Yesterday, I was on social anxiety overload. We took ds shopping for his birthday downstate to a specialty shop that also had a cafe. Because it is a holiday weekend and because the specialty shop is well-known and right off the highway, it was pretty busy. The store itself was tolerable, if a bit overstimulating in terms of products and lay out. But the cafe was hopping and it was loud and crowded and had food….And I was anxious. While waiting for our food, I finally told dh and ds that we needed to find a place in the outside seating to eat. Which we did and it made things much better for me.
Then in a lapse of, “I can handle it.” We decided to go to another destination store. It was really crowded and busy and by design, crammed full of products, floor to ceiling and table after table, think of the way an old country store would be crammed full of stuff. Yup, it was pretty much a visual assault. And it was crawling with people. By the time we left, I was fried!
There was a woman in the second store who was just emaciated. I passed her several times and had to work hard not to stare at her. Although there are many reasons she could have been that emaciated, I assumed it was anorexia. And I looked at her and sort of pondered…The both of us have the same eating disorder. Clearly, her eating disorder is winning the battle. My eating disorder is putting up a huge fight and is certainly in control of me My PNP asked me the other day if I had a weight goal, a number or something that would be when I decided that I could stop losing weight (it was one of those questions meant to get me to think). I didn’t have an answer. Do I want to be like that woman in the store? Where every bone is defined on my body? Do I want to be a half-step from just withering to nothing and being swept away by the wind? What do I want?
I wonder if people with anorexia are invisible. When you are fat, you are invisible. The bigger you are, the more invisible you are. I know it seems like a contradiction, but people ignore fat people. Men ignore fat women, women avert their eyes, no one sees you.
That emaciated woman….Was she invisible too? I saw her. But at the moment, my ED is wiring me to see such things. But other people…I doubt anyone was going to see her and feel like she was healthy. I probably wasn’t the only person who wanted to stare and yet knew it would be the wrong thing to do. I guess if you look sick enough, you become invisible too.
So, do I want to lose enough weight to become invisible again? Is this what my PNP is getting at? (Or as she asked me recently, am I trying to lose enough weight to kill myself?)
I don’t have answers to these questions, only some ponderings and then more questions.
What does it mean to be invisible?