Last week started off pretty rough for me and that meant that on Tuesday and Wednesday, I ate almost nothing until after 8:00 at night. I even had the existential experience of stopping at the grocery store on my way home from work and being so utterly overwhelmed by the idea of food that after 20 minutes of wandering around triggering automatic freezer lights and staring blankly at lunch meat, I turned around and walked out empty-handed. I only ended up eating that night because Joel took me out to dinner. The following night, I only ate because my friend Terry BROUGHT me dinner.
So it turns out the more upset I am, the less I eat. I've been upset a lot lately because I'm feeling my feelings. Trust me when I say I hate that phrase as much as you do. I know it sounds all douchey and new agey, but I mean it in the truest sense: I'm PHYSICALLY feeling my feelings. I'm letting them happen and not trying to push them away. Instead of saying "I'm not going to think about [insert bad news]! I'm just going to march forward like everything is fine!" I'm acknowledging that sometimes I get bad news and it makes me feel like shit. What's worse is that because of all this therapy, I completely understand WHY I feel like shit. It's all starting to make sense to me.
So, naturally, when I went to therapy on Friday, we talked about my weirdorexia. Ramona's not worried about the weight loss so much as she's worried about how I'm not eating even though I'm physically hungry. She asked me a bunch of questions and I explained how the more chaos I feel in my brain, the less likely I am to want to eat. That I literally feel sick when I'm upset and even though I'm hungry, the idea of food disgusts me.
She suggested that maybe that just might be... progress.
Then she wondered if maybe I'm losing weight because I'm getting better.
What if all this work I'm doing (which I may or may not have mentioned SUUUUCKS!) to get emotionally healthy is doing EXACTLY WHAT OPRAH SAID IT WOULD DO!?!?
Oprah's theory (and the reason she's always been against gastric bypass surgery) is that the obese tend to overeat to fill their emotional holes and that as soon as they figure out who/what/when/where/why those holes exist, they magically lose weight. I maybe sorta suspected she was right (and also that she was pretty fucking lucky to have the most famous therapist since Freud at her beck and call). My push back was that who knew WHEN I was finally going to get my shit together? Or if I could even afford it? Therapy can take YEARS! What if I died from the complications of my obesity before I figured out why I was eating?
So I flipped Oprah the bird and had surgery.
And I got back down to my "normal" weight. I never dealt with my shit; I just couldn't eat enough to be obese anymore. No, it wasn't easy and yes, it took balls, but it was approximately 736 percent less painful than therapy has been for me.
So Ramona wants me to deal with my shit, which is how she broke my brain on Friday...
You know how you have this idea in your head of how much you weigh? Or what size you are? It's how you picture your true self, even if it's not your current size. Even if it's not the size you're supposed to weigh. Just the YOU size, you know? Usually it's the size you were in high school.
For me that size has always been a 12/14, which on my frame means around 180-185 pounds. I think of myself and have ALWAYS thought of myself as a double-digit girl. It's just who I am, right? It doesn't even bother me. I'm comfortable with that size. It was only after I got bigger that I felt like I wasn't "myself." It's also why stepping on the scale this morning and seeing 169 felt really weird. Almost too small. Not me.
But what if my "normal" weight isn't my normal weight after all?
"What if the REAL Amanda is actually a size six?"
When Ramona said that I was, like, whatchu talkin' bout Willis? Because Amanda CAN'T be a thin person. That's just not ME.
Then I realized there are plenty of 5'7" women who are a size six. Or eight. Or TWO!
But I can't even imagine myself as one of those women. Which has probably been one of my problems all along. NO ONE has ever conceived of me as a small person, much less myself.
I have absolutely no clue if it's true or not, but it's a brain-breaking train of thought, isn't it? Maybe the combination of therapy and medication is finally making my brain healthy. What if my healthy brain is also a SKINNY brain?
What if after shedding Matryoshka doll after Matryoshka doll in therapy, the real me is that tiny doll in the middle?