Tag Archives: binge-eating

I Just Don’t Think It’s That Simple

Today it was painful to be alive.  Every fiber of my being was uncomfortable; I couldn’t stand the weight of my body today.  It hung on me.  I felt it in my jeans and felt every bite in my stomach.  If you think I’m being dramatic, I’m not; this is how I experience things sometimes, as someone in recovery from an eating disorder.   Ask someone else you know who’s in recovery from one.

I have days like this.  Bad days.  Days when I envision myself swinging into a binge cycle again.  Days when I envision swinging into a restrictive cycle as a result of the aforementioned binge cycle.  And I went into recovery ten (!!) years ago.  Sad and destructive?  Hardly.  Realistic, I think.  Given the other comorbid diagnoses I’ve dealt with.

I’ve talked about the “once you’ve recovered, you’ve recovered!” camp for a long time.  The people who claimed they had a “lightbulb” moment and never turned back, never put their body down again, never consulted with ED once more.  OK, being a bit (a bit) more humble now, I’ll bite (no pun intended): I bet there are a select few who’ve had this experience.  Perhaps the same amount who’ve married someone they’ve never fought with, or who had a mind-numbing spiritual experience and never craved a drink again.  But for most of us bozos on the bus, I just don’t think it’s that simple.

(Speaking of that, I really wanted to drink today.  But I didn’t.  Whoop de frickin da.)

For most of us, we wake up and don’t have time to meditate for twenty perfect minutes, and no, we weren’t going to wake up twenty minutes earlier, because we were up tossing and turning/up with our kids and needed that extra 20.  For most of us, we’re shot out of a cannon when our kid peels our eyelids open with their fingers/when our cat meows in our face.  We then head downstairs to find cat puke right in front of the bathroom doorway, and in between reaching for the bathroom cleaner, silently bemoan the fact that we still owe 25,000 in student loans and will never be able to afford a house – now, now we are judging ourselves for not being mindful and worrying senselessly, and our daughter is yelling for the TV to be turned on, that ever-destructive-causer-of-doom TV, and we’re reminding her to use her manners.  And that’s only the first 5 minutes.

That is how most of us go through our day.  Well, you’ll have to excuse me.  That’s how I go through it; I can’t speak for all of you.

That’s why, when I hear people speak of “never turning back” on recovery and being “free of ED”, I am skeptical.  Did never turning back account for those six weeks post-birth when you couldn’t exercise because your body was healing and your mind when nuts because of it?  No, it didn’t.  And did being “free of ED” chide you relentlessly when you decided to restrict your eating when your father died because it was the only way you could cope?  Yes, it did, because wasn’t I supposed to do this recovery thing perfectly?  And here I was, nine years in, having a small relapse?

Being perfect at recovery doesn’t work for me because being perfect was the essence of my life-killing eating disorder.

It’s important that I can screw up at this thing, and know that it’s still ok.  That it doesn’t mean this time I lose my job because I’m too weak; that it just means I go to more meetings and therapy.  I think, unfortunately, this is a chronic disease, and that’s not marketable in the field of recovery.  It’s not marketable to say, “You’re going to deal with a little of this for the rest of your life.”  But that’s how addiction is.  You have to keep an eye on it.  It’s always in wait.

And keeping an eye on myself everyday?  Is that a tedious thing?  No, it’s actually a beautiful, heartbreaking and staggering undertaking that has only served to better me as a person.  I’ve heard people in self-help meetings claim they are grateful for their addiction, and I jive with that.  The things I’ve discovered about myself due to this journey.  And, I think it’s really healthy and humble when one can name all the parts of themselves.  The addict, the fighter, the daughter, the singer, the crier, the writer.  To dismiss one part of yourself, even a dark part, would be doing a disservice to yourself.

Don’t get me wrong; I hope to God I wake up tomorrow and magically have the hypomanic get-up-and-go that I usually have; I hope I go for a run and get those wonderful ol’ endorphins rushing.  I wish I could have someone else’s brain.  But I don’t.  I have an eating disorder and I can’t drink and I have depression.  The grace in all of this, the marker that tells me that I’m growing, is that I now know this too shall pass.  I didn’t always know that.  And that’s a gift that didn’t magically appear to me one day.  It came to me after years of hard work on myself that really wasn’t all that simple.

keepcalm

Do You Want Your Blog Linked On Mine?

Hey all!

 

I’m looking to link a bunch of Recovery Blogs on my “Links” page.  I’m all for the ED Recovery community connecting and supporting each other.  So, if you want your link on my page, you should meet only a few requirements:

1.  Have a pro-recovery blog (no pro-ana or mia sites, please)

2.  On this blog entry, submit your blog URL.  I will post it!

3.  Comment on another blog that’s  linked on my “Links” page.

 

That’s it…link up my friends!

 

 

F%$#ed up. Period.

Who’s happier?

I realized something recently.

You know that weight I dropped after delivering Fiona?  The freakish amount I blogged about in a previous entry?  The weight loss that everyone commented on positively?

