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You can get away with a lot when you label things. I met my boyfriend’s family at Thanksgiving and was nervous about the food situation. When you say you are vegan or vegetarian you can hide a lot of disordered behaviour. On top of that,  I always explain about my hypothyroidism and the need to watch my calorie intake. It works like a charm. No one questions my obviously bizarre attitude to food.

On the first morning Heath’s mom suggested that we take the kids to McDonalds for breakfast. My heart started pounding and I could feel the anxiety rising. When we got there he looked at me and asked if I would eat anything. I shook my head and shot him a pleading look not call attention to it. He is so good that he just goes along with everything and doesn’t make a big deal of it.

Later in the day when I was doubled over from starvation, I told him I had to have celery.

“I love celery.” I said without even thinking about the stupidity of the statement.

He laughed, “No you do not!”

We went to the farmers’ market and were given a free muffin each to sample. Without even batting an eyelid, Heath held his hand out for the muffin he knew I did not want. I gave it to him and he pocketed it. No one even saw it happen.

At dinner he tried to help me navigate the vegetables that had been cross contaminated with meat or drowned in butter and sugar. There was nothing safe to eat. I wonder if my panic was obvious.

For the actual Thanksgiving meal, they decided on Raclette and not turkey which was not good for me. I am dangerous around melted cheese on anything. I ate with abandon. I knew after two bites that I would be purging the meal immediately. I drank most of a bottle of wine to help the process. I made an excuse to my boyfriend and went downstairs to throw up. The house was so busy and loud that I am sure no one even noticed.

At one point Heath’s dad talked about my “healthy” eating of fruits and veggies and I went into a detailed explanation of my vegetarianism and hypothyroidism. He marveled at my ability to eat so little then said that all I was waiting for is to get married and then I would eat everything I can see and weigh 400lbs. It has become the running family joke. It is funny because it will never happen and they don’t know why.

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Sick As Usual

 

I am sick again. Every other month I come down with something. It is as though my immune system is so overwhelmed that it barely functions. Two weeks ago after days of purging, I ended up with a sore throat. Cue swollen tonsils, purple streaks down the back of my throat and the inability to swallow without pain. I tried to be good and keep purging to a minimum where I couldn’t avoid it. I hate being sick. It means I cannot go to gym or hot yoga because exercising seems to prolong the illness. Most days I am battling chronic fatigue or migraines as it is. I do not need this, but I know it is my fault. For my birthday we went out for dinner and I was unknowingly served meat in the bread. Who puts meat in bread? Without making a scene, I left the table and went to purge.

The next day the sore throat was back worse than ever. Today I woke up with a full blown cold: coughing, snotty and spaced out. I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed never mind hit the gym or even go to work. I called in sick which gave me debilitating anxiety. I spent the day in bed alternating between hot and cold, awake and asleep. Not sick enough to be in bed; not well enough to be at work. The worst kind of sick where you can’t justify either. Sadly my cold hasn’t made me sick enough to lose my appetite. I wonder why I can’t get the kind of sick that makes me not want to eat.  A few days of that would surely do me some good. More good than purging up what I do eat. I am so tired of being hungry.

I had a birthday this weekend which means I have now had this eating disorder for 22 years officially. I have been sick for more than 2/3s of my life. I had an EKG today and blood work as part of a referral to outpatient treatment. I have no intention of going to the treatment centre. That would mean missing three months of work and confessing to my boyfriend that my ED is out of control. If only I was thin enough to justify all of this; to make it worth while.

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Breaking the silence; eating disorder awareness

Originally posted on WTHITV.com:

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – It’s an issue that many don’t like to talk about and it can be life threatening.

September marks Eating Disorder Awareness Month.

They are disorders that are on the rise nationwide, and right here in the Wabash Valley.

In a society where body image dominates TV, movies, and magazines it’s hard to separate Hollywood from real life especially in the classroom.

“It’s a bit like having a gun that is loaded, and certain things start to trigger, and it’s fired.”

