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knorl05
strokesbabe: i guess i could see how it would amplify your concerns about eating.. having to dissect what you put into your body. i think eating what you want, is very liberating. it makes complete sense. you want to be free to indulge in whatever you want to eat. but what i think you want more is to not have the nagging thoughts and feelings about what you eat. it's not so much about wanting to eat what you want (?) as it is about not being worried or concerned about what you've eaten (?) you dont want to think about it all the time. what do you feel will help you get over these obsessive thoughts?
strokesbabe
knorl05: Well, obviously it helps that I've just started uni. Gives me something to focus on apart from food!! So I guess that'll help. I think it's just boredom that kick-started this whole "obsessing about food"-thing.
Thanks for your help :-)
knorl05
strokes: right on, productive occupation of your thoughts is always good.. focus on what really matters. on what will produce enduring results. best of luck with everything, even though it has nothing to do with luck. ;)
strokesbabe
*bump* cos it's a good thread!
pervenche
*delurking*

hi all -
i wanted to share what portia de rossi said about her anorexia/bulimia (she was ridiculously thin and eating 300 calories a day during ally macbeal), from an article in vogue this month:

"It just seemed like I wanted literally to disappear. And now I would like to reappear."

my sentiments exactly.
missdaisy
I feel so powerful when I DECIDE to eat or NOT to eat. I ate with a family for easter who didn't know me very well and they kept saying you need to eat more come on and eat. I was getting so mad I finally excused myself and went home and had a horrible binge session. I hate explaining to people that I just dont feel like eating. I will work through this but I dont need other people in my face who dont understand and I am not ready to tell people about my eating habits and the reason I do it. Now I am angry just talking about it.
strokesbabe
@missdaisy: I know what you mean. For me, it is as if I can't control anything but food. Which gives me some sort of power :-S Low self-esteem, I guess?
missdaisy
Can it ever be corrected? I hate it when people say you need to love and respect your body and it will stop. What does that mean? I love me. I really dont get that. I can't have children regardless of my eating habits, teeth can be replaced. So maybe its not so much low self esteem but lack of knowledge of knowing my purpose in life.
knorl05
wow. those were *intense* comments..

pervenche: how long have you been struggling?

missdaisy: yes, i know it. my family was always riding my ass about my eating habits while growing up .. i've wondered if that contributed to my disorder. they'd make a huge deal about what i'd eat or wouldnt eat or they'd tease me because i ate so slow. i remember having to sit at the dinner table for an hour by myself "until i finished". sometimes i'm just not hungry. and it's my business if i'm going to eat or not eat, it's really not that big of a deal.. they make it out to be though. anyway. now that i'm older i see they mean no harm.. i try to be patient with them. now what i'll do is say yes thank you and or no thank you with a smile and leave it at that. and then i'll change the subject. if they persist, i just say i've already eaten and i'm not hungry. most of the time it's true. it's a good thing i wasnt raised in an italian family.. they're the WORST about pushing food on people. :-)

strokesbabe: i'm not sure if you know this, but most people with eating disorders are battling more with control than they are with weight or food. the disorder is just a manifestation of our control issues. it's amazing how much things improve when you focus your energy toward things you really have control over.. like your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to life. yoga and meditation help tremendously with this.

-missdaisy: whether or not it can be corrected is your call. what it means about loving and respecting your body, is being gentle with it. imagine you were doing to your (mother, sister, cousin, friend, daughter) what you are doing to your body with the eating disorder. it is a horrible form of self abuse. it makes me sad anyone who does it to themself.. perhaps especially because i know how it feels. and i think you are completely right on when you say you feel you are lacking purpose in your life. i struggled with the same feelings there too. i'm actually still struggling with them. there's a term in yoga called "sublimation", which means to divert the energy associated with (an unacceptable impulse or drive) into a personally and socially acceptable activity. this is the stage i am in. now that i have been working hard to NOT give into the impulses, i'm working toward constructive activies which will bring more fulfillment in my life. what brings you passion and joy?
quietmadness
I actually wake up in the morning, and I KNOW I AM NOT HUNGRY--but I'll eat anyway. Story of most of my days.
HOWEVER--I went to the doctor today, after several months of extreme water retention. He tested my blood for all kinds of shit, and I'm waiting on the results.
I couldn't BELIEVE what the damn scales said I weighed: Let's just say it's like 3 times what I *should* weigh.
I've found myself in size 3x clothes. I don't actually shop in stores anymore. I just order off of ebay.
I huff and puff if I walk to the mailbox and back. Or do anything *else* that requires movement.
I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of being fat as hell, and I'm tired of feeding when I KNOW I don't want to eat, not really.
My appetite is waning over the past few days, though...guess that's a "plus."
Guess I'll just try to eat healthier, and start walking? (yeah...that was a question posed to myself.)
knorl05
quietmadness: let us know what the doctor says..
knorl05
one of the things that prompted me to stop the purging was the potential condition of my teeth. i stopped going to the dentist once they questioned me about what was going on with my tooth enamel. so half the time i was bulimic i wasnt seeing a dentist.

