There’s this amazing mom-blogger that I read even though I would not wear 90% of what she does and fashion blogs are not a healthy place for AnaMias to hang out, no? I read her blog because she gets what it’s like to be a mom, to love your kids like crazy, to feel a little crazy, and to act a little crazy. Then last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer. And in between posts about skinny jeans and hairbands there were posts about losing breasts and hiding baldness. Instead of cocktails with her friends, she wrote about chemo cocktail hour at the hospital. And now, thankfully, she is cancer-free.
I bring this up because while I am not a fashion blogger (nor do I wish to be) and I don’t have cancer, I got my biopsy results this morning. And at age 43, for the second time in my life I found myself waiting for the news that hopefully some of my cells haven’t gone all wacky on me. I thought I’d feel relief but instead I feel numb. Continue reading
Long before I ever started therapy, I struggled with an overwhelming sense of shame. On the surface, I was ashamed that I had to resort to purging to handle my issues with food, and that sometimes I had to hit or hurt myself to feel better. I felt terrible and weak that I did these things, so much so that I only told one person about my self-harm, a then-BF I dated in college. He later figured out the purging when we went to a mexican restaurant and I came back from the bathroom with a flushed face. Ironically, he was angry that I had “wasted” the food (I didn’t – it was delicious, which is why I ate it and then purged it) and never expressed concern about my purging, or even how I’d been lying to him the entire time. Continue reading
I saw T today – not my usual day, but she’s going on vacation (grr – happy for her, not happy for me, but whatever). We were talking about how I amazingly went to three parties this weekend and didn’t purge, largely because I planned ahead on stress (I ran) and food (I tried to eat before and after but that didn’t go as swimmingly as I’d hoped). But I didn’t purge. *bow and clap*
She got that look on her face – you know the look. Not judgmental, because that doesn’t work with me. Not scolding… just…. curious. And so she carefully asked me why I didn’t get around to eating after yesterday’s party even though I’d barely eaten all day. And I had some lame comments but not really excuses… until I said in frustration that I’m tired of having to plan my food all of the time. I wish I could just have an IV hooked to my body and never have to eat. That earned me the double-eyebrow-raise. And T doesn’t do that often. Continue reading
Recovery is weird. I expected it to be two steps forward, one step back – but always moving forward. After all, I’m doing the work – I’m seeing my therapist every week, my nutritionist most weeks, my psychiatrist every 3 months. I take my meds for sleep, my meds for depression, my meds for anxiety, my vitamins for my deficiencies. I’m trying not to overwhelm myself, taking time for myself, exercising more frequently, getting sunlight, writing in my journal, trying to stick to my meal plans… What else is there? Did I cover all of the mandatory “recovery bases?”
So I’m on target, on track – right? All should be good with the world as I battle my demons. I feel like I’m Lara Croft, fighting off some giant serpent. But instead of slaying my dragons, I stumble. I have days where I can’t think about anything other than purging. I have days where I feel high because I forgot to eat and I think – wow, this is amazing! I can not eat and feel fantastic! Of course I feel like I’m going to pass out, but at least I’m thin! Woohoo! And I have days where I pull over in my car and cut my arm in nice neat slashes so it looks like I fell and skinned my arm and no one except T will know. If I tell her. Continue reading
T says that it takes seven minutes for the urge to pass. Seven minutes. I look at the clock, 9:14 and I think all I have to do is make it to 9:21 and I will be ok. Like a computer, my mind starts to analyze the possibilities, every stream, every branch to look for an opportunity. I could go for a run but it would take me more than seven minutes to get ready and the wet heavy fog that is pervading the city today is not what I want to run in. I could run but it is late at night and if I get attacked then my love would know and I would have to go to the hospital and People would know, and that cannot be. A minute ticks by, and the anxiety in my stomach grows. I can feel every bite, every calorie, every fat gram that I ate in my perfectly reasonable and healthy meal but to my haunted stomach, it does not feel reasonable or healthy. It feels foreign and the urge rises up within me and I need to find other options. Continue reading
One of the great misconceptions about EDs is that we all are where we are because of (fill in the blank): society’s expectation of women, thin models and actresses, girls expected to mature far too young, processed food, thinspiration, sex, our drive for success… I’m sure you could add at least ten more things to that list. The reality is that when I’m awake at 12:45 in the morning and thinking about food instead of sleep, and realizing that tomorrow it will be harder to control food because I can’t sleep, and cursing the Ambien for not working, the only society I blame is the Society of Me.
Oh, this is a big topic. It’s pretty much a requirement that if you write about an ED, you have to address Control. Everyone under the sun says that EDs are a response to a need for control in one area of our lives. I get it, I really do. I’ve read the books, I’ve seen the videos, I’ve heard the mantras. “Let go and let God,” or “You only lose what you cling to,” or a billion or so other quotes and phrases. I am a control freak, a perfectionist, an overachiever. I love control. I live for control. I love to track everything I do, from fitness to food to steps. I adore charts and all sorts of metrics and trend analyses.
I love the movie Mr. Mom. Yes, it’s an old movie and it’s dated, but it’s fun and harmless. There’s a great scene where the dad accidentally vacuums up the little boy’s blankie, which he calls his woobie. All sorts of things happen to his woobie – it gets smaller and smaller until finally the boy and his dad agree it’s time to let his woobie go. Sort of like in Peanuts with Linus’s blanket, but Linus is much tougher.
Through the work that I’ve done with T & D, I’ve given up a lot of woobies. I’ve stopped purging (mostly), I’ve tried to stop self-harming (eh), I’m trying not to eviscerate myself whenever I make a mistake, and I’ve started talking about my ED and my depression with a select few friends and my husband. With my team’s encouragement, I also gave up tracking my food and my online membership with Weight Watchers. I also gave up counting and calculating WW points.
One of the hardest things about having an ED is the lies you tell your family, your friends, coworkers/fellow students, medical professionals, and of course, yourself. I’m just at the point where I’m telling a few close friends – and I think this is hilarious, given I’ve had ED with me in some form or another for almost 30 years. Each lie is different. With friends, it’s pretty easy. “I have a sensitive stomach,” or “I have food allergies,” or everyone’s favorite, “I just ate.” Coworkers don’t really care unless they’re nosy, in which case I’m not going to tell them anyway because they probably gossip. Doctors are tricky. For years I haven’t told most of my medical providers, in part because some members of my family see the same docs (e.g. my MIL, husband, and I all see the same dentist). While I’m fairly confident the doc wouldn’t betray my trust, I have zero confidence in the people who staff the office. One little slip and I’d pay for it forever.
When I tried to think of a name for this blog, I thought about various denigrating names for recovery, but then dismissed them as rather one-sided. After all, I’m hoping recovery is a good thing. At least, everyone tells me it is, and that it’s worth the hell I’m currently in. I came up with the blog name when I realized that I’d gotten to the point one afternoon before going out to run errands when I had to pack a lunch bag with various “safe” foods so that I would eat something moderately decent so I could avoid the freaking-out-from-hunger-but-there’s-nothing-safe drama, and as I’m picking foods that my dietician and I had agreed on, I sat there counting Triscuits and wondering if a broken Triscuit counted as half or a third of one cracker. In a way, it was brilliant. I had come up with my own one-question quiz to see if you have an eating disorder:
Question: Have you ever spent twenty minutes debating whether a broken tasteless cracker should be rounded up to the nearest whole cracker?