It is estimated that twenty million women and ten million men currently suffer from an eating disorder.

“The physical and emotional damage that we are doing to our bodies, and our heart, and our soul, they are significant, and we need to address these things.”

Even more so as these habits are starting earlier and earlier.

“Six year olds are going to school and they…

View original 186 more words

Cauliflower and Crazy

 

I restrict all day to counter the bingeing of yesterday. I am determined not to eat until tomorrow. Somewhere around mid-evening my resolve snaps. I decide that I can eat cauliflower and hummus rather than go on another binge. Once I have made the decision to allow myself to eat, I cannot wait. It is urgent, serious, life threatening.  I drive to the grocery store. I am frantic. I hit every red light. It is the longest drive in the history of driving. I grip the steering wheel. I want to bang my head against it out of hunger and rage. I am on edge knowing that I could lose control and buy anything, everything except that cauliflower. It is my sole focus.

In the grocery store I run crazily looking for the damn cauliflower. An old man is shuffling in front of me and I am shaking. He blocks the aisle and I want to shout from frustration. There has to be a faster way to get food than this. “Don’t binge. Don’t Binge. Please, don’t binge.” I mutter like a mantra as I start to panic. There is no cauliflower anywhere. I must be delirious. How can there not be the one food that I am allowed to eat? I ask the store clerk for cauliflower. He says he will check in the back. I stand amongst the vegetables ready to weep. I will lie down by the lettuces and sob if there is no cauliflower. I am so terrified of going on a binge if I cannot find the one safe food I crave. I must eat a cauliflower. My existence has been narrowed down to this.

Eventually he returns with one and I am beside myself with relief. I take it, ecstatic. I know I am sick. I am so excited about this cauliflower that I want to cry. I try to rush out the store. The line ups to pay are agonizingly long. Another old person is strolling in front of me. I will not make it. I will not survive this. It will finish me. I will die of this starvation holding a f**king, miserable cauliflower in my hands like it was the holy grail.

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Moderation

When I was growing up, my mother told me often that “everything in moderation” was good for me.

Perhaps she could already see my extremities even then. As a Libra (represented by scales), I am perpetually amused that my life is not balanced at all.

Today I ate 2lbs of mini cucumbers for breakfast. I was so hungry that it felt like I would die from it. I woke up full of bile and acid.  I binged and purged my way through uncountable amounts of food last night. Never full enough to be satisfied; never empty enough to be loveable. To look at me you would never know. My fat rolls negate any signs of illness; the cellulite and stretch marks blind everyone to how sick I really am.

I left ballet untouched by my overdose of vegetables and raced wildly for dinner. Obsessed, demented, focused: all I could think about was tofu and rice. It is all I want to eat at any given time. It is on my safe list. Sometimes I can almost justify it.

I start eating and cannot stop. I register that I am full and continue to shovel anything-drowned-in-soy-sauce and acceptance down my raw, sore throat. When I am done, the panic sets in immediately. What have I done? What was I thinking when I imagined not throwing this back up? I pay and run from the restaurant like I am fleeing the hordes of hell. My demons keep pace.  I have about half an hour before I am meant to meet my boyfriend at home. I drive with purpose – agitated –  run inside and start purging the calories that are sloshing around my insides. The relief is instantaneous. I have minutes to spare before my boyfriend is home. I wipe my face, fix my makeup.

I find a bottle of wine and settle outside on a beautiful, end of summer evening. No one will ever know. Too empty, too full…all I know is it is not enough. I am not enough.

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Alive But Not Well

Thank you for all your lovely comments and for checking up on me. I will get back to all of you individually when I am feeling better. I have recovered from the trip to emergency, but I haven’t been doing well with my ED. I promise an update when I get a chance. In the meantime love and peace to all of you and, above all else, freedom from this tyranny.

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Emergency Again

Friday started like any other day and ended with me being rushed to emergency.

