Trigger / Solution

So… I haven’t written about my eating disorder in so long!

Why?

Well, because I don’t need to, most of the time. I have been stable in both weight and mental health for going on three years now. I cannot tell you how lucky that makes me feel; how grateful I am for the people and institutions who supported me; how deeply I understand how FUCKING HARD it is to come out of this whole.

To everyone still working… keep working. Be gentle with yourself. Try everything once. And most of all, find happiness somewhere– anywhere– and cherish that as you fill that up that deep sinkhole that food used to control.

It’s all pretty words, but I want anyone who is reading this to know that it is 100% hard but 100% possible to be “okay.” Remember how I also talked about how many YEARS it took? Yeah. So.

Anyway, the reason I’m posting now is because in cleaning out my computer, I found an old document. I feel certain I found it somewhere, so wherever it came from… sorry for stealing your great words. It’s a list of triggers and solutions. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great resource. I invite you to check it out.

With love and affection,
B.

A series of unfamiliar situations, “unsafe” foods, unpredictable environments, restaurants, and social eating, like a vacation.
(Solution: Plan ahead, bring my own foods, get through as many challenges as possible, but keep as much consistency as possible.  Seek accountability with one or more of my traveling partners and be completely honest.)

Feeling strong, happy, and successful.
(Solution: remember that I must eat to stay this way.  All strong people eat.)

Conflict within a friendship or family relationship
(Solution: Evaluate my role honestly; make amends if necessary; set boundaries and get out.)

Sadness or failure
(Solution: let myself feel all of my emotions; be gentle with myself.  Remember that I need to eat to have strength to cope.  Remember that no one is perfect.) SEE INSIDE OUT!!!!! (that’s from B)

Stress or busyness
(Solution: make eating a priority to myself.  Eliminate as much stress as possible from life.  Make dates with friends to ensure that I eat when I am “too busy.” )

Weight gain
(Solution: follow nutritionist’s recommendations and forget about it.  Don’t weigh myself.)

Feeling overwhelmed
(Solution: have a friend or therapist help me evaluate and simplify my life.  If I am still stressed, realize that it is BETTER TO QUIT SOMETHING than to fall back into my ED.)

A friend’s ED, weight loss, skipped meals or odd food/exercise habits
(Solution: remember that I am following a perfectly prescribed diet and that I need to do what is right and healthy for me.  Realize that I probably have much more substantial nutrition knowledge than them.  Avoid meal times or diet talk with affected friend.)

Clothes not fitting
(Solution: throw item away and purchase a replacement, preferably a different brand.  Realize that it’s not my failure; it’s the clothing designer’s failure.)

Reading about diets or seeing pictures of underweight celebrities
(Solution: don’t read it.  Get accountability in this area if need be.  If I am needing an escape, read a travel or home decoration magazine, or a Christian or psychology book.)

Sense of loneliness
(Solution: schedule time for meaningful interaction with another human—if I don’t have a friend, make one.  Be vulnerable and express my needs.)

Weight loss
(Solution: immediately evaluate the cause.  If related to illness, take time off from school/exercise/life to get better.  If related to ED behaviors, notify therapist and others and implement what is needed.  If accidental and repeated again the next week, add extra nutrition.  Treat it as a serious symptom.)

The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing.

Saw this on Facebook and couldn’t NOT post to the blog. Thanks, Anne Lamott.

***

This is the Anne Patricia Lamott Anti-Diet that I posted at this time last year. This year, I post it with an added urgency, as the new Viking Diet is upon us, the latest and hottest It diet, and since you may feel vulnerable and somewhat battered after the last few days/weeks/years of festive family get-togethers, or estrangement, you will be susceptible to its promises. And yes, young Canute, if you are enjoying the noble Viking lifestyle, raiding your neighbor’s grain stores and salted venison lockers, this may in fact be the perfect new diet for you. Are you giddy with relief that Whole Foods carries so many foraged vegetables, and moose meat? Then step right up. Help bail out the ever-struggling diet industry, while you’re at it. But otherwise?

We need to talk.

