Day 49 of the Nowhere To Be Project was all about preparing. It wasn’t the fun type of preparing, like preparing for a trip, preparing to get a puppy or preparing to eat. The last one stings a lot because the preparing I’ve been doing is for my biannual colonoscopy and endoscopy tomorrow. I have a genetic condition called Lynch syndrome that requires more frequent cancer screenings, so this is old hat for me. The prep for these tests means that I’m limited to clear liquids for today and half of tomorrow. The intense hunger I’m feeling reminds me of a much younger, much sadder, version of myself.
From the ages of 19 through 23, I struggled with anorexia. My life (and family) had been very out of control for as long as I could remember and eating (or a lack thereof) was pretty much the only thing I could control. I was obsessed with perfection in life and for me, that correlated with my number on the scale. I exercised to excess and filled myself with water and one to two cups of dry air-popped popcorn to stave off embarrassingly loud hunger pangs. That life was a living hell and the only thing that cured me was an unexpected pregnancy that made me realize that my body was no longer my own to abuse.
The hunger that I’m experiencing right now feels especially raw because it me reminds me of what I put my younger self through with all those years of senseless starvation. There was no end to the hunger and the sad reality was that self-deprivation did not mend the issues that led me to that horrendous place. I ended up studying and researching eating disorders in graduate school. I later educated others about them as a professor of psychology. I have always been forthcoming about my issues in an effort to help and support others. If you are struggling with food and body image issues, seek help now. Not tomorrow. Not next week or month. Right now. The National Eating Disorders Association is a wonderful place to start: NationalEatingDisorders.org
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