The French call it la douleur exquise. The exquisite pain. We've all got something that we know isn't good for us, but somehow we love it anyway. Everyone's got their heroin, that one thing they can't let go of. For some people, it's as simple as chocolate. For other's it's actually heroin. For me, it goes back about eight or nine years now.
I was talking to Cara, one of my best friends, last night. She has been struggling for years with a variety of things, and has been in and out of hospitals ever since I met her. Actually, I met her in a hospital. For the full backstory on that, click here. In any case, one of the things she has been having issues with lately is all eating disorder stuff...and she was so upset, because she kept saying that she was sure all that was behind her. The thing is, I'm not sure it's ever going to be completely behind any of us. Eating disorders have the highest fatality rate of any mental disorder. Statistically, 90% of people suffering from eating disorders never recover. When I left the hospital, it was because I had been there for two months, it was two days from Christmas, and I finally absolutely flipped out on the team of doctors, telling them there was no way I was staying there another day. The head doctor said, "You'll be back. If you go home now, there's no way you'll make it. You'll be back, or you'll die." I'm really proud of myself for never going back, and for finding my way to a happy life. That's not to say that the issues don't creep up now and then.
Every now and then, I just think it would be best to not really eat very much. It's simple. Even though I rationally see the problems with this pattern, I just can't help it from happening. And I snap out of it eventually. But now, for instance, when I recently had surgery, I legitimately lost any appetite for about three weeks. That made it really easy to continue to not eat nearly as much as I probably should. But (here comes the twisted part), I still kind of love the hunger feeling. It's still kind of a rush to get a little dizzy. It's kind of like a mental orgasm when people notice I've lost weight. And despite what people commonly think, it's not at all because I think I'm fat, or because I'm trying to look like a supermodel. I don't really think I need to lose weight.
What I said to Cara is that maybe this is something that will just happen every now and then for awhile. Generally speaking, I'm mentally very healthy. If this is the only thing I have issues with now and then, maybe I should consider myself lucky. I have absolutely no desire to go back to that horrible life I had when I was so sick, nor do I ever want to look as miserably thin as I did then. And eventually, I'll just get tired of it and start eating like a normal person again. I don't get worried, because I'm fully aware of everything.
I sometimes worry about posting things because it might make me sound a little crazy. But an eating disorder, in many ways, is a lot like depression or ocd. People who suffer from depression are aware that sometimes they might feel depressed...and that's ok, as long as they know how to manage it. Or people suffering from ocd might often be compelled to give into one of their obsessions...and that's ok, as long as it doesn't interfere with their daily life. For me...sometimes it's actually a GOOD thing when this happens. It alerts me that there is probably something in my life that is flying out of control...because when that happens, my eating is the first thing that suffers. It's the one aspect of my life over which I have full control. But now I can start trying to fix whatever it is that is causing it...and in the end, I'll probably end up a much healthier, calmer, and content person.