You know what? I can cruise along without binge eating, or even overeating, fairly easily these days. I really have come so far, and my most self-destructive days are (I hope) behind me.
But then I get bored. I want something to happen in the great enormous struggle that is constantly playing on the cinema screen inside my head. And I do mean constantly. I used to be naturally model-thin and I have, through overeating, deliberate or no, made myself gain weight and go up several dress sizes and I am TERRIFIED. I don’t want to make myself sick. At the base level I am shaking and crying because I fear for my very life.
My dad, who was also slim as a youth, has made himself ill because he too has turned to food for comfort for so long. I wrote a line of poetry about how I feel but never used it, so here it is: a shrinking, cringing creature. I am a terrified and shrinking, cringing creature… I am so scared. And some kind of action, something, some change — yes, even weight gain — somehow feels productive to me. As though I am somehow doing something to help. This is so messed up.
How can I possibly heal when my brain thinks this way? How can I possibly win? How can I possibly defeat the fearsome villain that is mental illness when it makes no sense at all?
I have been told again and again and again that I have an impressive level of insight into my own disorders and my own disease. Insight, great — 10 points to Gryffindor, gold stars all around. But where is it getting me? Is it helping? Gosh, I bloody hope so.
I used to feel that I was like a cupboard full of tangled electrical cables. With the door closed everything seemed peachy, but behind the door was a terrible terrible dangerous unholy mess. Maybe writing this stuff is helping me start to untangle the cables, finally.
Other things are helping, too. Being more open with my loved ones is helping a lot.
These relapses feel somehow necessary because they feel like another round of the enduring battle with myself — a battle the “good” Marnie very much wants to win. They are more pivotal scenes in that constant inner movie, where hero and villain meet and I once again go face-to-face, head-to-head with myself. Like my own personal Godzilla showdown. There is significant anger inside me and these fights feel like my only way to express it, my only way to grapple with it, my only way to show myself and the world how very angry I am. How I am glowing positively incandescent with rage and terror because I have hated myself so deeply and completely for so fucking long. How furious and fearsome I feel because this is how my life has turned out, even though an inner wiser part of me doesn’t think I deserve it. (The injustice! I am so indignant.) This self-hate has changed the course of my entire life. My precious human life — the only one I get.
Anger is one of the stages of grieving; I know that. I also know that grief can be like a dance, where one steps back and forth and back again between stages, or has one foot planted or shuffling in two or more stages at once. I am grieving and I am healing, but this anger at the moment feels like Niagara Falls in its force and consistency — as though springing from the centre of the very earth. Which is fine. (A bit disconcerting, if I’m honest, but fine.) I need to truly feel and release this anger. I can tell it will not damage me if I just express it; I am but a glowing vessel that cannot be tarnished by the flames of rage. (Gosh I do have fun finding words for these feelings. I know the content here is grim, but I really do love to write.)
I am like Carrie at the end of the book, when she’s given in on the main street and is fucking shit up — but I am not fucking shit up. I can allow myself to feel these feelings, yes, because I have to, but I don’t think this is a necessarily a destructive force. I will allow this anger to be here for as long as it wants to be. I have to allow it; I have no other choice.
Maybe I just need to let myself glow and vibrate and throb and hum for a while. Maybe that will lead to something else. I expect it will. If Buddhism has taught me anything, it has taught me that.