My levels of self-hatred are at an impressive and nearly debilitating high right now. I recently wrote about my decision to not weigh myself every damn morning.
That lasted one week. Or six days, really.
Then Saturday came and I’d gained nearly 4lbs. Logically I knew this was likely water weight from having my period, but seeing that number threw me into a tailspin. I was devastated. I weighed myself on Sunday and was already back down 2lbs, but the emotional damage had been done.
I’ve weighed myself every morning since, seeing anything within a 5lb range of Saturday’s number. I either stay the same or gain.
That is unacceptable.
I could tell myself it’s hormones or water weight or even muscle weight since I’ve been doing more strength training and eating more calories to fuel those workouts. I can look at my intake and know, rationally, that it is impossible for me to have gained actual fat. I don’t even eat enough to fuel my body through its basic functions like breathing and pumping blood, so there’s no possibility that I could be eating an excess that would add fat to my body.
Yet still, I see that number go up and I immediately feel fatter. I look in the mirror and just KNOW I am fatter.
This morning was a disaster. I couldn’t find anything to wear because everything looked awful and felt tight. I could feel my flab spilling out all over the place and it was unbearable. At one point I just sat on the floor in front of the mirror in bra and panties, holding myself and rocking, trying to soothe my nervous system.
I eventually settled on an outfit solely because I had to leave. But it took me so long to do so that I was ten minutes late for my appointment with my psychiatrist. I was a mess already, crying during the walk crosstown. I buzzed her office and walked in, dropping myself onto her sofa with tears still in my eyes.
“I’m really late.”
“Yeah, but we have a half hour still.”
I just sat there.
“What do you want to talk about?”
I shrugged and felt the big fat tears spill over and run down my big fat cheeks.
“Do you want to talk about why you’re crying?”
I did. But I didn’t. I couldn’t contain it all, though, so I just let it all fall out of my fat lips. I told her about weighing myself despite my declaration that I would stop doing daily weigh-ins. I explained that this morning’s number was particularly difficult to process and that I’d been feeling a devastating self-loathing ever since. I told her about crying and the intense worry and fear of getting fatter.
“And then I was on the train platform, staring down at the shiny silver tracks. I thought about jumping, or rather just gently stepping down onto them. I figured I needn’t be dramatic – I could just stand on the tracks and wait for the train to hit me. But I didn’t. I stood on the edge until the train pulled into the station and then got on the train.”
“What made you stop from climbing onto the tracks?”
“I’m not really sure. I just told myself I didn’t have to do it now…I could do it later, maybe the next time I’m waiting for the train.”
Then she asked me about clinic and school, both of which I explained are going very well. She pointed out how incredible it is that I can be struggling with such intense emotional pain while still being able to stay present with my patients and adept at treating them.
I felt weird about that, wondering what she was getting at. I said,
“Yeah. I guess that’s the gift of multiplicity.”
“What do you mean by that? That is not you?”
Ugh. Something about that question just made me want to scream.
“No, it is me, but it’s not just me. There are other parts that care very much about our professional life. They ensure we show up prepared and behave in a skillful manner. It’s important to them, this particular trajectory. But then I try to balance that with other parts. And it feels like I’m being pulled in two directions – one that moves towards a fulfilling, productive, accomplished life…the other moving with intense dedication towards absolute self-destruction.”
“That sounds awful.”
“It is! And I never know what to do, what to choose. They both seem important. It ALL seems important. So I try to give enough energy and attention to every need, but it’s never enough because some of them directly conflict with each other. I cannot starve myself while successfully completing a full-time clinical internship. That’s just not realistic. But sometimes I think about just not eating or drinking for a week and letting everything go to shit.”
“Why would you want to do that?”
“I don’t know. I can’t explain it except to say that it comes from this powerful, compulsive need to destroy myself. I need to be constantly reminded of how much I suck. I need to be suffering. That’s what this eating disorder is about, after all. The numbers and rules and obsessions distract me from thinking about the other things…”
“What other things?”
“Oh, you know, the rape-y stuff.”
She nods and says, “That is really very clever, don’t you think. It protects you.”
“Yeah sure. But now I’m fucking up the numbers, too. I can’t even have an eating disorder the right way. I can’t tell if I’m eating too much or too little. If I’m working out too much or too little. All I know is that that number on the scale is going up and I feel crazy! Why?! What is happening? I feel so helpless and alone and scared because if I’m not losing weight, what is the point of me even living?”
She listens. I keep crying and talking incessantly, about nothing important. I’m angry with myself for existing. She says it’s time to end. I grab my bag and apologize for wasting her time.
“Did I give the impression that you were wasting my time?”
“Uhhh…kinda. I don’t know. This is stupid. I don’t even know why I came here!”
I walk out, never even talking about my medication and without discussing scheduling another session.
Whatever. I suck. I wasted both of our time and I’m still just a fat fucking loser.