For the past month, Daniel and I have been staying with my parents as we wait to close on our house. The last time I stayed here for an extended period of time was in 2012, just after Daniel and I had broken up, and I was writing my memoir. I was really struggling with depression then, and I look back on that whole period of time as very dark, intensely painful—and full of binge eating. I’m in a much better place emotionally now, but oddly enough, since being here I feel that slight pull to the dark side…to binge eat. It’s like I’m being triggered by the physical location, accessing memories of those binges and re-feeling lots of my old cravings.
The more I’ve thought about this, the more I realize how common a feeling/phenomenon this is for me. There are some places where I just feel a little more unsteady, and others where my footing is solid. When I lived in Seattle, my lifestyle was, on the whole, very healthy and active. And maybe because of that, every time I’ve gone back to visit, I’ve felt strong and confident. On the other end of the spectrum, when I go back to Amherst, where I went to college and essentially ate my heart out for a few years, I feel the pull of my old favorite food spots, and all my old bad habits. It’s clearer to me now that my thoughts and even behavior can be affected by my memories and experiences of a particular place.
Have you experienced something similar or is this yet another of my neuroses?