Tag Archives: binge eating disorder

Maybe Moving On Or Getting Back to “Normal”

I finally got tired of my reflection. My boyfriend posted photos of us from a weekend away on social media and someone had the audacity to ask me (not-so-subtly) if I was expecting. I know I have put on weight since the miscarriage. I am guesstimating 7-10lbs from how I look and how my clothes don’t fit. Honestly, I am too terrified to step on my scale until I have dropped some weight.

After the weekend and the hurtful comments, I looked at my pudgy arms in the mirror while I was applying eye liner. They have become soft and shapeless like my heart after I lost the baby. “Enough,” I told myself. “It’s enough now.”

I’ve been back to gym 3 days in a row. There was no shoe shopping involved or sandwich motivation (where I buy myself food for going to workout). I felt more energetic, less depressed. Perhaps this was the turning of a corner? I don’t want to get my hopes up too soon. I have found that this grief knows no end; some days I am fine and others I am broken.

I have binged once and purged once. I have actively restricted a few times. I knew that eventually I would get back to “normal”, but so far it hasn’t been so vicious. Part of me wants a healthy body to have another baby and part of me just wants my agony to show itself in bones.

The truth is, one day I was pregnant and my life had changed forever. A few weeks later I was no longer pregnant and my life could not go back to what it was before. There is no normal after that.

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Apathy, Indifference, Whatever…

I have not really had much to say about ED in the last 2 months. Here is why:

I had a miscarriage.

I haven’t been able to talk about it.

When it happened, I lost my appetite and didn’t eat for a week. I cried and sobbed and drank myself to sleep every night for a month. I binged a few times. I ate “normally” and I just existed for the last little while. I had experienced weight gain after the miscarriage, but not during the pregnancy – I wasn’t far enough along. I hated myself for what happened and of course, I blamed myself for what happened.

My boyfriend was supportive and loving and caring. He put up with the snot and sobbing and staring into outer space like a zombie. He comforted me every night while I fell apart. He held me when I woke up screaming from nightmares about dead babies. He flew my mother here to help me cope (yes, her being here had nothing to with my birthday so I feel even shittier about being ungrateful). He ran me bubble baths and tried to shield me from adverts for diapers or someone giving birth in a movie.

For two months I have been depressed. It is a kind of depressed that I have never known before.

In the beginning it was hard enough to function while dealing with the physical repercussions of the miscarriage. I lost so much blood and was in so much pain. I was physically weak and exhausted. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t think about anything else except the baby we might have had. Miscarriage is common. I read all about it. I read everything I could. It still didn’t prepare me for what I went through or how devastated I am.

Now, a couple of months later, the physical symptoms are gone and I am left with a hollow in my heart. I would have been 16 weeks along today.

ED has barely featured since and I am not sure why. I still think about it. I stare at my much heavier reflection at ballet and am repulsed. I have to squeeze into my size 6 pants and it upsets me, but I don’t do anything. I eat in terms I can only describe as “normal”, keeping in mind that I don’t know what normal is. I am not actively starving, bingeing or purging. I am drinking a lot. I seem to have become apathetic and indifferent to food. I am unconcerned with anything except trying to get through my day with my sanity intact. Work has been overly stressful and dramatic. My boyfriend and I have had some more relationship turmoil (as usual revolving around the mother of his youngest child). We continue to not move forward. At the end of the day, I cannot cope with any of it. I cannot deal with anything.

I have been trying to get back into a gym routine over the last few weeks. I have little incentive or motivation to exercise other than I know endorphins are good for depression. I just don’t really seem to care and I cannot make myself care. I have thought about going to see a counsellor. On that note, I dropped out of my ED treatment that I was in. There didn’t seem much point in going.

So I have nothing to update on the ED front. I ate cucumbers and hummus at work today. Last week when my anxiety over our relationship was much higher, I ate nothing. Tonight I ate 2 bowls of pasta and didn’t purge. On the weekend when we went on a happy family vacation, I ate 3 meals a day. There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

When my coworker announced her pregnancy this week and her due date 10 days after mine would have been, I hid in my office. I feel a numbness. Other than being depressed, I haven’t felt much else except the inability to cope. My anxiety has been escalating lately over work and relationship stuff and that usually sends my ED into a frenzy, but I have barely reacted if the truth be told. All I want to do is sleep. I don’t mean kill myself because I have no suicidal tendencies at all. I just want to sleep for a very long time.

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The “V” Gene

“Hello giant,” a coworker greets me at ballet. I am wearing some sky scraper heels and trying unsuccessfully to hide the 10lbs I have gained since June.

“Please don’t remind me that I have giant genetics,” I implore him.

“Oh you have the “V” gene,” he says giving me a salacious look. “V for voluptuous”

My jaw drops in horror.

“Don’t say that to her,” another co-worker interrupts. “She thinks voluptuous means ‘fat’.”

Well we all know that’s what it means.

