Okay, maybe I don't know that for a fact, but I feel like that's true... you know? I'm going to give you an example but it's not going to be a personal one, it is something that has truly happened, but not to me. I had a friend years ago who had somewhat recently started purging. The thing with purging is that over time it gets easier and easier, and it's safe to say it gets nastier, more careless and just well, gross.
So this friend of mine had gone to a party, she'd been drinking and she ate more than she normally would. She texted me saying that she didn't know what to do because she had made up her mind that she was going to purge, so the more she ate the more her body wanted to push it out. She went to the restroom but didn't make it to the toilet and had to throw up in the sink. She texted me saying that she didn't know what to do, she was currently scooping cheesecake out of the sink, she felt terrible and just wanted to go home. I know this sounds like a young high school girl who just drank too much and got sick, but that's not the case. She wasn't drunk and she didn't "get sick", she purged. Her body purged. It's hard to explain, but once you see it, you get it. I've been in treatment with women who throw up so much they can't sit through a meal without throwing up. I have literally sat next to someone who was asked to step up to a higher level of care because she would throw up into her plate as we were eating. We felt terrible for her, and hated her all at once, because with this disease it is very much mind over matter.
Back to my point, these are things you can't just throw out in the middle of a session... or maybe you can, but I have a hard time doing it. A couple weeks ago I told her that many times I turn to carbs over other foods because carbs are "harder to get rid of". I was hoping I wouldn't have to go into details on that one, and thank God I didn't. I feel like each week I test the waters a bit, putting more out on the table hoping that she doesn't just stand up and walk out. So far, so good-- but we'll see how long that lasts. It's hard to trust when your trust has been broken so many times.
I'm going to go back to this topic at the end, but I do want to give a short update first-
It's been a bit of a rough go lately, but things are definitely much better than they've been in the past. I've been feeling like I'm barely keeping my head above water, but with everything going on, I think barely above is better than it would normally be. I'm trying to stay focused on work and just doing what I need to do. I can't take care of anyone if I don't take care of me.
I have a really great manager and I'm doing pretty well in my new (maybe not-so-new) position. I work with a pretty great team and I get to work with my best friend so you know, that's always a plus! I just got my yearly evaluation which lined up with what I thought I was going to get, my numbers are looking pretty good (I should be working from home soon) and I got a 100% on my first monthly quality review! So yeah, work is going well.
Even though all that is going well, I'm currently struggling with feeling a constant void. Like, something is missing. Something isn't right. This is a difficult time of the year for multiple reasons, so it's not too surprising, but it's still not any easier to deal with. I feel like I'm constantly reaching for something to make the emptiness not as strong. I've noticed though, that the more empty I feel emotionally, the more I yearn to feel empty physically. Maybe that has to do with not wanting to feel emotions. Maybe it ties back to self-harm and preferring to feel things physically and externally rather than dealing with them internally, and yet, maybe it doesn't. I don't know, but I don't like it.
Maybe I just need more Jesus in my life. Maybe I need to reconcile my relationship with my higher power. Maybe I don't. Maybe I have the right to be fucking furious. I don't have the answers, but I hope to find them soon.
My dietitian asked me to think of food rules and write them down this week, so I thought maybe it'd be a good idea to share them with you guys... I have two reasons for this:
1) You can call me out on these rules if you see me having a moment and
2) It's possible some of y'all have rules of your own that you don't realize you have, so maybe seeing some of mine will help you see your own or maybe those of someone you care about.
So here it is--
- There are no good foods, but there are definitely better foods.
- Food is an inherently bad, yet necessary part of life.
- Eating is a chore and it always will be.
- If you're hungry, drink water first.
- Most people eat one meal a day, no reason for 3 meals and 3 snacks.
- Carbohydrates such as bread, grains, and desserts are bad (delicious, but also the devil)
- Meat is disgusting, don't eat it.
- You shouldn't eat after X time.
- Eating in order is better because you'll fill up on the "good" food first and not eat the bad food.
- Eating is shameful
- Eating around other people is disgusting
- Feeling full means you ate too much, get rid of it.
- No eating outside of "normal" meal times, pig.