so the final stage of getting over my bulimia.. going to the dentist and fixing the problems my habits caused me. had two teeth removed yesterday. and it sucks, but now i'm working toward fixing the damage i've done.. rather than continuing to contribute to it.

there are a lot of things that go along with unhealthy eating that could be avoided. we have to realize we can take control over our health and be responsible for ourselves. it's so important to realize these are our bodies and it is on us to take care of them and be good to them. we've got to stop the cycle of self abuse, which any one of us can do once we really see that we can.
elle419
Hey guys, I'm a newbie! I'm bulimic. I'm hoping to go into treatment soon.. ANyways just wanted to say hi :-)
misspissed
(((quietmadness)))
oh girl. i can relate so much to what you are going through.
i go through phases of just...eating. and eating. when i past the point of being stuffed and full, i just keep eating.

do you find that you eat more during certain times, like when you are stressed/bored/lonely?
knorl05
elle419: welcome! how do you plan to approach treatment?
msluna13
Hello, new here. I am a recovering anorexic. Officially they tell me that I suffer body dysmorphic disorder. I have been trying to overcome this for eight months. I gained over twenty pounds and am now 119. I know that I am doing something good for my body, but I feel gross. When I get stressed out I feel even heavier. Does anyone have any advice on how to start overcoming this? When I look in the mirror, I can't see myself for what I am.
_octinoxate
Welcome, msluna. Congrats on being in recovery. I can relate to the body dysmorphic disorder issues. Although I don't officially have the disorder, I don't have a realistic body image either. Friends will comment that I've lost weight and I think "really? That's funny. I hadn't noticed" and I still feel big. Also, my body image will vary greatly depending on my mood and general attitude about myself at the moment. I'm not sure that I can give you any advice about it, except that it might help to always stay informed about the straight facts about taking care of your body: for instance, be aware of the Body Mass Index, find out what your BMI number is and take comfort that it's now (I would assume) in the healthy range, recommended by medical professionals. Anyone else in here have experience/advice on the issue?

I came in here today with a question of my own: I think my boyfriend is anorexic and I'm not sure how to approach it. Having been through anorexia myself in the past, I know how to recognize the signs. So my question for you all is not how to be sure if he's got an ED or not, but about if I directly address it or not. On the one hand I want to confront him about it openly and frankly (that is, after all, our usual mode of dealing with problems that come up). But on the other hand, I know that when I had an ED it was very important to me and I was very secretive about it, and if someone had directly confronted me about it I would have been very defensive and protective of my habit. I might not have trusted and been honest with that person about that, or other issues. But then again, I might not have kept my ED for so long, either.

I want to add that although my primary concern is for his health and happiness, I'm also worried that being around his ED might make me start to get unhealthy about food again.

Anyone have input about this? Maybe you were confronted about your ED and could tell about your reaction? Or maybe you were never confronted but can imagine how that would have affected you? Or maybe you have experience being around someone else's ED post-recovery? I'd love to hear about it.
knorl05
msluna: so glad you're in recovery. it *can be* tough, the main thing is to stay dedicated and hang in there. as cliche as that sounds. it's true. remind yourself everyday why you want to stay healthy. i highly recommend you take up yoga or some form of mental/physical exercise. we ED'ers need to learn respect and love for ourselves. i weigh 135. i used to fluctuate between 110 and 130. my frame is small, and i prefer maintaining a lower weight so that i have proportion. i will probably work toward losing 5 to 10lbs. i usually dont weigh myself, i'll go by how i look. and as long as i'm exercising and eating well, i've learned to feel ok with my body. but yesterday i weighed myself for the first time in a LONG time and initially i was like "i have to lose 20 pounds". but then the more i thought about it the more i realized to lose twenty pounds would mean deprivation. that would mean getting all neurotic for a few days about getting skinny again. then i realized that if i did that, i'd end up right back where i started. it's not a bad thing to want to lose weight to your desired weight, as long as you do it healthfully. so that you're not crash dieting and punishing yourself. an eating disorder is when our eating habits are 'disordered', out of order, not natural or healthy. our bodies want to stay thin because thin results from living an active life and eating a well-balanced diet. so dont get down on yourself if you're not 100% happy with how you look during recovery... just try to be more forgiving and focus your energy more on feeling good inside and taking care of yourself.

