Use Your “Science Mind”

There are umpteen articles out there that are titled, “What Not To Say To Someone With An Eating Disorder.” Or “What to Say to Someone Recovering.” “How to talk to someone with an eating disorder.” “What is acceptable to say to someone with an eating disorder.” Etc, the list goes on and on, some are probably titled the same thing, with a different font, different capitalization, different spelling.

One thing that I have been told, on more than one occasion, is to use my “science brain”. Some background on me, I hate compliments, hate positive affirmations even more, and was able to finish school and graduate, while spending half of my final semester in residential.

I am a Biology Major, with a Chemistry Minor. After graduation I got a job offer several states away, after interviewing, weighing my options, and looking at the hefty benefits that went along with it, I took the offer. I am currently working as a Biochemist, specializing in HPLC Method and Development. All of this to say, I have been called “smart” for as long as I can remember. I am nothing more than average. I got a C in Inorganic Chemistry, passed Virology with a disheartening B, and that is nothing to the hell I endured through Cell and Molecular Biology, with a professor I referred to as “Dr. Douche Fuck.” (Only behind his back, of course).

So, when people tell me to use my “science brain”, it, well, it pisses me off.

Yes, I can tell you that carbohydrates are needed for the cell, as well as lipids, protein, etc. I can tell you glycolysis, the one letter amino acid codes, the vitamins and what the body uses each for. Logically, I know food is fuel, that you can’t gain anymore than you consume, I know basal metabolic rate.

I know people die from eating disorders.

My science mind is great and useful for information about health, bacteria, the works. My mind is also great at using denial and deception, along with ED. I believe that I am the exception, I believe that it will never happen to me. I spent years in denial, I craved my morning runs and the lifting, I still don’t believe I’ve done any long term damage to my body. To some morbid degree, that bothers me.

I wish I could sit here and tell you that I was the frail, feeble, weakling with the feeding tube. Knees knocking as I wait for the elevator because I am unable to climb one flight of stairs. That I had some miraculous story to tell.

I don’t.

I fight with myself and my body daily. Wishing I was thinner, that my stretch marks would go away, that my thigh gap was more obvious and my collar bone would protrude a little more.

It is very difficult sitting in program, in a room full of sick people, comparing my body to theirs. She may not be allowed to take the stairs. He may need help carrying his tray.

Me? I did 5 miles before program. I did push ups, I did crunches. You name it.

I am the heaviest patient in the room, I am nearly sure of it.

I wouldn’t say I am “ok” with it- but I am accepting of this fact.

I could probably also dead lift their body weight no problem.

It is this morbid sense of comparison that is so difficult to me. You are the heaviest one here. Yeah, but I lift and run. Or are you justifying the reason you are fat? No, I tell myself. I wonder how they see me though.

ED’s never ceasing manipulation.

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Looking Back on Life

 When you look back on life, what do you want to remember?

Do you want your life to be a flood of memories, experiences and people?

Is it a timeline of accomplishments/children/or jobs?

What about a timeline of all the programs you have been in?

Thinking back and remembering months at this facility, or when you were in that other program.

Is that what you want your life to be? Just a strung together list of the places you went for treatment?

 

I started IOP at Hershey. It was great for dinner accountability, but I am also thankful that I think something clicked.

Sitting in a room with various people, with different backgrounds, different ages, we shared one common thing, that had us all here for one reason. We, at one point or another, were probably dragged into treatment by the ball and chain that was around our neck, being led into the unfamiliar place by the havoc ED had on our lives.

We went around the room and I listened as people shared their goals.

“Finish school.”    “Get a job.”    “Move.” 

 

Then it came to me.  I wasn’t sure what to say. Something in me clicked. It had occurred to me before, but never like this. I had finished school, I had just started an awesome career as biochemist, and moved about ten hours away.  I felt like this might just be repeat. I needed something bigger, that is not to say these people’s goals were simple, and unimportant, not at all! I had accomplished their goals (which at one time were mine), but now what?   I had moved ten hours to what? Go back into program? 

I cannot have a successful life, or a life at all, while I am immersed in my eating disorder.

It is very disheartening though that there are many people in my life who don’t think I can do this on my own. I have flushed the Hydroxycut, cut down on purging immensely, and am really trying. To hear others say I need to go back to Hershey is discouraging. The hospital food itself is enough to send me into panic mode, when I could be eating stuff I actually enjoy.

That’s about it for now. I have a latte waiting for me.