First off…I have to acknowledge how deeply uncomfortable I am right now in this moment. I haven’t talked to anyone about this, not really. Not even my best friend which is weird because I tell her everything. She’s going to find out here and I’m sorry for that JEM but I didn’t know how to talk to you about it. ((and ten minutes after writing and a few tears I have to close my eyes to click publish))
After it happened I didn’t have an appetite. One week would pass and eating would become a chore, something people or my shaking hands or growling stomach would have to remind me to do. It lasted for about two weeks, maybe three that consumption was something I did because I had to but not because I wanted to. Then slowly it would return, my appetite would come back but after weeks of barely eating, I couldn’t eat as much. Smaller portions. It served its purpose and the craving went away. Then one saturday night I was getting ready for a birthday party. I had bought these red shorts over the holidays but could barely get them zipped when I bought them. I tried them on and to my surprise not only did they zip but they were comfortable. Flattering. I was ecstatic. I knew the weight loss came as a result of my trauma and ptsd but I didn’t care, I decided I was taking the “W” anyway.
Now it is about six weeks later and I just ate lunch, which I regret. It’s Wednesday and I’ve had approximately four meals all week. I’ve noticed myself hating food. Waiting until my head hurts or my hands shake from low blood sugar. Going out to dinner with friends and having half a roll of sushi. Or…after I eat after what I would consider to be a full meal I feel so sick that I wish I hadn’t eaten at all.
I hate when people ask me if I’ve eaten. It feels like judgment in the highest form. I know it’s not but that’s what it feels like. As if I couldn’t take care of myself…again.
I’ve asked myself if it is about control, because that’s what I learned from my studies. That women who have experienced sexual assault will develop eating disorders or disordered eating as a means to exert some control over their bodies. Maybe that’s it but it doesn’t feel right. I think maybe it’s the realization that the barriers of flesh did not and could not protect me. That somehow my body which was my sanctuary is somehow less sacred now. Or is it more sacred? I don’t know. I can’t quite figure it out.
I promised myself I would never indulge the impulse to purge. But I wish I didn’t even feel it. I wish that I did not feel so at war with my body. Part of me wanting to be healthy and the other part of me wanting to be empty. I wish the pain of hunger wasn’t so intoxicating. I wish I wish I wish…
Writers note: While I have chosen to be candid and open about my sexual assault and the aftermath, I do want my readers to know that I am currently receiving professional help in addition to my written therapy. I have a psychiatrist who is amazing and a therapist that I often surprise with my frankness. I hope that the sharing of my story can be for the help and healing of others who have or are going through similar trials. And while community and shared experience is certainly important, I would recommend that if you or a loved one is struggling with any of these tough issues that you seek professional help as well. Nothing is more precious than your well being.