In which I am melodramatic, but truthful
It’s negative 6 degrees Celsius out there. I verified this by the thermometer on the Sopher Real Estate billboard outside. It’s negative 6 degrees Celsius, but I couldn’t have guessed this just by standing outside. My innards felt warm.
And I wanted to weep, because I knew then that I would be all right, that 2009 – the lost year – was over.
Understand that the past 12 months have been spent in a haze of cold, infertility, cognitive dissonance, and increasing despair. And this all started out as – well, we don’t say diet anymore, do we? A healthy lifestyle choice. A “Paleo”, “Evolutionary”, “Primal” lifestyle choice, which included a dash of intermittent fasting. I still believe, with a caveat, that these are the evolutionarily correct pathways to health and fitness.
The caveat is this: my daily experience on the regime, the incessant cold and intolerance to cold, the amenorrhea, the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior, the bingeing, the purging, the depression. These are all classic and recognizable symptoms of starvation. What got to me most was the cold. In Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, Marya Hornbacher writes, “I wish I could find words to explain what this kind of cold is like-the cold that has somehow gotten in underneath your skin and is getting colder and colder inside you. It isn’t an outside sort of cold; it’s a cold that gets into your bones and into your blood and it feels like your heart itself is beating out the cold in hard little bursts through your entire body.” And it is, it is. It’s the feeling that your internal organs have turned into ice. People tell you to put on a sweater, but how can that help the cold lives in the very core of your belly?
The thing is that I knew all of this. But I was getting, according to fitday.com and its ilk, plenty of calories and nutrition for my height and weight. My bloodwork was stellar and even called “textbook” by a lab tech. Even still, it seems to me that you can be getting plenty of almost everything, but if you fail to obtain enough of any one essential nutrient, you can in fact be malnourished enough to have a starvation response.
It took a year of trying everything and jumping through bureaucratic hoops. (Did you know that insurance companies can take months to recognize that they cover you if you have a hyphenated name? Did you know that naturopaths can’t order bloodwork for NY state residents? Now you do.) But I think I’ve finally identified the nutrients that I, personally, was deficient in. And I’m finally getting better. I finally have hope.