Eating disorders are secret affairs. We carefully, so carefully, hide them for decades, from everyone. They are shut up and shut out, closeted demons.
Today, I stumbled upon some skeletons in the literal closets.
We have a large house with lots of bathrooms, and I only occasionally use some of them—the guest powder room downstairs, the spare bath way off to one wing of the house. But this afternoon, I was tidying some odds and ends and found myself peeing and then needing to replace the toilet paper in one of these. So, I opened the cupboard above the toilet, and there it all was: the Clorox wipes, the bottle of bowl cleaner and brush.
Now, these are not surprise items to find stored above a toilet. But, my jaw clenched a little and I knew that they are there—in every single bathroom in our home—because bulimia is messy. They’re there because sometimes (always) purging is violent and untidy, and a Clorox wipe is handy for a quick swipe around the bowl rim, with the bonus of leaving the room smelling clean and fresh.
Anyone else would open these cupboards and think that I’m just prepared, that it makes sense to keep cleaning supplies in the room you’re cleaning. But, it doesn’t, really. Our housekeeper doesn’t even use them—she brings her own and totes them from room to room. These Clorox wipes haven’t been touched in the 72 days I’ve been recovering.
We haven’t lived in this home that long—maybe a year and a half. Those of us with long ED histories know the story well: I’m not going to engage in this behavior in the new home. New house, new me! And then: OK, just this ONE bathroom. That’s it. I’m not going to let my disorder have them all!
And then one day, there are brushes and bleach in all the bathrooms.