I hadn’t weighed that little since I was sick.  I only knew this because I fit into clothes I hadn’t dared to try on since then, such as dresses I couldn’t let go of for sentimental reasons.

So, what that comes down to is –

Everyone told me I looked good at the weight I don’t get my period at.

Now THAT is fucked up.

*****

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t judge the people who complimented me – I blame society.  There were several times in history when Rubenesque women were believed to be the highest standard of beauty.  We forget that, in this angular, both-ends-of-the-extreme, carb-obsessed world we live in.

So, if we are to take my personal example, society endorses a woman’s beauty when she is at the weight where she is unable to reproduce.

Is this is end of feminism?

No, really – what this says to me is that we are rejecting a woman when she is healthy enough to do the thing most unique and miraculous about being a woman (in some opinions); bearing children.

And if you want to take it a step further, society is rejecting reproduction, thus, the end of society.

You may laugh, you may think my analysis overdone, but I know better.

*****

I once heard at a self-help group, “When I look the best on the outside I’m usually doing the worst on the inside.”  How true.

When I am not eating, or conversely binging on pastries, when I am not exercising because I’m stressed out by motherhood, when I am forgetting to take my vitamins because I’ve let my self-care go to shit, when I am not connecting to people and isolating, that is when people tell me I look good.  Is it the circles under my eyes that make me look sexier?  Is it the way my clothes droop off me because none of them fit me anymore? Is it the fact that I don’t get my period and am basically androgynous now? Or is it my hair that’s falling out at a rapid clip?  Tell me which one.

When I am taking my vitamins, eating my daily breakfast of peanut butter oatmeal to keep my cholesterol down, when I am eating three meals and three snacks a day, when I am exercising regularly – that is when nobody comments on my weight because it is simply and humbly normal, a weight that rests between bone-thin and overweight.  It doesn’t look spectacular in a swimsuit, but it doesn’t look half bad in an evening gown either.  It’s so in-between it’s almost mundane.  Maybe that’s what our problem is.  We’re all afraid of not standing out, of being just another worker among workers.  We don’t have the courage to be normal.

Now that’s fucked up.  Period.

(Image provided by Google Images)

Is Obesity an Eating Disorder?

One of the best things about this blog are the comments and questions I get from my intelligent and insightful friends.  Recently, a friend of mine sent me the following question via Facebook:

“eating disorder awareness week: does this include obesity?…given that it at least appears to be an eating disorder, as well as the impact it has on American health and well-being, i thought it might qualify…………”

So, is it?

Currently, the DSM-IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, aka the therapist’s bible) lists 4 eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Rumination Disorder (a disorder I actually was completely unaware existed and involves regurgitation in infants and young children) and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (otherwise known as ED-NOS; this is diagnosed when an individual meets some of the criteria for both Anorexia and Bulimia but does not meet all the criteria for one or the other.  I was diagnosed with this.) 

The fifth edition of the DSM, which is coming out in 2013, is considering making Binge-Eating Disorder a separate diagnostic entity.  So, to answer my friend’s question, it is being considered an eating disorder, if one assumes that binge-eating is the precursor to obesity.

And to shock the pants off of all of you, I have an opinion about this.

When my friend first proposed this question, I immediately became very protective and defensive of eating disorders as separate from obesity (hello?! terminal uniqueness.).  I shot from the hip with the response that obesity is touted in the spotlight constantly as “bad, disgusting and ugly”, while stick-thin celebrities, models and athletes promote an image we are supposed to lust after.  One extreme (thinness) is idolized while another(obesity) is frowned upon.  That’s fucked up, because eating pickles and fresca daily can stop your heart quicker than years of binge-eating can.  So, shouldn’t we, as a society, categorize mental illness as a pattern of behaviors that mirror an unhealthy balance in society that society itself can’t recognize?  (In other words, it can recognize obesity is bad, but cannot recognize being too thin as unhealthy.  Thus, disordered.)

But, don’t I argue that this is a society of extremes, of all-or-nothing thinking?  By that token, either extreme should be unhealthy, and perhaps considered a mental illness.  One can drown their sorrows one of many ways – by starving themselves until they are a being that has no needs or emotions, by regurgitating unneeded feelings, or by bingeing on carbs until they can feel no more. 

In the end, here’s what I think: it has nothing to do with the way people look or the weight they reside at.  For a long time, bulimia nervosa was discounted as an eating disorder because many of the individuals who suffered from it maintained a “healthy” weight.  Like I stated in previous posts, one can be 134 pounds (I hate using numbers, but I have to) and have completely sick, eating disordered thinking.  So, with that thinking…yeah.  Either end of the spectrum is an eating disorder.  Perhaps eating disorders are more like substance abuse addictions than we think – perhaps they are more self-diagnosable than, say, the current four criteria that are required for a sound diagnosis of anorexia nervosa.  Perhaps one doesn’t need to be at 75% of their ideal body weight to know their constant body-checking and weighing is getting in the way of their happiness.  Perhaps one doesn’t need to be at the line of obesity to know their binge-eating is out of control.

What do you think?