying an ashtray in it only to eat in anyway, cigarette ends and all.

    I would refuse to leave the house for three days post binge because I was worried I had ‘got fat’ overnight and I would be judged for it… I just found ‘outside’ overwhelming. I think the ‘fat’ thing was an excuse. I wouldn’t wash or wear clean clothes… whoever said we were vain silly girls wanting to get all the guys eh?

    Ok, those are my confessions! I never tell people in real life about them, even the ‘professionals’ (who generally dispense crap advice anyway!)

    xxx

    • Oh yes the no washing thing etc. No showering either. No change of clothes. Using the same towel for a month. If I had changed my bed linen, not allow myself to sleep in it.. And yes, the hermit thing. Locking myself up because I couldnt face the world and I could let the world face me. I was so hideous. I didnt want to ‘do that to them’.

  7. “Taking food was most of the time the only way I could allow myself to eat, because if the food wasn’t ‘mine’, it did not ‘count’.”

    THIS. This is how it aaaalllll started for me. I bought close to NO groceries, rarely ate out, kept my expenses to the barest minimum… But I binged on my roommate’s food. It wasn’t a conscious choice… But that’s what it was. You nailed it.

  8. My roommate’s food. The trash. At night only (dark = invisible). In secrecy only (hidden in my own wardrobe). Stolen food from the shops/work. Food that had gone bad/moldyetc.

    It’s not like we decided overnight that this was what we were gonna do. The habits creep in. It’s trying to find a way around our ED’s to ensure some sort of intake. So, it will be food that ‘doesnt count as food’. I think it’s a survivalmechanism..

  9. This absolutely broke my heart! I’ve eaten from the bin as well, unfortunately. I think most people with EDs have. I always tried to chuck food away to save myself from a binge, but i’d place it in the bin still in a wrapper not touching anything gross… I knew i’d pick it up later xx

    • Yeah, somewhere deep down you KNEW you were gonna go back for it right? I still do; when I walk out of the kitchen saying to myself ‘enough’, I can feel deep down whether I will return to clear out all the cupboards. And STILL I can’t take a preventitive measure of some sort! You’d think after 3 year I’d have learned…..?

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  11. this is such a beautiful post. not because of its content, but rather because of the harsh truth that you spoke of so brilliantly. it’s hard to be so brutally honest at times, and your ability to do so is commended. thank you for writing the words that so many people would be far too ashamed to; you are an inspiration to me, and i’m sure to many others as well.

    • Thank you dear! Now that I am even further into recovery, I find talking about things I used to do/feel even easier than when I wrote this post. It keeps getting easier to open up about all my crazy. I hope you will be able to experience the same soon! Email me if you ever feel like it.
      Love, Sooz

  12. Thank you for sharing, what I refer to as , this ‘shame thing’. For me it’s a beautifully written piece, that I would hope illustrates the POWER of this anorexic monster. The thing that’s most telling is the , ‘ not being human’, I have a really understanding T that tries REALLY hard to understand this, although he admits he struggles. I don’t talk about all these things with anyone in my actual life! I’m coming up to a year anniversary of doing not doing some of those behaviors, that to me, clearly show how worthless I feel. In the darkest part of my illness, I felt tortured to do ANYTHING nice,like not sleeping in a comfortable bed, washing etc. So it’s telling that although so much is about the ‘right to eat’ , also for me about the right to take care of myself, as my ED was SOO loud that I was a thing , not equal or entitled to call myself human! Sending caring, compassionate thoughts….lol
    Love Ziggy

    • Yes to all of that Ziggy! Food addictions, like any addiction, aren’t about the food (or whatever drug of choice). They are about coping, punishment and dodging life, I suppose. The crazy things I did when deep in ED, which was way before I realized ED was a part of my life!, are nuts to look back on. I have found writing and even speaking about it very liberating, to take the shame off of it a little. Sharing is caring, and that’s a big part of healing! xx

      • Thank you for clarity and affirmation. My dietitian has said for sometime, telling her dissempowers the ED, as it lifts the WALL of shame. I’ve struggled to actually GET this, I think i now do, so massive thank you for an important , when I think about it, LIFE LESSON…lol
        love Ziggy

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