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Reality – 1, Expectations – 0

We were supposed to leave tonight for the long weekend. I had us booked into a log cabin in a more remote part of the mountains, far enough away to be secluded. It is perfect weather to be snuggled up in a wood chalet with a fire and a bottle of wine. I had longed for it, imagined it, anticipated it and planned it – down to the menu for the weekend. I had even fantasized that my boyfriend would take advantage of our first romantic getaway, and our last time together before I leave for 5 weeks, to propose to me.

Instead, my boyfriend is out drinking somewhere and I am home in my pajamas: bingeing, drinking, barfing and bathing. The bitter disappointment was too hard to swallow

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Check Up

Yesterday was a check up with my doctor at the ED treatment centre and a meeting with my case manager/counsellor.

I am weighing myself every day at home: 137lbs and not losing. Even after 2 days of not eating from being sick, the scale wouldn’t budge. After restricting then bingeing and purging for a while, the scale has refused to give. I stared in horror at the numbers and the scale stared back mercilessly. I am determined to lose at least 7lbs before I go home. I have 3 weeks.

The doctor and nurse did the medical part first: weighing (backwards of course), blood pressure lying and standing (cue dizziness on standing), heart rate, urine test and a review of my blood work. The doctor asked about why I had been in emergency this week (which you can read about in my last blog post). She asked if my eating had improved, worsened or stayed the same. I told her it was worsening. Then she asked if things were stable at home and I told her that that had worsened too.

She didn’t say much. She asked me to try eat more during the day. Just like that. As if it is easy and/or possible. “Try have a snack earlier than noon. Try eat something between ballet classes. Try to remember to eat after class before you drive home. Eat before the gym. Eat after the gym.”

Eat, eat, eat.

I do eat. That is my problem.

She asked if I had cut down on my alcohol consumption. I told her I had, drastically.

“Why?” she had to ask.

“I want to lose weight before I go home next month,” no point in lying about my real motives for giving up something I love.

“Is that the only reason you’ve cut down your drinking?”

I smile at her, “yes. I like to come home and drink. It takes the edge off the stress of the day and the fight with my boyfriend and crying children and whatever else ails me.”

She makes notes. She doesn’t respond.

After the medical, I met with my case manager. She asked about if my boyfriend was going to be part of my family therapy.

“Is this someone with whom you are going to be spending a large part of your life,” she enquired.

I nodded, “until last week I thought that was the plan. Now I am not so sure.”

We get into the fight we had. I tell her about my expectations and demands. I tell her about how I perceive my boyfriend to cope by avoidance.

“It seems he has a soft heart, that he is very loving,” she comments. I cannot disagree with her. “You will have to accept that he most likely won’t change. You will have to decide what you are willing to tolerate to be in this relationship. Ask yourself ‘do I love this man despite his circumstances. Am I willing to be with him, to choose to be with him knowing that this is how things are?'”

Sometimes if you shut up and listen, you learn things. She had some interesting perspective on our relationship. She confronted me about the “solutions” I offer my boyfriend when I put my foot down and demand boundaries. She reminded me that no one likes being told what to do by someone else all the time. She talked about how I was clear and straight forward and goal orientated. Isn’t everyone with an ED? Then she said this: “it seems to me that you are similar. He copes through avoidance and you do too with your eating disorder.” I had never looked at it that way. She talked about my pattern of self sabotage and of pulling the plug on relationships even when I love them. She said in that way I managed to avoid everything by ending things.

She gave me some things to think about. I feel like some introspection and soul-searching will go a long way to helping me change and grow in this relationship. I am not a nice person. I am intolerant and impatient. I have high expectations in a relationship. I am demanding. I am resentful and unforgiving. I thought yesterday how it would be to be my boyfriend, to be treated without grace for the past mistakes I had made. it was rather soul-destroying, the realization that I can treat someone I love so poorly.

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Massage and Probing Questions

I saw a massage therapist yesterday to deal with 2 ribs that are out of place.

“If you are uncomfortable at any point, just say so and I will stop,” he instructs.

I don’t know how to tell him that people with ED are always uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable in my skin, lying naked underneath a blanket, wondering how awful my cellulite is as he squeezes and rubs. I am uncomfortable that someone is touching my fat; that the bones I long for are buried under layers of flesh. I am uncomfortable as his hands find thighs that are too big. I suffer repulsion on his behalf that he has to touch me.

He keeps up an incessant chatter. The conversation turns to me: where am I from, what do I do. The usual. Thankfully he doesn’t comment that I am too fat to be a ballerina.

“Do you have kids?” he asks. I don’t know if this is just conversational or not.

“No,” I don’t bother explaining that I live with someone who has two because that opens a huge can of worms. It is so complicated that I don’t want to rehash the story of my boyfriend and his children. (Although I “mommy” them, I am not officially their step mother. Apparently you can’t be acknowledged as any kind of mother until there is a ring on your finger and a piece of paper to prove it.)

“Have you ever been pregnant,” is his next question.

“No,” I respond wondering how strange it is of him to ask that of me. It would mean that I had suffered a miscarriage given that I just told him I don’t have kids. It seems an unlikely conversation to have a with a complete stranger, despite how intimately his hands were touching my body.

