Continued from here.
One of my few and far between realizations that my weight loss had gone too far occurred when my mum and I went out to do some Christmas shopping. We had been gone for a mere half an hour when I had to call my dad and ask him to start running a bath for me because I needed to come home and warm up and I needed to do so immediately. That was pretty bad, but unfortunately not bad enough to encourage me to take the bull by the horns and change my ways; the underlying problems were just too deeply rooted in my psyche.
Another realization that I was too underweight came when I collapsed while running to the metro (train) station. I had just rounded the corner, switched from ballet flats to running shoes that I secretly put in my bag to change into when I was out of my parents’ sight, took off at top speed, and them BOOM, ended up on the curb, completely confused. Nevertheless, my worry about collapsing was trumped by my fear of gaining weight, so I simply gathered the books that had spilled out of my book bag and ran on, ignoring the French woman who was asking worriedly if I was alright.
By now, I had started to receive professional help, which I both wanted (deep down I didn’t want to suffer any longer) and loathed. I never had much luck with therapists because English-speaking ones were hard to come by in Paris, and, what’s more, the ones I saw weren’t actually trained in the field of eating disorders. Also, my doctor, although half-American, was not overly concerned about my tiny frame because she said that thinness was ordinary in France. Um, hello!? Her utter ignorance of eating disorders meant that she was unaware that I was “water-loading” before being weighed – I would force down up to 2 gallons of the stuff – and that I was wearing totally unnatural amounts of jewelry to add mass, not to look trendy. In fact, one day when she pulled off my sock to feel the temperature of my feet, she happened upon a heavy coin that I had placed in there so that my weight on the scale would be that much higher, and, instead of being suspicious of such a bizarrely placed object, she said, “Hmm, interesting, a coin; is putting it in your sock some sort of English tradition?” Oh dear, Doc, oh dear…