One step away from crazy

I haven’t felt up to doing much today. A sewing project was abandoned – I was making a Russian Doll keyring but became too frustrated when I constantly dropped the needle and lost control of the thread – and I’m feeling too spaced-out to watch the usual few episodes of House or read. Sleep is an appealing prospect, but I’ve come so far in sorting out my sleeping patterns and I don’t want to ruin it now. So I spent some time reading Nicole’s blog, and came across a post called “I freaked out on the Starbucks girl“.

“what the f*ck!” i screamed.  jamming on my gas pedal, driving in reverse, i returned to the window.

me: “excuse me, but i tasted SUGAR in my beverage.”

barista: “yes, it’s an iced coffee.”

me: “i’m sorry, i don’t understand your response.”

she repeated the original response.

me: “if a person orders a BLACK iced coffee, then what does that mean?”

barista: “it means without cream.”

me: “is sugar black?”

barista: “no, it’s white.”

me: “then how does this drink reflect my order of BLACK?”

barista: “well, it’s just syrup.”

at this point, i’m freaking out in my head.  *i drank syrup?!  it’s not even pure cane sugar?!  i need to vomit.  oh my god.  no, wait, i don’t do that anymore.*

It struck a painful chord with me. Both anorexia and bulimia turned me into a horrible person, and in some respects I think that’s the most cruel aspect of an eating disorder. Lack of essential nutrients, anxiety and the pure terror of calories you hadn’t factored into your day can flip a switch which, for want of a better term, let’s call the Crazy Trigger.

Even though I consider myself to be treading the fine line between ED and being okay, I still have that Crazy Trigger, and I despise it. I hate it because it brings a feeling of total loss of control. I hate it because it drives people away, because who would believe that somebody can freak out over a few grains of sugar or a tiny bit of butter? I do. Sometimes I do, even though I’m no longer as bad as I used to be.

When my anorexia was at its height (at the age of thirteen), I turned into a total monster. I went from a quiet, shy, timid girl, to a raging monster with no self-control or shame. I’d scream at innocent bystanders holding sandwiches (why should they get to eat and not get fat?) and threaten violence against the poor food sample lady in Tesco, convinced she was part of some bizarre conspiracy to make me gain weight. Although I no longer abuse innocent people in the street, I still shout at my mother sometimes if she makes a comment like, “have you eaten anything today?” or, “that pie needs eating before it goes out of date”. The Crazy Trigger slips into the front of my mind, unnoticed and sneaky, and starts pushing everybody away with threats and curses. It’s a part of myself I truly despise, and although I’ve beaten it somewhat into submission, sometimes I just seem unable to control myself at all. And that scares me more than anything.

Today, my mother asked if I was going to eat anything. A simple question, an entirely innocent one… yet it set off a chain of events in my head.

If I eat… will she judge me? Will other people judge me? Am I just faking this fear? If I don’t eat, she’ll think I’m crazy and lock me away again. Oh god, what do I do? Do I eat? Maybe just a sandwich? That’ll be okay. Why am I worrying about this? I’m fat anyway.

Sometimes I suspect that no matter how much I feel okay with myself, I’ll always be one step away from crazy.

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  1. I never had an experience with classical ED, although avoiding insulin for a year so that I’d lose weight seems to qualify in some ways. None of us likes to feel out-of-control, so I can certainly relate to your feelings there. And I’m really not one to say this next, as I have had such a problem with it myself, but…setting aside the anorexia and bulimia for just a moment, are you robbing yourself of the chance to be more peaceful by being so hard on yourself? Just a question, and I don’t mean in any way to make light of your emotions. You would likely not be so critical of someone else’s problems — maybe it’s time to lighten up on yourself, too. This won’t change the food/weight thing right away, but you may find some peace. XOXO


  2. You should judge yourself so harshly because the thoughts you have in your head aren’t a reflection of what other people see in you. It’s better to accept who you are and enjoy what life has to offer you. You gotta speak positive even though it’s easier said than done. If you keep seeing sugar in everything you see…then doesn’t that make life sweet…but then I think sugar is better than bitter lemons in my book. It’s how you see things that count. When you see something in a negative perspective I challenge you to think the opposite of what your think and see how your emotions will change after thinking opposite of the negative. stay blessed hun. :D


  3. The root of the “crazy trigger” seems to be the fear of being judged by others….
    “If I eat… will she judge me? Will other people judge me? Am I just faking this fear? If I don’t eat, she’ll think I’m crazy and lock me away again…”
    Don’t worry about what others think and try doing only what you really want (assuming there is no harm done to others) for a little bit. Feel the freedom in that lifestyle and I promise you will never worry about what someone thinks ever, ever again!


