Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chronic conditions

In my email to a friend, I asked when do you stop trying to cure a chronic condition. This friend replied back that we both know that at best, I'll be able to manage my eating disorder like I do my allergies and hypothyroidism. That talking and sharing and admitting to myself that I'm tempted are my pills to control the symptoms. 

After almost 7 years of dealing with Ed, I think he's right. 

I searched the web for more info in chronic eating disorders, but there is very little information. I found one site that mentioned hat eating disorders in adults can be chronic and that treatment shouldn't focus on eliminating the illness. He site mentioned how in one case the knowledge that she didn't have to get rid of Ed completely helped to her be symptom free for two years. 

Why isn't there more information on this? Why haven't there been more studies? 

Most of the books and blogs I read talk about cures. They don't call it that, but essentially thats what they are. These authors tell you that recovery is possible, that you can live life completely and totally without Ed. To me, that's the same as a cure - being totally disease free.  

These authors tell us to never give up. To keep fighting Ed. That we can become recoverED, too!!

So what about those of us who have fought Ed for years with no sign of winning the war? We're older, more set in our ways, have more responsibilities - jobs, families, bills. We are highly functional, even when in the throes of the illness. We never have let our bodies become critically ill. Our diagnosis is often ED-NOS.   We have learned to survive in the real world, even though most of our conversations happen inside our heads. Ed has been a helpmate more than a destructive force. 

For years we struggle, feeling ashamed and guilty for not being able to beat Ed. And feel forgotten in all the talk about "recoverED." 

I don't want to be forgotten anymore. I don't want to feel like a failure anymore. 

I am not giving in to Ed. I still will fight like I always have to try to find other ways to cope. I will still take my medicine. But my end goal has to change.

Just because I haven't been able to live completely without Ed and may never be able to, doesn't make me a failure.
It makes me a survivor. 

Is anyone else an adult who has been fighting and/or living Ed for years? What are your thoughts? Do you think it would be easier (you would feel better) if the focus of your treatment was on living with Ed rather than getting rid of him? Do you think that would help you manage the illness better (less slips and relapses)?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vulnerability

"Is it hard for you to be yourself? Do you find it tough to be vulnerable? What does being vulnerable mean to you?"

These questions were asked at the end of a blog post on PsychCentral.

My answers will be different from yours, but I think it's valuable to think about them.

Is it hard for you to be yourself?
Yes. I find it hard to be me. I worry that no one will want to be near the real me - especially with my anxieties and depression.

Do you find it tough to be vulnerable?
Absolutely. I've always been the strong one. Always the one people rely on. I think I have to be strong - always.

What does being vulnerable mean to you?
Being vulnerable means opening myself up to pain, to hurt, to injury from others. Being vulnerable means taking risks - especially the risk that the other person won't like what they see and leave me alone. Being vulnerable means facing my fear of abandonment.


What does being vulnerable mean to you?

Give it some thought.

Friday, September 3, 2010

NY Times article on BMI - no, duh!?

I saw this article in the NY Times today and all I can say is, "No, really?"

It's about time there was some press about how the Body Mass Index doesn't distinguish between lean muscle and body fat.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nourishment

I'm reading Eating in the Light of the Moon and just started the chapter on nourishment - physical versus emotional. "Until [a woman with disordered eating] is able to distinguish physical hunger from symbolic hunger, she remains vulnerable to deception."
I'm learning the difference.
When I became pregnant last year, I decided to listen to my body. After all, it had carried my healthy baby boy, why couldn't I trust it to carry my baby girl? I had some ups and downs, but I managed through my pregnancy to be ED behavior free.
My baby girl was born and, like my son eight years before, I decided to nurse her for a year.
I'm halfway through that year and I've had to sit with my feelings. I'm feeding my baby and won't use ED behaviors. That would hurt my baby girl. I won't starve her, so I won't starve myself. That leaves me with my feelings and no way to cope except by experiencing those emotions.
Before my beautiful daughter came into my life, I was constantly doing. The moment my feelings became too much, ED was there, ready and waiting to catch me. Of course, his catching was always the beginning of a slide down a spiral slippery slope.
But now, I have my daughter who I have chosen to have be reliant on me for food. ED is not an option.
Over the past few months, since I've returned to work after my maternity leave, stress has been rising. I'm feeling more - loneliness, exhaustion, frustration, anger - work will do that. ED is still here - in my head, always dripping seduction. Though as uncomfortable as it is, I turn away from him and his false promises. And as tired as I get, especially by Thursday and Friday, I still don't give in. I'm learning to sit with my feelings - I'm learning that they do pass in time. The trick is to give them time. Not hours or days, and in some cases not even weeks. But even as these feelings linger, they do not remain intense forever. I don't need ED to ease the intensity. I don't need ED to get rid of them either.
Neither do you.
I needed the commitment of pregnancy and breastfeeding my daughter to shut out ED as an option for dealing with intense emotions. I'm learning how to nourish myself while I nourish her physically.
Find your own commitment to shut ED out. Share it with me if you'd like.
By committing to shutting out ED, you'll learn how to nourish yourself, too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Numbers are just symbols

So I haven't been blogging at all for a very long time - my almost 6 months baby girl is the reason.

So, last Friday, I broke down and went shopping for pants. Nice pants - the kind I could easily wear to work and yet, still be comfy in.

Off to the store I went. I carried three sizes of the same kind of two different style of pants into the dressing room. My little man waited outside. My baby girl was asleep in her sling. I carefully managed to try on all the pants without setting my little girl down (a major fete to be sure!)

Anyway, I ended up with the largest of the sizes of one style. The middle one was a bit too snug for comfort.

Needless to say, Ed (my eating disorder voice) grew very loud in my ear.
"That is a HUGE size! You should buy the smaller size and squeeze yourself into it until you've tightened your grip on your food and fit in them!"

Luckily, I don't have much time for Ed these days - what with a baby girl and a growing boy to raise.

But all this got me thinking... why are there numbers on sizes? Why can't a store just come up with an arbitrary symbol instead? I'm an "apple" at this store and a "foozle" at that one?

Wouldn't that be an amazing experience? To go into a store and not feel that any one size was better (or worse) than another? I'd be just as happy as a "foozle" than a "doodle," wouldn't you?

So next time we go into a store, maybe we should give the numbers our own arbitrary symbol? Because after all, aren't numbers just an arbitrary symbol that someone many many years ago dreamed up to make a standard point of reference?