It's not what you would call an exactly joyous scene. I sit and I stare for a few minutes at the scraps of sentences upon the laptop screen in front of me and try to conjure up something else that I could write. Sometimes something comes. More usually, something does not. As the minutes tick by I start to feel more and more agitated. My heartbeat quickens and the room suddenly becomes unbearably hot; even claustrophobic. My very skin seems to itch and prickle unpleasantly. The blood pounds wildly in my ears, as loud and as sonorous as drumbeat.
My mind drifts helplessly like a piece of driftwood upon the dipping, swelling waters of the ocean. God I am going to fail this module. God how did I ever get this far with this degree? I am stupid, I can't do it, I...I...
The predominant thoughts which repeat themselves over and over again. But there is also..something else. Food. Yes, food. I have just eaten a massive breakfast but yet I cannot stop thinking about food. Interspersed with these assertions that you are useless and you are pathetic and stupid and worthless piece of sh** there are these thoughts, vivid images of food. I try to put them out of my head; but I might as well have tried to break a pebble in half with my fingers.
"I'm not hungry," I groan to myself, but yet, even while I say it, I know that isn't entirely true. Physically, I feel stuffed; my stomach feels tight and uncomfortably bloated. But yet...there is still this sort of, craving , I suppose, for more. I look up from the laptop and stare unhappily at the jar of peanut butter sitting some inches across the table from me. I don't want any more. I want to get up now and pick it up and put it right back in the cupboard where it belongs. But at the same time..by God, do I want some peanut butter right now. I want to reach across and stick my big teaspoon into the jar's gooey depths and devour spoonful after spoonful.
Now, you can imagine the sort of feelings these thoughts inevitably evoke for me.Feelings of self-disgust and repulsion - Oh my god!! you have become SO greedy!! - mixed thoroughly with an unpleasant, sour-tasting blend of intense and bitter frustration. Because this, of course, all adds up to making writing that essay that one bit harder: or maybe more than a bit, shall we say. Ah, my lovely English essays. Writing them...writing them is like crawling up a hill with your eyes closed. You don't have a clue where you're going or how you're going to get there; and with every knock and every stone that you collide with you're sent tumbling back down to where you started.
Every morning we go through this process. I sit, Istare, I write nothing. I am literally consumed by these thoughts of food and how stupid I have become.
I suppose, this thing or whatever you want to call it which I experience at breakfast time - the intense hunger for more, while at the same time, not being really hungry at all - is perhaps some kind or form of that phenomenon entitled "extreme hunger", which, I've heard, is a most common occurrence for anyone who takes that terrifying plunge into the effort of recovery. But I mean..what can I do?? How on earth will I be able to complete three 5000 word English essays when I suddenly can't even focus properly on stringing a sentence together in my head?
Bite the bullet. An expression which I suppose is highly relevant for this stage of recovery. Because I guess that's what I really need to be doing. Screw the essays. I've read that it's important that..if you get these weird "cravings", despite tangible physical sensations of fullness, than you should just bite the bullet and give into them. To literally bite into that food and eat as much as you want. Because that is what your body needs. Does it feel unnatural? By hell, it does. But is it unnatural?? Well, rationally, I don't suppose it actually is. Because, if you think about it...if you have deprived yourself of proper nourishment for any given length of time, it's only natural that your body now is using every faculty of its powers to try and make you want to eat more and more, right? It's starving. It's deprived of vital nutrients. And so if physical fullness (due to the smallness of the shrunken stomach?) is getting in the way of its attempts at signalling you to eat more...well, I guess it's just going to try and use another method at getting you to eat more than you might actually want.
This is all going by what I have read myself online. My knowledge is a bit scattered and scanty but I know that much AND I know, deep down, that yep, I could eat more; more than even my meal plan which I have, for a few weeks now, been sticking to religiously every day. The physical fullness isn't so bad that I feel I am going to be sick and unable to move if I do give into these cravings or mental hunger. Nope. I could eat more. My biggest concern of all is the fact that these cravings seem particularly geared towards what some people might term as not being "proper" foods - I would never get them for things like fish and meat and stuff like that, essentially, but for things like toast and chocolate and peanut butter and cereal drowned in hot milk - and just to clarify, I am currently eating alot of these foods and have not restricted them for some time. But yet despite that, I would find it really difficult to eat a good portion of chicken, say, or a generously filled sandwich at lunch. But at breakfast I feel as if I could just eat and eat and eat and this also applies to snack times when I eat these sort of foods; and then of course after dinner, when I want nothing more than my banana and lashings of hot fresh custard with heaps of my favourite chocolate.
Ok. Onto the meal plan. I'll talk more about that one tomorrow. But for now I just will continue on. Biting the bullet and biting into the food which I know is my medicine. I need every single scrap and calorie I can get. And the essays are the essays. Are they going to determine my future health and well-being? Are they going to be the ultimate decider between life and death; the thing that determines whether I will be able to attain a functioning, healthy body; or whether I will remain underweight, infertile, severely brittle-boned for the rest of my life; unable to work or socialise or even think clearly without any difficulty? Well, Em? Are you going to screw up everything because of an essay? Or are you going to bite the bullet and take the plunge and...save yourself?