I’ve struggled with food and my relationship to weight for most of my adult life—gaining, losing, wanting to eat, always wanting to eat—no matter the occasion. I’ve consumed when sad, happy, alone or with others. Food has soothed and comforted in a way little else could. Eating or not eating, dieting or not dieting—I’ve always done one or the other and often in the extreme.
However, adding mental illness to this equation complicates the dynamic even further—especially when one takes antipsychotic drugs which stimulate the appetite, slow the metabolism, and, as my doctor put it, “increase body mass”—
—Never a positive combination, but an especially negative one for a woman obsessed with being thin, but equally obsessed with sourcing her next meal.
I’m fortunate never to have developed overtly disordered eating, but in 1989, when I began taking anti-psychotic drugs—specifically, Stellazine and Navane—the struggle intensified, as I was perpetually hungry—appetite personified.
I wrote the following poem, describing my struggle:
i am in the kitchen
trying not to
at the base of the mouth
where the tongue
(or not attached)
at the bottom
How would you characterize your relationship to food, to hunger, to appetite? Do you articulate who you are and how you feel about yourself in terms of what you eat or don’t eat?