I Regret Everything

As most of you readers know, I’ve been struggling with a spectrum of eating disorders since an early age. I exhibited signs and symptoms of behavior from around 6, and actively began restricting knowing full-well what I was doing at age 11.

I’ve been in and out of treatment centers, inpatient, and have seen so many therapists and psychiatrists it’s a wonder I even think there’s hope for me at all. Especially on top of my many other ailments (both mental and physical).

Last September I started seeing an eating disorder therapist. In December she referred me to a psychiatrist. This has been my care team.

Today was the first time Matt came with me to a therapy appointment. I’m desperately trying to remember everything that I said.

For those of you who may not be aware, eating disorders are at least 95% lying and keeping secrets, avoiding the truth, over-justification, and investment in our own secret “safe” world inside our eating disorders. Some of us are more enmeshed in our secret eating disorder worlds than others. It’s to the point, after decades, that I literally do not know what’s my personality coming out or if it’s my eating disorder talking. About almost anything? I can make any life situation about how fat I am etc. And I always could! Not just since I’ve gained all this weight. All this fucking weight. How did I gain so much weight? “RECOVERY?!” You fat fucking joke.

I’m getting off track.

Today I spilled some secrets. Just last time I admitted to a friend that I’m not ready to give up my disorder. I don’t want to recover. I want to lose weight. Now that my eating disorder has swung from undereating and purging to overeating and purging it seems so hopeless.

My therapist tries to assure me that it’s a common swing, and actually confided in me that this means I never actually recovered when I thought I did. The disordered thoughts and thought patterns along with behaviors and mindsets followed me all this time and manifested itself differently over the years. So that’s real comforting, as you can imagine.

So what secrets did I spill? Big ones. My secret dinners. That when I joke around about food or “I went to the gym last week I deserve a treat” seemingly off-the-cuff jokes are really just me being good at making things normal and ok in appearance for what I think are others’ benefit.

I’ve talked about that wanting things to be normal before, too. In another post I qualified it with “I don’t want to be a drama queen” around friends, and I want to be seen as normal. Not broken. But…. I think I knew which side is showing its prevalence recently. Stupid fucking fatass piece of garbage.

Oops lost my train of thought.

I don’t want to let go of my secrets. Because once I start undereating full time again (restriction is easy until I feel pressured (mostly by my own self) to act normal or fun about food) then I’ll desperately need these secrets back.

They’re usually the cliche “I already ate” or “I don’t feel well” or “I didn’t even go to the gym today I can’t have toast” you get the gist.

Eating disorders are fucking impossible and I feel horrible. The worst part? “You don’t have an eating disorder. You’re just weak.” Not just from my own brain, but this happens in others’ minds as well. I know it does, because I read it online when I see mentions of Binge-Eating Disorder.

I think now I’m just ranting? I feel so lost. If eating disorders are part of my personality then I’m almost okay with it staying. I like to think I’m pretty down to earth and easy to hang out with. I’m empathetic and my-own-brand-of fun. I’m hardcore but nice? I don’t know I don’t know. Just like the anger. That’s me too.

My therapist called me defensive and I said “NO I’M NOT” as a joke, but…

This has become almost incoherent.

Happy Monday.

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Criticizing Nostalgia

*Contains BMI-related numbers. I don’t normally make trigger warning announcements, but I also do not usually mention my own BMIs. Do with my warning what you will.*

Admonishing my reverie for my bathroom scale’s golden days. The slightest of gravitational strains. The purest state of ingesting.

I have never been truly sick. That is to say, I’ve never been “on death’s door” because of my eating disorder. I’ve only ever flirted with the idea of living dangerously. My blood tests and vertigo were terrible. My pallor profound and my eating only precise. But I always skated away when doctors and therapists started to wonder. Dodged and ducked my way into an EDNOS diagnosis and unmonitored food trays during most of my psychiatric ward stays. That’s good, right? It’s kind of bad. It’s bad-good. They didn’t even make sure I didn’t purge. *high five?!?

I’ve only ever maintained a normal or slightly under normal weight. BMI of 17, rest in peace. Now that I’m fat and old I can’t help but look back and miss it. I don’t miss the crying and the late night, long-winded workouts before I was old enough for my own gym membership. I don’t miss passing out or almost getting caught sneaking out to the gym.

That’s right. At 15ish I snuck out to go the gym. When I wasn’t secretly boozing. Ahem.

When I could see my ribs and my hipbones protruded too much to lie on my belly at night I didn’t even get to appreciate it. Even a few years back when I was BMI 21 I didn’t have a belly “pooch” wearing spandex running clothes and I could wear TANK TOPS without hating my life. TANK TOPS. And shorts. Ugh, I miss shorts.

And swimming! Haven’t swam in years. Last time was in a gym. Before that?…. I don’t even remember. Probably childhood.

Even when I met the standard for “thin” I thought I was too big for the world. But I guess that’s usually in people with a literal disease preventing them from knowing their relative size.

