Meals deliberately missed: 2
Meals purged: 0 (for a total of 3 months purge free) UPDATE: purged tonight…offically ended my 3 month streak just hours after I wrote this.
Days of premediated caloric restriction: 3
Accidental binges: 1
Planned binges: 1
Gym workouts: 4 so far…
Total meltdowns: 1 (crying naked in the bathroom in the middle of the night)
Partial meltdowns: 2.5
Number of migraines: 6
Longest lasting migraine: 3 days without any respite
Days since last hospital visit: 17
Weeks left til trip home: 13
Anxiety level: please send Valium
Glasses Bottles of wine: too many
Months since I moved in with my boyfriend: 2
Number of days period is late: 1*
*(I did just have my IUD removed a couple of weeks ago and am waiting for things to “normalize” whilst trying to avoid any unplanned babies.)
Triggering comments from this week: “Why don’t you go have a nap and then you won’t eat anymore?” “She loves food…she is a woman after your own heart.” “You had 3 carrots and a banana for lunch? Watch out you don’t get fat.”
I found this article fascinating as I have hypothyroidism and my girlfriend with ED just got diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
After the break down I had at my doctor’s office about my 15lb weight gain, she promised to refer me to a specialist. I explained to her about my vegan/vegetarian diet, exercise, hypothyroidism and eating disordered history. She was adamant that my weight gain and inability to lose weight are not related to hypothyroidism because I am medicated. According to her, that means I am “cured”. When she said that it had to be something that I am eating, I nearly lost my mind and the little sanity I have left. I explained to her about the calories I track every day, all the time I spend in the gym and I told her that given 21 years of having an eating disorder, that I know about nutrition and weight loss. In the end she said she would refer me to a specialist to make sure that there wasn’t another medical reason that I was gaining weight and couldn’t lose it.
Today I got a referral in the mail to a nutrition program. Thanks to my doctor, they have enrolled me in a group course called “Secrets To Weight Loss Success”. To say I am mad doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her referral just goes to show how little she cares about me or my health – mental or physical. I could write her a book on nutrition and exercise and I guarantee there is not one thing they could teach me about “balanced meals”, “snacks that cause weight gain” and “keeping weight off successfully with exercise”, that I don’t already know. When I was in her office she told me that I don’t need to lose weight and that my BMI is normal. Now I have a referral to go and sit with a bunch of fatties and discuss how not to eat McDonalds for dinner. Needless to say, she is no longer my doctor. Who gives someone with an eating disorder a referral to a weight loss course?
Today is the day I have waited for, for (almost) a decade. An eating disorders clinic gave a presentation to the staff at the ballet school. It was to raise their awareness of EDs and give them signs and symptoms to look for in students. Since I have worked there I have been appalled at how ignorant teachers in this professional ballet school are towards eating disorders. Their lack of concern considering the industry they are in and the outright denial has sickened me. They don’t know anything and they don’t care enough to educate themselves.
Perhaps because of my history of EDs, I am passionate about helping our students. Many times I have been irate because I have mentioned a student that I am concerned about and no one has taken me seriously. I would prefer our students didn’t have to suffer our collective ignorance. I think many of them have because we have not had the resources (knowledge, counselors etc) to help them. I am glad that so many of our staff have never suffered an ED, but I am angry that even though they don’t know what it is like to have one, they haven’t bothered to learn anything. Lately there has been an epidemic of EDs spreading through the school and residence which prompted this sudden action.
This long-awaited day finally arrived and we gathered in studio 5 (the one with the fat mirrors) to watch the presentation. Right before we went in, one of my co-workers who refused to come upset me (read my last post). She used to have bulimia, briefly and told me that she doesn’t have patience for EDs. “I don’t know how to deal with it. They must just get over it.”
I think there are a lot of unresolved issues on her part.
