It all started about two years ago, when nausea became my constant companion. At first, I cut out sugar, Splenda and turned to the BRAT diet for my unrelenting diarrhea. Two years of struggling daily with these symptoms, recording food diaries and not finding any patterns have given me what I call “food trauma.”
These days, everything I eat gives me severe nausea and diarrhea. I’ve cut out all sugars, carbohydrates, and can no longer eat raw foods. Yet, I still have four or five bouts of diarrhea a day and battle 24-hour a day nausea.
At the doctor last week, I learned about my nonalcoholic fatty liver and was told that it was dangerous for me to keep taking the anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medication, as well as the medicine for the GI cramping. Now, I suffer in silence and the only relief from my symptoms is meditation, relaxation, CBT and visualization.
I should be gland that I have no appetite or food cravings and the thought of eating sends me into a severe panic attack. Nightmares about eating plague the little sleep I get. Rather, than feeling free from the terrible burden of food, I grieve and mourn. Will I ever enjoy food again.
It’s a great irony that I am a fat woman who hates food, and all the doctor appointments about my weight just add to the food trauma. During my battles to convince myself to eat, I can cite the doctors who threaten me with surgery if I don’t lose weight. The doctors want me to starve myself. Maybe if I don’t eat anything, I will finally lose weight, I think. If losing weight is the only way to “earn” the treatment that will make me more comfortable, then why should I force myself to eat.
This is the point, logic steps in. If you don’t eat you die, my brain says. So, I get off the couch, dump soup in a pan and heat it on the stove. Sobbing uncontrollably, I choke it down and set my alarm for three hours. That’s when I have to eat again to prevent hypoglycemia, mood swings and heart palpitations.
Now, thanksgiving is in two days. I don’t even want to go.
On the one hand, I won’t be tempted. I can freely watch people eat sugary desserts, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls, and not feel a pang of desire for pumpkin pie. Most people might call that progress, but I grieve for the days that I could eat a candy bar and enjoy the taste. I want to be able to enjoy eating again, but it is too late.
All I have left are memories. I daydream about eating pizza, sundaes, and drinking diet soda. I try to remember what they tasted like and how pleasurable eating them were.
The the worst part of my food trauma is that my steady diet of soups, jello, sugar free pudding and water as my only beverage hasn’t led to weight loss. It hasn’t improved my malnutrition or my constant dehydration (baths and showers improve my dehydration because I have thin skin, a symptom of severe menopause).
My stubborn weight won’t budge at 220 pounds, but my size 42 pants fall off my shrinking butt, and my baggy underwear no longer stay up.
I’m still fa, and the doctors never tire of threatening me with weight loss surgery. My therapist laughs when I talk about food trauma. Fat people don’t get food trauma, he believes. I would argue, but what’s the use.
Would anyone treat a 220 pound woman who claims to have anorexia? Probably not.
(P.S. There are no pictures, because I can only find skinny women crying as they eat.)