Tag Archives: ED

Overheard

I was standing in line at the DMV and the lady next to me was renewing her license. She was asked to look over her information.

“It’s correct except I don’t weigh 50kgs anymore.”

My ears started flapping, but I prevented myself from turning to stare at her. No one wants to be gawked at like a freak on a Tuesday afternoon.

“Ok how much do you weigh now?”

“I think, maybe 60kgs?”

She doesn’t look self conscious. She doesn’t giggle shyly or hang her head ashamed. No one can say for sure, but to an onlooker it seems like she gained 10kgs and that is just fine. Normal. Unremarkable. Not noteworthy.

I have never put my correct weight on my driver’s license. I always lowball – within REASON.

At ballet school we were taught to subtract 10lbs from our actual weight when asked for an audition. As a rule of thumb I have continued to do this because it seems REASONABLE. Reasonable to lie about my weight because no number is ever really acceptable.

Today I went to get a cup of coffee in the mall and a shop employee was hob nobbing with the barista. No one can say for sure, but she looked like she was afflicted with the rex. I had admired her skeletal like arms as she handed me my coffee with trembling hands and a smile that lit up her pale, hollowed out face.

The shop employee was showing the barista his lunch. She looked at it like a maniac. Like she was fascinated and revolted at the same time.

“I’m not going to eat all of it now,” he informed her and her co-coffee worker. “I guess I’m telling you so that you don’t laugh at my fat ass.”

The other barista comments on how she likes to tell herself she will save food for later and then eats it all in one sitting instead. I’m stirring my coffee slowly, deliberately eavesdropping.

The rexy barista hasn’t moved. She is in the same spot still transfixed by this lunch that has wandered in to high jack her shift.

He gets his coffee from skinny and skinnier behind the espresso machine and looks at his lunch with unbridled delight.

“I’m only 15lbs away from my goal weight anyway.”

I pick up my coffee and stroll out into the banal abyss of mall. I take my extra 15 pounds of “baby” weight with me. My extra 15 pounds of sleepless nights, more calories for breastfeeding, anxiety, bad day with the babies, hormonal, postpartum, non exercising excuses, sneaky glasses of wine and a few too many chocolate binges of baby weight.

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Undefined

I am triggered by everything:

A photo of dancers I used to idolize when I was 16 and starving, desperate to be even half as skinny as they were and still are. I scroll past them. My brain does a double take. I back track. I scrutinize their emaciated arms, their collar bones, their sunken cheek bones. They are all smiles, superior in their anorexia, mocking me. Twenty years have gone by and they are still thinner than thin.

I see my reflection in an unsafe mirror…so that’s what thighs and hips and stomachs look like after two babies in quick succession – well mine anyway. A vast, mass of undefined lard, rolling and oozing and overflowing, fleshy like raw dumplings, doughy like unbaked bread, ever expanding…never ending. Never ceasing to amaze me in horror to fascinate me as I stare. “Is that really me?” I don’t recognize myself, this untamed, unmanageable, out of control lump. I don’t fit into my clothes or my brains neatly, compartmentalized boxes: bulimic ballerina has been replaced with fat stay-at-home-mum. Fat, frumpy, fleshy, unfit to be a mother or an anorexic.

I read an ED memoir a friend lends me. I stop. I put it away on a shelf where I cannot see it. I pick it back up a week later. It makes me remember that I used to purge just as easily as I breathed. After this long, would I even notice if it crept back in? If I slipped a couple of times that were more intentional than unintentional? After all, there are days where I seamlessly substitute my calories as I go. Latte? No, americano. Vegan mayo? No, mustard. Salad dressing? Not necessary. More pasta? No, more veggies. Two slices of toast? No, three quarters of one slice is more than enough for breastfeeding two babies. I shake so much, so often from hunger. I don’t get any thinner.

I don’t want to think of the other bad days where I unintentionally eat two muffins instead of one. When I eat half a bag of chocolate chips and then wonder why I’m carrying this “baby weight” 7 Months later. I’m surprised when these things happen. Half a packet of digestive biscuits later I am unsure where I went wrong. But I’ve never pretended to know so why start now?

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Postpartum Take 2

I had another baby.

A year after our first baby, we welcomed another baby girl. It’s been a whirlwind journey. I had visions of continuing this blog after the first baby, but took an unplanned hiatus. I didn’t have anything to say some days. Other days I had so much to say, I was too overwhelmed to know where to start. Every time I tried I couldn’t find the words.

