Anger is not something that many people associate with me and a lot of the time anger is not an emotion that I feel and if I do, I do not feel it intensely. However there is this type of anger that comes along with anorexia, it’s different to any anger I have ever felt before and so I have appropriately named it ‘anorexia anger’.
The other day I experienced ‘anorexia anger’ and the only way that made it bearable was to write it down and know that when the feelings had passed, I would be able to share it and hopefully help another person through the horrific way I was feeling. I was sat in group therapy and we were given a box of raisins for mindful eating, we were expected to eat three of them. I have never managed to eat the food in mindful eating but I thought I might be able to do it, raisins are small, easy to eat and feel safe in my mind.
We had to mindfully look at the box and I saw the smiling face on the cartoon raisin and it made me angry, it’s stupid smile patronising me whilst I was sat in an eating disorder group and expected to eat. I turned the box around holding it through my sleeve, too scared to even touch the packaging when I noticed two words, two words which had the power to destroy my whole day. ‘Sunflower Oil’. I wanted to throw the box partly out of fear and partly out of anger but I sat there and breathed trying to gain control over my ‘anorexia anger’.
We were asked to open the box and I didn’t, I couldn’t. I sat there frozen, full of fear and anxiety along with self-hatred and disappointment. I had missed the step of opening the box and I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to eat them. Had the staff noticed I wasn’t doing it? Were they going to say anything? I didn’t want anyone to know I wasn’t okay. I’m meant to be strong, I meant to be inspiring forgoodnessake. The anger overwhelmed me, it rose up from the tips of my toes, up my calves, through my stomach and upwards on my cheeks. I wanted to scream, shout and throw things but I couldn’t. Look normal. Look calm. Breathe.
I sat hunched up, quiet, snappy. I didn’t want to be in the room. I was so flipping angry and I didn’t know what to do with the anger. I speed walked home, stomping my feet to the beat of the music, I could feel the tears I was holding back bouncing in my eyes. I speed walked past my street, I was too angry to go home, too angry for the quietness of my house. I walked more and more until the anger had calmed slightly.
I walked in the front door, threw my boots off and opened the cupboard. “DON’T BINGE, DON’T BINGE, THE GRANOLA IS MAKING YOU FAT” my mind screamed at me as I internally screamed “SHUT UP” back at it. I got the box of granola out, I’d only had one bowl. I weighed it, worked out the calories and binned the lot. I wasn’t allowed it anymore. Other things had a lick, or an almost bite and then got binned. I was so angry at food, I was angry at my eating disorder. I was angry at everyone because they didn’t understand that this isn’t a choice, this is my prison. My nightmare that I can’t wake up from.
The anger had nowhere to go, I wanted to hurt myself, to purge, I wanted to do whatever I could to get it out of my system. This unbearable feeling that felt completely out of control and totally terrified me. The feeling that had the power to destroy me. That turned me into a monster and made me want to smash and throw everything. The terrifying and out of character ‘anorexia anger’. It did disappear, I went out and met a friend and continued my day and it went. ‘Anorexia anger’ is the worst feeling I ever feel but this proved to me that it isn’t forever, it does disappear and it doesn’t have to lead to destructive behaviours.