Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Twisted World of Eating Disorders

Did you know there is a hierarchy in the twisted world of eating disorders?

Binge Eating Disorder is a legitimate type of eating disorder.  However, the people who have it rarely ask for or receive proper recovery treatment.  Most people who don’t struggle with it don’t understand how painful it is.  And those who do have it don’t feel like they deserve official eating disorder help.

In the twisted world of eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa is considered the “highest” and most d coveted level of eating disorders.  Bulimia Nervosa is second place, leaving Binge Eating Disorder somewhere among the peasants.

I was never as “successful” at my eating disorder as some people.  At least, that’s what I felt like.  I never thought I was bad enough to deserve to get help. 

I guess I was classified as having ED-NOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) because I oscillated between all three.  So I definitely didn’t feel like I was allowed to ask for help.

Even today, after learning all the facts and realizing that ALL eating disorders are equally dangerous, I still find myself questioning whether or not I really deserved any help.

Even now, when I am at my lowest moments, I feel like the E.D. still has power over me and still has to run its course.  Part of me wants to revert back to my old E.D. ways so that I can prove to myself and other people that I really did have an eating disorder.

It is so difficult for me to stand next to someone really thin.  Even if I know they also struggle with an eating disorder, I can’t help but feel inferior.  I feel like I am an eating disorder failure.  “They are obviously better at their eating disorder than me.  Maybe I should take it up again and prove to myself that I am good at it too.”  I know, twisted.

The past few months, I have had really normal eating habits.  However, I am still afraid that this is all a show, that I’m just pretending, and that it will come back.  I think a part of my fear is coming from the fear of losing my E.D. for good.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s the goal!  However, I feel like I am being tempted to revert back to some of my old ways so that I don’t lose my “skills” completely.
I am tempted to give in to "little" things.  I've been cutting back my calories here and there.  I've been exercising a little more than I want to.  And I've been trying to cut out complete food groups, like grains and sugars.

I bet part of this internal struggle is because the enemy wants to have control over me through this eating disorder and he’s scared to lose me to full recovery.  So, in a certain sense, I must be doing something right because I am being tempted.  If I wasn’t close to letting go of it for good, then I probably wouldn’t be tempted so bad.

If you could follow me up there, great!  If not, that’s OK.  I feel like my brain just thinks differently than other people’s brain.  Or do you think this way too?

Someone at a party:  You’re so skinny. How do you eat so much and stay so thin?
What I hear:  Why are you still eating?  If you keep eating that much you won’t be skinny anymore.
My thoughts:  I don’t eat that much, do I? …and I’m not skinny!  Look at these thunder thighs!

Someone at the dinner table:  You must be really hungry! You’re plate is full!
What I hear:  You’re a pig!  Save some for us.
My thoughts:  It’s not that much food, is it? …it’s a small plate.  It just looks full.  I’ll just take one bite of each thing and throw the rest away.

At a restaurant:  (When offered dessert) I’m full.  I can’t eat another thing.  You want dessert?  You’re still hungry?
What I hear:  You fat slob.  Why are you still eating?  You should be on a diet because I am thinner than you.
My thoughts:  Never mind.  Forget the dessert.  Forget eating anything from now on.

It stinks.  It’s twisted.  It’s so difficult to overcome.

How can I ever expect anyone else to understand this different world?  I know I get all fired up about eating disorders and having a poor relationship with food and such.  Why am I that way?  I don't know.  All I know is that it really bothers me, because I know what twisted lies it feeds, and because it’s a huge part of my life.

E.D. triggers are everywhere.  Food is “the enemy” in our country.  The other day, I had to leave the room when people start talking about diets and weight.  I can’t go a single day without encountering a conversation about food and appearance.

I know I can’t solve this food-hate problem myself.  It’s deeply ingrained in our culture.  It’s going to take generations to fix.  But just because I can’t beat ‘em doesn’t mean I am going to join ‘em.

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  1. this post resonated with me on so many levels.Although I believe I have struggled with some eating disorder or disorderly behavior (is that a term?) since I went on a huge diet in high school and wasted away to nearly nothing, whenever I feel as though I might be reverting back to some of those old feelings or thoughts, I am wholeheartedly told "You do NOT have an eating disorder" by the one person I have to spend nearly every waking day with. And on top of that, he is an extremist who once he starts a diet (on and off all the time. loses weight easily and quickly). really tough to be around.
    well. thank you for sharing this stuff so candidly.

  2. oops....
    I meant to say, once he starts a diet he goes overboard and talks about it and looks at himself in the mirror and he makes these fat face gestures at me when I am eating something he thinks is fattening.

    1. Ugh is right! That must be really difficult. Remember, it's OK to stick up for yourself and create good boundaries. If it bothers you, it might benefit you to say something. Let him know how it makes you feel. You deserve it!