octinoxate: tough call. for real. first of all, you've got the whole masculine thing kicking in here.. you know, how EDs are usually a female thing. i'm sure if he is anorexic it must be very confusing for him... meaning he probably feels even more alone than women do with an eating disorder. i guess the first step to do if you really think he's got one is educate yourself on male anorexia, because i'm sure it's different for men. i think my ex had eating issues too because he used to be a short fat kid and then when he 'grew up' we was really tall and skinny. he would also avoid fattening foods even though he could stand to put on at least 20 pounds. but i was the one with the eating disorder. i opened up to him about it and he was understanding but didnt understand it. he'd be like, just stop. that frustrated me more. like, cant you see i cant stop? there are so many things that have to change in your life to really be able to stop the habit. i guess hopefully you can catch him in the beginning stages. explain to him your experiences with your eating disorder and see if he feels safe to open up to you. if not, gently ask him about the things you notice as peculiar. like whatever indicates to you that he could potentially have an ED, bring it up in a non-threatening way. make him see that he doesnt have to be ashamed with you, and that you arent going to judge him, and that you are there for him and care about him. encourage him to recognize his own eating patterns. maybe he's just absent minded when it comes to eating and he just doesnt have time to eat better. maybe he doesnt even realize. let us know how it goes.
sorry if this was sucky advice. my brain is lagging.
knorl05
ps. BDD sucks! i was signed up to BDD central, but i realized the more i thought about and wrote about having bdd, the worse it got. like, oh i've got bdd.. but no, BDD is just our brains trying to live up to an idealistic standard we place on ourselves. we need to REfocus our energy. stop allowing our bodies to be a distraction, and let them be what they are. do what we can to change what we dont like, and let go of the things we cant change. i truly think bdd has -again- more to do with controlling our emotions than anything else. i think any obsessive compulsive disorders are a result of this. we're trying to stop ourselves from feeling what we're feeling through denying that we have these issues. you know, like once we notice the thoughts, we try to stop them, so that makes them persist even more. instead it's important to realize we are human. all humans have flaws and fluctuations in their character and self-esteem. we need to let go of the idea of being and looking perfect.. and just continue to strive to be our own unique Best. the difference is squeezing ourselves into the "barbie" mold, and letting ourselves be our own glorious, beautiful selves.
gluegungeisha
Hey everyone.

This is my first post (excluding the newbie thing).

I've had anorexia nervosa for nine years, and I've been in recovery for a little more than one year.

Here's a site that really helped me:
www.makaylashealingplace.com

She knows her shit, and the site doesn't attack eating-disordered people like many websites tend to do. It isn't triggering either.

I'm currently about five pounds away from my target weight for my height (!!!) (???).

Stay strong, ladies!
_octinoxate
Hi glue. I'm sorry none of us responded to your post... that wasn't a very warm welcome to the board(s)! Congratulations on your recovery... how are you doing now, since you posted a few weeks ago? Have you gotten to that target weight yet?

Cool website. It definitely had a very inclusive, comforting vibe to it.

Anyway, I hope you'll feel welcome back here.
knorl05
yes... glue. sorry about that. personally i've been away from these boards for a while. welcome! hope you enjoy your stay and decide to post more! congratulations on your recovery, it is an amazing accomplishment to have made. i'm glad you found that website to help you, i believe as long as we continue stay dedicated to our recovery and apply the tools we learn to stay healthy.. we'll be bulimia free for life. take care!
knorl05
*bump*

JIC
mouse
thanks knorlo. sorry for hijacking the other thread--i realize now it was totally disrespectful. sad.gif
knorl05
mouse: dont even worry about it. i think we all do that! i know i have many times... and then i'm all *doh* but thankfully no one ever says anything about it.

so about your friend. i'm sorry to hear you feel like you've on any level abandoned her. as much as you want to be there for her, it is important to remember that the battle she is fighting is her own. there is only -so much- people can do for her because ultimately she has to be willing and ready to help herself.

all those 20/20 shows about ED's do nothing to help the victim or other victims watching the program. the victims are being exploited and the ED viewers are watching it are comparing themselves to the ones on TV. i think it actually perpetuates and worsens ED conditions. the only thing i think ED shows could potentially be good for is awareness and education for people who are not suffering from the ED. but the answer is not as simple as having a best friend help you through it. so dont feel bad that you arent there for her. you are living your own life. as hard as it is to hear, she is going to have to be the one ready to change.
although it's sad that she is isolated from people, i'm sure you have never *rejected* her or disrespected her or caused her any harm.

if it would make you feel better, maybe you could just call her one day or send her a card, to let her know you are thinking of her? but dont think you need to solve this problem for her.. it is on her, her therapist, her doctor, and her family to figure out. all you can really do is your best.. meaning whatever you think would be important to her but also something realistic for you.
hannahmh
hey! i lost a bunch of weight on weight watchers, which spiralled into an obsession and an eating disorder diagnosis (anorexia). i am seeing a therapist and a nutritionist, trying to get my mind and body--although these days, it's so much more about my mind--in a good place. i weigh now a "healthly weight" of about 8 pounds more than i did at my lowest weight. i never had a freakishy low bmi, but i am real tall and have quite a large frame, and was at a weight my doctor deemed unhealthy because i was not getting my period. (yikes, i know!!). i am still thin--my bmi is about 20--but i am freaked out about the number on the scale being so much higher. my clothles still fit pretty much the same. i feel more or less the same when i look on the mirror, although my mom insists i am noticably less bony. anyway, i never saw myself as bony, or even as particularly thin, and still worry about and struggle with feeling fat. i guess a classic distorted body image. i have been trying/learning to eat intuitively and not restrict my eating, but with the goal no longer being a lowering of the number on the scale...

