The Grocery Store and Other Such Troubles

Continued from here

In terms of being a vicious cycle, this also pertains to the control piece of the anorexia puzzle. Restricting one’s caloric intake temporarily enables the feeling of control, but, over time, the inability to feed oneself properly results in feeling totally out-of-control. Not only that, malnourishment upsets mood stability, resulting in irrationality. Another example of the loss of control concerns the exercise factor; as aforementioned, anorexia often makes the sufferer obsess over the number of crunches etc. that need to be completed in order to feel okay to proceed with the day, and if this number gets lost in the process, the set often has to be restarted, accordingly resulting in the feeling of helplessness, which was my experience, at least. For example, even if I had completed the likes of 250 stomach crunches, if I suddenly forgot the exact number I had done, I would start all over again, deeming that if I didn’t do the precise amount I’d gain a trillion pounds. Rational, right? Um, nope.

Junior year prom. I'm the second girl from the right.

Junior year prom. I’m the second girl from the right.

Rigidity both soothed and infuriated me, but the real pain that resulted from obsessing about exercise entailed developing a raw back due to doing so many crunches on carpeted flooring. Nevertheless, knees that hurt even when walking, and a back that couldn’t touch the backs of chairs because contact would sting the parts where there was no longer any skin, didn’t stop me. I was on a mission; it didn’t matter how many looks of concern I got from strangers, I remained determined to burn calories by, for example, walking (…and running – backpack on and all – when nobody from my school was in sight…) all the way to school instead of taking the bus with my peers. Yes, my classmates went to teachers asking them to help me, but it took awhile for anybody to confront me face-to-face. Plus, I covered up my lack of eating by stealthily carrying an open bag of chips around, intermittently sticking my hand in to pretend as though I was eating them. Oh, the amount of money I wasted on food…

100_0309

At a well-being retreat in Sicily where all the food was raw and each day started with yoga on the beach. My godmother (center) treated my mum and I to the trip because she desperately wanted to help me retrieve my health.

After I was banned from being part of the cross-country running team, I spent my afternoons getting as much secretive exercise in as possible and walking around grocery stores, studying the aisles and fantasizing about eating the biscuits, bread, cheeses, and fresh, homemade pastas. Inevitably, however, I’d end up in the ‘biologique’ (French for organic) section, placing no more than the likes of cardboard-like rye crackers, oat milk, and dried fruit in my cart. Life was rough.

What my grocery basket looked liked.

What my grocery basket looked liked.

What my grocery basket wanted to look like.

What my grocery basket wanted to look like (…at the age of seventeen…).

To be continued

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