Very little can make me realize that this – THIS, being what we are, needing what we need – is not my imagination, quite like the hunger does.
It works like this, you see. For months and months on end, you meet your donor for regular feedings and you get used to feeling completely well and healthy and energetic and you tend to take it for granted. For the lucky ones, feeding can even become something of an inconvenience – you want me to do that again? Now? You even start noticing a little doubt creep into your mind, in the midst of your bliss and contentment, despite what you know from past experiences. Do you really need it? You wonder. Is it just your imagination? And then one week, for a variety of possible reasons, your donor isn’t available. The unthinkable happens – you miss a feed.
For a while, perhaps a few days, you’re okay. Then you run out of gas. It’s like one minute you’re still fine, and the next, a wave of fatigue creeps over your body. Your joints begin to ache and hurt. Old injuries nag. You are so hungry you just want to snack and binge eat… even though you’ve already eaten… and you realize why it is you’re so hungry – and you know that no matter what you eat, it won’t help for THIS hunger. Every movement becomes a major effort. Thinking about ordinary daily tasks you normally accomplish with a shrug and a smile becomes daunting, a challenge. A day or so later the pressure on the chest arrives, and your heart begins to beat irregularly, missing beats and acting as if you’ve just run a marathon and suddenly stopped, your heart is trying to gear back down again. It begins to happen more and more frequently. It might be different for others, but that’s how I experience it – but that’s just after a few days – at least the depression and the paranoia and the neediness hasn’t started yet. You’re aware though that your reality is changing already, becoming grayer and paler, and washed out, the color running away. It won’t be long before you can’t help sinking into it, even though you know WHY it is, and that although you have no reason to be depressed about anything, the feeling is REAL. Thoughts of feeding begin to dominate.
A day or so later, your donor meets with you and you feed, using whatever method you use to feed – and then amazingly, within the space of a few minutes, everything goes back to the way it was before. Like grease oils a squeaky hinge… the pressure, the pain and the fatigue disappears, melts away. And the relief sets in. And then you KNOW, again, that it’s not your imagination. This – what we are, and what we need – is quite real. It’s quite a reminder.