...sorry, continued.
...how will i ever know if i am thin enough? if i can't trust my own image of myself, will i ever be happy with my body? i would love to hear people's experiences learning to feel ok in their own skin, even beautiful. i want to do as my therapist instructs and banish the scale, and am terrified of ballooning. i spent most of my life being overweight, so i don't trust that i can live and eat normally and still be thin. what if i can't? any thoughts would be much appreciated smile.gif
anna k
knorl, tonight on HBO there is a documentary called Thin, which is released along with the photographer's book of the same title. It takes place in an eating disorder clinic, and is being hyped as being "raw" and "real,' but there might be a comparison of the audience to the subjects, or a fascination with getting so sick and thin and in danger of death.
grenadine
hi everybody...just thought i would stop by here and check in with the fellow ED-affected.

anna k, i saw a press photo of that doc and was mildly grossed out; the emaciated woman was posed in such a way as to exaggerate it. i think one of the problems with anorexia is that it IS somewhat attractive conceptually, in that it means control/mastery over the body/physical needs (and we're a control-obsessed society). my own dad once said admiringly about my sister (anorexic), "it's amazing how much willpower she has; she can hold her breath until she passes out! - she can do whatever she wants if she puts her mind to it" (me, i was bulimic and never got such praise - oh well).

hannahmh, it's hard to know what you weigh/look like. i suggest that you just try to worry less about your weight and take the attitude that if you're feeling good and eating adequately and your normal clothes aren't waaay too tight, you're doing fine. personally, i don't own a scale, and this has contributed much to my sanity. i still have no idea what i look like, but this helps me define myself in terms of what i am doing, not some arbitrary number (that always is unnattainable because i got fixated on an idea of 'normal weight' midway through puberty). and that, to me, seems like a huge part of what recovering is all about.

love to all of you - to me this is still the biggest taboo, and it gives me courage that you talk about it.
_octinoxate
Hi hannah (and all). I'm glad you brought up that question. It's a good one, a hard one, and one that I've been trying to figure out myself for a couple of years now--with some success, though I definitely haven't found The Answer. These are my thoughts thus far:

1. For me, scales are a bad idea. I don't own one and I ask not to be told my weight when I'm at the doctor's office. It would just give me something to fixate on. Either it's a big number and I'd freak, or it's a small number and I'd let out a little sigh of relief but all the while be reinforcing the idea that my weight= my value. No thanks.

2. Developing physical skills and strength are good, because in my experience that provides an opportunity to appreciate your body for what it can DO, not what it looks like. Caution: it's easy for folks like us to turn this into compulsive exercising, which is probably just as bad as compulsive dieting. Another caution: this sets us up for failure when we become unable to be physically active for one reason or another (an issue I've had to deal with this year... I'm now learning to appreciate my body not for what it looks like nor for what it does, but simply because it is my body. or rather, it is me.)

3. In my experience, if I love myself in general I like (even love) myself physically. If I don't love myself in general, I struggle with looks/weight. So in my opinion, trying to craft the body into a loveable form is going at things all backwards. If I can love who I am, the rest falls into place naturally.

4. Make a list of all the women you admire. Write down why you admire them. Does their body weight/ their looks in general have much/anything to do with their inclusion on the list? (This was v. enlightening for me.)

5. I approve of intense dieting: media dieting. Fast from women's mags and shows, and I guarantee you'll feel better in no time.

6. I've really grown to love the things that are unique and special about my looks, even if they're not necessarily in line with common aesthetic standards. Pretty is pretty, and that's fine. But I think beauty is beyond that, and beauty is much more akin to ugly than it is to pretty. Both beauty and ugliness have to do with being different, bizarre even. I'd rather be in that weird terrain of beauty/ugly rather than pretty. For sure. In Spanish, there's an expression I love: "tener su chiste". It basically means that someone has a certain something, a certain "thing" they rock that gives them their appeal. Totally different than saying someone is "bonito" (pretty) or "guapo" (handsome).

Gosh, I could say more (and probably will!) but I've got to get to class!

Hang in there, everybody!
anna k
I like the phrase "jolie-laide."

I like seeing pictures of people in magazines who are beautiful but odd-looking. Marie Claire has been running great photos of non-models who look stunning in a unique way.

