There was a time, a long, long time ago, when snacks were bad. We were told not to snack between meals, to sit down and eat a full balanced meal. And God forbid you should eat something past seven o’clock. Five minutes on the lips, five inches on the hips. I can’t tell you the number of times I lay in bed thinking about food, thinking about what I ate, and what I didn’t, and wondering why if I was eating healthy foods and active, I still had “thunder thighs,” hips, a butt, and no boobs. I was a flat, puffy pear, and my family didn’t hesitate to point this out to me. I was an athlete, I played 2-3 varsity sports a year, I swam and biked in the summer, and yet I didn’t look like the other girls at school. Granted, I ate crap whenever I could, especially french fries and sugary cereal (which I was never allowed to eat at home). But I also ran about 2-3 miles a day and practiced for a few hours at competitive sports.
Sophomore or Junior year – I don’t remember which – I found out that many of those pretty girls had a secret. I asked a friend about why there were so many girls lined up outside of the infirmary on Wednesdays. She told me that it was Weigh-In Wednesday, when all of the girls who were diagnosed with EDs had to show they were maintaining their weight or be sent home.
I’ve wondered about that. Did they put weights in their pockets and fill up with water? Were they weighed naked? In front of people? And why make them come at once? Is my memory daft, and I’m just making this up? (I don’t think so but you never know). It was shortly after that moment that I started purging. Not really binging – I’d eat my usual french fries with mayo and Tab for lunch and then purge afterward, right before soccer practice. It was my little afternoon delight. And I was so clever – so clever – no one knew. I didn’t know. I thought if I was careful, if I only purged now and then, if I didn’t binge first, then I wasn’t bulimic.
It wasn’t until I was trying to get pregnant with my son and I’d stopped purging (I knew that was a bad idea when getting pregnant – I’m not an imbecile) that my therapist at the time pointed out that I was bulimic. Huh. I honestly never thought of myself that way. I’d watched the after school movies on eating disorders, I remembered when Karen Carpenter died, and I always thought that if I just controlled it – if I was careful – if I didn’t tell anyone – and if I didn’t over do – it didn’t really count.
After I had my son (and my second son too), I was recovered, or so I thought. Looking back now, I realize that I had graduated from an ED to just disordered eating. That really, for most of my life, I’ve hated how I looked and obsessed about food.
Today I asked T for an official diagnosis, but I knew she wouldn’t tell me. She dodged and weaved, but eventually she came out with closer to the Anorexic side of EDNOS rather than the Bulimic side, with purging tendencies. Humph. In a very weird competitive way, I wanted to just be anorexic. EDNOS sounds so… fake. Like it’s not a real eating disorder. Yet part of me is so proud that no one knows what battles I go through, what battles I still go through.
Tomorrow I meet D3 – and I’m hoping that she gets it. That she gets me. I’ve got a good T – and the right T for me now. Though part of me thinks I need to graduate to a full-fledged ED T. My T has worked with EDs before, and did her fellowship or whatever in ED, but she’s told me that she isn’t part of a practice for EDs. My new T is part of a pretty well-known ED practice. Which feels weird to me. Like I’m one step too close to “official” treatment.
I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I’m just trying to get through the day. And now I have to go downstairs and have a damned snack. I don’t want one, I don’t want to eat, but I have to. Stupid Diet. Stupid Dietician. Stupid ED.