I woke up and groaned, clutching my head and stomach. I was in agonizing pain. Another post-purge hangover. Another pizza box on the floor; a visible reminder of my poor decisions the night before. I had starved so much and then snapped and binged in the middle of the night. I got up eventually, revived myself and went about the day as usual  – work, coffee, restriction.

That evening my boyfriend and I went to a dinner party at his friends’ house. I drank nearly a whole bottle of wine with dinner which is not unusual for me. Somewhere towards the end of the meal, I started to feel unwell. The rest of the night is a blur and what I know of it in detail, has been relayed to me by my boyfriend. The friends started a fire outside for us to sit around and that is when he says I began to panic and be agitated. I went upstairs to purge dinner and quickly realized that I was in agony. My stomach hurt and even after purging, I felt like I couldn’t stop vomiting. I felt like I had been drugged. I lost track of time. I went upstairs and threw up twice more which I only told him about when he put me in the car after he realized that something was wrong with me.

He drove me to the hospital in the middle of the night. I cried hysterically and kept asking him to pull over so I could vomit. I crouched by the side of the truck sobbing, shaking, hyperventilating. He kept putting me back in the truck and eventually I started throwing up uncontrollably in a vehicle moving at 120 kms/hr. There was vomit everywhere: all over his truck, all over him, in my hair and smeared across my face and clothes. I was too far gone to care.

He tells me that when we got to emergency, I opened the door, stepped out and immediately collapsed face down on the ground. He checked my pulse which was faint and ran inside to get a nurse and a wheelchair. I came too when he picked me up and put me in the wheelchair. I don’t remember passing out. I continued crying hysterically as they wheeled me in. I was confused not knowing where I was or how I got there. I had lost track of time. He told me 4 hours had elapsed since the end of dinner and that was the last thing that I could remember clearly. Everything after dinner remained blurry and even now, I can only remember snippets of the evening.

They admitted me right away.  The nurse took my medical history and I asked my boyfriend to leave the room so that I could tell her honestly about my eating disorder.  I was too embarrassed to have him hear the disgusting details of my life. She reprimanded me and told me I was most likely severely dehydrated with an electrolyte imbalance. She made note of the starving, bingeing, purging (including vomiting blood) and laxative abuse. She sent the doctor in a while later and my boyfriend left the room as the doctor questioned me. He instinctively knew that if he stayed, I wouldn’t tell the doctor the truth when he asked about my medical history that they nurse had just taken.

The nurse began a barrage of vital checks (blood pressure too low; heart rate too high), urine samples (not pregnant), blood work (elevated liver enzymes consistent with drinking alcohol) and stomach x-rays (inconclusive ? gallbladder). They hooked me up to an IV and pumped me full of anti-nausea medication, re-hydration solution and an anti-anxiety drug. The entire time, my boyfriend didn’t leave my side through the small hours of the morning. He held my hand while I cried as they put needles in, covered me with warm blankets to stop the shaking and told me that I had to let him take care of me because he was not going anywhere. I was so distraught and was conscious of the fact that I didn’t want him to see me in this state.

After almost five hours, they discharged me from hospital and let him take me home, but not before another long lecture from the nurse about my ED. She told me I needed help and warned me of the danger I was in. She said that tonight could have been a close call if my boyfriend hadn’t had the presence of mind to rush me to the hospital. She reminded me that heart attacks from electrolyte imbalances are common in bulimics and many of the symptoms that they couldn’t diagnose they believed were complications from ED.

My boyfriend drove me home and it was almost 5am by the time we got there. He put me in the shower and washed vomit out of my hair, all the while holding me up because I could barely stand. Somehow, I knew without him saying, that he loved me. The next day I was weak and disoriented. He lay next to me and asked about my ED. My heart pounded as we had the conversation I hoped we never had to have. He asked about how much I was purging and what he could do to help me. I lay there feeling numb and overwhelmed. He told me he wanted me to be well because he was falling in love with me and wanted to grow old with me. The things about me that I thought would make him run didn’t. The man wrapped his arms around me instead and kissed me.

 

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