I don’t often talk about my eating disorder because for the last several years, it’s been dormant. Please notice I did NOT say that it was fixed or gone or cured. Personally, I think an Eating Disorder is comparable to any addiction – it takes a minute-by-minute commitment to manage. Again, notice I didn’t use the word “control” – if I try to control my ED, it tries to control me. That’s what is happening right now.
I won’t go into the nitty gritty of my ED (but, if you want to “talk” more, I’m available and willing to be as open as you need*). But, you do need a bit of background just to read this blog. While we didn’t know the term anorexia when I was in 9th grade, that’s what I had. Entering high school I soon understood that I was “larger” than my peer group. (I was a size 9 – isn’t it ridiculous that that was unacceptable?) …. So I stopped eating. I ate no breakfast, for lunch I ate a bag of M&Ms and I ate only enough dinner that my mother didn’t comment.
ght. ** Then, at the age of 20, still a size 0, I became pregnant. My ED went wild – in the other direction – I ate, ate, ate and had this wonderful built-in excuse. I gained almost 100 pounds.
My son was born 31-years ago and I still vacillate between gorging/binging and anorexia. I’ve never tried the bulimia route but I won’t deny that I’ve thought about it. But, my fear of vomiting always wins.
Five years ago, my physical health became my priority. I became – and still am – an exercise nut. I became a healthy-eating fanatic – but not in a disordered way – I didn’t avoid foods or get anxious about food. I just spent the time and effort necessary to create healthy meals 80% of the time. I lost 60# and felt “good” about my physical body for the first time since 9th grade.
For the five years, I thought I had this beast under control or at least tamed. MY MISTAKE. And, yes, I know we never ever fully have our addictions tamed ... still ....
When I was a child, every Christmas, I loved watching the cartoons – Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Grinch. One of these cartoons had the Abominable Snowman – remember him? That’s how I picture my ED now. Right this very second he is standing behind me – a shadow that I can’t shake – and roaring. In the last year, I’ve lost my focus on healthy eating – at some point, I stepped on to the slippery slope and just kept slipping down.
Today, food is my enemy again. I’ve gained 15# and nothing I try to do seems to “stick”. I’m confused on how to eat. Or maybe that’s not right, I am very clear on what I need to do get my focus back on health – but I will NOT do it. As a matter of fact, my ED is so loud, so aggressive that I intentionally, willfully stuff myself with every bad choice available. I believe there is no “bad” food – but my “NEED” for sugar and wings and fries and brownies and scones – is bad.
Tomorrow, I have meeting with a dietitian that my therapist recommended and that a friend who also struggles with ED trusts. It’s this meeting that woke the snowman. He is roaring so loudly that my body is actually trembling. This meeting – or the awakened snowman --- has me eating everything in site, to the point of nausea. I know I have to make some changes – I genuinely want to be healthy, to give my body and brain the best chance to live a long, fun, active life. My Abominable Snowman does not want to be controlled, or silenced or even managed.
I’m scared this dietitian will tell me what to do and I’m equally scared she won’t tell me what to do. One will cause me to rebel. The other will keep me floundering around. I can’t figure out exactly what I want – when I have rules, I work to fight them. When I don’t have rules, I lose focus and become out-of-control.
Either way, I feel doomed to my inner critic. My inner critic is having a field day beating me to death. Want a peak at her voice: You know what to do; you’re just too lazy. You aren’t ever going to have this managed, so give up and eat. You have no self-discipline, never have. You are wasting your time and $ - again – because there is something broken inside you. You won’t be able to make changes – you’re too spoiled. Even if you do eat right for a few weeks, we’ll be back here soon enough so why even try. You won’t make any changes – I won’t let you.
What if I can’t get back on track? What if I keep sliding down the slippery slope – because we can always dig deeper, can’t we? What if I go all the way backwards?
This is what my ED looks like – this is her voice. And damn, she’s loud! She’s already planning her “last meal” and her “first meal” – her last meal before we start rules again and her first meal when we give up.
Many of you want to tell me to ACCEPT myself as I am – to love my body as it is. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. I know the pretty words. I know the advice I’d give you. But this snowman is huge – loud – mean!!
One thing I will be doing is sending this blog to the dietitian so she knows I’m bringing a large creature with me to our appointment.
In Rudolph, the Abominable Snowman is actually a sympathetic creature who just needs some attention – I wonder if that’s true for my personal snowman??
Wish me luck!
*If you think I should be more open/detailed about my ED in a blog, please let me know. I am NOT embarrassed or ashamed of my ED and I will flay myself open if it will help someone – just let me know.
**You all know that I’m struggling with my relationship with the Godiverse. One area where I KNOW there is a GOD and that She was looking out for me is the area of alcohol. My family tree is littered with alcoholics and I was working my way that direction as fast as a bottle would carry me. Then, BAM!, Acid Reflux lands. For me, it was impossible to drink due to pain and vomiting. I believe GOD gave me this acid reflux because that was the only way I would stop drinking.
If I want my ED/Abominable Snowman to come out and talk, I have to reframe him as something a) not scary, b) not mean. I need to see this part of me in a sympathetic/empathetic way -- got any suggestions???
I read the first chapter of the following book and was astounded at her work with "other" -- as I've mentioned in previous blogs. This book is now on its way to me. I'll let you know if it helps and how it helps.
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....