I’ve had a week — birthday parties, another visit from Mamala, more marriage strife, and a wretched cold. So, I’m eating walnuts, drinking wine, and doing my best to form coherent sentences.
My husband is a financial idiot. Oh, he’s smart, but I now know that when we were young sprouts existing in a passionate long-distance relationship, I should have hopped the first plane out of town the day I discovered mounds of unpaid bills hanging with the dust bunnies under his nasty couch.
I’m a slow learner. I really have to have my nose rubbed in a big pile before I get it.
Thirteen years of marriage, two kids, two dogs, a cat, and a worthless nest egg of debt, and I think I get it. I’m just not sure where to begin picking up the pieces.
I saw my therapist last week, and I told her (again!) that I was done with the marriage. She listened, and listened some more, asked me if I still loved him (yes, I do), and convinced me to try once again to go to marriage counseling. Gil wants nothing to do with marriage counseling.
By the way, my kids are presently peeing off the trampoline. Here’s what’s repeatedly running through my head — thank you Forrest Gump, “Please, God, make me a bird so I can fly far far away. Please, God, make me a bird so I can fly far far away.”
The truth is, I don’t have the time, money, or emotional energy left for marriage counseling. My emotional capacity is so limited these days, it’s all I can do to put food in my mouth — another HUGE issue, and one that quite frankly, I’d love to shove under my own couch.
My go-to coping strategy when I feel overwhelmed is to stop eating. I want to pull the covers over my head and starve all my problems away, but I know that doing so only makes everything worse. I sincerely get that my system gets SO out of whack when my calorie and nutrient intakes drop, but doing what I need to do is SO DAMN HARD. The problem that people who know little about nutrition don’t understand, particularly when it comes to someone suffering from an eating disorder, is that eating large quantities of unhealthy food is NOT the answer — at least in my case. I seriously believe that if I were to go into my kitchen and eat the entire leftover birthday cake, I would go into some crazy, manic rage. My body DOES NOT tolerate sugar.
Because of this, it is super frustrating to discuss my eating problems with people. Many folks in my life automatically assume that if I say I need to eat so I can keep my weight up (though I rarely say that out loud), the solution is to pack me full of high-fat, high-sugar junk. That’s the worse thing I can do. I tend to keep my eating issues to myself for this very reason, but this makes me feel so terribly alone.
My weight has been relatively stable for over a year, and because of this it’s easy to pretend that I’m doing great, but I know the truth. I hate eating. I hate being around food. I hate that I have to be so careful with my workout regimen — if I overdo it, my weight will plummet. I hate that I’m so scattered and while I know Adderall would help me, I’m petrified that I won’t be able to keep my weight up if I take it — and I question whether my scattered ways are the result of my haphazard method of eating. I’m too old to put my body through another anorexic episode. I hate that I look so normal. I suppose I’m underweight, but I don’t look anorexic — just on the thin side of normal. It’s like I’ve reached a point where I know how to keep my weight at a level so no one asks questions. That in itself is disordered. Strangely enough, it’s also progress.
As frustrated as I am with Gil right now, and as much as I’d like to take the kids and walk out the door, I need him to feed me. In the five years that I’ve been a parent, I’ve managed to do a fabulous job feeding my children. They are strong, healthy, and have good eating habits. I’m grateful for this, but I’m perplexed. Why can I take care of them but not myself? Gil and I fell into a pattern when the babies arrived. I fed them; he fed me, and it’s continued this way. Jacked up, I know.
Gil is also the only person who knows the extent of my eating disorder, aside from my therapist. He has lived with me, and has seen the legitimate internal battle I fight at EVERY SINGLE meal.
So for all the anger and disgust I feel towards him for everything he has contributed to the demise of our marriage, I blame myself for just as much, probably more. Before I got married, I had this pattern of physically running away from my problems. Unhappy in this town — oh, I think I’ll move across the country. Hate my job — I’ll jump ship and find another one. Bad relationships — I’m done, outta here.
Once I married, I stayed but I’ve allowed our problems to chip away at my soul. The first few years yelling and screaming seemed to help, though in hindsight I know this to be untrue. Eventually, not eating seemed to make me feel better — my own little retreat. A return to a skill I mastered back in my college days.
I don’t want to stay together, but I’m terrified of being alone. Terrified of my talent of self-destruction. Some days I feel like starving myself is the only skill I’ve truly mastered. If I give that up for good, is there anything left?
Eating disorders are wickedly complicated. I know all the way to my core how much better I am, yet at the same time I know that one misstep has the potential to send me right back to the depths.
I’m not sure where to go from here.