Lately, eating has become an arduous chore for me. No, I do not hate food, I am not on a diet, and I definitely do not have an eating disorder. In fact, I have a pretty big appetite, believe carbohydrates run the world, and often feel hungry. But recently, I have noticed that I do not desire food, nor am I able to eat much of it. Guilt and depression are to blame. Here’s why.
For starters, did you know that hunger is the biggest killer in the world? According to a global nutrition report, malnutrition is the number one cause of death on a worldwide scale. This is nothing new – things have always been this way. But how many people in positions of power care?
To reiterate, more people die of hunger than of coronavirus or any other disease.
But the former only affects those who are poor, so the powerful and the media don’t care enough. I don’t know what’s worse: knowing that world hunger could be eliminated if more of us cared about inequality or the fact that more and more people are going to bed on growling stomachs due to the pandemic.
In my own country, India, I know of marginalized people who are barely getting two square meals a day. It’s hard to imagine hordes of starved people without feeling personally responsible. Basic human decency demands that one feels pain for every single being who is unable to feed themselves. As a person with a savior complex, intense guilt issues, and an inborn incapacity to tolerate hunger, the level of pain is amplified to an unbearable degree. The fact that I am currently not in a position to financially help those in need is the final straw.
Trust me, if I had the means, I would personally distribute daily bread to the poor. Sadly, as of now, I am just another freelance writer doing whatever it takes to stay afloat. The only thing I can do right now is punish myself.
My mind has responded to the hunger pandemic–which is not only global but is all set to double–by making me averse to food.
The result is that for every meal, I eat as little as I can, no matter how hungry I am. The gnawing pain in my stomach throughout the day makes me feel somewhat better. It’s no substitution for donating rations or money to the needy, but I can at least look myself in the eye owing to this watered-down version of shared misery. Ever since I have seen this video of a man competing with stray dogs over milk spilled on the street, it seems like there is no going back.
With the way things are rapidly going apocalypse-ey, maybe training my body to make do with fewer calories isn’t such a silly idea after all.
But of course, I know that I cannot continue to mistreat my body like this for long. Eventually, I will figure out how I can combat my guilt and depression to ensure I get adequate nutrition. But until then, I will continue to grieve and offer solidarity in the only way I can.
And of course, when things are a little better for me financially, give as many rations as I can to everyone, especially the young, the old, and expecting mothers. In times like now, where almost everybody is struggling, we need to look out for each other and help in any way possible. Read this and tell me you are not troubled:
Food may or may not disgust you, but if you have the resources to help out the starving, please ensure they live without enduring hunger pangs on a daily basis.
Hunger has always been the worst disease in the world, and the only one that can be cured simply by being kind and giving. Once this pandemic is behind us, each one of us will know in our hearts whether we did what we could do to retain our humanity. The famous may be held publicly accountable and shamed or applauded accordingly, but honestly, being able to look yourself in the eye is only possible when you know you have tried your best. Others’ opinions will always come second.