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.

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