Once again, I’m living the fevered existence of the under-nourished. Everything has a faint, unstable quiver of anxiety about it, like the sets of a cheap 70s sci-fi series – Blake 7, or something. Or perhaps it’s like the aqueous uncertainty of an underwater existence, where the brain’s anxious squid-ink blooms and diffuses through the water, making things even more murky. “Hell is murky”…
I’m not as writing-focussed or as driven as I was. Instead, I’m formlessly apprehensive and doomy. Again. I’m also becoming increasingly and unfairly volatile with the children. I tell myself they’ll recognise and forgive this as simply my flustered inability to cope, but this is putting so much unfair pressure on them to be mature. They’re only kids.
I’m unsure what I can do about all this. I’ve reached a dangerously comfortable accommodation with my anorexia, with reassuring rhythms of daytime hunger, leading to a satisfyingly large, though highly restricted, pay-off tea (mainly yummy breads).
Among many other advantages, this probably helps me to cope with, and not be able to feel, the impact and significance of, external crises. In Britain, where I live, Spring was characterised by clear signs of climate distress: spasms of unseasonal freezing weather followed by equally unprecedented heatwaves, that totally wrong-footed farmers and destroy all our food crops. I’m sure you noticed this, but nobody else seems to have placed much significance on it.
Apart from massive, un-noticed and unchecked, climate damage, there’s the looming economic and social carnage that Brexit has yet to unleash (the trade war with the U.S. that Brexit has left us horribly vulnerable to, for a start); an American president whose ego-centric stupidity and incompetence borders on actual insanity; the Syrian crisis; the sudden return of the far-right and its alarming normalisation; sabre-rattling stand-offs with a psychotic Russia or truculent Iran…You know all this, yourselves.
Curiously, though, the reasons why we anorexics do this to ourselves are not so simple or so explicit, are they? There’s something much more primitive and compulsive that drives us on. It’s difficult to properly isolate and define, conceptually, and this allows a monitoring, controlling compulsion to exercise a slight but constant pressure on our psyches that is ultimately much more potent than a sudden flight from grim reality, and grows in potency as its hold tightens. My condition, at least, is not directly an act of furious, self-loathing violence, or a suicidal act of self-negation. My own experience is that the explicit anguish felt by anorexics is as much a symptom of starvation as it is a demonstration of the sub-conscious state that drives our behaviours.
Then again, I’m returning to the notion that there is no anorexic type. We share a fundamentally similar brain chemistry and thus tend to use the same toolbox of behaviours for a variety of reasons. In my case, it appears to be a sort of anxiety-consolidation technique, as I’ve said before. I have substituted one easily resolvable problem, daily assuage-able hunger, for all the terrors, frustrations, humiliations and disappointments that beset the human animal.