I know you are planning to start a diet next Thursday, January 1st, I used to start diets, too. I hated to mention this to my then-therapist. She would say cheerfully, ” Oh, that’s great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?”

I got rid of her sorry ass. No one talks to ME that way.

Well, okay, maybe it was ten years later, after she had helped lead me back home, to myself, to radical self-care, to friendship with my own heart, to a jungly glade that had always existed deep inside me, to mostly healthy eating, but that I’d avoided all those years by achieving, dieting, binging, people-pleasing, multi-talking, and so on

Now when I decide to go on a diet, I say it to myself: “Great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?”

I was able to successfully put on weight during my last book tour by eating room service meals in a gobbly trance in 13 different cities. So that was exhilarating, as I may have mentioned several hundred times that I have had the tiniest, tiniest struggle with food and body image for the last–well, life time. Hardly worth mentioning.

And then, after book tour, I accidentally forgot to starve myself in December, or to go back to the gym, which I’ve been meaning to do since I had a child, 24 years ago.

So I am at least five pounds up–but thankfully, I do not currently have a scale, because as I’ve said before, getting on a scale is like asking Dick Cheney to give you a sense of your own self-worth every morning.

I can still get my jeans on, for one reason: I wear forgiving pants. The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing. I struggle with enough esteem issues without letting my jeans get in on the act, volunteering random thoughts about my butt.

By the same token, it feels great to be healthy. Some of you need to be under a doctor’s care. None of you need to join Jenny Craig. It won’t work. You will lose tons of weight quickly, and gain it all back, plus five. Some of you need to get outside and walk for half an hour a day. I do love walking, so that is not a problem for me, but I have a serious sickness with sugar: if I start eating it, I can’t stop. I don’t have an off switch, any more than I do with alcohol. Given a choice, I will eat candy corn and Raisinets until the cows come home–and then those cows will be tense, and bitter, because I will have gotten lipstick on the straps of their feed bags.

But you crave what you eat, so if I go for 3 or 4 days with no sugar, the craving is gone. That is not dieting. If you are allergic to peanuts, don’t eat peanuts.

So please join me in not starting a diet January 1st.

It’s really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It’s okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and to pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. Horribly, it’s yet another inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It’s within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it’s true.

Maybe some of us can try to eat a bit less, and walk a bit more, and make sure to wear pants that do not hurt our thighs or our feelings. Drinking more water is the solution to all problems.

I’ll leave you with this: I’ve helped some of the sturdier women at my church get healthy, by suggesting they prepare each meal as if they had asked our beloved pastor to lunch or dinner. They wouldn’t say, “Here Pastor–let’s eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of barbecue Pringles is all for you. i have my own” And then stand there gobbling from their own tubular container. No, they’d get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set one plate before Veronica at the table, a plate filled with love, pride and connection. That’s what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create, now, or or on the 1st. Wow! And God bless you all real good, as my pastor always says.

What the WHAT?!

What the EVERLOVING SHIT is going on with me right now?

I had a pretty shitty weekend, emotionally. A was gone. I did some work and relaxed a ton, but got about as close to binging as I have in a loooong time. Had those terrible thought cycles and got constantly caught up in the emotional soup. Had what should have been great sex last night but wasn’t there at ALL.

Now today, I feel shaky and sad. This isn’t the numbness I felt this weekend, it’s a heavy wet cloud in my chest. Tears or screams or something always feel just on the VERGE of coming out. I have a cracked lip I can’t stop picking at and a pimple the size of Pluto that I can’t stop thinking about. My brain feels far and distant and it takes an exceptional amount of power to convince my self to do my actual job.

I don’t know how I feel. I feel depressed but also manic, unfocused and flighty, epically sad but also terribly anxious.

Is it just this time of year? Where things are ending and new things are supposed to be starting, but instead the days just slide into the thick humid fucking loooooooong days of New York summer? Why does the “future” look like a total jumble, just weeks and weeks of IcantevenimaginewhatIamdoingIhavenocluecanItakeanapandwakeupandsuddenlyhaveapurpose?