  4. the fear of disappointing and hurting others because of the inner monster is something that keeps me distanced from developing close relationships. those who are close to me are close only at arm’s length. it’s nice to have people who are okay with that version of me, knowing that one day i can freak out and one day i can be the princess extraordinaire. embracing objectivism has allowed me to accept that part about me, and it’s allowed my mind to be freer with each passing day. i think you are brilliant, and you’re clearly growing more distanced from the craziness, although it will probably, in my opinion, always exist. your article is indicative of that growth. could you have written such a thing when you were in the wraths of bulimia? i know that i couldn’t have written my starbucks article back then. sir edmund and i liked reading this very well written post very much. the shotgun is a perfect representation of “trigger,” effectively placed amongst your words. thank you for writing this, and thank you for recognising my starbucks episode in a light that could help others to feel less alone with their monsters. xxx


  5. I believe we’re all just a step away from crazy at some point in our lives. And that each time we see the crazy thoughts for what they are, it takes us one step closer to being sane. You recognized the chain reaction of thoughts! That’s a great sign. Try to not beat yourself up about having the crazy thoughts. I think anyone that’s honest will admit they have crazy thoughts sometimes. I know I do!


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  7. Hey. Checking in on you. All I can say is I can relate. I hate eating with other people I’m always self concious about it. I have to say to myself (in my head of course, not everybody needs to know I have the crazy.) That person at the next table does not care how much you eat. (Unless of course they are the restraunt owner.) I say to myself, that person doesn’t even know you exist. I remind myself that everyone has to eat. It’s okay to eat. It is.

    A wise woman once told me “What other people think of you, is none of your business.”


  8. That you SEE how your mind is working is what makes you “not (really) crazy” …………. baring your soul like you do, reveals too much courage to be lost to “crazy”.

    The day will come where you will no longer despise this part of yourself; you will just SEE it, accept that it is there, & go on …………. (Tibetan word for being caught in hating like this: shenpa)


  9. I hope that writing all this down and getting it out is helping you. You really seem like to great a person to suffer so much. I think everyone has a “crazy trigger”. Just works different in each of us. Even I flip out because I don’t feel good and somebody asking me to do something. I assume they should already know I’m not able to do it. Than I have to catch myself. Only person know how I truly feel is me. Calm down. Pain and fatigue make me angry. I hurt now but no one knows how much but me.


  10. It is not true that you are one step away from crazy, unless you choose to be. It’s a battle, in a way, but… you are making your choices every day, one by one, about who you want to be.

    So ask yourself: who do you want to be? then be that.

    Have you read “Conversations with God”? A majorly awesome book.


  11. There is no way that the intelligent, girl that I have been reading is one step away from crazy. Not that intelligence or lack of it has anything to do with craziness. You care about your life or you would not be writing. But it just hurts so bad to deal with pain, and you may not think so but you are doing the best job you can. No one can know what you really go through, but I do believe that better things are in your future. I am cheering for YOU!


    • What an awesome comment Terri left you. I am backing Terri and cheering you on as well. Can you just think of us as your devoted rally squad, rallying you on towards better moments if not days?
      She is right Luv, you have come this far maybe even through or because of your writing. Please don’t give up on yourself. We are not giving up on you!


  12. First of all, I am at this very minute sitting at STARBUCKS! Your posts make me laugh and cry at the same time. I hate when people make comments about my eating habits. I am very open about them, especially since I didn’t really chose this disorder. But it still gets tiresome, and sometimes awkward. Like last night I ate over a friend of a friends house. I was just happy I ate most of my meal. Afterwards I said I was going to have a cigarette even though my friend didn’t want one. I made a comment about absolutely needing one after eating so much. She was like, “Yeah, I guess that was a lot, TO YOU.” The friend of a friend isn’t really up to date on my problems and for a moment I was embarrassed instead of proud that I ate what was on my plate.


  13. I totally understand the crazy trigger. It doesn’t just go with disordered eating, it goes with hormones, over-tiredness and stress too (at least in my experience).

    As others have said, you’re thinking about what you’re thinking and why you’re thinking it, which to me looks like you’re working through the tangle of your brain. If only untangling the mind was as easy as untangling a dropped ball of yarn!


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