A Day in the Life: Eating Disorders and Anxiety

7:30 AM

I wake up. Instantly my mind goes racing in a million directions.

What will I wear today?

Will my breakfast taste good?

Who will I interact with?

Am I going to make it through another day in one piece?

After much contemplation, I get out of bed. It’s now nearly eight o’clock.

7:55 AM

I go to the bathroom. I brush my teeth. Maybe fix my hair if I’m feeling like it.

Oh gosh, I look so bloated today.

Do I really want to go downstairs and start the day? My bed is right there.

8:00 AM

I am now downstairs, probably still dressed in my pajamas.

I open the fridge; it is time for breakfast. I am overwhelmed.

Do I have a waffle, muffin, or toast?

Eggs or yogurt?

There are so many choices and I don’t know what to choose.

Am I going to regret my decision with what I choose to eat?

I pull an English muffin out of the fridge and throw it in the toaster. While it gets crispy, I search for my favorite yogurt flavor. I pull a banana off of the bunch and grab my portioned nut butter from the cabinet.

The toaster beeps.

Oh no, it’s almost time to eat.

I grab the muffin and throw it on the plate with the remainder of my breakfast.

I sit down and stare at the full plate.

This is too much, how will I ever finish?

I contemplate which item to start with.

Which is going to make this daunting task the easiest?

Do I start with the hardest or easiest part of the meal first?

I decide to start with the muffin while it’s still hot. I pick it up and start moving it towards my mouth.

Okay, I can do this. Just take one bite, and then another. You have to eat.

I take a bite.

Maybe this isn’t too bad. It tastes kind of good.

Sh*t. Did I just actually enjoy something I was eating?

I finish the muffin then move on to the next part of my meal.

Banana or yogurt?

I choose the banana. I decided that it was better to end the meal off with something easier.

It is time for the challenge of my banana and nut butter.

I peel open the banana.

You’re doing good so far, keep going.

With shaky hands, I scoop the peanut butter onto the end of the banana. I break off a piece.

Is this an ED behavior or simply the way I like to eat bananas? Oh well, it works.

I finish the banana, then the yogurt.

I’m FULL.

Thoughts are rushing through my mind. Regret, shame, guilt.

Why did I do that?

8:30 AM

I throw away the banana peel and toss my plate into the sink.

I go to the bathroom but this time I leave the door cracked open.

Accountability.

I then head upstairs to change my outfit. I throw on a pair of joggers with a baggy t-shirt, my usual outfit for the day.

Back downstairs we go. I sit on the couch and flip through the TV channels.

I’m not really paying attention though. Simply pressing buttons.

What do I have to do today? Well, nothing.

Well, I do have to figure out my classes for the fall.

Oh no; what if I don’t graduate on time? What if I flunk out?

Okay, calm down.

I put the remote down and open my computer. I head over to my school’s website and start browsing.

What if the classes are full by the time I sign up?

So many things can go wrong.

I look at the clock and it’s already ten.

Where did the time go?

10:30 AM

My favorite part of every day (*sarcastically). Time to eat.

I head into the kitchen and assess my snack options.

I could have a Clif bar, but that’s three exchanges. Am I feeling bold today?

Nope.

What about a yogurt?

Nope. Just had one at breakfast.

I settle for an apple.

Will my dietician scold me for choosing the “safe” option again?

Hey, at least I’m eating, right?

I sit down on the couch and flip through channels again, this time making it my intent to actually choose something I would be interested in watching (a distraction).

I settle on my favorite show, Grey’s Anatomy.

I eat the apple somewhat peacefully and am surprised at myself.

Wow, I haven’t eaten something while being so calm in a LONG time.

Go you.

Proud of myself for finishing the snack with ease, I slam the paper plate in the trash.

F*ck you ED.

10:45 AM

I should probably do something now. I need to get out of the house.

I head upstairs, again, and change into athletic attire.

I guess I’ll go to the gym.

I switch my outfit at least four times before I can decide on something.

This shirt is too tight.

These pants make my legs look…. big.

You can see the not-so-attractive parts of my back.

Sigh.

After finally deciding on an outfit, and one of my many pairs of gym shoes, I prepare my water bottle and head off.

On the drive there my mind is going a million different directions.

Is the gym going to be crowded?

Will people be staring at me?

Am I going to make a fool out of myself?

Do they think I’m too f*t?

My heart is racing but I refuse to give into my thoughts yet another time.

I take a breath and step out of the car.

You can do this.

I repeat over and over again.

12:15 PM

I return to my car with sweat beads pooled on my forehead. I’m far too embarrassed to go up to the employee and ask for a towel.

I can either go ask him or be sweaty. I guess I’ll just be sweaty.

Defeat.

On the drive home I am feeling somewhat brave.

I switch my route and start heading towards the grocery store.

I made it to the gym so I deserve to do something for myself and get a lunch that I actually like.

My grocery store has fantastic sushi.

I pull into the parking lot and am somewhat calm. And then I step into the store.

So. Much. Food. EVERYWHERE.

I am instantly overwhelmed. I do my best to walk in a straight path to the sushi station, but I get sidetracked.