This better pass by tomorrow, because I’m turning fucking 25 years old and I deserve a good day. Goddamnit.

Homecoming

For all my “feeling good” posts of the last few days… i’m having a problem.I get home from tech & rehearsals late — between 9pm (if I’m lucky) and 10:30pm. I have been at work since usually 11am, packed lunch, had snacks like a Larabar, apple, latte, and whatever generally unhealthy food there is at the theatre.

I know I need to eat when I get home.

The problem is I OVEReat.

I know that being hungry is triggering for me, plus it’s my only time alone ALL DAY (I love A, but seriously, I NEVER have the apartment to myself, which drives me NUTTY), which is also triggering. I’m trying to come up with a way to make it less hard to eat enough and healthily.

Ideas?

Bad Day Conversation

Welp…

Inner Voice: Thought it would be so easy, didn’t ya?! Thought you could just NOT do something. Sounds like the same person who though “Oh, I’ll just NOT eat so much” or “Oh, I’ll just NOT be sad anymore.”

Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Inner Voice: Wait, do you not feel bad about yourself? Didn’t you have more than one bowl of cereal this morning? Didn’t you eat two servings of cookies AND PEANUT BUTTER last night? Didn’t you not go to the gym this morning? Don’t you feel disgusting? Don’t you hate yourself?

Me: I mean… no. Everything you said was true. I don’t feel great about eating more than I needed last night, but it happens, and I haven’t been eating quite enough while A’s gone anyway. And cereal schmereal. I’ll get over it. I’m not going to let you make me feel shitty about myself when I’m doing well. I’m not going to let you take my successes away from me. So please, if you wouldn’t mind, just shut up.

Inner Voice: Hey, no! I have a lot of things to say! I love to talk to you! I keep you busy!

Me: I mean, yeah, but it’s tiring so stop.

Inner Voice: Fuck you.

Me: Fuck you too. And checking her Facebook once a day is already an improvement. See ya later, asshole!

Treatment Options for Binge Eating Disorder

This is amazing. I 100% support everything written here, and I have used many of these tools in my (pretty much complete? Eek!) recovery.

Dear Bee

Question from a lovely reader this morning: 

I was wondering what the treatment options are for Binge Eating Disorder. Obviously there are different severities of the disorder and different treatments needed for different people on a case-by-case basis, but I was wondering if maybe you could summarize some of the options out there for some of us.

Basically what I’m saying is, I have Binge Eating Disorder, and it is currently running and ruining my life. I really really need help but I want to know what I’m in for. Is inpatient a thing that happens with BED, ever? Is it usually therapy? What goes on for a typical patient, what is considered “severe,” etc…. I don’t know if there’s one good question in there to answer, but I’m really hoping you might have a bit of input, given that you are a) in recovery and b) on your way…

View original post 2,419 more words

Dangerous Thinking

"You’re at a healthy weight. Lower than it’s been in a while! But you’re not as low as you were after you had the flu. And then you changed your resume. And you also would look way better with those 5 pounds off. So maybe think about that?"

"I’m hungry. I’ll eat dinner. Then later I’ll have one of those blueberry bars I made for dessert. Oh, j/k, I’ll just have a nibble on one now. Oh, fuck it, I’ll eat one. Fuck it. Two more. Crackers!"

"This is not how you lose those last five pounds, you idiot. Use your fucking self-control. You are not even binging– you are just eating more than you NEED! Get over yourself! Start actually listening to yourself again! Jesus."

"Oh, I feel so good in rehearsal, sweating and running around and feeling like my body can do anything! Oh wait, I’m sitting on the floor and my thighs, oh lord, when did they get so huge and white and fat? When? How?!"

"You look so great, girl! Enjoy your body where it should be! Don’t stress too much! You didn’t lose the weight by stressing, you lost the weight by NOT stressing! (but if I don’t start stressing again how do I maintain this and/or lose the five pounds I lost from being sick and not eating for three days?)"