- Just don't eat in general. You have enough in your system for a lifetime.
- You're supposed to be counting calories, but you don't anymore, that is sickening.
Okay, so here's the thing... I noticed something. I'm trying really hard to not go back and change this, but I definitely noticed it. When I first started typing these rules I was having a hard time, I am trying keep myself separate from my ED, and when that happens I tend to completely shut off that side until something triggers it. Well, so 15 rules took about 25 minutes to write. Mostly the first five or so took a while, but then something shifted and they just started coming out. The thing is, I feel like you can see the shift. I kid you not, I have not gone back and changed anything... But my eating disorder definitely took over on some of those.
I feel like I need to share these, but I also don't want to trigger anyone reading this, or give any ideas, so in order to try to keep myself and my readers safe, I'm going to write counter thoughts to the rules above, feel free to read them, or skip it if you'd like, but if you read the rules I'd encourage you to read the counter thoughts...
- Every food serves a specific purpose, there are no good or bad foods, they're all just different.
- Again, there are no good or bad foods, the breakdown of it is all the same. Your body doesn't know the difference between cake and fruit, it all breaks down and gets separated to go where it all needs to go.
- Eating doesn't have to be a chore. Eating can be fun, it can be enjoyable, it can help build friendships, relationships and it can even be inspiring. Trust me, if you've never sat around a table of eating disorder patients helping each other finish a particularly tough meal, you can't say food can't be inspiring.
- Drinking water to fill your stomach does you no good. It will only fill you up for the time being, but in the end you are still going to feel the hunger pains and are only going to end up binge eating or sick (or both!)
- There is a reason for three meals and three snacks, it boosts your metabolism, gives you energy throughout the day and keeps your GI system moving at a steady pace.
- Carbs are good for a quick energy boost. There is no devil food, there is no bad food, there is no bad food. It's all just food!!!
- Ehhh, this one is hard. Meat is... meat. I have a harder time with it, part of it is that it's played a major role in my ED, and part of it is just something I struggle with morally. Everyone has their own beliefs on this one, but there is no denying that eating meat goes back longer than absolutely anything else on this planet, so maybe it's safe to say it's truly just the circle of life?
- Eating shouldn't have a time limit. Saying that we shouldn't eat after X time is inaccurate, because we are all on different schedules. I have read that it's better not to eat right before bed in order to get a better rest at night, but I don't even know how accurate that is.
- Since there are no good or bad foods, the rule about eating in order has already been disproved. It's funny because this one has always been hard for me, so when I was in treatment they kind of gave up on telling me not to eat in order so I was stuck making myself miserable because I couldn't break this rule but I still had to eat all my food. I will say, it gets better and easier over time.
- Eating is NOT shameful. Eating is necessary to survive and you shouldn't feel ashamed of wanting to live, and honestly, not just live but to thrive.
- Eating around others is a part of life, eating alone is pretty miserable honestly. I remember when I was younger (and this could actually go back to the shame thing), I would refuse to eat alone. If I was hungry I'd have to convince someone to eat with me or just not eat until everyone else did. It's a part of bonding and community, it is not disgusting.
- Feeling full is normal and it will pass. Nothing more to say to that, the full feeling will pass.
- Oh God, this was my ED speaking and I feel like I've already addressed this one. I'm going to move on because honestly, I'm embarrassed to even share this one.
- I deserve to eat, feed and nourish my mind, body and soul.
- When I was counting calories, I was consuming double digits each day. I was very sick and honestly just killing myself. I have decided that counting calories does me no good and I prefer to first off trust my treatment team with that and second, to trust that my body will do the right things with whatever I give it.
This has been a very long post. I had more I wanted to say, but it is now 2 am and I'd honestly be surprised if anyone actually read all of that. I will update with more within the next week, but for now I'm going to stop here.
Feel free to comment, share or send me a private message on your own food rules (or mine)! Also, I'm going to try to write more often, so if you have any topic you'd like me to address, feel free to let me know in some way. I'd actually like to get to know the people that actually read my stuff, so please, let me know you're here!! I'm working on a poem, so look forward to reading that and hold me accountable for posting.
Peace to you all tonight,