So I haven’t blogged in over a month, and I woke up this morning with an unquenchable urge to pour my heart out to the internet. Actually, I don’t think this is so much the case but rather my head is all over the place, and writing is a healthy way to center myself.
Let’s talk about eating.
Let’s talk about anxiety.
Let’s talk about how I just ate three boiled eggs, which is probably a good thing since I haven’t ingested much more than crumbs in the past forty-eight hours.
My anxiety is through the roof. Strangely, I feel better when I’m not in my house. Everything feels like chaos. I feel guilty admitting this because I have two adorable, precious, active little boys who bring joy to my life that I couldn’t comprehend in my pre-children days.
I also have Gil. He also brings an element of joy, but honestly, more chaos than anything these days.
I feel like the lost female. This morning as I was preparing to teach the youth at my church a lesson on courage, I got up to use the restroom and when I returned, Wallace, my four year-old, had completely disassembled my printer.
I live in a world of remote controls that I can’t operate. Once I think I have them figured out, one kid or the other removes the batteries, jacks up the whole system, and I’m back to square one.
These kids take shoe laces out of shoes and then tie up their toys. They used to tie up each other until we made a house rule that no one was to tie up bodies. Geez!
When my mom visited last she decided that the boys might enjoy playing with one of my old Cabbage Patch Kids. I was excited at first. I imagined my sweet, caring boys pretending to care for my childhood friend. The reality was quite different. One day after the boys had spent the afternoon playing quietly in their playroom, I found poor Roberto, the Cabbage Patch Kid, completely naked and hanging upside down by his ankles from the closet door, with, you guessed it, the shoestrings from my sneakers.
Let’s get back to eating. I’ve had enough therapy to understand that when I’m anxious I don’t eat, which in turn, makes me more anxious. I know. It doesn’t make sense, but I’ve sort of examined the situation closer and I think there’s more to it than just basic old anxiety.
My house smells like boys.
When things stink, I can’t eat.
I need to insert that Piers just came into my room and immediately began dissecting the paper shredder. They’re supposed to be helping Gil with “yard work” outside.
I have to get a handle on this eating thing. A couple of years ago after some nudging from my therapist and lots of accusations from various family members, I agreed to join an eating disorder support group. The group met for close to a year, and it was truly eye-opening. When I joined, I was struggling to keep my weight above a certain level, and my eating was limited and sporadic. I learned so much in the group, and before I attended, I absolutely did not believe I had an eating disorder.
Now I know that I do.
My discomfort with the term “eating disorder” comes because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not overweight. I don’t think I look hideous. I have no interest in losing weight. I suppose it’s my own ignorance, but when I think of someone with an eating disorder, I think of people, especially young women and girls who obsess about their looks and fitting into a certain size.
I think of people who are VAIN.
There, I said it. I know this is not always the case, and intellectually I understand the complexity of eating disorders and I absolutely know that eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, but I feel like there is an enormous lack of understanding about people with eating disorders, and quite frankly, it’s one more area that I really don’t care to be misunderstood.
And by the way, I’m not crazy enough to believe that I am in no way vain. I am, to a degree, but I realize there’s much more to me as a person than just the way I look.
I guess I’ve bought in to the media’s depiction of a person with an eating disorder, usually a pretty and already-adored celebrity. I think I’m most disgusted by the young women who buy into the idea that one has to be thin and beautiful to matter. I don’t want to be that person, and I don’t think I am. But, my fear is that if I admit that I have an eating disorder, people will roll their eyes, try to convince me that I’m not overweight and stick me in the category of vain, insecure, and ridiculous.
I did struggle with feeling this way in my teens and early twenties. I don’t know many women in these age brackets who don’t struggle with some sort of body issue. Yes the degrees vary.
So what is up? Why can’t I make myself eat like a normal person?
I do think a lot of it is sensory related. There’s the smell thing, and the fact that my boys are learning to eat without getting food everywhere. They’re more successful than they were at two, but dinnertime around our house is anything but attractive. It’s messy and painful, to say the least. I also feel like my throat is closing up when I’m presented with massive quantities of food, like at a buffet, which I only go to if I’m dragged. I’ve also been known to have panic attacks in the grocery store. Thank you, blog readers, for allowing me to pour every ounce of my crazy onto this page.
Not eating is my go-to coping mechanism. In other words, a bad habit. I’m so much better than I used to be, but the truth is, the last few months have been stressful.
But life is stressful. Some people handle that stress better and in healthier ways than others. I like to think of myself as resilient, but recently I’ve felt like I’m crumbling.
I also feel very misunderstood. I received a critical and upsetting email from my mom after her visit last month, and ever since I can’t get a handle on my delicate emotions. Gil just gets put out with me anytime I try to talk about any of this with him — the eating or my relationship with my mom.
Now my closest friend is moving away, and I just feel very alone. My therapist is no longer my therapist, and when I talk to her I feel the need to portray myself as relatively together. I’m fortunate that I have lots of friends, but I don’t feel comfortable discussing my eating disorder with any of them. It just feels very fucked up, for lack of a better term.
Writing about this stuff does help. I use this blog as a form of therapy. I’ve been avoiding it lately. Thanks for listening. It’s nice to be back.