So basically… summer is fun. A and I are struggling (not in a major problem/breakup way, but in a "we’re stressed and living together" way). I am in rehearsal 11am – 4pm every day, and I come home sweaty and exhausted and starving (I bring lunch, but I never bring enough to hold me over till I get home at like 4:45pm). A works 5:45pm – 10:30pm every night at the theatre. So we have that hour, when all I want to be doing is veg-ging on the couch and watching Orange is the New Black, but he wants to like, chat! and be together! since he’s been home all day. So he feels like I’m ignoring him when I sit quietly on the couch. Which, naturally makes me feel like a big fucking asshole.

And then I have evenings alone, which is MAJOR DANGER TIME, especially because I come home hungry.

Now here’s the thing.

I’m not bingeing. At all.

If anything, I’m just not eating super balanced, well-proportioned meals. I have no idea how many calories I’m burning doing commedia dell’arte in rehearsal, but probably not enough to come home and eat (numbers coming) 380 calories of brown rice, 200 calories of crackers, and however many calories are in three blueberry crumb bars I made last night (at least 150 each), not counting all the other "healthy calories." Oof.

Anyway.

That’s what’s whirling around in my brain when I’m desperately trying NOT to learn my lines (and by that I mean I should be learning my lines but I really don’t want to).

It’s hot in New York.

I’m tired and I feel fat.

I am not fat. And fat is not a feeling. OKAY?!

But I am tired.

Powered by Qumana

Clogged

A’s gone again– in PA to see a friend’s star turn in a community theatre production of SPELLING BEE. I’m missing it because of rehearsal.

I came home after the show tonight (I saw the show A’s working, a new musical) solo to discover the bathtub full of cold, silty water.

What.

The.

Fuck.

The drain cover was slightly displaced. I peed, flushed, no problem.

I tried to plunge the drain, assuming it was a clog of some kind. No change. I plunged a LOT. My hands hurt.

I played with the drain lever, and while it still made that “moving” sound, literally NO change in the water level or any release of water whatsoever.

I went in with a coat hanger to try and see if I could snake it. I got a little hair out, but no movement in the water whatsoever.

I think the water must have come UP from the drain into the bathtub, and somehow clogged there. Perhaps there’s a clog deeper in, and the water won’t drain because there’s some obstruction that got pushed up with the silty (possibly shit-filled) water.

I have no fucking idea. I’m just pissed off about it.

I HATE this shit. So incredibly much. I want to be able to fix things myself. I don’t want to ask for help, especially from my super. I want the whole thing to GO AWAY.

And OF COURSE this happens when A’s not here. I fucking hate it. I moved in with someone so that I wouldn’t have to do this shit anymore. UGGGHHHHH.

I texted him, then he called me from the road. I missed his call (phone still on silent from the show), and called him back. Cried, like a small child. He hates this as much as I do. Still, he agreed to call the super tomorrow morning. I said I’d stay in the apartment and wait for her. I know he’s upset he has to deal with this for me. But I NEED him to take care of me. I need him to do more than say “I love you” a hundred times a day and come see weird plays with me. I need him to do the dirty work and pay the check and make the choices.

I mean, no, I don’t NEED that, but I do find that I want it.

And of course after I got off the phone I binged on a piece of cold pizza (leftovers from dinner) and at least two bowls of cereal. Un. Necessary. I am the worst.

Is this over yet?

Accountability

Honesty. I binged tonight. I never really binge anymore, but when A goes away to Army, it happens. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. So here I am, taking control of what happened, and owning it for all of you. (I’m gonna get real with everything I ate today, with est. calories, so please don’t read if you don’t want to)

Breakfast:  2.5 bowls Barbara’s Shredded Cereal with lowfat milk (470)

Lunch: 2 eggs w/ cheese (200), kale and spinach (50), pretzels and hummus (250)

Dinner: Chips, cheese, salsa, spinach (250), Apple and PB (300)

Binge: Back to Nature mint cookies (680), ice cream (250), PB (200), choc syrup (200)

That is a total today of: 2600.

Worse has happened. Worse has certainly happened. But I’m disappointed. And I’m here, accountable.

Thanks for being out there, somewhere, knowing I’m okay, and knowing I’m honest.

