The other night I went to a lecture at the peer support association where I volunteer and attend support groups. The very interesting lecture was on ‘EDs and trauma’. After ingesting what was said and discussed at the lecture I would like to suggest what someone at the lecture already suggested, that an eating disorder may be, to me at least, a trauma in itself.
I understand trauma to be something that happened (this can be also something that should’ve happened but didn’t and the lack was the trauma), and that causes the individual with the experience to be triggered by similar experiences or the expectation of such an experience. When I am able to eat enough, I find that I am not particularly affected by most of my experiences of traumatic events. Heck, I’ve spent enough time in therapy to have at least some tools to deal with them. But the most difficult trauma currently is actually the trauma of my ED.
I notice that my body/mind complex has been very traumatized by the violence inflicted on me by me, when I wasn’t me. Memories of being forced to binge, abstain, throw up, hurt myself. These memories come back daily and my being is always fearing the ‘bad person’ is going to come back and hurt me again. The panic is a daily occurrence and when I think about the hurt I was unable to stop from happening, I ugly-cry in the library where I am writing this. Crying is never unnecessary these days, so I don’t care about smudging up my make-up.
I keep going back to memories of being forced to eat. The memory is what makes eating difficult. If you have strong memories of eating uncontrollably, you may still think that eating food means losing control forever. It’s what happened before. I also have gone off certain foods, although I don’t think this may be irreversible. Certain foods make me nauseous, because when I used to eat them, I would be sick. Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream has never stayed inside me, and thinking about eating it now disgusts me. I am not hugely bothered as it’s a bit too pricey anyway, but I hope to reverse my attitude to certain treat foods eventually when memories of bulimia fade.
I am trying to rewire myself. Things are very different now. I eat regular meals and give my body nutritious food. Those memories do not apply to my future. Again I am writing this down to get it. My memories are so strong that it will take me awhile to believe this new truth. But darn it I am willing to try. ‘If you’re under ‘em you ain’t gettin over ‘em…'(crap Dua Lipa reference as I was just listening to a Spotify mix there).