“What purpose does the eating disorder serve for you?”

During one of my last sessions I was asked a question that left me silent, which isn’t easy to do. I stopped, unsure of how to answer, put in a few seconds of deep thought that I could muster and just said, “I don’t know.” So, here I am to answer the question that has been continuously repeated in my head, “What purpose does the eating disorder serve for you?”

My first response wanted to be, “I guess the cliché, ‘control’ aspect in my life. I don’t know.” Thinking longer, deeper, on this question, I believe it is more than that.

The rational side of me knows there shouldn’t be guilt, shame, embarrassment, attached to eating food, regardless of what it is. What makes one food “better” than the other? Why is it acceptable to eat a salad, but cringe at the word “pasta”?

At twenty two years old, I pretty much have control over every aspect of my life, and the small things I may not have control over, I am learning to cope with, or just let go of if they aren’t important or detrimental. So why am I still struggling over food and why does it continue to control me through all of these years?

– One main reason is that this has been my “go-to” for years, my coping mechanism, what I leaned on in times of anxiety, stress, fear, loneliness, etc (yay feelings- talking about them are my favorite…..). It was also a major way to punish myself. When I wasn’t self-harming as a way to punish myself for my parents’ rocky marriage, and my failures, I was throwing up. These two practically became routine.

– The next would be consistency. Growing up I had two step dads, never met my real father, moved several times, from the north to the south, and went to every school in my county. My parents liked to drink, and I was constantly on guard of how mom was feeling. If she had drank too much and was raging that day, or was still in the loopy “lovey-dovey” stage. I knew one thing though. Being in control and having that consistent crutch to make me temporarily “feel-better” was always there.

– I wanted to be better. A Honor roll. I did sports. Went to our local university in middle school because of my science project to present it. Full scholarship. I wanted to be thinner. Wanted to be skinny. I mocked the cheerleaders, but was slightly jealous because I never had the confidence to try out, even though I would have made the team, I was friends with all of the girls. I was extremely popular in my own way. I was the athletic one, who knew everybody, made friends with anybody and never got in trouble. I so badly wanted my mom to stop drinking, wanted her to appreciate the fact that I worked, went to high school, was part of the Honor Society, Interact, Student Government, the play, and did sports. She never came to any of my games. I thought if only I was thinner, prettier, she would like me better.

At some point in my life it became more than just a “behavior”, it became a lifestyle. Restricting, running, purging, became a lifestyle. Unfortunately one that I am falling back into, which stings to even admit. I want to have my life together, be strong, be recovered, but why do I continue to fall back on something that does not serve me any good?

So, what does my eating disorder serve for me? It is a constant reminder of how I believe I could be better. It is still a way to punish myself for food that I deem “unacceptable” to be eaten. It continues to be my go-to in times of stress and disappointment, and consistently shows it’s ugly face in vulnerable times. My fear is also my identity. What will I do when my life isn’t rapidly revolving around the thought of my thighs and love handles. Constantly consumed with the mere thought of eating and calories. Who will I be? I am jealous of the women who have self-esteem and confidence. I wish I didn’t care what so much about what others think, or be so critical towards myself and my body. It is the constant comparison between me and somebody else, being jealous and envious that I can’t look like them. The comparing has got to stop as well, it is nothing but harmful.

Trust the Process!!

xoxoxo

My Fear and Desire for Normalcy

I want it so bad, I crave it, dream of it, wish and hope for it more than anything. I want to be normal.

What is normal though?

This question was asked this week at therapy. Does that mean I am behavior free? That I am not longer exercising? What exactly did I perceive “normal” in this context.  I told her, to me, it would be purging free. She asked me “What about restricting?” I told her I believe that it is normal for somebody to skip lunch every now and then, or skip something, but it is the intention behind it.

I want a balance between working out and eating so fucking badly. I love running, love working out. I just cannot seem to find that balance between the two. When I run and hardcore workout, my eating suffers horribly. I would never want to give up running completely that just isn’t an option to me, but then how do I balance this?

The fear or normal scares me though. I don’t know what my life would look like not constantly revolving around this. What is normal? How much food is “normal”? What is a “normal” relationship? I want it, I want it all, but I don’t get it or understand it, and it scares me because of how unfamiliar it is to me.

Desiring to be normal, live my life. I am not a college graduate, still no boyfriend, and still ridiculously unsure of the future. I would like to be in a relationship, go out on dates, be normal. There is no way that I could drag a guy into this. Currently, I am already in a relationship with my eating disorder, and dragging somebody into this mess would just be so unfair.

I want to work out like a normal person. Run 10 miles because I enjoy it, not to punish myself, think calories and then get reprimanded for running so far. Going to the gym because I enjoy it and want to, not because the voice in my head says I need to and have to.

I want to eat like a normal person. Go out and eat, enjoy it, laugh. How much is too much. Still currently using my measuring cups to attempt and stay on track… normal people don’t do that. I eat practically only Greek yogurt, granola, blueberries, and oatmeal. What do normal people eat? How often do normal people eat?