This came 48 hours after my colleague asked me on the weekend if I was expecting a baby. Why is everyone asking me if I am pregnant, if I have ever been pregnant or in the case of my girlfriend straight up telling me “it is your turn to have a baby. You are going to miss your window and regret it.”

My boyfriend already had 2 accidental kids. I don’t want to be the person he has a third accident with. I am having enough trouble wrapping my head around being #3 as it is. It isn’t special. It isn’t something that I feel excited about. There are a lot of comments and jibes about pregnancy and kids made in our direction. I don’t enjoy being the butt of the joke because he already had two kids with two different women. No one seems to stop and think how it makes me feel. No one acknowledges how hard it must be for me to be in such a situation and want my own children. He makes jokes about it too and it destroys me just a little bit more.

The only conclusion I can draw from any of this is that I am fat.

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Do You Have Bulimia?

I went to the hospital to have a cyst removed last week (yes, another hospital trip). The doctor looked like a mad scientist: matted, sticky out hair, retro glasses, bad teeth all complete with lab coat and stethoscope.

He was just as odd as he looked, but completely harmless. He asked a barrage of questions while examining me. They always go in the same direction: where are you from, what do you do etc. Both usually stump people. Once he knew that I taught ballet he went on a long, eccentric, meandering soliloquy about ballet. Out of nowhere he looked at me, “did you have bulimia?”

I looked startled. I realized I had nothing to lose by telling him the truth. “Yes. I did.”

“Ah, but you’re better now? You’re alright.” I couldn’t tell if he was asking a question or stating a fact.

“I’m fine,” was all I replied. I don’t look sick so why would I explain to him that I am still purging regularly and restricting when I am not overdoing the “healthy” eating or the wine-free-for-all diet.

“Bulimia…it can kill you,” he muses shaking his head. “That will kill you.”

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NEDA 2015

For my sufferers and survivors: I wish you strength to fight for health every day; to choose life; to find the freedom that is possible and to hope for it. I wish peace for you in your distress. I pray that you love yourself gently, then fiercely and without question. No love is merely deserved. It is necessary for our very existance and God gave it freely to the undeserving. Remember this every time you hate everything about yourself, when ED whispers lies that you hold as truth or as you recall the gospel of starvation to mind. I hope you find the perseverance to fight ED in any way possible: even the small ways are victories within us. I wish you passion instead of numbness. I wish you fullness of mind and spirit and even body instead of this all consuming emptiness. I pray that the demons which dog your soul would be put to flight – that you will have the faith to fight the good fight. I hope you never give up, even in the depths of your darkness. Believe.

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Comfort and Control

It starts as soon as I slip back into my routine. Seemless, ceaseless, sneaking up on me and surprising me in a way that is sadly familiar and exhilarating.

After a month of traveling, being on holiday, dealing with chronic kidney problems, I have been eating like there will be no consequences. Part of me was terrified of being so sick, being in hospital every other week for four months, thinking I was probably dying just when life seemed perfect. I ate to nourish myself – not to binge. I ate for health – not to process overwhelming emotions. I ate “normally” using my kidneys to excuse the inexcusable: food.

Today the anxiety was there, waiting. For the first time in a month I contemplated purging. I had the urge to restrict, to count calories, to revisit “safe” foods: rice cakes, egg whites, celery. I felt the rush, the accelerating heart rate that accompanies starvation and fear. I plot my gym work outs for the week. I taste the emptiness. I long for the control I have lost to comfort.

I know it will kill me, but I don’t seem to care.

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Hope and Despair

2014 started off with so much despair. I left home, leaving my family behind, which took me months to recover from. I was rattled and ready to leave the country. I questioned my life here and once again was stuck between staying or giving up everything I have worked so hard for. I never know which one is right.  I dropped out of the ED 12 step program I had been in and once again was purging and overexercising and losing the weight I had gained in “recovery”.

In the summer I started dating my now boyfriend. Having met eight years ago, this was sudden and unexpected. Despite dealing with a lot of anxiety over our relationship and the many complications that go along with dating a man with children, I ended the year with hope. We kissed each other at midnight on New Year’s Eve, tears of happiness trickling down both our faces.

The last few months were not free of ED, despite the happiness I felt, and because of it, I have been very sick. Anyone who suffers from ED knows that everything is a trigger in a relationship. Even now, at peace with the situation and in love, I am not free of anxiety. It is something us ED sufferers contend with on a level no one can understand. I have tried to explain to my boyfriend what it is like. In the last two weeks I ran the gamut of emotions: breaking up with him although I didn’t want to, staying with him, not knowing which was right in the circumstances. A lot of it is rooted in my anxiety which overwhelms everything. After we finally talked on the weekend I felt peaceful. It doesn’t mean I don’t still have moments of anxiousness or fear. For the past few days, I have just wanted to be held, to hold on to him and not let go, now that my heart has decided. He has been there for me; my rock. Holding me in the night when I start to panic, pulling me close and wrapping his arms around me. The other day, I imagined a life free of ED with this man, being healthy enough to enjoy that life together. It was a beautiful thought.

I am looking at 2015 with all the hope we have for that life together. This year has started very differently to the last one. Long may it continue.

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