I wanted to express what it was like to be pregnant, to give birth, to become a Mum, to breastfeed and raise a baby while trying to beat ED into submission.

I hope to tell those stories from not one, but two pregnancies now. I made it through both of them without restricting or bingeing or purging. They were both so different and I can’t pretend that I was ED free entirely because the running dialogue in my head throughout reminded me that in the shadows it was lurking there, in the bright moments, the extreme joyousness, the overwhelming and the trying times, I was never far from it. Even now it dogs me.

I will begin again to speak of it. I will tell the story, the dark parts that I wish my daughters will never know.

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Emergency Room Frequent Flyer Program

I went to emergency on Tuesday…shocking, right? I have lost count of how many visits I have made this year. You would think I would start to do the maths on how much my ED is affecting my health and quality of life, but I am not smart if you remember correctly.

After the stress of last week’s fight with my boyfriend, I starved and binged and purged and drank. On Sunday I didn’t eat all day until the evening when I ate half a cauliflower (read a blog post about Cauliflower here – https://thefatballerinablogs.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/3097/ ) and cheesecake (from the boyfriend and kids for Mother’s Day). On Sunday night I started having sudden, stabbing pain in my lower, right abdomen. I ignored it and blamed it on my ED thinking it would go away after a while.

By Monday the pain was worse and spreading to my back. On top of that I had nausea, diarrhea, chills and dizziness. I went to work and was non-functioning. I couldn’t eat and was in and out of the bathroom all day. By the time I had to teach ballet, I could barely stand up. After one class, I called my boyfriend to pick me up and take me home. I spent the rest of Monday in bed in excuciating pain. At this point I just figured I had a stomach bug.

On Tuesday all the symptoms had gone except for the pain. When I stood up I was doubled over. By this time my boyfriend had read the entire internet and had come with all sorts of horrible diagnoses: miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (he always thinks I am pregnant), gall bladder…the list went on. I had my appendix out 12 years ago, so that ruled out at least one thing. He dropped me off at emergency on his way to work and I spent the next 5 hours there.

My blood pressure was very low, my heart rate was very high. I was so dehydrated. The doctor ran tests: ultrasound, urine, blood. He was not convinced it was a stomach bug and was particularly concerned about my kidneys, given my recent history of recurring kidney infections. Everything came back negative (including the pregnancy test). I had told the doctor about my eating disorder when he asked for my medical history.

“Is that under control now?” he asked.

“No,” I explained why I had attributed that pain to my ED after the nightmare week I had. He noted it down, briefly and never referenced it again.

After pumping me full of pain meds and saline, he had no answer for what was wrong with me so he sent me home. The pain eventually ebbed after 2 days and I still don’t know what caused it. I was blown away by how unconcerned he was about my ED. When I saw my doctor at the ED treatment centre yesterday, she asked about my emergency visit. I rehashed all the details and told her it was inconclusive, that the doctor couldn’t figure it out.

She grunted, “really?” as she raised one eyebrow behind her glasses as she looked at me. She spared any further comments.

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Coping

I have been slowly falling back into my ED habits. I say slowly because part of me is not sure if this is going to set off another bout of kidney issues. I am consciously restricting (although it is not very severe at the moment) and the purging is becoming more regular. Thankfully, my binges are not of epic proportions at the moment, so it is easier to hide. The few months of not engaging in ED behaviours when I thought that was causing my kidney problems, are over. I am so thankful to be able to cope for now. Tonight I knew dinner was going to be purged. My plan was to come home and not eat after being disgusted by myself all day. Lately, I have become more aware of myself size-wise and the usual loathing for the sight of my naked flesh is back. It started with a photograph of me in a bridesmaid dress that I will be wearing in June. I was blown away by how huge I was. “Beached whale” sprang to mind and has not left since. The last month I have been suffering terrible distress over my relationship and it’s never-ending complications and drama. I found that purging eased my anxiety. There are only so many nights you can freak out, sob yourself to sleep and expect your boyfriend to remain understanding. Part of my distress is that I think there are things he doesn’t understand or doesn’t care to.