I don’t even know what a normal person thinks about. Calories, miles, restricting, purging, chugging water, body dissatisfaction… on my mind 24/7. How freeing it would be to finally have something else on my mind.

Honestly? I would like to have the amount of self-hatred and body dissatisfaction a normal person has. There is so much of that within me, and it is awful. Draining, depressing, saddening.

Normal. So unfamiliar, but yet I want it. I need something new.

Trust the Process!!!

xoxoxo

Outpatient… Getting Back on Track.

I was beginning to slip and slide. Slowly but quickly, making my way backwards to old tendencies and habits. Making excuses and defending my actions, even though I could tell they were disordered.

Because of treatment I missed half of my final semester of my senior year of undergrad. With a course load of virology, biostatistics, biochemistry and ecology, I was positive there was no way I would graduate college on time. It took everything in me not to just withdraw from this semester and finish later. Yesterday, I gave the clinical director my graduation announcements and graduation is tomorrow. My professors and I were in complete shock that I managed to pull that one off.

I ended up going back to treatment, this time just outpatient (Thank God). I met with the dietitian first last week. She rewrote my meal plan and went back over it with me. I was completely honest and told her that it’s a “shit ton of food”. She told me that’s what I was eating when I left…. yeah… well that sure isn’t what I am eating now. I told her I was not hitting all of my exchanges. That was the main goal was to get me back on my meal plan. She asked me how many times a week I am exercising, I told her it depended on what she considered exercise. With yoga, lifting, and running, it was about 7-10x a week…. she didn’t like that either.

Yesterday I had my therapist appointment. I was stressing out so badly, which was weird because I think the world of her, but was so worried about having to be open and honest and the whole “sharing of feelings” bull shit thing. Plus, I love her, but I can’t bull shit her, she has a pretty tight bullshit filter, and I knew she would lovingly call me out when necessary.  I went hiking before my session, saw some waterfalls, it was beautiful and loved it.

Then I got back, sat down in the office and prepared myself for a mental battle.  We talked about my running, I explained that yeah, its more of a “NEED” to, then enjoyable want to. I told her that I was still eating Greek yogurt and she laughed and added…with blueberries?!  I said of course  haha. We talked about my purging and asked me how often. I was honest, and told her that it was discouraging. She told me that I have my good days. T took out a sticky note and drew a pink heart on one and stuck it to the index card of things I’ve been doing right lately, and gave it to me.  Definitely made me happy 🙂 She asked me how much of my meal plan I was eating, I told her only about 50%, I seem to start off pretty good for breakfast and 10:30 snack, then as the day goes on it seems to fall apart. I used the excuse that I was busy. T told me, “You skipped it. If you are going to do it, at least own it.” She was right. I told her it was so complicated, because I want to be normal, but that is terrifying, that I want to lift weights, but don’t want to gain weight.  I told her how disordered it is that I am proud of the fact I haven’t gotten my period.

I was given “homework” to stop by the store yesterday after my appointment and get some more food that would help me “branch out”. Even though I practically live on greek yogurt and oatmeal lately, T wanted me to get quinoa and a couple other things. I ended up getting pb, sweet potatoes, hummus.  Fat and protein, starch, and fat and protein, plus haven’t had those items in a while.

It is very discouraging to see that my list of “ok” foods are beginning to dwindle again, and really discouraging that I am purging as often as I am again…. With the help of some amazing people though, I am back where I need to be, trying to nip this in the bud. I am so thankful for the amazing ladies there an am so happy they are a part of my life. They are nothing but amazing, strong women that I admire and look up to.

I gave T a hug, my graduation announcement then headed home for the evening.

Trust the process guys!

xoxoxo

And do the next right thing!

My Worth Is Based On My Performance

It has always been something. It may be grades and my academic performance, sports and how many shots I blocked in the goal, or how many times I ran the bases. It may be dependent on how I scored on a test.

My worth is directly correlated with how I performed or succeeded. When I talk about something I accomplished, it is always in a way that makes sure people understood I could  have done better, just in case what I did isn’t up to their standards.

“Yeah, I tore my meniscus and ran the 15k. My time was a hair over an hour and a half… could have been better.”  “Yeah, the average on the test was a 74, I got an 89. Wish it would have been an A.”

I need to work on this. By who’s standards?  If running a 15k in the pouring rain was easy, more people would have been there. If everyone could get an 89 on the Biochemistry test then 74 wouldn’t have been the average.

I am my worst enemy and harshest critic. I’m not even sure who I am comparing myself too, besides everyone, and I can’t be everyone simultaneously… I can barely handle being “me” whoever that is.

But I immediately relate my performance and success to what I deserve and what I am worth. I want to be better, faster, smarter, thinner but stronger.

Well, now I have to get ready for my final presentation.

Practice being human & Trust the process

Namaste