You can read Part 2 of my Eating Disorder Series here.
Or to start at the beginning, here.
Trigger Warning: I have kept specific numbers, weights and behaviours to a minimum in these posts. However, some people may still find the following posts triggering. Comments are open, so I would ask readers to please use the same judgement when leaving comments and please omit information which may be triggering to others. Thank you.
My mobile phone rang and I recognised the number right away; it was one of the therapists I’d been seeing. This particular therapist performed colonic irrigation treatments. I’d started these trendy treatments the year before and they’d become a huge part of my addictive cycle. My polluted mind had decided they provided a clean slate when things went ‘wrong’ during and between diets.
A reputable therapist will not perform the number of treatments I received at the intervals I received them. To grace this person with the title ‘therapist’ is doing an injustice to those who place their clients’ health ahead of their own pocket. But at the time, I believed she was some kind of guru. To my mind, I’d found a therapist who would do exactly what I wanted—as long as the money was rolling in.
The reason for her call was she’d heard about a new diet. She knew how desperate I was to get control of my diabetes and all the many difficulties it brought with it. She’d been treating someone who had mentioned a ‘miracle diet’. She said it could be the answer to all my prayers and she was sure it would either cure me completely or at the very least, ameliorate my condition to a tolerable level.
Back then, the possibility of curing myself with diet seemed completely plausible. I agreed to go with her to meet this person after my next appointment.
The day finally arrived and I was so excited. All I could think about was the meeting after my colonic.
If someone was trying to send me a sign not to go, they couldn’t have been much clearer than what happened next.
The therapist had decided a coffee enema was a great idea to end my session. It was obvious she had no training, nor had she performed this on anyone else. I was, to all intents and purposes, her guinea-pig. I was young, naive and too trusting by far. She spent the entire session selling the benefits of this wonder treatment which, of course, came with a price tag attached.
The effect of this coffee enema was how I imagine taking Class A drugs would feel, without any of the up-side. I was completely paralysed and couldn’t muster the energy to speak. I experienced intense nausea, my heart was racing and I was dizzy to the point of eventual fainting. I was soaked in sweat and within minutes I was vomiting in her bathroom. She said perhaps coffee was too strong a choice for my delicate constitution or I was a stimulant sensitive type. Either way, the blame lay firmly with me.
All I cared about was we were late for our meeting.
After an hour and a half of vomiting and sipping water, I summoned the will to stand up. I’d already insisted she call ahead to apologise and make sure we could still go along. I’d waited all week for this and I wasn't about to miss out.
I won’t go into any details here and thankfully, this is not a diet anyone could just stumble across in the bookstore. Up until this point, I’d been following mainstream books but this was something entirely different. Whole foods groups were vilified. And by vilified I mean it was deemed sinful to consider certain foods as fit for human consumption.
I had to buy expensive items before I could even think about getting started. It was like a seriously screwed up religion and to support it, there was an underground community.
I wanted in on the diet cult and I wanted in now. I wanted to meet other people with diabetes who had already honed the diet. I wanted to sprint to catch them up - they had a head start on me in curing this disease and I wasn’t about to let them reach the finish line without me.
I couldn’t sleep that night; whether it was the coffee or the excitement of a diet which could actually cure me of this wretched condition, I will never know.
The quack therapist had liberally poured petrol on the flames of what was already a raging wildfire.
I quickly adopted this new extreme diet and it spurred the following 4 years of my eating disorder. It eventually led me to even more strict subcategories which seem unfathomable to me now.
And it led me to other people who were caught up in the same addictive cycles. People I later had to burn bridges with to distance myself from dangerous places and stop them from dragging me back there.
I haven’t talked labels yet. I haven’t mentioned anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa or diabulimia or purging disorder—and there’s a reason for this. I promise to touch on this in a post of its own.
The next chapter of my story focuses on the trauma of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). I suffered this not once but twice, due to my self-imposed restrictions, in an ironic attempt to improve my control of type one diabetes. DKA is a life threatening condition for someone with diabetes. Please look it up if you’re not sure how or why it occurs.
Given how severe my dietary constraints were, the next chapter was an inevitable part of my journey through hell.