I've grown into loving myself physically, after losing baby fat and becoming more comfortable with my looks. It still surprises me if a stranger or family member tells me I'm "really pretty," because I still feel ordinary or slightly nerdy. Sometimes I'd like to jump into the bodies of other people I find stunning or unique, just to have a different kind of beauty and reaction.
_octinoxate
Anna, I've never heard "jolie-laide", what does that mean?
anna k
French for literally "pretty-ugly." Someone with odd, slightly ugly features who is still magnetic and sexy.
_octinoxate
Anna, that's fantastic. That's exactly the sort of thing I was trying to get at when talking about how pretty people can never really be beautiful, but ugly people very well may be.
Alva
For me, PJ Harvey was a great role model when I had major problems with my looks. Iwouldn´t dare to call her "pretty-ugly". But she´s beautiful in a very unusual way. People who haven´t got perfect looks can be beautiful in a way the "classically pretty people" can never be.
_octinoxate
Here's a question for you all: For you personally, is the preoccupation with being thin more about staying a small *size* or it is about not having *fat* on you? That is, do you find you're only anxious about the idea of being big and squishy, or would being big and buff be just as much of a problem?

I've been doing weightlifting these past 6 months because I'm physically unable to do cardio exercise, and it's an interesting experience for me... in this situation where I really can't help gaining some fat (unless, of course, I were to really restrict my eating, which is a bad idea for me considering my history with ED) I have chosen to actually make an effort to gain even *more* body mass, in muscle. At times it makes me feel unattractive (b/c I'm bigger, and also more "masculine"... my unfeminine haircut contributes to that as well), but more often, it makes me feel strong, and also subversive. I feel that the very idea of women taking up more space--of their own volition-- is subversive. I feel that striding into the gym and hopping on the bench press like one of the boys, instead of getting on the elliptical like one of the girls, is subversive. And as I write this, I'm feeling very happy that this is the route I've ended up going down. It would have been easy for me to freak out about gaining weight and start starving myself again-- exactly what this messed up society pressures women to do. Instead I've done just the opposite of what this society would urge me to do, and am getting stronger (in more ways than one) because of it.

Anyone else have experiences where they have intentionally caused changes in their bodies (other than weight loss... i mean weight gain, muscle building, pregnancy, etc.) and seen things/selves a different way because of it?
grenadine
personally, the ED for me has never been about being thin, but more about being miserable. my body "image" is just that - it's an image. it doesn't seem very related to what i *actually* look like at all! that said, i think being fat would be scarier to me than being big and muscular, and i see what you mean about being empoweringly subversive.
hannahmh
i am so glad this thread is around and kicking! grenadine, i second what you said...the image in my head of my body and an objective evaluation of how my body really looks are probably pretty vastly different. realizing this has given me trouble "trusting myself" as i try to reach and maintain a healthy weight, and feel good in my own skin. that said, oct., my preoccupation has been more focused on being "small" than free of fat. i think this is because i was always taller and bigger than everyone as a kid as i i hit puberty. i matured quick, got big boobs quick, and have always been a very tall and big-boned person. i also spent middle school and high school chubby, and i remember feeling *big* was the form my negative feelings would take. just so much bigger than everyone else, like i took up so much more space (which i guess i did!). i guess this has been an ongoing issue with me and my body: i always perceived petite, little girls as having the "ideal" body type. and is thin as i was or could be, i will never be "little." i am five foot nine and wear a size eleven shoe. i am still learning to appreciate size and curves as desirable, and beautiful. it is funny, because what i see in other people is so different than what i see in myself. i find tall, more "substantial" women quite stunning. but still not myself. hope this can change...sorry for so many tangents, but that said, i am all for being buff!! i have started weight training as well, and it's cool to notice definition in my body and feel stronger inside myself. there is a little bit of a subversive, fuck you element going on. i like it...
hannahmh
another question:
i think i am perhaps a little bit of an unusual case (not that there is a "usual case" or that we are "cases" at all) in that i have struggled with deprivation and starving myself and consider myself to be a kind of serious foodie. i love to cook, to eat. i work in the restaurant business as i attend school, and am even considering a food-related career. regardless, i have been not eating anything "real" by myself for the last few years, almost...i think part of what triggered or furthered my issues was my perceived need to "make up" for all of the food-related stuff i did at work or with friends by not eating anything caloric if it wasn't part of a work or social function. how fucked up, i know!! anyway, i was hoping for thoughts/advice/tales of how people started to reconnect with what "normal eating" was or felt like. what foods did you eat? how often? what do you "allow yourself?" how did you find moderation, rather than get caught up in a restrictive/bingey cycle? how long did it take to get over such an obsession with what and how much was going in your mouth?
quixoticlady
I can't say that I've recovered from my anorexic patterns, so I'm not really one to offer advice...However, I can offer support and I certainly can relate to what you are going through/facing, Hannahmh.
When you say you're not eating anything "real by yourself", does that mean you DO eat higher calorie foods with other people? B/c I would say that I can relate to that, especially when I go out to eat or to parties--I feel that those are "free situations", and I don't feel "guilty" about what I'm ingesting whilst I'm out...however, later on I will feel terribly guilty and feel the need to exercise to make up for the large amount of calories I took in.
For me, the times in my life when I obsessed the least were when I was not weighing myself at all--didn't even own a scale--and wouldn't permit a dr. or nurse to tell me my weight at an appointment. The scale puts me in a bad place, which is difficult to get out of...The past few years have been a struggle for me (although I've been grappling with eating issues since college, and I am now 31), and now I am seeing a therapist, a nutritioninst, and my dr. on a fairly regular basis. I haven't lost any more weight recently, and I've gained a bit since I hit my lowest this past summer, but that does not mean I feel any more stable at times than I had, emotionally speaking...I still feel compelled to exercise obsessively at times--especially when I'm feeling stressed, bloated, or out of control in other areas of my life. However, I AM finally facing some things I'd never even recognized before, and I'm able to talk far more openly about all of this than I once was.
I would highly recommend a nutritionist and a therapist who has a significant amount of experience with eating disorders. Also, I'd advise throwing away your scale if you own one...Also, I find that eating small amounts more regularly works better for me than "starving" myself for hours, then eating more than I really need. That throws me back into the scary "eat too much/too much exercise" pattern...
hannahmh
yes, quixoticlady, i have done/still do the same thing...eat when i'm out freely, then feel anxious/guilty about it later. i am, too, seeing a therapist and a nutritionist. but i feel like there's such thing as to much help/advice!
_octinoxate
I'm glad this thread is around, alive, and kicking, too! I for one know it's very good for me to talk about this stuff instead of keeping it hush hush.

