Today's mood started with a Chico's gift card. My sister-in-law gave me one for my birthday back in May. I keep forgetting I have it, and when I do remember, I have trouble keeping track of it. Maybe it's a subconscious block. Why would I want to put expensive clothes on a body like mine? It's ridiculous. Part of me also knows that there is nothing in that store that is going to fit me. Of course, the accessories are nice, but on principle alone, I just can't bring myself to pay $50 for a necklace I can buy at Target for $10.
So, more than three months after I got this gift card, I have managed to stall on spending it. This makes it very difficult to answer the question, "So, what did you buy with the gift card we gave you?" (Stick with me here. This post isn't going where you probably think it is.)
Since I'm on vacation now, I thought I would take an afternoon and torture myself with a trip to Chico's. Buying online is not an option when you are my size and shape. I stayed in my pajamas all morning, and finally got in the shower at 1:00. I ironed some decent clothes to wear. Chico's is one of those stores where the sales people follow you around and pay attention to you and start a dressing room full of clothes you'll never fit into. In other words, I decided to wear decent clothes because I knew someone would definitely be looking. Oh, and the store is in the upscale fashion district that I generally avoid, except to go to the bookstore.
I stepped out of the shower and felt sharp pangs of hunger. I tried to ignore that while I put hydrocortisone gel on all of my itchy welts. I slapped on my EMSAM patch, skipped the lotion, and remembered that I hadn't weighed myself in a few weeks. It is just pointless. Still, I've been really conscious about what I've been eating for the past two months, and I've all but eliminated eating anything between meals. I used to eat fruit or some crackers with a slice of cheese, or maybe a handful of nuts and raisins, but when I gained a pound and a half last month, I could see that even these snacks were harmful to me.
Today I ate what I eat every morning: plain shredded wheat with soy milk, a cup of coffee, and a cup of cantaloupe chunks. Three hours later, my stomach was growling loudly and my hands were trembling. I thought about eating, but decided it would be better to weigh myself first. The numbers popped up in their digital coldness: I have gained another 1.4 pounds.
I am hungry. I want to eat. I don't understand why I am hungry if my body will not even use the goddam calories I dole out to it now. I am eating less and less and gaining more and more. And I am hungry.
I am hungry for food. I am hungry to feel like I am satisfied. I want to stop thinking about every morsel that goes into my mouth. I am starving. I miss food in all its aspects: shopping for it, creating recipes, cooking new things, sharing it, and enjoying what I ate. Now food just gives me anxiety.
I am not sure how much less I can eat without crashing my blood sugar and affecting my medications. Would exercise help? No. Exercise just makes me too hungry to not eat. Any exercise I do is cancelled out by the resulting overwhelming hunger that eventually forces me to eat. Weak character.
While visiting Jolie, I found that when I walked around the house, I tended to keep my head down while I concentrated on the tile floors. The problem was that mirrors were everywhere in her house. Not so in my home. The mirrors in my house are small and generally only reveal a human reflection from the chest up. The only full-length mirror is in the basement storage area, and it is covered in dust. Jolie has huge mirrors that hide nothing. The tile floors are quite beautiful.
This story isn't really about food. It's about love. It's about loss. I have lost many of the things I used to love, and now I am starving. I don't know how to replace them without making everything worse. I don't have friends anymore, at least not anyone physically present within thousands of ZIP codes, and definitely not anyone I can really talk to without having to leave things out. Nobody. Now that I quit therapy, I truly have nobody to talk to. My work causes me extreme anxiety since I worry incessantly that I'm going to do something wrong. I am not good at anything anymore. Nothing comes easily, but I still live under the very high, very mistaken expectations of others who just don't understand that I cannot be the person I once was. My brain is fucking fried, the neurotransmitters don't work, and I just can't do things the way I used to. If I can't have hypomania, I want the rest of my brain back as compensation. Why do I have to give up so much in order to make other people comfortable with what I am?
In a former life, I prided myself on my intelligence, my ability to hide my feelings, my exceptional skills as a liar, and my ability to think about dozens of things simultaneously while keeping them all straight. I was a coherent conversationalist, I was creative and resourceful. I know that at one time, I was an excellent friend, a sincere friend, a good daughter, and someone who was capable of loving other people. None of this is true now. None of it. No matter how hard I try.
I am lonely, and I am empty, and I am starving.