Did you know there’s a euphoria that can come with not eating as much as you should? No wonder eating disorders (restriction, mostly) are such a slippery slope after recovery.

None of this was supposed to mean much. I just wish I could go back in time with a decent body and/or get skinny again.

Damnit.

The Recovery Shame

I’m ’bout to get real real with you guys. It’s been a while since I’ve made a post, and it’s because I thought about being less personal. But I just want to be frank with you guys.

I hate being “recovered.”

I’m making a pause now to let you readers who don’t know me imagine what I mean by recovered. Do I mean from drugs? Gambling? Porn?

It’s all 3.

No it’s not.

It’s eating disorders.

Now, I put the word recovered in quotes up there because though I don’t partake in the daily activities of an actively disordered eater anymore, I still have so many thoughts and bad feelings and bad self-esteem surrounding me that I feel like a cheaty faced loser saying I’m legitimately recovered. I’m more like, I don’t know, in remission. The behaviors aren’t there lately (purge free since May?) but it’s very much an undercurrent.

I’m sure lots, maybe most, of the humans who have recovered from an eating disorder of any kind often think “man, I could easily go back to that. That’d be great. I could be so skinny. Eh, nah.” But what I think a lot of the time isn’t “I could go back” so much as it’s “I should go back.”

Cuz I get a lot of hate. I hate being recovered because I’m chubby now. I shouldn’t care that I’m chubby. I should embrace it and whatever and be happy I’m healthy (not really but whatever) and whatever.

But I’m really upset.

I fucking hate myself.

And there are people who see me at work who may notice the panic in my eyes when I pass the snack bar, who may notice I eat lunch 3 times, and there are friends who I accidentally admit to having 2 separate dinners to… but they wonder why because I’m too fat and I obviously eat too much.

There are those IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD AS ME who comment on what I eat being unhealthy or that I eat too much or that I should exercise more/better.

These comments come from a good place but damn. Let me pretend to be a normal American. Jesus.

I hate it. And I hate it.

I hate being a regular chubby first-world unhealthy loser. I hate liking fast food and beer. I hate thinking about food ALL THE TIME whether I’m trying to lose weight or not.

I hate how I let the idea of being a happy healthy person made me fat.

I’m legitimately overweight now. And it makes me so sad. And I try not to let it. I think, hey. I don’t have like serious weight-related issues, right? I’m fine? I’m smaller than some people, right? Does that matter? Should I even make that comparison? God what should I do? What is normal? WHAT IS RIGHT WHAT IS HEALTHY WHAT AM I DOING I’M KIDDING MYSELF I GOT FAT.

I meet new people and I just know they’re judging me for being fat. Like you don’t know me! I was skinny once, too! Shut up! Shut up those thoughts! Stop it!

This could be a post about how fat-shaming is bad but it’s not that it’s me hating myself for letting myself get to a non-disordered weight.

It was so much easier not kidding myself into thinking I had a healthy mind.

Right now, I’d take the bloodshot eyes, the inflamed esophageal lining, and the lying and wasting over this shame and remorse.

 

Privilege

How dare I.

I don’t deserve the recognition and praise that comes with claiming recovery. I don’t deserve to say I’m recovered. Not anymore.

Recovery takes hard work, and I’m half-assing everything. I still let it control me. Mostly because “I can manage it” or whatever.

I still participate in behaviors, and I don’t keep the thoughts in check. I let it rule me and next time my doctor asks I won’t be able to say I’m symptom free.

At work there are weight loss challenges. There’s always someone on a diet. There is a cafe at the hospital connected to where I work with nutrition information and I can’t avoid hearing talk about fat this and carbs that.

I can’t avoid eating around people.

I try to stay good but food is always so forefront and I can’t help but let it consume me.

Ha. Consume.

It’s not the worst it’s ever been, for which I should be thankful for. But I really hate being at the heaviest I’ve ever been with restrictive/purgey thoughts.

Kind of rough on the sort-of-attempting-to-be-normal thing.

Whatever.

My fat pants are too tight.

I Don’t Get It

This doesn’t make any sense. This is something I’ve stressed over for years. This is an issue that I’ve only recently found a phrase for. It’s analysis paralysis.

We use the term when we’re playing board games, because there’s one among us (ahem, Matt) who tends to really take their time making decisions during their turn. When I was a reading a lovely book describing the biology of anorexia, the term popped up and gave itself a whole new meaning for me. As you can imagine, it’s weird hearing it described as something as harmless as a board game decision now.

I experience analysis paralysis consistently. It’s all food related. Imagine that.

From “yes you can eat” versus “no, you can’t eat” to the oftentimes more confusing “to eat this, or to eat that?” my mind is almost always in a state of near panic and exhaustion.

