Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Disordered Interweb

I have been contemplating the interconnectivity of eating disorders.  One thing that is downplayed in the DSM IV (it’s supposed to be fixed in V), is the inevitable overlap of disorders.  From my reading --of blogs, periodicals and articles -- and my interactions of those currently living with EDs, I’ve gleaned that very few people are pure anorexic, bulimic or “bingers”.  Sure, there’s that ambiguous Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, or EDNOS, but that’s not how we are usually diagnosed.  We are put into little boxes, with straight edges and defined borders.  Never mind that most people who purge also restrict, and those that binge tend to fast.  There are those that start with a prevalence toward binging but end up restricting and vice versa.  The point being, we have an EATING disorder.  Our relationship with food, with eating, is disordered.  I’m guessing most of us don’t even know what healthy, “normal” eating looks like anymore, if we ever knew at all.

On a side note, I love watching documentaries on eating disorders -- as in, ever-so-slightly addicted to them.  There is always an interview segment with the family, friends and neighbors of the person living with an ED.  It’s always the same line, “Little ‘Sally’ had so much going for her.  She was on the honor roll, a top-tier athlete, friendly, kind, etcetera, etcetera.”  They say it like the high standards of achievement should exclude the person from developing an ED.  Perhaps they think “Sally” was tricked into going days without nourishment, or maybe some shady kid lured “Sally” into the school bathroom and showed her how to purge.    Don’t these people realize they just described the perfect candidate for an ED?  It’s that drive for perfection that twists our relationship with food.  It’s that drive for perfection that makes us who we are.

All this makes me wonder why we develop the disorders that we do.  Why do some people revel in the high that comes from restricting, while others feel the urge to stick a finger down their throat?  Mostly I wonder why I developed BED when I have all the indicators for ANA.  It's not that I want to anorexic -- I wouldn't wish that particular disease on my worst enemy -- by sometimes I think life would be much easier if I didn't have the so very obvious social stigma of being obese.  Perhaps I subconciously (or not so subconciously) think that if my plump curves were replaced with harsh angles, flat plans and beautiful bones then I would be happy.  It's a silly notion, I know, but it's one I share with others in the ED community. 

I will be happy if I reach X weight, if I fast X number of days, if I only eat X foods, if I exercise X number of hours, if I burn X number of calories.

But we never are.  Happiness is a fleeting thought, like those little squiggly lines that sometimes appear in your vision.  You can see them on the periphery, but look right at them and they disappear.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Smile is a Smile is a Smile

I smile, my lips curving up in a pleasant line. I smile until my face hurts. I smile until I'm certain I'll split in two. Surely they can see the cracks? See that on the inside I am screaming, clawing at the walls? My sanity is a mask I cannot let slip.

Oblivion in 3...2...1...

Am I the only person who feels like they are constantly fighting self-destruct mode?  Finger hovering over that big red button, knowing I could end it all? 

No, I’m not talking about taking my own life.  I’m talking about severing all ties, burning every bridge and so thoroughly salting the ground that no relationship can ever grow again.  And yet… I am torn.  People are important.  My family is sometimes the only thing that holds the thin shards of my sanity together.  My friends provide much needed distraction and social interaction.  My boyfriend has the most wonderful hands and arms and lips.  So I tread lightly, stepping on eggshells while waiting for the ground to fall out from under me.  I wait for them to hurt me.  Sometimes I know with absolute certainty that I am the only one who can be relied on.  Other times I wish I wasn’t so damn cynical.

Friday, May 25, 2012

How it All Began

There has never been a time in my life that I felt my relationship with food was healthy.  Some of my earliest memories are of digging through the kitchen cabinets -- being as quiet as possible so as not to be discovered -- looking for something sweet to eat.  This sounds like normal kid behavior, but I was more persistent than most.  If a suitable treat could not be found ready-made, I would create a concoction of whatever was available.  Examples include: gloppy messes of unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and milk, orange juice concentrate straight-up and fruit saturated with sticky sugar.  The innocence of childhood kept me from thinking there was anything wrong with my behavior.  At that point in my life, the only reason I hid my eating habits was to avoid punishment meted out by well-meaning parents.

I vividly remember my first binge.  It was late December, and after polishing off the last of my Halloween candy (which I spent four hours gathering and a nearly two months carefully rationing), I wanted more.  I NEEDED more.  The week previous my family had created individual gingerbread houses, one for each member.  Mine was long since devoured, but in my desperation I noticed that my brother had thrown his away.  As I sat, back to my locked bedroom door, I was overcome with shame as I shoved piece after piece of stale cookie and rock-hard frosting into my mouth.  At eight years of age, I was too young to understand the implications of my actions, but I did know this wasn’t normal. 

From there my addiction started to slowly devour my whole life.  I would steal money from my family to buy food.  When we moved to a house within walking distance of a grocery store, I made near daily trips to stock up on candy and junk food.  Every nook in my room became a potential place to hide food, and I would, stockpiling until I had enough to binge.  Friends became secondary to eating.  Instead of playing outside, I would stuff bite after bite past my lips until my mouth stung with abrasion sores and my stomach became distended, a heavy painful weight.  Food became my whole world.  It was the first thing I thought about when I woke and the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep.

Happiness was always one binge away.

Happiness is always one binge away.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hello, my name is...

I have been here before. I have sat in front of a monitor, new and shiny blog waiting to be filled with insights and witty comments. My journey into blogging usually ends there. The internal dialogue that plagues my every waking hour grinds to a halt and I am left speechless. Incapable of expressing… anything.  Like so many things in my life, maybe this time will be different.

I guess I should start by introducing myself.

Hi, I’m [BLANK] and I’m addicted to food.  More specifically, I live with binge eating disorder (BED).  After years of struggling with this disease, I am finally on the path to recovery.  Well, that’s the idea anyway.  I want to recover and that’s a start, right? 

Anyway, this is me, in all my glorious insanity.