Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Tying it Up - The Need to Starve.

There is a twisted irony in the fact that whilst I have worked so damn hard to eliminate 'need' (a word not in my vocabulary, remember?) I have developed a need strong enough to kill me.

In my first post I wrote about the concept of needing, and how it causes such pain and such disgust in me, and I realise, in many others.
I later realised that without thinking, I had not acknowledged that not all needs inspire such a strong reaction in me, and I got to thinking that not all needs are equal.
In the last post then, I wrote about Maslow... about the fact that his hierarchical structure identifies and prioritises five different needs which, when met, culminate in self actualisation.
(Others have added an additional layer to the triangle, a top section which identifies the need, once self actualised, to trascend oneself, but I would argue that the notion of self actualisation somehow incorporates a degree of transcendance. That, or it completely nullifies the need to transcend.
It's not my intention to debate the neccessity of adding tiers to Maslow's work but it provides a (somewhat welcome) avoidance.

I have this thing where I start out trying to write something and I encounter such a magnetic resistance to it that my brain actually starts to disconnect (dissocation, I realise).


Forcing the wires to connect...

At some point in the last two years, a tiny bomb went off inside me.

Looking back now, I think it had been in me for a long time and though Iknow I searched for it, the search was hampered by the fact that I couldn't always hear it ticking, and I didn't really know what it looked like, this thing I was blindly trying to locate.

In keeping with either the contained nature of the bomb itself, or the steely numbness of the container it was in, I didn't even really notice when it went off.

A controlled exposion perhaps.

It was only later that I realised something had changed. I still can't find a moment.

What had changed was my way of managing feelings. (Okay... okay... I learned that was what it was about in therapy).

I had, unwittingly I think, walked straight into the easily stretched jaws of an eating problem which may or may not be defined as Anorexia (and you can't hear me but I am wailing, "I'm too old to be Anorexic! I'm too old!")

My sister (who I intend to leave out of this post, honestly I do) was born right at the entrance of that gaping mouth. Now, God knows how many years later, I seem to have landed there.

Actually, as I type, I am aware that I have been tiptoeing up to that cavernous mouth for years on and off. I have run in and out like a child testing its bravery, testing whether mum and dad will still be there if they dare to go into the cave.

It was when I stopped smoking that I suddenly found myself inside.
Which is weird, isn't it?

So. This is my figuring. And I'm no expert.

I think that when I stopped smoking a big thing happened in me.

And this is where it somehow gets tied together but bear wth me because my brain is tryingto slide.

Years of depression wasted certain parts of my insides. Even killed a part of me (and for all the 'oh but I want to believe the world is ultimately a sunny place' people out there, that will be a line that they will want to jump on and slap dismissively as they shake their critical heads).

It is impossible to write about the depths of the depression, or to say just what it stole from me - again, a topic that my brain goes to great lengths to stop me articulating -

Part of the darkness was an inherent knowledge that I would die before I gave up smoking. I never, ever really believed that I had any willpower... I had repeatedly chanted to myself that I couldn't do it, that I was hopeless at self denial and that I was weak and needy.

Ashamed and disgusted by the inability to say "no" to myself, a spiral of need and denial, self harm and self hatred took over.

I stopped smoking in February 2008.

With that came the realisation that I could execise self discipline and that it was possible to have power over my self. To CONTROL.
I could control the shameful needs I had.
I could control everything if I could just teach myself not to need anything.
(Insert inner child theories in here. I can't).

So. If I can deny myself food I can teach myself not to need anything.

I will train myself to be grateful for the absolute minimum.

I will silence the need, whatever it is, by starving it.

This was a part of it.

I'm wondering whether I should slit this post in two.

It's very long.
But then, so is the history behind all this.

Oh for the gift of writing succinctly.

When I had spent a fair amount of time just tucked between the lip and the sharp teeth of this mouth, and I was reassured that the mouth wasn't moving/shutting etc, I moved further in.

What I didn't quite notice was that at some point, the mouth swallowed.

It's hard to describe the fear and desperation in here but it is perhaps true to say that those feelings exist in completely overwhelming proportions on the outside of this prison.


  1. There was a dy many years back where I wnated to die. Where I was seeking death. However in the very last moment I hesitated. Since then I try all to become healthy. Since then I managed to need. I learned to exchange negative or no - none needs for healthy needs. the depth od depression lifted enough to see a bit positive. Just a tiny bit. We survivors have such energy and endurance, strength and I for myself have decided to use even more energy to turn my life around. I am still in the process and I always will be work in progress but now my life is mostly good. I know all of us have a different way to go. I wish you find the way which helps you to find what is complementing you. Sorry cnat find a better word in English. BTW. this picture with the wall. During therapy I had many nights waking to a picture of a bleeding wall. It was my breakthrough actually. Love you

  2. I today am not the best to talk of healthy needs.I do know we can survive much more than we believe is humanly possibility.

  3. hit the nail on the head...I had a severe eating disorder in HS...(think--collapsing in front of the entire student body, severe...which ironically wasn't as embarassing as the thought of being over 100lbs. to be at the'd prolly shrivel and die from embarassment)
    Anyhow. I hear ya.