I plan what I eat in advance. It’s like a hobby. Usually, I plan for a “healthy” daily plan. I make sure I have a nice balance of food I like, but not overdoing it, and I make sure I get the food I need. I try to stay within reasonable parameters for sodium, carbs, and saturated fat. Cholesterol I never worry about, and I’ve practically given up on getting enough iron and protein. I had been a vegetarian for too long. Anyway moving on.

I plan out these meals to try and make my day to day life just that much less stressful. Wouldn’t it be great if I could live life not worrying about what/when/where I’ll eat next and how much this/that/the other thing is in the food and how many calories I’ll have to burn off at the gym later? It would be so great. So I plan.
Then, I decide I’m still hungry after my allotted lunch. Now, my relationship with my satiety signals are all kinds of messed up, and I can’t really tell the difference between hunger and gas. Also, I won’t know I’m full until I’m in physical pain from my pants’ button digging into my spare tire. So I decide I’m hungry, and then the wheels start turning.

So many options.

I could have a sandwich after work. But I’m hungry now. Get breakfast biscuits out of the vending machine? Then I can’t have a full sandwich. Then I’ll have breakfast biscuits now, and a frozen dinner when I get home. But that’ll be too many carbs, wouldn’t it? Ok. Breakfast biscuits. Broccoli. Then, for dessert, some chocolate. That’ll put me 100 over. I don’t want a sandwich anymore. If I’m going to be 100 over, fuck it, I’ll get a pizza. But then I can’t get my breakfast biscuits now. I want something now. I’ll have a diet soda and an apple now, then order a pizza. No I’ll get taco bell. No I’ll sit at the bar at Red Lobster and treat myself to dinner after work. No. You have to behave. Ok, so breakfast biscuits now, and I’ll just figure it out later.

Notice the changing between Is and Yous. It’s necessary I promise.

That’s a very abridged version of what happens in my mind most of my waking moments. I’ve driven around excessively because of this issue. I do laps in the grocery store unintentionally. I’ll leave the house intending to get a taco, decide I want 20 different things on the way there, change course 3, 6, 10 times, only to stop at a taco shop 4 taco shops away from my house because I can never make up my damn mind.

I’m just doomed.

Usually I just decide to binge. It makes the analysis shut up. Instead of overthinking, I just insult myself a lot and feel hopeless. It’s much more comfortable.

What? My Mind is – What?

Let’s start with the question(s) of the day:

Why can’t I fall asleep at night?
Why do I wake up several times each night?
Why do I find myself nodding off all day?

Now onto the rambling.

I’m so bloody distracted recently. I left the garage door open because I honestly didn’t think I needed to close it. What, was it going to close itself? I’ve been forgetting what conversations are about halfway through. The inner turmoil has been so back and forth in my head that I’m surprised I’m still in one piece. Don’t ask me how I’ve managed to stay employed at my job. Clearly, my focus, motivation, energy, and overall worth has plummeted.

It doesn’t help that there’s a new distraction in my happy place of employment.

I love my job I love my job I love my job.

I’ve been thoughts and word vomiting all over anyone in my vicinity. It’s as if I’ve forgotten that no one cares what I have to say. I’m an awful conversationalist, and even worse at attempting funny. Just stop, self. Dammnit, self. Can’t you fucking behave yourself like a decent, nonintrusive member of society, self? Honestly, you can’t do anything right.

You can’t even exist well.

The first time I remember being fully aware and accountable for my attempts at “dieting” was fifth grade. Have I talked about this? I don’t remember. One of the other Ashleys in my class said she was fat and needed to diet. She was smaller than me, so what the shit. Everything about me was wrong. This could be my salvation.

The jerks at the elementary school did not let me get away with skipping lunch. I claimed no lunch money in the line, and promptly sat down at one of the cafeteria tables. I’m reading a book when the counselor and the salad bar lady come up to me with one of those nasty OPS-standard garden salads with Unidentified Meat A, accompanied by Weird Squishy Stuff Probably Supposed To Be Vegetables B; All over a bed of brown iceberg lettuce.

“She thought she could just skip lunch!” The nerve.

So they’d give me free salad. Evil, evil people.

If I remember correctly, I took my lunch to school every now and then. Yes, I pulled the usual “Ignore everything in the bag except the carrots” move, but damn my stomach grumbling was distracting. I’m very prone to being grumpy. Being hungry does not help the matter.

I remember going clothes shopping with Mom and Stepmom and stuff around that time. I knew what kind of clothes I liked. I liked jeans and tshirts. The occasional khaki skirt.

I remember crying over what a tshirt looked on me for the first time in fifth grade. I was so unnaturally shaped. So uneven. Blobby. Ridiculous. Deformed. Top heavy. Bottom heavy? Pizza faced. Fat. Just overall wrong. Everything about me was just wrong.

I hear tell that at one time my 6-year-old self refused a brownie from my father until I ran laps around the apartment. Interesting.

It’s snowing outside. All I want to do is read and eat but I can’t focus and I can’t I can’t I can’t.