Tag Archives: mental health

eating disorders, take 4

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If anyone has followed all that rambling…wow. You are long-suffering. I’d probably like you as an irl friend.

All that aside, I really don’t know much about eating disorders. I know some about my eating disorder, and what I know is that it requires me to keep constant watch on both my food and my feelings. They’re so connected. The only way I can keep them healthy, though, is to be honest, every single day.

Every day, every meal, I stare down my monsters. I eat because I know it is good for me, with the hope that one day I’ll eat because I want to. I rejoice every time I am able to listen to my body and know when I’ve eaten enough, or eaten foods that satisfy my palate and my stomach. I pay attention to my feelings, and when things feel like they are spiraling out of control I reevaluate what my idea of control is and if it’s a healthy one or not. Then I make a list of things I can take charge of. Then I call someone and am honest with my struggles and successes. They offer me an (often metaphysical) hand and I follow them back to the light.

Eating disorders are not about food, and they are all about food. This is life. We talk about things that are really not about themselves at all, even when they are all about themselves–alcohol, drugs, sex, self-harm. The only way I’ve found to escape the cycle is to acknowledge that I am a whole person, blood and fears and sweat and tears and dreams and goals and bone and muscle. One part of me hurting will make all of me hurt. I cannot exist as a purely spirit being. I need all of me. The only way to make sure I have it is to care for my stomach as well as my spirit.

eating disorders: take 1

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A friend recently asked me if I had written anything about my eating disorder. I am sure I have, because at that time in my life writing was my main form of escape, but I can’t find it. I probably didn’t blog about it and instead wrote it in one of the many half-finished journals I have lying around.

This will, I am sure, be something I will add to in the coming days, because…well, I just have so many thoughts about eating disorders (ED, for short). I am lucky/blessed/grateful/a combination of the three to be in recovery from it, and mostly just to still be alive.

Eating disorders…hmmm. Anorexia ruled my life from about 12-19, so for seven years. It only got really bad from 15-19, though. I lost a lot of weight, and I exercised obsessively. All the freaking time. I ran every day in the below freezing winter wearing just my short shorts and a light t-shirt and windbreaker. I would work out for hours every day. I counted every calorie against what I burned, only counting it a successful day if I managed to be “in the negative,” i.e. eat less calories than I burned off. I got very pick with what I would eat, and when. I refused to eat certain categories of foods, having good and bad foods. I would “binge” on maybe 600 calories–in other words, what a normal meal for me should have been. I had no context of what was healthy or not. I started to lose my hair and I was constantly tired, cold, and miserable. My parents told me about talking to a nutritionist who told them about a client who had to have a feeding tube because they would not eat, and even though they meant it to implore me to change, all I could think was, “Then I would not have to be responsible for eating anything.” And with where my head was, that sounded preferable.

My parents tried to help, putting me in counseling at 17 and taking me to a nutritionist. Unfortunately, my counselor…well, there’s a whole story right there. She was a biblical counselor, without credentials, who should not have been practicing. She had an ED that she overshared about and also claimed she was in recovery from. Actually, she was still in the middle of it–hyper-controlling of her food and obsessive about working out. I started to pick up some of those habits from her. Her methods of trying to help were at once overstepping boundaries and also not doing enough. All in all, that experience only complicated my ED.

My mom worried that I’d lose my ability to have kids. At my lowest point, both my parents worried that I would not make it. They threatened to take away my workout privileges and tried to force me to eat. They took me to counseling and to nutritionists, and threatened me with hospitalization. They were scared, and so was I They tried really hard to love me back to health, but in the end there was just too much pain for what they said or did to fill up the hole in my heart.