Gosh, I have lots to react to/comment on. First, I want to note that I don't think your apparent paradox (being a foodie and having an ED) is so unusual, hannah. I know that when I was anorectic, I was really into baking... just not into eating what I baked! I'd make food and then give it to friends, to family, etc. I liked "experiencing" food in some sense (hell, it's such a natural human desire, right?), but I couldn't handle keeping it around because I feared I'd "lose control" and eat it all (or even eat a little bit).

On the recovery process:

Okay, first, I must note that becoming a compulsive exerciser was a big part of the process. And I don't recommend it! It's part of the reason I'm dealing with a bad injury now. If you're gonna start exercising during your recovery, I would seriously consider giving yourself a strict limit to how much you're going to allow yourself to exercise in one day, or in one week.

Moving on. The first time that I felt good about eating something after being in the lowest point of my ED was the time right after my dad passed away. Dealing (or rather not dealing) with his terminal illness was a big part of why I developed an ED in the first place, so this connection makes sense. I just remember immediately after his death, I craved fresh, living foods... fruits, raw veggies, etc. It felt so good to eat those things, and to eat them freely and without guilt! They were very nurturing, life-giving foods in my mind.

Honestly, I don't remember too much about the recovery process in the couple of years after that. Most recently, it has been really helpful for me to just GET FAT. (*Of course, I probably haven't added all that much fat to my frame, though naturally it feels like it, and naturally I have no idea what the objective changes are or are not! I don't weigh myself, nor do I know what I really look like.) But anyway, yeah, if you've got what it takes at this point--and it may take a lot--, I'd say just face the fear, look the monster in the eye or whatever, and just let yourself gain some weight. What's the worst that can happen? ... of course, at this point, it's probably easy to imagine all sorts of terrors. But if you take the plunge and gain a little weight, you'll realize that they're exaggerated, unfounded even. (For instance: I probably had it in my head somewhere that nobody would be attracted to me if I were fat and I'd end up lonely, or with crappy guys... in contrast, at this point I'm fairly certain I'm the biggest size I've ever been, and I'm also getting waaaaaay more interest from men than I've ever gotten.)

I second what quixotic said about 1.) throwing out the damn scale! and 2.) eating in small portions at first to avoid guilty freak-outs. You can always work your way up to full meals. (Hell, I wasn't able to eat a full meal and feel okay about it until about a year ago. Meaning it took me a year and a half to work up to.)
mouse
can i ask what would be the best thing for an ally to do?

in a few other threads i've discussed my childhood best friend's struggle with anorexia for the past ten plus years, and i want to be doing the best that i can for her. in the tiny girl thread i talked about how i feel like she's lost all friends she ever had since we all grew up and moved on, whereas she's stuck at 13, still not eating, not going to school, living with her mom and trying to find insurance that'll cover her to go back to yet another rehab. i don't think she really has anyone other than her mom, and while they're really close, their relationship isn't really healthy and i'm sure had something to do with her becoming anorexic in the first place.....her mother is the kind of person who just thinks of themself as worthless and not deserving of anything--not only is she incredibly jealous of everyone else (not in an angry way, in a sad way) she also apologizes for everything and talks everything down. the girl herself also has ocd (which doesn't help) and it's really hard to get through to her personally because she tries so hard to be perfect. it takes her like half an hour to write a message on a birthday card because she has to make sure her penmanship is flawless. she too apologizes and is overly polite and it's hard hard hard to actually uncover HER, and harder still since i'm 3,000 miles away and we communicate by email.

to make things worse, she and her mother have just had to relocate a couple states away for her fathers' job (her father is never home and contributes NOTHING to the family except money. he is the kind of guy where if you come to visit her, and if by some rare chance it's one of the times he's home, he'll be watching tv. you say "hello, ____" and he doesn't even turn around. just looks at the tv and says "yeah"). so everything she's known, in addition to every friend, is now far away.

