Dear Dirty Little Secret,
To my therapist you’re DSM-IV Code: 307.50 – Eating D/O-NOS, but to me you’re the longest and most consistent relationship I’ve ever had.
At first you made me feel good about myself, like I was strong and in control. You were my secret weapon, and I thought the world was jealous of what we achieved together. Then, slowly, you started to take control. You made me feel ugly, and undesirable. Suddenly I wanted to stay inside. Suddenly I was being secretive. I didn’t talk about you with friends. I pretended everything was fine when it wasn’t. I felt more alone I ever have, and you were all that was there. It never mattered where I moved to, or what I was doing to distract myself. As soon as I got home there you were, waiting for me to break down and cling to you.
So, this is year four of therapy. Let’s see how I’ve progressed. I no longer starve myself for days at a time. I’ve stopped sticking my fingers down my throat when I’ve eaten too much. That’s something. For the most part I’ve stopped restricting myself to certain food-groups (really, gluten-lactose-sugar-free? Come on). But you’re still here when I feel alone (which is almost always), luring me towards the television so I can’t count the pieces of bread I’ve eaten, or the bowls of pasta drowned in oil and salt. You’re still laughing when, desperate to quiet the anxiety in my stomach, I just eat sugar out of the bag because it confirms how truly pathetic I am. When I take a little step towards being stronger and more confident, a few days at the gym, a few days without bingeing, out you come in full force to taunt me with my own failure. I yield to you. I feel powerless against you. And when it’s over, my swollen stomach, aching from the food I’ve forced down my own throat, is all I have to hold.
You are petty, spiteful and mean, and if I could rip you out of me with the same sharp nails I dig into my face as punishment for falling for you again, I would. I find myself fantasizing about a broken jaw so food wasn’t an option. I wish I could have my appendix removed again so that the anesthesia would numb my appetite too. It would be worth it just to have you gone, even for a little while.
For now, you’re here. But know this, you’re not wanted. And one day, and I hope it’s soon, I’m going to dump your ass.