The other night, I entered a blackout. This didn’t happen after I drank five beers (although I did drink five beers)- it happened when I got home and started eating. I hadn’t eaten much that day at all. I know I had coffee and fruit, and, at some point the five beers, so by the time I returned to my apartment for the evening I’d started to feel fairly food-deprived. I found a frozen pizza and popped it in the oven. Then, I located some leftover queso in my fridge and dumped it into a pan to heat up on my stove. I nibbled on chips as my hot treats warmed up, mindlessly at first.
I tend to lose control around the time my stomach begins to register just how much I’ve mindlessly nibbled. If I didn’t enjoy it, I’m approximately a thousand times more likely to send myself on a journey of discovery to the one food that’s going to make me feel satisfied. It’s at that point that the binge-and-purge mindset sets in. But! I’m not writing this to tell you about that. I’m writing this to tell you about one unfortunate side effect of it all- the blackout.
When I got home this afternoon, I had an Amazon package on my doorstep. I had completely forgotten what I’d ordered, but the box looked about the size of a pair of boots. I scanned my brain for any memory of an impulse purchase in recent days as I cut into taped-up box with scissors. I actually began to look forward to these mystery boots. “Oh no.” That was my first reaction. The second reaction was guilt- the sort of guilt that used to overtake me in college when I woke up on a Saturday afternoon at 2 PM after a night of pre-reformulated 4 LOKO. I looked into the box and saw, to my horror, a 6 lb. bag of gummy bears. A hazy memory of thinking about candy mid binge began to materialize. That memory wasn’t an easy one an easy one to get reacquainted with. I was buried deep in my subconscious, but with a little effort I was able to unearth the ugly details. Doing so reminded me that, in all the chaos, I had a moment of coherence. Clarity, even. It was so SO clear that I would be happy if I had gummy bears. In the moment I recalled, (4 slices into a frozen pizza with a queso stain on my shirt), I took out my phone, opened the Amazon app, and placed an order for a 6 lb bag of gummy bears in one swipe of the thumb (see photo below for reference, taken next to my head for scale).
I placed that order on my second night of consecutive binging, knowing that on the fourth night I may very well be in the exact same position.
Tonight is that fourth night. I’m watching a TV show I’ve never seen before and eating some pesto covered noodles. It’s my first real meal of the day, the first ‘fake’ meal being an apple, a banana, and a handful of cashews. I didn’t have a perfect day. I didn’t take perfect care of myself. I do feel a little bit different than I did yesterday, and I think that tomorrow I might even feel a little bit better. I have that feeling that, whenever I come across it, I always intend to hold on to. It’s what reminds me that darkness is temporary and that there is a light to balance the dark.
The blackout is always the lowest point in my bulimia. It feels fair to credit it to a desire to disconnect from my own dysfunction as it occurs when I’m deep in the depths of my bulimic tendencies. It reminds me that I’m not quite ready to run on autopilot when it comes to food, and that I have to pay attention to how I’m feeding myself to avoid a frenzy. So far, I’ve had one handful of gummy bears and haven’t thought about eating past the point of no return. I feel hopeful, and I feel ready to change. I feel as though I can accept my shortcomings, remember them, and use them to do better next time. I’m only human, and sometimes humans end up with a 6 lb bag of gummy bears. Thanks for listening.