i've been emailing her more often lately, just sort of telling her about what's going on in my life and asking her what she's been doing, and ignoring when she apologizes for taking too long to write back or being boring or whatever she does.......just trying hard to treat her like a normal friend, and encouraging her to loosen up and act like a normal friend.

i just feel like she's been in this BOX of anorexia for so long it's so hard for her to come out--and so hard for anybody else to see her any other way. i mean, ten years is a long time. and it's been so long that now it hurts physically for her to eat, which is an even bigger struggle, and she's done irreversible bone damage and inner organ damage.....and i feel like for maybe the past five years (after people sort of figured out that this wasn't going to go away like you hear it does) nobody's looked at her with anything other than pity and hopelessness. and i'm sure that doesn't help, whether she realizes it or not........i just want to know what i can do. any advice would be incredibly appreciated.
_octinoxate
Gosh, mouse, that's a tough situation, for everyone involved. Including you. I think it says a lot of you that you're so concerned for your friend.

It sounds to me like there's a whole lot going on there, a lot more than just an eating disorder. And a whole lot more than you could fix. Is your friend in therapy (or is that also not covered by insurance)? Does she recognize and understand her problems (ED and otherwise)? Does she want to change things? Those last two things are key... what you could do or not do is so dependent on how she understands her needs at this point.

It sounds to me like one of the biggest needs she has is the need to be empowered. Real power too, not just hunger-strike-against-herself sort of power. I know that you care about her and want to fix things, but probably the best thing you could do is help her figure out how SHE can fix things HERSELF. How to get out of being eternally 13 (with the confusion and troubles it entails). What does that sort of help look like? For one thing, it probably involves asking her lots of [hard hitting] questions (to the extent she can handle it for now), and it probably involves her doing more of the talking than you.

Just my twenty two cents. Good luck with this.

Oh, one more thing: is she loved? Does she know it? That goes a long way.

Oh, and one more thing! smile.gif Related to empowerment, as discussed above: the last thing that someone with an ED needs IMHO is someone trying to control her behavior/recovery/life/choices/etc, even when it's with the best of intentions. Tread lightly!
sassygrrl
Guilty binge today. Between having a lot of stress at work (see Kvetch thread) and getting into a fight with my boyfriend(over sex), I ate a whole pint of ice cream. B/J Half Baked.

I now feel really guilty, but I feel as though I needed it. I also am suffering from some really bad depression (my parents are coming down this weekend) and very bad anxiety attacks this week.

Not to mention at work, a few co-workers brought up bulimia as it was some sort of joke (some of the same woman joked about my seizure disorder later), and it made me feel very angry.

Mouse,I'm glad you are there for your friend. I think she needs your support. I'm happy that you are there for her.

I'm really glad that this thread is still around.
_octinoxate
((((sassy))))

It does sound as though you needed to treat yourself nice, somehow. So, you ate a pint of ice cream-- so what??! So there!! Right? Right! wink.gif And hey, if you have to pick an ice cream to eat a whole pint of, half baked is a great pick! You're going through a lot, and if that's the most unhealthy choice you're making to cope with it all, you're doing pretty damn good, in my book. (Think of all the worse coping mechanisms you could have!)

Have you been able to just accept the binge (and guilt) and move on, as opposed to purging, exercising it off, etc? If so, good for you! And if not, whatever! It's behind you and beating yourself up only adds to your problems, doesn't take away from them.

(*note: I hope this doesn't sound like I just don't "get" it, or I'm blowing your guilt off. Just the opposite-- I totally get it, and I wish someone would have said this shit to me when I was in that situation!)

P.S.- I also feel you on the parent-related stress. Yikes. Also: your coworkers sound like real asshats!!!
grenadine
mouse, i agree that reminding your friend that she's loved is good. anything you can recognise about her that makes her feel like an agent rather than a victim is good too. and it sounds like you're doing quite a lot.

sassy, you did deserve it. i ate a whole 100g bar of chocolate this morning, which wouldn't be that big a deal except that i have also eaten a 1kg box of belgian chocolates over the last couple of days. i had a moment of considering purging it, especially because i had a doctor's appt this afternoon, but i decided instead to just keep sitting there and doing my work. and it was okay. i got weighed, and it didn't even freak me out.

my dad and i had a really bad relationship for years and i used to purge every time he was in town. i am finally able to not let him be a trigger, but whew. anything you do to alleviate parental stress is good by me. smile.gif
anna k
I watched some of Thin, but was bored halfway. It reminded me of an old short story I read about a nurse in an eating disorder clinic, and I didn't really care enough about the women's stories to stay engaged.
mouse
you know, octi, i'm not actually sure if she's in therapy RIGHT NOW. i THINK she is but i'm not positive. there's a lot to it that i don't know, since i've been pretty mia for the past six or seven years and only know what my mom tells me, and only see her at holidays and talk all forced politely.

