This isn’t an easy thing to explain, this eating disorder thing. In part because I can’t think of a time except when I was a child when I was completely okay with food. Even then, I remember the comments my family made – the “jokes” and teasing that I “took too seriously” but looking back were pretty hurtful. They called me “thunder thighs,” and other names. And yet I wasn’t fat. I’ve never been fat, really.
In high school, I learned about purging. In college, I became a master at it, and also self-harm. Eventually I picked up tricks – the internet helped – easier ways to purge, better ways to restrict. But it wasn’t the tricks and the treats that followed. That’s not why I did it.
Today I fired my second dietician because she didn’t get it. She didn’t understand that it’s not that I don’t like avocado, or that I don’t understand why my body needs fat – it’s that when I think about eating even a morsel of guacamole, I feel nauseous. Picture a giant bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, so greasy the lard is dripping off of the extra-crispy skin that is more fat and flour than chicken. Pour over that a bucket of oil, and eat it. That’s what eating something that I know has fat in it feels like for me. It’s irrational. I’ve read all of the studies – steady glycemic index, steady fats & proteins = long-term weight loss. BUT I’M SOME STUPID NAMELESS EATING DISORDER THING THAT ISN’T QUITE ANOREXIA because the DSM-V says I have to drop another 14 pounds to be TRULY anorexic. D2, as I’ll call her, was kind of nice, but everything in her office was about thin, fit celebrities. She had a giant scale where you walked in. She had a book of flattened box tops showing brands and was shocked I’d never heard of them, convinced I hadn’t looked hard enough.
It took all of my strength just to listen. And then I tried to explain, but she didn’t get it. I thought that they taught this stuff in dietician school. She’s registered, she has all of the acronyms, she’s well-known. But today I swear she thought that I was absolutely insane. Maybe I am. I’m sick, I know that. I’m sick, and I need help, and I told her what I needed but she stuck to her steady weight loss plan. I think about food all of the time. I analyze fat grams and carbohydrates, fiber – both soluble and insoluble, of course – and now protein content. I have more control over what I eat than any diet she could ever prescribe. Which is exactly what I don’t need.
But D2 did help me – she helped me understand that I need D3. That I need someone who gets ED. Who knows the tricks and is smarter than me or ED combined. I need to give someone the decision-making power over what I eat because right now, thinking about food is killing me. It sucks up so much of my emotional energy, so much of my brain CPU that I can’t compute. I cannot function, and I only keep going because I have these amazing, incredible boys who need a mom and didn’t ask for ED. I try not to think about it. I try to just put one foot in front of the other, to take my meds, and just keep going.
When I left, I told D2 that it wasn’t her, it was me, and that’s sort of true. But what stays with me is not how good I felt after I fired her, but the look of revulsion as she started to get ED, it, and me a little bit. When I told her that if I had my way, I’d have a feeding tube inserted into my stomach so I never had to eat again. Because eating for me – it’s that painful, and it’s that much work.