I didn't notice, but coworkers who know nothing about my history have started saying out of the blue "You look really skinny," with that really worried look, "Are you okay?" or the damning, "Are you doing this on purpose?" And it's come up from more and more people, and I was confused, because I didn't think I was dieting, though I did get spooked the other day when I stripped for a shower and could count all my ribs again. (I thought "weird" and "that can't be what it looks like" because I don't look or feel thinner, but I couldn't make them go away, so I guess I'm not a reliable judge of these things).
I posted pictures of me recently - don't I look fine? I don't get it. And it's almost winter, so I wear a lot of layers. It's like people have x-ray vision.
It's kind of crushing me that I didn't notice I was doing this. I thought I was fine. I mean, I eat oreo cookies and stuff now. Okay, I don't eat dinner anymore, but I eat a full sandwich at lunch instead of half a sandwich, so I thought that was okay. I don't, of course, own a scale, because those evil addictive number machines are not permitted on the premises. But I guess it explains everything:
My jaw feeling wired shut.
Getting nauseous instead of hungry.
The inability to sleep.
The perpetual exhaustion.
How I'm more irritable and angry.
How I feel like I'm a failure at my job.
How I can't make myself do things I know I need to do, even things I really want to do.
How I'm constantly freezing, except when I eat something, and then I'm burning up.
How my skin and muscles and joints are so sore.
Thinking "I've been better long enough; I should really go buy a scale."
I don't feel hysterical. I'm energetically depressed, but I'm not despondent. I don't want to kill myself. I haven't hurt myself and wasn't even tempted until people started critiquing my appearance. I have started thinking this hilarious anorexic-pretending-to-be-fine trap though: "I can't tell if I've relapsed or not. I should lose another five... or ten... or fifteen pounds so I'm sure that I'm sick and can start treating it."
So basically, I think the random skinniness police are right and I've fallen below my sanity weight, because when I look at food now I internally react like I'm being asked to eat sand. Feeding myself and putting myself to bed feel impossibly difficult these days. It's not like this is hard for legit reasons. I have food, ready made, in my fridge that I can eat. It's just impossibly hard.
I want to be racing through NaNo and looking forward to good stuff that's coming and enjoying the challenges of new people and projects at work (which I actually do enjoy, because I love to show off my awesome admin chops), not spending hours and hours and hours every day struggling with self-care and feeling sick.
I don't really know why I tell you guys these things. I don't want to make you sad, and I don't want to bore you with the same issues, again and again. I definitely don't want to trigger you, and I know all too well that need to click links that say "warning: triggers" because you're doing okay so you want to be cool with it and then you feel that punch in the gut and cold chill when you read something familiar and suddenly need to go check the state of your ribs in the mirror.
I write these privately too, because writing something so overwhelming in a clear, step-by-step kind of language always helps me manage it. But I think I post it because other people talking online about their experiences with mental illness saved my life a few years ago by showing me I had options (even if it was just the option of "not being the only person in the universe who has ever done or thought or felt these things"). Some of you* - people I respect and love who struggled with this, and tried recovery, and relapsed, and tried different recovery, and faltered and recovered some more. I want to be that person for someone. It helps me feel like less of a failure for falling down here again and makes me want to try and pick myself up as gracefully as possible.
So, I'm posting this unlocked on the wilds of the internet, because for some reason it feels important right now. Occupy is inspiring me, I guess, to stand up and be seen. (And if my employers see this and get through the tl;dr, can it really be more damning than all the pornographic fanfic?)
*I don't want to thank you by name just in case you don't want your crazy outed on an unlocked post, but if you're thinking "I wonder if I'm one of those people?" the answer is "Yes."