Hours have been spent sitting at the kitchen table with a full plate of food before me. Hours of stubbornness, hours of fear. Fear of what? I’m not sure. After eighteen years, I still don’t know. I’m not sure that I’ll ever know.
We hear a lot about eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia are often in the news and tabloids. But are there other kinds of eating disorders? Ones that don’t fit the criteria of the ones already mentioned, but still affect many people each day? I think I have an eating disorder. It doesn’t fit the mold of anorexia, even though that is what a lot of people claim I am. I am a picky eater. Not just a, “Eww vegetables!” kind of picky eater, but one that is scared of food.
I love to eat. I’m a nervous eater. I’m a bored eater. I’m a “I’m-stuffed-but-I-really-want-to-eat-more” eater. However, I could count on my fingers and toes the different kinds of food I like. I love sloppy joes. I won’t touch a hamburger. I love macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese with different shaped noodles—depending on the day, I’ll eat it.
I can’t remember right now who it was, but I remember reading an article by a celebrity whose kids suffered from the same thing—food neophobia. Fear of new food. She found ways to incorporate healthy foods into the “bland” food that her kids liked without them knowing. That would never work for me. I thoroughly check everything that is on my plate before I eat.
It’s not that I don’t want to try the new foods; I just can’t. I’ll convince myself that I’m going to do it—I’m going to eat that piece of turkey. But then I get that piece of turkey on my plate and my hands start shaking. My stomach gets tight and I can’t breathe. Involuntarily, I begin to cry. I can’t do it.
I’ve decided that, when I can afford it, I’m going to take myself to a shrink. I’m tired of the embarrassment that comes along with going out on dates, eating at other people’s houses, claiming I’m not hungry when I’m really starved. Until then, I’ll keep eating my macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and frozen pepperoni pizzas.