Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Day After the Week Before

That was the week that was: difficult, funny, thoughtprovoking, challenging, draining, tearjerking and every other emotion under the sun.

Saturday morning started off with me trying to regain control. I cuddled up with my eating disorder, wrapped its blanket around me, nestled my face in its bosom and wished i could take back the damage (read reparation job) of the previous week. The damage i am referring to is that of nourishment and nutrition which my body was crying out for but which my mind hates. I have noticed some subtle changes in my body after a week of the Day Programme and i hate each one of them bar 1.

My cheeks feel fuller (i hate this because it makes me feel 'huge')
My stomach does not look as flat (i hate this because it feels like i am undoing all the hard work i have put into having a taut stomach).
Whenever i binge, my stomach muscles feel all out of place. It feels lose inside of me.
My body feels like it has filled out ever so slightly. But enough for me to not like my physical self again.

The thing which i have  most enjoyed is the fact that my eyes seem more alive. A lot sparklier. I look back at old pictures of myself when i hated my body and the one thing which stands out is how much LIFE there was in those lil' ol' eyes of mine. It is that which i have most enjoyed.

It is funny how much an ED distorts your sense of physicality. So this week, i have felt 'big' all week because quite a few of the others on the Programme are a lot more underweight than me. So, i walk around, feeling like a giant. I am pretty short. Shorter than the average height for a woman which is 5"5 i think. But i am still over 5 feet tall. I am underweight by any measurement going. Enough to fit snugly into the AN classification. And yet, this week, i walked around that place feeling huge because many of the others around me are considerably smaller.

And yet, i am told by others that i am 'thin', have lost too much weight. It makes no sense. Added to that, i feel a lot heavier now, than i did when i had many more kilos on me. When i was just outside of the normal weight range, i felt i looked too lean. Now i am considerably underweight, i feel huge. You tell me where the sense in that is.

Added to the complication is the fact that when i use the mirrors at home to regard myself, i feel huge. But when i catch a refelction of myself when i am out and about, i see that i look sunken in the cheeks and that i am quite dimunitive now. So, it is true what the say. This shit fucks with your head.

I am not a swearer. Trust me. But it really is the conclusion of every ED equation i work out.

Friday was the best day of the Programme. Not because it was Friday and the weekend was heading for shore like an out of control boat. No. That would be very cynical of me. It was the best day because i got to laugh with some of the others, it was a relaxed atmosphere, the group sessions were cool and i find myself getting stronger and reclaiming my voice. That don't mess with me voice which the ED robbed me off. You see i tend to be quite an opinionated person at the best of times. But with the ED, i just feel as though i cannot say anything to anyone without hanging my own head in shame. When i meet an ED professional, i feel as though i should apologize for essentially, keeping them in employment. How crazy is that. I feel like saying: "sorry for my eating disorder".

But i am feeling a lot stronger and less apologetic about it now which means that i do at times end up 'arguing' or 'discussing' the finer points of why we are asked to do the things we are asked to do in the Day Programme. Although this may end up making me appear confrontational at times, i think it is healthy for us to challenge them, even as they challenge us and our behaviours.

I say that because everything food related that we do seems to be questioned and challenged. Don't cut up food this way, have this amount etc. Since i truly don't see myself as AN, i don't think that my issue is with disordered eating as much as disordered after eating (the classic BN dilemma). The things which is slightly disordered in my eating are my dislike of mixing foods (have had this pre BN days) and my slow eating |(i do this when i know i am going to keep food in). For me, rushing food is synonymous with purging food. But if someone challenges the fact that i cut up some of my food for ease of eating rather than in an AN way, i think they are saying that all disordered eaters do things for disordered reasons and that is simply not the case with me. I prefer to be honest with professionals but i sense that there is little trust of ED 'patients' simply because of the deceitful nature of the ED. Hmmmm

I did have my first moment of true annoyance with one of the staff members which i will not elaborate on too much. Suffice to say, i will not allow anyone to dictate to me what i can and cannot do where family are concerned. I am not an open book. I don't have to be and i choose not to be. It is weird that it is fine for them to peer into the annals of our lives without so much as a hint of embarassment and yet we know nothing about their lives and their histories. I don't know if any of them have had ED's and maybe it is none of my business. And yet similarly, parts of my life are none of their business. I am not being illogical. Where the ED is concerned, i intend to be honest with them so they can he;p me in the manner in which i need. Where other parts of my life are concerned, i choose not to share it with them.