How the fuck am I supposed to do this? How am I not too broken to be another person’s one person?

On Jun 20, 2013, at 5:26 PM, Awrote:

As of late, due to the general hectic-ness of life, you’ve been feeling your feelings. Which is great.

Because of you feeling your feelings, you’ve been more internal as you’ve been going through the world. Also fine – totally understandable.

I think what I’m feeling is just a sense of being left out. Often I find, whether I’m the one coming home or the one home already, when I ask about your day and things that have happened, I’m getting a short answer in response and that’s about it. However, I’m often looking to discuss it a bit more.

For example, today: it was your first rehearsal for a new play. Granted, you didn’t do much and you were reading through the play-within-the-play, but I guess I was expecting more conversational traction from that – people in the cast, your expectations, any other design stuff that wasn’t brought up, your general thoughts.
Now, if you’d prefer not to talk about it, I understand and I don’t mean to nag or place pressure; it’s just an example of how I’ve been feeling of late. I miss you. In no circumstance am I trying to make you uncomfortable, or would i want you to be anything but real with me –

I know there’s a lot happening right now and if you really do need all that space I will most assuredly grant you that and do whatever I can to be of help or comfort. I just wanted to let you know what was going on in my head and how I’ve been feeling. Bear in mind this all may certainly be magnified by what I’m going through and how I’ve been pretty non-social of late, but it’s still what’s going on with me.

Also there’s just that silly part of me that wants to make sure everything is really ok.

So much love,
A
xoxo

On Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 6:24 PM, B wrote:

Lover,

I appreciate this email more than you know. Sometimes it’s easier to get thoughts and feelings out in writing– I know that’s the case for me– and you reaching out like this reminds me how much you do care. It also helps me understand better how you’re feeling. I want to know how you’re feeling, especially when what I’m doing effects you.

Frankly, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know why I feel this way. I hate that it pulls us apart. I don’t know why I don’t want to talk. Maybe it’s because I genuinely don’t have anything to say. Or I feel like I don’t have anything to say. Right now, I don’t have opinions. I don’t want to "do" anything. I’m not interested in anything. I’ve mentioned to you how the world can feel like "too much" for me at times. This is one of those times.

I’m not okay, babe. I’m never going to be completely "okay." We can pretend that mental illness is like Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, but it’s not. It’s quiet and pervasive and distancing. It’s not cute. This email took me over an hour to write because I literally have no words. Nothing I could say could possibly be worth saying.

I feel like this is bullshit and sounds like I’m trying to "excuse" my behavior, which I know makes you feel left out and isolated. I wish I could tell you why, and I wish I could tell you how I was going to fix it. I can try. I WILL try, and I’ll do my best.

I’ve never spent this much time with anyone. I sort of include my parents. For most of my time at home, they found me utterly unbearable. It wasn’t until I moved out that we had a relationship at all. This EXACTLY is why Chris broke up with me. This is what got me down to 90 pounds and got me to cut myself up. I’m terrified that I’m hurting you, and I’m terrified that I’m pushing you away. I am terrified that I don’t know how to weather these patches with someone else. As you can see from the whole of this paragraph, I have NEVER done so successfully.

I don’t expect you to respond to this. I know I’m an over sharer and I’m already second-guessing myself. But there’s also a part of me that feels like if I can muscle out SOMETHING, that’s better than the nothing i’ve been giving you.

I recommend reading this blog article. http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

I love you more than anything. I have never loved so hard and so deep. I promise to continue to try and let you in.

Your B.

Dearheart,

I know and understand as much as I can. I’m not sure if recent events in life have exacerbated the distancing, because – to be honest – it’s never felt as much as it has the past week or two. (Unless I’m just in some kind of place because of edit-stress that allowed me to feel it fully.) But either way, I just wanted to let you know about it.

I love you. I love how much you love me, and the way that you love me. I know you’re trying to be the best, most productive you you can be. Remember that I like and love the you that you always are.

I’m so happy we’re life-sharers.

Can’t wait to kiss you tonight.

A

Powered by Qumana