It’s here. The next episode.
The elevator doors opened, and I rode it down into that familiar darkness. Time to see how the training, and planning, and digging in play out when all the rules change, and I turn from Jekyll to Hyde.
I felt the change start on Friday while I did my laundry. I’d identified my mom’s house as an eating trigger already, so I had a plan. While my clothes sudsed, I’d get my bike out of the garage and ride around town. I even brought a little tire pump in case the tires were flat. They were. And the pump didn’t work. I put the bike away, went back into the house, and saw the Fiddle Faddle. The rest was a blur of food.
I broke the surface occasionally during my feeding frenzy. I told myself, “You don’t have to do this” as I reached for the container of cookies in the freezer. But, that voice was wee and far. In retrospect, I had choices. I could have taken a walk or gotten in my car—anything to get away from the house. But, those weren’t choices then. They would have been inconceivable.
I drove from Mom’s straight to another trigger house where I lived with my friends for two and a half years while I was at my worst. Whenever I visit, I feel the shades of those years gather around me. I feel that other me wanting to rise up. When my friends go out of town, I take care of Gracie, their dog. Again, I had a plan on how to dodge the ghosts. Instead of “keeping Gracie company” I’d let her outside, take her for a walk, check her food and water, then get out. No hanging around with the big screen TV and the pantry full of trigger food. Uh uh. Get in, take care of business, get out.
All plans flew out of my head when I walked in the back door. All the old behaviors reared up and took over. Yesterday, I even brought over my own food to try to keep the ghosts at bay. They just turned out to be appetizers.
Even while I berated myself for being possessed, I could still watch with curiosity. I watched how the exhaustion inherent in depression seemed to grease the compulsion’s skids. I watched how all the self-talk that worked while I was stable made not a dent in the compulsion now. I watched as the compulsion suddenly stopped, the frenzy ended, and I quit eating. The good news was that in my own apartment, I didn’t feel the compulsion to eat. At least for the time being, “that house is clean.”
Curiosity and information will lead to different strategies. It seems clear I need to stay away from these haunted houses for the time being. Perhaps I need to do my laundry at the laundromat this summer. Maybe I can’t take care of Gracie for a while. The eating rituals that have developed in these houses need to be broken and the ghosts exorcised. That will be my homework.
In the meantime, I have one more day with Gracie. Once again, I’ll try to stick to business and get out of the house before the specters find me, before depression and compulsion conjure phantoms too strong to escape.
I’m on an Adventure.