I often wondered at points in the week how they view us 'ED patients'. As crazy people? deceitful people? 'crazies'? children? patients? or simply people? I prefer to view us as the latter. We are people even as they are and we have challenges of our own even as they must have some of their own. I deserve no less than they and them vice-versa. I deserve respect, even as they deserve it. If there are rules, i should respect them even as they ought to respect some of my own personal (not ED) rules. I did not really intend to spend as much time on this but it was just that at different points this week, i smelt a distinct lack of respect and maybe something akin to patronization on the part of some of the staff. So be it. I may have an ED but i am neither stupid nor submissive.

Anyway, i am not sure what the rest of this weekend will look like. I imagine that i will get back into bed with the ED and cosy up for a while. Although i talk about my intentions unashamedly, it is worth noting that i know that all of this talk is from the ED not from the real me. I know that the ED is telling me that i need to feel better again and feel empty and it is telling me that i am going to put on too much weight, that i have already put on loads of weight, it is telling me that once i start eating, i will not be able to stop so i need purging in my life, it is telling me that i am going to start looking 'healthy' which equates to huge, it is telling me that my body is going to swell to epic proportions, it is telling me that the ONLY way for me to feel good, is for me to feel empty and it is telling me that i need to take control back and the only way i can do that is through the medium of ED.

Well, i am all written out and you might be all read out so i am out - of here.



  1. This was brilliant.You understand yourself vs the Ed so incredibly well. It astounds me.
    I am curling up with the Ed,(aka "A" as I refer to it) a little right now also. Been on three trips to hospital this past week - frustrated, determined to rid myself of this relapse - yet quietly pleased when the nurse exclaimed how "little" I was! And I am 5'7", so I assume she didn't mean height. The "A" was smirking at this point!
    Being so attuned to this force, this illness, disease, disorder, whatever term its being given today, is sometimes worse than the many years during which I was in extreme denial and blind to the fact that I was indeed "ill".
    Its tiring, draining, exhausting to now know and hear both sides of the argument from Jennifer AND the "A"...perhaps one should just shut the f--- up (and I am not a swearer either :-) )...and I honestly do not want it to be Jennifer.
    You are a brilliant writer - I am privileged to read your thoughts.
    Love and hugs and understanding,
    Jennifer xxoo

  2. Sorry that you body is feeling so weird right now but it will get better.

    I'm with 100% on them finding ED things in how you eat that you would never think are ED things. I hate that, it's just the way that I've allways eaten food. Not every thing about me is an ED!!!!

  3. Thanks Jennifer for your words. I feel as though writing is my only outlet and i really wish that i could be this honest with those around me so they know how much i struggle. Hmmm

    And yes. You are so right. I feels more painful to be this aware because it heightens one's sense of powerlessness. Like, if i know it is destroying me and i know how much this thing wants my life destroyed, then why am i on its side? They say ignorance is bliss. I would tend to agree in this case.

    I am sorry that you are 'back in bed' with 'A'. It is tough to not be happy with comments such as that of the nurse. When i had a similar comment from a doctor, i looked around the room, wondering who he was talking about. Again - distortion. And yet when we are pleased with a comment like that, it gives power to the ED. Keeps us in that place where we don't want that physical change which comes with healing. Such a tough one.

    I wish you a better week and ultimately, good health and wealth. xx

    EA, i am glad you get what i am saying. I thought i was the only one to pick up on this when it was mentioned. It reassures me. Added to that, i am sure that even healthy eaters have their peculiarities. I bet they are not considered disordered just because of that. Your comment made me laugh anyway.