I was quite wound up by the time I went in. I knew I would have questions and answers, but I also didn’t want to give away how much information or knowledge I have because of my own ED. I was alarmed at how bad I felt sitting there and hiding the truth of the extent of my ED from the rest of the staff. When the facilitator described symptoms of Anorexia or Bulimia, I squirmed. She talked about looking for callouses or scraped knuckles (Russell’s sign) and I hid my hands underneath my notebook. A few of the staff know a very limited amount about my ED. I avoided eye contact and took notes. I wondered how many of them might put two and two together as she listed most of my behaviours out loud and on a power point while describing signs and symptoms to look out for in students.
Most of the time I listened to the staff ask their stupid questions and tried to keep my mouth shut so I wouldn’t shout at them which is what I felt like doing. A few times I had to interject with what I knew to be pertinent to ballet, dancers and ED in order to clear things up for the facilitators as the rest of the staff were clueless. I managed to avoid a few arguments where I would basically have to give myself away by saying “I know this because I do it…”
I didn’t learn anything that I hadn’t heard before, but I was glad to be reminded of a few things that I don’t always attribute to my ED. Anxiety disorder in bulimics can be as high as 75%. I suffer debilitating anxiety that has got a lot worse in the last three years and I never link it to my ED. She also said that the ED sufferer’s behaviour and reactions are complicit with their main form of ED. For example, bulimics are impulsive and over react. They explode in uncomfortable or negative emotional circumstances. I did find it ironic that this explanation was going on at work in front of my colleagues because I feel like this happens to me a lot. Daily sometimes. It actually upsets me that the size of my reaction is disproportionate to the situation.
I was also reminded that after five years of having an ED, the chance of a full recovery is almost nil no matter the age of onset. Imagine how I feel after 21 years?
I was most grateful for the moment when the facilitator explained that not everyone with an ED is excessively thin. Our staff are the kind of people who need to see a skeleton before they will react. In the past I have heard statements like these:
“She doesn’t look sick.”
“She isn’t thin enough to have an eating disorder.”
“Maybe she is just naturally that thin.”
“I saw her eating a sandwich/a pizza/an apple…”
“She is so fat she should get an eating disorder.”
The last one is always meant in a sarcastic, joking manner to be funny.
I thanked her for finally explaining that ED has its own logic and not to try to use logic on someone who has one. I hope the staff keep that in mind. If I have to hear “she should just eat something” in reference to my students ever again after today, I might just bite someone.
I will never know until it is too late. I will never understand all the damage I have done until there is nothing I can do about it. I can never know what will fail me first: kidneys or heart? I have no idea what exactly will take years off my life until the day I face the certainty that I will never have those years. I do not know if I can ever have the children I have longed for. I have never meant to die from this, but I know that it is killing me.
Well that was news to me.
I saw a new dentist today. (My last dentist was my boyfriend so it was time for a new one as that relationship ended a year ago.)
The new dentist went through my health history with me, reading through all the boxes I had checked off on the form and writing notes next to them. Obviously I had checked off anorexia and bulimia as well as related conditions like anemia, fainting and chronic fatigue.
He worked through the list efficiently.
“Anorexia?” he asked. “In the past,” he answered his own question.
I can’t blame him. I don’t look “sick”, but I am exceedingly tired of health care professionals who cannot see eating disorders in normal or over weight patients.
“Bulimia?” he asked. “Same thing. In the past,” he answered before I could.
Now I was pissed off.
“Something like that,” I said sarcastically. “It just depends on the day.”
‘How fat am I?’ Is all I could think to myself.
Finally he got to the part where I had ticked “recent weight loss” on the form.
“You lost it recently or just in general?” he probed. He really did not want to believe that I have a problem.
“Seven pounds in 6 weeks,” I responded lying on the chair like a beached whale.
“Did you do this under supervision, like with your doctor?”
“No. I just do my own thing.”
This seemed to floor him. “Well someone should monitor that. If it is too much, perhaps you should see someone. You don’t want to lose too much weight”
“Of course,” I lied.
My eating disorder is in the past, don’t you know?
The last one more accurately portrays what I believe when it comes to this topic. I do, however, believe that genetically we are pre-disposed to a certain height, weight and shape but that other factors such as lifestyle and diet can contribute to changing our size. I will always be 5’9″ and no matter how skinny, thin, ripped or muscley I get, my frame will remain (sadly), unballerina like!