An Eating Disorder That is Not About Food

I sit down for breakfast. It’s a routine. It’s what I do when I enter the kitchen in the morning. Always.

„Cereal?“, mom asks.

She’s standing in front of the kitchen counter, her hand on the cupboard door. It’s only a pro forma question, my bowl is already sitting on the counter. It’s what I have on most mornings. But seeing my bowl, my throat tightens. I shrug. Shove the problem her way, make her decide, make it be her fault.

She doesn’t take it.

“Take your time. Let me know if you made up your mind.”

I glance at the bowl, look down at the tabletop and shrug again.

“Nothing. I’m not hungry. I’ll eat later.”

Mom takes her own breakfast over to the table and sits down. Strokes my shoulder. Smiles.

“Having a hard time eating?”

I nod.

“What’s up? Do you want to talk?”

I shake my head. Don’t want to talk. Don’t want to think. Just want to not eat. I know she’ll let me. For now. I have one free shot. And we start the day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lunchtime. Mom made a salad with chicken. I’m a tad hungry. Which makes me upset. I don’t want to be hungry. I don’t want to eat. I don’t deserve to eat. So instead of finishing setting the table like mom asked me to, I sit down with the table half set and start to cry. Glance at the fork and get mental images of stabbing my forearm with it. Of dragging the tines across the scars that are already there. For a moment it takes my mind off the salad.

It takes my mom about five seconds to notice.

I hate her for it. I hate that she comes over. Hate that she let’s the salad be salad and sits down with me. Hate that she cares. Why can’t she just let me be, only for once?! My life would be way less complicated if she didn’t muck around in it all the time. But at the same time I want her to be there. Had she not noticed, I would have made her.

When she reaches out, I shove her hand away. Twice. Three times. But she gets a hold of me anyway. Because I let her. Because it’s all part of the ritual. Like it is part of the ritual that she pulls me onto her lap and puts her arms around me.

I curl up. Make myself small. And cry more. Angry tears, because the whole world sucks, because it is difficult and unfair and has salad with chicken in it and because my stupid body betrays me by being hungry.

My anger eventually leads to sadness. Mom knows and waits me out. She talks when I’m done being angry and start being sad.

“What is going on, kiddo? What is giving you a hard time today?”

I don’t reply. Don’t know what to say. There is no single thing. Just a bunch of crap. I don’t deserve to eat. But she already knows that’s what I’m thinking. That’s always what I’m thinking when I don’t eat. She strokes my hair, kisses the side of my head and with her really gentle and warm mom-voice speaks into my ear.

“What age feels appropriate, baby?”

I have an easier time answering this one. The question is familiar. It feels safe. She is asking for how old I feel, emotionally. I close my eyes and after a brief internal evaluation raise four fingers. Mom takes my hand, kisses my fingers and nods.

“The world is a one scary and exhausting place when you are four and have to deal with all those big, tricky things, isn’t it?”

I nod.

“Does it feel like you can’t do it good enough?”

I nod again.
Mom strokes my wet cheek.

“I can imagine that that’s just how it feels. But you know what, baby? You are doing mighty fine for four years old. It’s simply a bit big a task for a little girl, dealing with all those things. That’s why I’m here to help you.”

A pressure within my chest, one that I hadn’t even noticed being there, eases. I feel like I can breathe a little better. Like maybe I’m not doing so bad, after all. I stop crying.

“You’ve been trying really hard, haven’t you?”

I become aware of how exhausted I feel and nod. Mom cuddles me and smiles.

“Yes, I can tell how hard you are trying. You are doing a really good job. You have not had a major breakdown in quite a while. You are holding yourself together admirably for a four-year-old, even when it’s hard. And if it gets too hard, you let me know. That’s just what you are supposed to be doing.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Greetings from the land of EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). I had salad with chicken in the end. I am going to have dinner. I am feeling better about myself again, remembering that even when I’m struggling, I’m doing good for where my emotional development is at.

I am also making the millionth mental note about allowing mom to talk about my not eating with me the first time around already. Or heck, even tell her. But it’s difficult, so I don’t know how many more repeats I’m going to need until I manage.

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nobodysreadingme
    Dec 20, 2012 @ 11:10:24

    I’m going to reblog this, and that’s something I very rarely do.
    I suffer on and off from an eating disorder. I can go for days without eating. Not because I’m not hungry. But the sight, smell, taste, texture (especially texture) makes me gag.
    I like the sound of your mother.

