A Day in the Life With My Depression, Anxiety and Eating Disorder

It is 2 a.m. My insomnia kicks in. I’m awake, bright-eyed, busy-tailed. The dog is snoring softly. Why can’t I be asleep like her? I think.

I proceed to turn over my phone because I know sleep won’t overcome me for at least another hour. It is indeed around 2. I get out of the warm covers and walk to turn on the light. Water? Snacks? What can I do to make my mind tired again? I turn on the iPad and begin to re-watch the same Food Network show I have seen countless times.

It is 6 a.m. I somehow fell asleep again, after who knows how long. The lights are still on. I probably forgot they were on in the first place. Time to tackle the day. But first, I want to snuggle with the dog a little, just a minute longer. My depression and anxiety are telling me to hide under the covers, to hide out just a little longer and maybe, I will fall asleep again and forget about the day. I fight these voices because I know I need to take the dog for a walk, to let the brisk air hit my cheeks, to walk
the mile to work and start experiments for the day.

It is probably almost 7:30 a.m. by the time I make it to work. I sit down at my desk and stare off into space. What do I need to do today? When can I go downstairs for coffee? Do I have enough creamer left? I’ve skimped on breakfast, knowing this will come back and haunt me later in the day in the form of more calories eaten than not. It bothers me, but I can’t be consumed by my eating disorder right now. My main focus is getting started. How can I go about my day and be productive? More importantly, how can I go about my day and hide my true feelings?

It is 11 a.m. Time for lunch. Let’s look at how many calories I can get away with. 100? 200? What will fill me up just enough but not too much? Overeating makes me incredibly uncomfortable and body focused, something I don’t want while at work. The morning was already filled with snacking and drinking coffee with creamer and feeling faint and dizzy (not completely related to not eating). I get occupied with thoughts of getting fat, being lazy, not running, eating too much during lunch, and I forget to enjoy the meal I am currently having. Well, if you can even call it a meal.

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

It is probably 3 or 4 p.m. Time to start wrapping up the day. Did I update my lab notebook? Did I put all my reagents away? Did I finish everything I intended on doing?

Time to venture out in the cold again. I’m bundled up. My mind has wandered to dinner. I don’t think of what I want to eat. I think of how many calories what I want to eat has in it. What option has the least amount of calories? My mind is consumed.

My day begins to wind down. I get home and walk the dog again. This time, we go on a moderate length walk; this morning it was a quick, short one. She takes her time sniffing the snow and where other dogs have left their mark. She gets cold and starts to hop. I pick her up and we begin to walk home, snuggled together against the cold wind that’s blowing.

It is dinner time. I struggle to enjoy my food.

It is time to call it a night. The dog is fed and warm. I’m barely hanging on. Yet I made it through another day. That’s all that matters at this point.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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