TRIGGER WARNING!!!This is not meant for anyone with an eating disorder to find ideas which you probably already know. I am purposefully not revealing my weight, height, sizes as a precautionary measure. I ask that you do the same in your comments.
I am really ambivalent about writing this post. All week, I’ve been writing about eating disorders for Eating Disorders Awareness Week and have not really used personal examples. Even in my blog and 500 plus posts later, I’ve really never addressed it directly and honestly. I feel like I want to be honest for me and in hopes that others can relate and know that there is help, hope and it is a process…no overnight fix…like any other addiction.
Yet, there is always a part of me that wants to keep my eating disorder and what it entails completely secret and not let anyone in. “I have control of it. I’m okay.” It is about control and many other issues. My gaining 60 pounds last year due to my health problems freaked me out. I felt so out of control with my body and appetite…one medication stimulated my appetite. It was like I just couldn’t stop gaining weight. I hated and still do hate myself for not being able to control my appetite or eating...and for having gained SO much. (Self-hatred is also expressed in an eating disorder...slow suicide or self-harm. Taking care of yourself and loving yourself is all a part of eating. Not eating is my expressing my self-hatred and ambivalence to loving myself and living or dying.)
My therapist and I have talked about that my eating disorder is the first place that I go to when under stress. Grandma’s passing away has kicked it up again. Even before I was getting into trouble. I’ve lost ten pounds and week I weighed myself and I’ve gained some of it back. Immediately, went into what I can and cannot eat mode. I also know that it is a defense mechanism, so that I don’t have to deal with the emotions going on. And, also an indication of my self-hatred and expression of my sexual abuse and more. I didn’t have control then, but I will now just not in a healthy way.
Last year, my therapist and I got into some contentious “arguments” about my eating disorder. I insisted that I couldn’t be diagnosed as anorexic and he disagreed. We went back and forth. And, despite my weight gain and other symptoms, my thought patterns and emotions are the same. So, he kept making me say that “I am anorexic.” Okay, he is right, “I am anorexic.”
My eating disorder basically began with cutting up my food into small bites, eating some, then saying that I wasn’t hungry anymore. I was about 9 or 10 years old. Also, there were some signs before. Starting puberty in Junior High school was okay and I liked the attention that I was receiving from the boys. I also started restricting what I ate and what I would eat.
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Then, in High School, it was like everything stopped about caring about how I looked to others especially boys. My first boyfriend was physically and emotionally abusive and basically just wanted sex. I broke it off when he moved out of state. My second boyfriend only wanted sex and kept pushing me. He broke up with me over the telephone after I told him that I overdosed on Tylenol that day…nice huh. I stopped dating until a couple of years into college, I kept going on dates that were way to physically and sexually aggressive for me…it was three or less dates and I'd say, "bye." Actually, I just stopped returning telephone calls.
During High School, I really started restricting my diet. However, during my last year, I began to gain weight into college and my mother and step-father has a horrible divorce and I moved four times in one year including during finals. Then, I just stopped eating or restricting my diet. At that point, I became underweight and could have been hospitalized. Don’t tell my therapist…I keep denying this point. But, he is right.
Since I had been somewhat overweight, I really liked being able to fit into smaller, cuter clothes and the compliments. I also enjoyed losing weight. I felt good in being able to do so. It felt good to be able to not eat for an entire day and ignore signs of hunger. Eventually, I didn’t have any feelings of being hungry. I also started to calorie count and foods went into good and bad categories. I also began to exercise twice per day.
With the help of therapy, I eventually was able to let go with much resistance. That is such an understatement. What most people don’t understand is that it is an addiction. I always need to be careful. I was doing great for about five years and then my Grandpa passed away and I went spiraling down into depression and into my eating disorder. I entered therapy and my repressed memories surfaced. So, all of my symptoms and defense mechanisms increased.
It can start with seemingly benign thinking, feeling or behaving. For me, whenever, I start to lose weight, I have a goal, but the goal keeps getting lower and lower. Foods become good and bad. I like the feeling of being hungry. And, many other things.
I know that now I am in a little bit of trouble as I am losing weight by restricting or skipping meals. Lying to my husband about what I ate. The garbage disposal is a good thing for me. Becoming anxious at mealtimes and with everything I eat or drink. I’ve become preoccupied with my body, calories, weighing myself everyday and categorizing foods. It really is an addiction…you get that first taste of the endorphins and then you are hooked again. I think of it as I am always in recovery. I will always need to be careful.
Right now, I am quite overweight due to last years health issues and have difficulty knowing or wanting to try other ways of losing weight quickly. (No advice please…often those with eating disorders know more about food than some professionals.) With me right now, as with anyone, it is the willingness to give up the illusion of control and deal with what is emotionally going on. Somedays, I feel like I can tackle this and I want this and then other times, I get into "I don't care what this does to me. I'm going to lose the weight." But it never stops there the bar just keeps lowering. As it does my self-harm and suicidal ideation increases. I also get into a "fuck you" mode..I don't care if I die for this...I want to die anyway.
It is an obsession and an addiction. I feel so good when I lose weight, fit into smaller clothing or am able to go without eating. It is a form of self-harm, self-hatred, a defense and a way to control my emotions. I do want to talk with my therapist just so I can be honest with someone. I am also quite ambivalent because I don’t want to change what I am doing despite the potential problems. I had told my therapist that my realistic goal was to eat something at every meal. But, at this point, that isn’t realistic. What is realistic is for me to eat at least one full meal a day. (This week when I brought this up, he told me that he wanted me to push harder and to eat two meals...I am ambivalent about this as I am with much of my life...Welcome to Borderlineville.)
The irony of this whole thing is that my therapist recently said that he might have me write down a food log for him. I didn’t know that this week was coming up as I had written the posts way in advance. Additionally, wouldn’t you know it, but my psychiatrist spent 20 years with eating disorders as his specialty…I didn’t know that when I started with him. LOL!!! God is looking out for me. Remember there is hope!!! (I need to remind myself of this and to let go.)
Again, this is not meant for anyone with an eating disorder to find ideas which you probably already know. I am purposefully not revealing my weight, height, sizes as a precautionary measure. I ask that you do the same in your comments. If you need assistance, please seek professional help or go to any of the links on my side bar or in the previous posts for this week.