Getting ED. Getting it. Getting me.

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.

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8 thoughts on “Getting ED. Getting it. Getting me.

  1. I’m so sorry that your dietician was not the one for you. I almost wrote therapist. Honestly. I know I’m new here and just meeting you but sometimes that can be more of what one needs. Or a combo – can you get a combo to work with you?

    I want you to get the support you need. And yes. D2 showed you that she wasn’t the one and you need someone else. You need someone who will say, honestly, “Eff the DSM-V.”

    And I AM a therapist. So I shouldn’t say that. But to some extent I would.

    I found you on NaBloPoMo. And I’m so glad I did.

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    • Thanks Ace – I don’t know what it is about my obsession with the DSM. I think it goes back to feeling as though I wasn’t really sick unless I had a documented, evidential illness (strep throat, stomach bug – but only with vomiting, high fever). If I just felt crappy, I wasn’t really sick.

      I wonder if it even matters what type of ED I have, and why I care. Is it justification for getting help? I don’t know.

      Very glad you found me as well – hope you keep reading!

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  2. I so get this. I remember having such anxiety in the dietician’s office. I swear I would promise myself to be normal. She would start listing off foods…the darn lipids, the carbs…all these exchanges and numbers…I thought I would die. I would have such a headache.
    In order to get better I know I need to just eat. My hubby helped me to eat a bit more fat by telling me over and over and over that if I eat 200 cals of something that it doesn’t matter what it is…it’s still 200 cals. Also the studies on the brain, dementia, etc…that we need fat. I’m not saying I eat much fat, just what helps. I also only have about 8 foods I eat…I eat the same thing every day to make my life easier…no thought involved. No counting cals…nothing…the same thing day in and day out. It’s simple and I’m maintaining…I have been out of danger for months so it must be kind of okay.

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    • ambivalencegirl – I completely connect with what you’re saying. Intellectually, I get it. But actually eating it is really hard. Having the meal plan once I figure it out I think will help. I need some space between me and food thoughts. When I went on antidepressants, my shrink told me that it would give me space between the symptoms and my thoughts. And it has to a certain extent. I’m hoping the meal plan does the same. It sounds like it worked for you. How were you able to trust it? I still have to enter everything in MyFitnessPal.

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      • I wish I could tell you I trusted a meal plan but I have never had one except for the week I had in day treatment. I don’t do any kind of traditional treatment now and it seems to be working better. I’m not focused on calories and never count. I ditched MFP over a year ago because I was way to obsessive with that. My kids would tease me because if I couldn’t scan it I wouldn’t eat it. So I just buy five foods…bananas, yogurt, big baked potatoes, and mozzarella blend cheese. Occasionally I eat frozen yogurt, apples, and air popped popcorn. I can eat most any meat including steak. I can eat a bit of salad. And I can maybe do a plain kind of wrap. So I appear normal if I have to go out because that covers most anything. And by keeping things simple I avoid binges. I’ll branch out as I work through the trauma crap but for now this is good.

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  3. MFP is a crutch that I need to give up but I can’t just yet. I measure, I weigh because I have to know. I need data, I need to KNOW that I will not get fat, that I’m controlling my food. My issue (ha – one of my issues) was and continues to be that I eat only about 20 foods. But there are foods I’d eat a few weeks ago (like almonds) that I struggle with now. G

    Thank you for sharing what’s worked for you – I’m so glad that you’re getting yourself stable, and will think of you (and pray for you, if you don’t mind)

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