Conversations with Myself – Part 1
Welcome to the 1st post in a series that I’m going to call Conversations with Myself: where we will explore the sub-personalities residing inside the mind of one C.M. Gibson, a 36-year-old who’s spent half her life trying to figure out what to do now that she’s grown up, and unsuccessfully battling an eating disorder that makes her feel ashamed, worthless, and infantile. It’s a dark and sometimes frightening world. Ladies & gentlemen, buckle in.
The Food Indulgers
The food indulger is part of every person struggling with food addiction. It comes in many forms, each with their own special way of getting us to eat more – and more – and more – particularly of those foods that we know are not good for us.
The food indulger comes in many forms. There is the loving mother form, who steps in to take care of you in the only way she knows how: with food. There’s the impulsive child, who sees something she wants and grabs it without thinking – though she might repent of it, afterwards; she just can’t help herself. The rebel, who chafes at any kind of restriction. The seductive rationalizer, who whispers convincing arguments in your ear, somehow leading you to believe that eating an entire pizza on your own is actually a reasonable idea.
And then, there is the oblivionator. Today, we’re going to sit down and have a chat with this most dangerous of sub-personalities. The one who has the power to wipe out entire weeks, months, even years, into – you guessed it – oblivion.
Alright. I’m here. I’m ready to talk.
-waits several seconds-
You don’t want to talk to me.
What do you mean? I’m here. I want to talk.
No. You don’t. You don’t want to talk to me. You don’t even like me. You hate me.
-taken seriously by surprise – takes a moment to form response-
No, I don’t hate you.
Don’t lie to me.
-swallows nervously at the obvious resentment-
Ok. I’m sorry. It’s just – that is not what I expected. I’m sorry. I won’t lie. Why do you think I hate you?
I can see what you’re thinking. You think I steal from you. You look back on the wasted years of your life, and you think I took them. You’re trying to blame everything on me. When all I was trying to do was help you. Because you couldn’t handle it.
I’m sorry. You’re right. I shouldn’t have done that.
Then why did you?
I don’t know. I suppose – it’s just easier having someone else to blame. Someone who isn’t me.
But I am you.
You don’t want me to be a part of you. I’m inconvenient. I don’t fit in with your picture of yourself. You want to separate yourself from me. To do away with me.
Yes. I want that.
You think that. You say that. But you need me.
-takes a moment to decide how to respond to this – don’t argue – let her speak-
Why do I need you?
-expects anger – expects blame – more justified resentment-
Because! This world is too much for you. It’s too hard. It’s harsh and cruel and it expects too much of us. Day after day, year after year. How long have we been working? We keep trying to be good enough. But we never will be. It will never end. I can see my whole life stretched out before me: and it’s drudgery, from beginning to end. There’s no peace. No rest. No solitude. And it scares me. I can’t handle this. You can’t handle this. You need a break. You need to just – disappear – for a while.
Yes. Disappear. You know what I’m capable of. You think about it, sometimes. I’ve never resorted to that, though. I know it would be wrong. If these other things – these distractions – can help, are they so wrong? Aren’t they serving a better purpose?
Ok. You’re right. Sometimes, I do want to disappear.
Yes. You do.
But I have reasons to live.
I never said you didn’t. Of course you do. I don’t want to take that away from you. I just – I want to help you get through it, that’s all. Sometimes, it’s all just too much. It’s not your fault, you just aren’t that strong. You feel things so deeply – they cut right into you, like a knife. I can feel it. You’re so scared. You have no idea what you’re doing. You have too many things to do, and so little time. You’re overwhelmed. You feel like your head is going to explode.
So you put me to sleep.
Not exactly. But it’s similar to that. I’m an analgesic. I take away the pain.
So that I don’t have to feel it.
Yes. For trying.
I didn’t know what else to do. You hurt so much. I couldn’t stand it.
You were trying your best.
Didn’t it help? All I wanted was to help.
I know that. And yes, you did help, in a way. But like a drug. You offer me something that feels good – that numbs the pain – for a while; but it wears off. The pain comes back. And then I need even more of that drug to take the feeling away again. Eventually, the drug stops working altogether. It can’t keep the pain away forever.
You’re saying I’m not good enough.
I’m saying that I’ve been irresponsible. I’ve taken this offer of oblivion from you, knowing that I shouldn’t. I might not have always known how destructive it would be, but I know now. I can’t use food to escape my problems. That’s not what it was made for. Not like this.
So you’re going to stop?
It’s going to hurt. You’re going to feel it again – all of it. All the pain. With nothing to protect you.
Pain is a part of life. I have to accept that.
Why? Why should you accept that? Why should you have to bear it all alone? It’s not fair. It’s not right.
I’m not alone. I have you.
But you don’t want me.
I don’t want to drown my feelings in food. that doesn’t mean I don’t want your help.
What can I do?
Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know what else you do. But you seem to want to help me.
That’s all I ever wanted to do.
Maybe you can help warn me. When things are getting to be too much. When I need to take a break. And we can figure out something – there have to be other things I can do. Chocolate can’t be the answer to everything.
Can it be the answer to some things?
Sorry, no. I should have worded that better.
So we can’t have chocolate again. Ever.
I’m sorry. It was one of my favourites, too.
-The oblivionator is thinking. I can feel her. She’s calm. She’s out of her comfort zone, but she’s trying to adapt. It’s a challenge for her. Something she hasn’t been asked, before. But I’m surprised by her tenacity. She works on this problem for several minutes.-
Ok. We don’t need chocolate.
No. We never really needed chocolate. Or pizza. We used them because they were easy. And because we didn’t know better. If you say it’s bad for us, then I believe you. And you’re right – they don’t taste as good as they used to. I can think of something else.
Are you sure?
We have books, don’t we? You have stories to write, don’t you?
I have friends.
You sound very sure.
And you’re not sure you can trust me.
It’s just – this is asking a lot. I’m changing your whole job description, here.
Not really. I’m here to help you deal with the things that you can’t handle on your own. I’m still going to do that. But I’m going to do better. I’m going to give you things that make you strong.
-thinking about this – it sounds a little too good to be true – a little too comfortable – I can feel the resistance-
Yes. I think I’m going to have to have a conversation with someone else, though.
Not tonight. You’re too tired. It’s time for a walk.
You’re right. Tomorrow.