Beginnings, or: The Very Last Binge (I hope. No; I know.)

I am going to beat this fucker of a disease. Day by day. By journalling the absolute shit out of it. Binge-eating disorder is what I am constantly thinking about, so it is what I should be writing about. I don’t even mind if nobody reads. This is mostly for me.

Yesterday… well, yesterday was not good. At the rate I went, I don’t really feel I’ll need to eat again for another two weeks. I am much like that snake that ate the alligator and then just lay there, prone and useless.

I sat on the bed. In front of me, there was a pizza box. It was open and contained half a pepperoni pizza. I had eaten the other half not long before. Inhaled, really. Next to me was a foil box containing a bunch of chicken wings. I had eaten some. I had also eaten a bunch of garlic bread. And had a can of Coke. None of which I needed or wanted.

Here’s how it works in my mind, when I’m down: Feeling bad? Eat! Eating feels good. If you keep eating, you’ll never have to stop feeling good. Want to keep feeling good? Eat more. More more more. Eat some chips. Eat something savoury. Shove the food into your mouth. OK, now you’re full of savoury. You’ve had more than enough to eat already, and you know that. But don’t stop because, if you stop, and you no longer have the empty pleasure of another packet to open, what will you be left with? Nothing! Just pain! So keep buying that crap. Go from store to store to find exactly what you want to satisfy that hollow craving. Just keep eating. Move on to sweets now. Cover the food groups: chocolate, biscuits, chewy jellies. OK. Buy it all. Buy a lot. Buy enough so you won’t run out for a while. Feel panicky at the prospect of running out. Buy buy buy. Eat eat eat.

So: yesterday. Had a healthy lunch. Wanted to restart. Wanted to get back on the wagon and put binges behind me. But then… I spied a KFC. I hadn’t eaten chips since I got here. And what was that I felt? A tiny twinge of hunger? Hooray! I could give in. I could eat! Fuck it all! Fuck being healthy! Eat eat eat! Inhale that Zinger meal. And then, to the off-licence for dessert.

I bought a packet of McVitie’s Digestives Caramels, hoping for something deliciously Twix-like, but I was disappointed. They were not good. They were bland. Don’t binge on these, people. They are not satisfyingly chocolatey. I still ate the entire packet, naturally, but, because they were not the perfect binge food, I wanted more. I ummed and ahhed in Tesco for about 20 minutes, assessing the biscuits and chocolates with a critical eye. I decided on fig rolls. I hoped they’d be like the spiced fruity pillows in Australia. (They weren’t. Again, I was disappointed.) But I love fig, so I ate them. All of them. In about 10 minutes. Obviously. And that chocolate craving still hadn’t been satisfied, so I headed to a newsagent, where I bought a Bournville dark-chocolate bar. Which I did enjoy even though, again, I didn’t need it.

I ordered the Italian at home, at night. Wanting to punish myself with yet more food. A credit card, the internet and a food-delivery service can be a dangerous combination.

I type this up now, the day after, and I crave that chocolate. Those biscuits. But if I check into my actual body, I am not hungry. I feel no hunger. I merely feel full and grossly fat, as the junk inside me turns to toxic, preservative-laden waste. I feel full, yet empty. I know it’s not possible for me to think straight with a binge so fresh in my mind. I know that. I will get through this feeling and, once again, feel clean and healthy and whole. I look forward to it.

This battle has been going on for a long time. Like, about three years. It is hard to fight. I am so fed up with this disordered behaviour that I half want to surrender to it. Become a wobbly Jabba the Hutt-type person and then die, my poor little heart unable to take the strain any more. But, even as I try to defeat my body  – even as I say, “That’s it; we are tired of fighting. We are binge eaters and we cannot stop. We give up,” – my beautiful body soldiers on. It is filled with food, and the food must be digested. “Wow, that’s a lot of food, lady,” it says. “You do keep us busy. OK, let’s get started. Boys, you know where most of this is going.” The foreman looks at all the food. (He’s wearing a hard hat.) “Thighs.” Oh yeah, and arse, waist, knee-chub, tummy, arms (kinda). The whole bit. Jiggly lardy fat. Whatever.

My body begins to work its slow, squelchy processes on the lump of food in my gut. It’s times such as these that I half wish I were bulimic. I said that to my psych once and she said, “No, you don’t. It’s worse.” I’m sure she’s right. And so, I must wait until the food makes its way through my digestive system the natural way.

If I really keep to this line in the sand – and I want to – then yesterday was my last binge. The last time I “used food” the way one would use a drug. To check out. To feel “better”, in a shitty, empty way. It’s self-harm, pure and simple.

I am scared to put this online. Opening up is scary. But we have to be brave and open up regardless because showing weakness is OK. To err is human. And I forgive myself. This whole disorder is just me trying to take care of myself, in a misguided way. But there are better ways. And binging is no longer an option. So I am committed to finding them.


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