My therapist asked me a question today.
What does overeating mean to me?
Food is my best friend and my worst enemy, an evil entity that stalks me in unsuspecting moments. Food is a drug, not unlike heroin. Food is life. Food is death. It is why anorexics deny it and why I try to fill myself up with it. I panic and think I will die if denied food. When I eat I’m in my own little world where no-one can hurt me. I am a child in my mother’s womb. It’s safe and protective and for the duration I can block out the terrifying world where I just don’t fit in. Not unlike my therapist’s room.
If anorexics suffer guilt, repulsion and feel a sense of non-entitlement to eat even the barest amount of food, then I as an overweight person with a compulsive eating disorder feel a gigantuan sense of all-encompassing authority and empowerment to eat whatever I want, whenever I want and in whatever quantities I desire and f**k you if you get in my way.
We are working together to see if I can gain control of my eating. To eat the right food, in the right quantity and at the right time, three times a day and with a moderate amount of exercise thrown in is something I can only fantasise about. My doctor tells me it is part biological and part psychological.
Body-wise I was of normal weight till I was ten. Psychologically and emotionally I am still ten years old. I am now learning perspective taking, discovering internal strategies to manage intense emotions, recognizing an improved ability to reflect on thoughts and feelings and finding my sense of empathy and connection – all socially approved ways of managing intense emotions. Over-eating is not an acceptable pastime or hobby. In a world that equates thinness with success, then I am a failure – and yet I am the worst when it comes to being most scathingly judgmental of fat people.
My mother said to me, when I was …