i don't know what i'm "allowed" to say and not say. i don't know what i should step around. or if i'm allowed to be as blunt and honest as i want to be--i.e., tell her everything i'm tell you guys here.

i think that she does want to change and get better and knows that something is deeply wrong, but i think it's also really, really hard for her since a) she's been this way for almost longer than she hasn't and cool.gif she has fibromyalgia to begin with, which can make eating painful, and she's done enough damage to her body that eating is still painful. so she has to come through not only the psychological pain but also the physical.

for a long time i was pissed off about her. i was furious that it had been going on for so long and that nothing anybody did was changing anything. and then i just got sort of complacent with it and was thinking of it as something that just is part of her....like someone who has schizophrenia or any other psychological disorder that there is not really a "cure for"......and that i just had to accept that she was always going to be like that.

but i don't think that has to be the case.......anorexia is a really complex disease but people do get through it, it's a psychological disorder but it's not necessarily permanent....and now i want to see if she CAN change.
hannahmh
wow, mouse. props to you for not giving up on her. i'm not sure i have any advice of substance. what a difficult situation.

luckily, i have never really had the cumpulsive (over) excersizing tendency. excersize seems to be, unlike eating, a pretty balanced and sane thing for me. that is to say, i can do it in moderation, i don't get obsessed about it, etc.

oxc: when you say that you don't remember too much about the recovery process, is that because you're so *over it??* now that you don't spend too much time going back to that time? or was it not particularly difficult? when you say GET FAT, what do you mean? damn, what you say about facing that fear is probably exactly true for me as it was (and is) for you. i need to "just face the fear, look the monster in the eye or whatever, and just let yourself gain some weight. " on the other hand, i spent most of my life chubby. i know what it's like to feel fat based on actual fat...although i don't know if i could ever see myself accurately. i am still terrified of going back to that place. i think it's something i just need to somehow "get over." i am still trying to work out how to do that!

my problem is that i can and do, on occasion, eat a full meal. i then react by feeling guilty. actually, for some reason feeling overly full tends to trigger a binge. as does being ravenous. so much trouble with staying the middle ground, which is of course the goal, per therapist, nutritionist, and common sense. but i have gotten into such a pattern of the extremes--starving myself alternating with pigging out. i am trying so hard for a few days of "normal eating." is there a possibility of overthinking this, perhaps?

yikes,
thanks again you guys are the best. it is so good to finally talk about this stuff. there is such embarassment!!
_octinoxate
Mouse, the issue of what you're "allowed" to say and what needs to be stepped around is a good one. I've thought a lot about it, both in relation to what I would have liked someone to say to me, and what I have tried to say to a friend with an ED. (*note: the following comments are limited to the ED aspect of your friend's situation, and isn't meant to be all-encompassing.)

Personally, what would have best for *me* to hear is something like this: "Octi, I've been thinking and worrying about you a lot lately. I know that you're having a really tough time, and it's hard to find ways to cope with everything, and it seems like eating--or really, not eating-- is one of the ways you're dealing with stuff. And so I'm worried about you, not just physically (although that's definitely part of it), but also because the way you're dealing with food makes me realize what a bad place you're in emotionally. Far be it from me to stick labels on your life and tell you that you have an eating disorder... and far be it from me to tell you what to do. I'm not going to try to interfere with the choices you're making unless you're really putting yourself in serious danger-- in which case, yeah, I will try to interfere, because I care about you and what happens to you. But I just want you to know that I'm here for you, whatever you need. If you want to talk about what's going on, I'm happy to listen, anytime. If you need help, support... just let me know. I honestly don't know what would be best for me to do in this situation, I'm confused, and it's really hard for me to even figure out what the hell I'm saying right now in this conversation. But I love you and I'm worried about you and I want you to know that I'm here for you if there's anything I can do to help you cope with things better."

Some of that may have to be modified for your friend, but I feel like the basic recipe of "i love you" + "i'm worried about what you're doing" + "i'm not trying to control you" is a good one. I do think it's important to [delicately] address the ED itself... in my case, nobody EVER did (even though some people later told me they noticed what was up) and it made me feel insignificant, unloved, like nobody paid attention to me or noticed/cared that I was hurting myself. Of course, the danger is being TOO direct and having the person cut you off and hide things more from you. So yeah, I'd say if you tiptoe a bit, try not to seem controlling, and be very nonjudgmental (as you obviously already are), you'll be fine.

In your particular case, I wonder if your friend (like others around her) has also normalized the ED/everything, and gotten complacent, and has no hope of recovery. If that's the case, it's vital for you to convince her that she CAN get better.

Hannah, I definitely have more to say about recovery, but not the time to say it now. But yeah, I agree that it feels great to be able to talk about all this, because for a long time (and hell, still) I was embarassed about my ED b/c I felt like it was decidedly unfeminist, seemed shallow, etc. Thanks for the discussion, everyone. (And hannah, thanks for your really spot-on questions.)
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