  2. nobodysreadingme
    Dec 20, 2012 @ 11:11:37

    Reblogged this on nobodysreadingme and commented:
    As you know I tend not to reblog very often, but I felt this deserves a wider audience. It’s not easy reading, is it?

    • Lola
      Dec 20, 2012 @ 16:53:18

      It doesn’t seem to be working?

      • nobodysreadingme
        Dec 20, 2012 @ 16:59:01

        wordpress can be a bit temperamental. Should be back now. Errmm, I hope
        I find the whole ‘hugs’ thing in comments a bit saccharin, but I’d give you a hug for this very brave post. Except you’d hate it.

        • Lola
          Dec 21, 2012 @ 07:47:12

          Yeah, seems to be working now. And thank you. You know, I’m everything BUT huggy with anyone besides my mom in real life, so I tend not to take the online ‘hugs’ thing literally, but just understand it to mean something along the lines of ‘I can relate and would like to express my support and understanding and that I am backing you up’ – only instead of typing that all out, you just write ‘hugs’. lol 😉 So I’d not hate getting that from anyone.

          • nobodysreadingme
            Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:27:11

            I finally figured out what went wrong. I did.
            I was taking down some old posts and somehow managed to trash the one with your link in it. Easy enough to resurrect, but I did feel a klutz, and that I let you down.
            So I got it wrong. Sorry.

            • Lola
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:29:35

              No problem at all! I was just wondering because the link went to a ‘content does not exist’ entry and I thought maybe wordpress had gone bitchy on you.

            • nobodysreadingme
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:31:53

              WordPress doesn’t have to go bitchy on me, I can cock things up quite effectively on my own, thank you.
              What on earth is the time over there?

            • Lola
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:39:01

              It’s fuck o’clock, insommnia time. Can’t sleep because of stupid Mayans messing with my mind, even when it’s silly.

            • nobodysreadingme
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:42:25

              Those pesky Mayans get everywhere, don’t they?
              I’m online most of the day if you want to keep in touch, if that will help

            • Lola
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 09:45:40

              They do. And thank you, that’s very kind. For now I try to keep busy updating blog pages and stuff and writing and hoping for tomorrow to hurry the fuck up.

            • nobodysreadingme
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 10:16:38

              Sorry to disturb your train of thought. I had an idea, but I wanted to ask you first. I know you hate people operating behind your back.
              I’d like to nominate you for Blog of the Year. I read quite a lot of blogs, and I can’t say in all honesty I enjoy reading yours; it’s often quite hard work to read because of the content.
              But you come across as intelligent, and articulate, and that’s something that makes for a good blog. I get a bit sick of homespun doggerel and fluffy kittens to be honest.
              So it’s up to you. I won’t do anything without your say so.

            • Lola
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 10:27:48

              Thank you very much, Duncan, that’s very sweet of you. It’s funny because I’m actually right now in the process of writing a blog post about what I am going to do about awards. Coincidental much, eh?! I really appreciate your words and that you want to consider me for the Blog of the Year award. And I appreciate doubly that you’d like my consent first. Hang on a little until I have finished writing my blog post and uploaded it, then you can decide what you want to do, kay?

            • nobodysreadingme
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 10:31:00

              Fine by me. Just let me know

            • Lola
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 11:49:23

              Blog post is up! 🙂

            • nobodysreadingme
              Dec 21, 2012 @ 11:50:14

              Okey dokey

  3. lostservice22
    Dec 20, 2012 @ 16:15:32

    This does deserve a wider audience. not only is a look in to a problem that most people do not understand but the way her mom deals with it is amazing. I wish I had had some one like that when I was lost in my depression.

    • Lola
      Dec 20, 2012 @ 16:54:44

      Thank you, and thanks, that’s a sweet thing to say about my mom. Everyone deserves someone like her. I hope you are better now, depression wise. 🙂

      • lostservice22
        Dec 20, 2012 @ 17:17:06

        I am. I was lucky, thanks to some good friends I made it past my suicidal stage and found a way to heal. I am still healing, it is a long journey but it is one I am grateful for every day.

        • Lola
          Dec 21, 2012 @ 07:49:09

          I’m glad you made it past the suicidal stage. Healing sure takes a long time, doesn’t it? But every good day, every good moment counts. I’m glad you’ve got friends to help you on your way.

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