I find myself in the chip aisle.

Don’t do it. Don’t look at the bags.

I give in. I start studying the back of each chip bag and comparing.

Get out.

I keep telling myself.

By now, I’m slightly dizzy from my increased breath rate.

After walking up and down nearly every aisle, I make it to the sushi station.

To meet my exchanges I need one big package or two smaller ones.

Which will people judge me less for?

Which can I handle better?

I settle for one bigger package of tuna sushi.

It is time for the checkout line. Thankfully, I spot the self-checkout on my way over.

Thank goodness. I won’t have to talk to anyone.

I go about my business and return to my car. Then I lose it.

I start hyperventilating and crying at the same time.

My mind goes blank.

I hear the wheezing in my breath but I can’t stop.

After ten minutes of pure agony, I pull myself out of a panic attack.

Not again.

I am disappointed in myself, thinking back to however many weeks it has been since my last attack.

I pull myself together and drive home.

12:45 PM

I sit down, back on the couch, to eat lunch.

One piece at a time.

1:00 PM

I did it.

I finished lunch.

I feel on top of the world, yet so regretful at the same time.

Let me rephrase that.

I feel on top of the world.

My eating disorder feels regretful.

Now what?

At the same time nearly every day I take a nap.

I clean up lunch and lay down on the couch.

My mind races while I try my best to sleep.

Your stomach feels full.

But the sushi tasted good.

Was it really worth it?

3:30 PM

I open my eyes and check the time.

Groggy, I read it.

Oh no. It’s snack time AGAIN.

Sometimes it feels like all I do is eat.

I head to the kitchen. This time I’m feeling bold.

I instantly grab the Clif bar and tear the wrapper open.

Ahh, the familiar smell of one of my favorite snacks.

I toss out the wrapper when I am finished, proud of myself for eating with such ease.

My mom asks me, “How was the gym”.

Terrible. Awful. So overwhelming.

“Fine” I respond.

She hands me a recipe. “What do you want to work on?”

Oh no. Not pasta for dinner.

I don’t think I can handle this today.

“I’ll chop the vegetables.”

Together, we work on preparing a vegetable lasagna.

5:00 PM

The timer beeps and I run over the retrieve the dish from the oven.

Hey, this actually looks kind of good.

Maybe I was wrong.

Maybe I can do this.

I rest the dish on the countertop to cool and begin setting the table.

I put down four places. One for myself, my mom, my dad, and my younger brother.

5:15 PM

“DINNER!”

Not that time again.

I pull myself off the couch and head into the kitchen.

Breathe. Just breathe.

You had pasta last week and handled it just fine. You can do this.

I sit down and my mom serves me my correct portion.

Too much. It’s too much.

Maybe they won’t notice if I pick around the cheese.

Who am I kidding? They notice everything.

Very slowly, I pick up my fork and knife and move them toward the plate. I cut off a piece from the layered stack of pasta, cheese, and vegetables.

I breathe out, much louder than intended.

My mom apologizes for making pasta. She knows how hard it is for me and is sorry.

I power through, bite by bite.

Just put it in your mouth. Chew. Swallow.

Very basic. One bite at a time.

Before I know it, the plate is empty.

I sit and try my best to engage in conversation.

You KILLED that lasagna. You should be proud of yourself.

But I’m not.

If I can’t be proud of myself, at least I know my family will be.

We finish the meal and all help clean up dinner.

Luckily, it’s Sunday. Which means that Shameless will be on soon. Only an hour to kill.

7:00 PM

My whole family crowds around the TV watching the Shameless.

For the first time today, I feel relatively normal.

I’m sitting, engaged, and laughing with my family as we discuss the errors made by the show.

“Nobody would ever do that,” says my brother.

My dad jumps in, “It’s part of the show. You’re ruining it!”

As the hour-long episode comes to a close, I dread what comes next.

8:00 PM

The final snack of the day.

Do I be bold or do I play it safe?

Dinner was hard, but I conquered it. 

The rest of the day was relatively safe. I guess I’ll challenge myself.

I head to the kitchen, once again, and open the freezer.

Robotically, I reach for an ice cream sandwich.

I remind myself I can do this.

It’s just food.

Food is fuel. Food is medicine.

Bite by bite, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

I toss out the wrapper and return to join my family on the couch.

I’ve had a long day.

I take my current crochet project from the table and begin to work.

One of my favorite distractions.

I feel at peace.

9:30 PM

I say my goodnights to everyone. I go and let the dog out to go to the bathroom, then give him his treat.

Together we head upstairs.

I’m so ready for bed.

I engage in my nightly routine.

Bathroom. Brush teeth. Meds. Change. Bed.

I’m so glad today is over.

I had a hard day.

I kiss my dog goodnight and shut off the lights.

I crawl into bed and put on my sleep playlist, filled with calming and relaxing music.

I shut my eyes, ready to doze off.

Today sucked. But I got through it.

I survived.

And I will do it all again tomorrow.

 

-SHAYNA

10 thoughts

  1. This really is a day in a life. I am so glad you shared your struggles. This is an amazingly written piece that shows the real human struggle of what you have to live through each day. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more from your blog.

    Like

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