On Saturday night we were out for dinner with 3 other couples and their kids. We got to the restaurant and everyone was picking their seats when my boyfriend suddenly disappeared. He was outside on the phone to the mother of his daughter and it drove me insane. For the two hours that we were out as a family, he had to go outside so that his child could talk to her mom because it would be totally unreasonable for her to wait until the morning. I understand that I am just supposed to “get it” and go along with it, but I lost my mind. Everyone else was sitting there with their partner and mine was nowhere to be seen. Rude to our friends and more than rude to me and I have no intention of tolerating it. The situation is so ridiculous and yet even more is asked of me. Every few days it is a massive ordeal of me breaking down, crying and having to explain it to him. I know it can’t go on like this. If he doesn’t eventually get it without me having to point out every unreasonable thing that I’m just expected to tolerate, then I can’t survive. I figured he knew how much he had to ask of someone to be with him in his situation and that would mean that every effort would be made to make it bearable not the opposite.

Back to ED. We got back from the restaurant on Saturday evening, he went to put his child to bed and I went to throw up. The relief was immediate. I remembered why purging works: the numbness after. Tonight, after eating dinner, despite my intentions not to (mmm…pasta), I waited for him to take his daughter for a bath. Bath time upsets me because I can’t be a part of it. It is the time when she calls her mother (and they all pretend I don’t exist) and I am left to clean up dinner and the kitchen, parent the other child who barely gets a look in, tidy up and make lunches for school. It upsets me, but then what part of sharing my boyfriend’s time and attention with his kids and their mothers doesn’t upset me? So tonight I waited til bath time knowing that as usual, he is so focused on her that I can get away with whatever I want and he will never notice. I glugged a couple of glasses of wine (which I know I should give up, but I can’t) and purged dinner while he was upstairs with his child and I was quietly “not existing”.

It is the only way I know how to cope. It will mean that I, and more importantly we, can survive this.

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On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand…

…all other ground is sinking sand

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny

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Strength and Perseverance

For my ED sufferers and survivors……have faith and courage for another day. You are worth it.
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Fear and Loathing

http://www.lushquotes.com/

My life is diminished by ED. I know it but, right now I am powerless to change it. I cannot sleep at night for the fears that crawl and creep. I cannot live during the day because I am filled with loathing. I loathe the physical. The sight of my body upsets me. My day is filled with thoughts of food, calories, exercise. Diminishing myself more and more seems to be the logical solution to a life of too much. Too much wanting, needing, being. I am too much. I am too extreme. How can I be less of me? I am riddled with anxiety. How did I get here? Why? What next?

I want to be in control of a life that is careening out of control One day I woke up with a boyfriend, a house and a life (I thought) I wanted so much. The next day it was gone and I was the one who pulled the rug from under my own feet. I was the one who made the decision to leave a man who did not love me enough. Now I sit here alone, drinking, bingeing, purging, over exercising and not sleeping. I am reeling from the loss of love; from the absence of the familiar; from the stabbing pain of being let go without a thought. I wake up each day dazed. I go through the motions. I try to stay in my routine: ballet, gym, yoga. Nothing saves me from my destructive self.

I went to hot yoga tonight after ballet. I had no strength….not an ounce. I had eaten carrots and grapes for lunch after a particularly bad B/P episode last night. I was unsteady on my feet. Sweat poured from my feeble body.  The room spun around me. Darkness crept in every time I tried to stand up.  I swayed. I put my hand on the wall to hold me up. I hung my head in defeat, steadying my body, leaning on my shaky legs. Dale, the instructor, came over and put his hand on my back. I was shaking uncontrollably. “Relax,” he said. He doesn’t know that I cannot. It eludes me no matter what I do.

Each day I wake from troubled, fitful snatches of sleep that do not nourish me. I get up, sore from compulsively over-exercising, dehydrated from purging. I feel like I am hung over. I make myself green tea. I race to the studio and teach ballet. All day I plan my starvation diet, count calories, think of my next binge. I flee from the mirrors in the studio and escape to the yoga studio where I can continue to loathe my reflection. I push my body to breaking point. I feel like I am constantly on the verge of collapse.

But, I keep going. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. My friend tells me that this is what it means to be strong – to take the next step when you feel like you cannot keep going. I feel like that is merely surviving. Sadly, I am a not a skinny bulimic. I do not drop much weight despite a severe relapse over the last 2 months. Hypothyroid sees to that. No one tells me anymore that I am too thin like they used too. So I suffer whilst my outward appearance belies a healthy, happy person. Each day I shrink, wither, die a little bit more inside. I loathe and I fear and I long for the unattainable.

“You can go a lot of years on empty”.  One of my favourite, bittersweet quotes. It is so true.

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Ballet: You Are What You Eat

Ballet: You Are What You Eat

Two subjects that are always close to my heart: ballet and ED.

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