I’ve gone through a long route in my blog reading– as long as my ED and recovery process has been. I’ve read all kinds of blogs (starting with recipe blogs, to healthy living blogs, to recovery blogs) and now just have maybe 8 or so blogs I’m subscribed to about the process of struggling with an ED. I don’t get email alerts so I have total control over whether I feel like reading about others’ EDs or not.
Sometimes when I do read blogs, I discover new blogs via comments or links. If the blog speaks to me, I’ll read a number of posts, and maybe then, I’ll subscribe. It’s a totally subjective process that makes me safe.
But this morning I stumbled across a blog that is causing me some angst. (note: this person does NOT read my blog and I have never commented there– please don’t take offense at this personal response. As you who read this know, I am only here for venting for MYSELF. I don’t want anyone to feel bad after reading this.)
I’m not “triggered” by reading blogs. I don’t give them that much power, frankly. What disturbs me about this blog is that the writer claims to have “recovered” totally from an ED, but I find his/her eating to still be highly disturbed. He/she offers advice about recovery and has many followers who worship him/her. Maybe they are genuinely inspired, but I find it distressing.
The thing that really put me over the edge was this comment in regards to eating:
question: why is it acceptable for people to accept a vegan diet as means of controlling cancer whereas it’s considered as disordered eating to implement a vegan diet after experiencing diseases such as anorexia and bulimia? that thinking is so hypocritical.
Okay. I havenothing against veganism. I myself am a vegetarian– have been for over 10 years. I was vegetarian before, throughout my ED, and still in recovery– a fact my nutritionist never challenged me on. HOWEVER. Contrary to popular belief, eating a certain way does not “control cancer.” Cancer is a disease. Cancer must be treated. You can’t just give up meat and dairy and be cured.
EDs are a disease too. I am not claiming they are equivalent to cancer— as someone recovering from an ED and having my best friend fighting lymphoma at the moment, I would NEVER claim that. What I’m saying is that the writer is so caught up in his/her own system of doing things that he/she is unable to see how disordered his/her eating actually is.
My best friend is on a feeding tube. She has been since December, when due to the chemo she lost about 20% of her body weight. She’s also had to have TPN, which is calories/fat transmitted through her mediports directly into her veins. She’s almost back to her normal weight, which is wonderful, and she’s over the feeding tube. What she wants, more than anything, is to normalize her eating.
I don’t begrudge anyone their diets (again, I have a specific one too). But, at least for me, the process of recovery from an eating disorder is to be able to live in the real world, the world where I can’t always control what happens, and feel normalized.
This blogger is far from normalized, and yet he/she cries that he/she’s completely without disordered eating (he/she also claims that EDNOS is too loosely defined in the DSM-IV and therefore not a valid ED, which is bullshit). He/she is WRONG:
1. Only eats alone. Writes “eating like a slob at restaurants doesn’t mean that i’m disordered… i don’t really care to socialise with anyone else because it’s a waste of my time, not a disorder. ” Keeps no food in the house, ever. No flexibility of meal times. No snacks.
2. Literally screamed at a barista, called over a manager, and threatened to contact corporate because the barista added simple syrup to a black iced coffee (which they do at Starbucks unless you ask for “unsweetened.”) It would have been really easy to just ask the barista to make a new drink.
3. Screamed at a store clerk (who he/she referred to as a “girl [who’s] biggie sized every french fry in her life“) and her manager because he/she couldn’t locate the vegan cheese which he/she NEEDED. Continuing on the hunt for vegan cheese, this writer went to a store he/she avoids because of binging triggers, then take the time to think about how he/she’s going to binge on this stuff long enough to take pictures of it (long enough, also, to probably go through the thought process of simply not buying it), then proceeds to binge and “ruin her night.”
4. Screamed at his/her parents and storms out because while eating lettuce and salsa, a tiny piece of cheese appears in the salsa. He/she refuses to acknowledge his/her parent’s apologies for maybe accidentally spilling a sliver of shredded cheese into salsa while making tacos and accuses them of using a “cheese infested fork” to put the salsa back in the jar. His/her father responded by politely suggesting the writer be “more flexible” in “dealing with hiccups in life” — i.e. normalizing— to which the writer responds that this comment makes him/her “feels like [he/she’s] experiencing a bad dream.”
Sorry, I just can’t with this. I can’t do it. And before I get even bitchier, I should just stop.
And no, I did not subscribe to this blog.
“The goal for a person suffering from an eating disorder is to normalize their relationship with food by letting go of the power they give to it… There is no such thing as perfect eating… People who do not eat with their families or co-workers do not have the connection with others that people who ‘break bread’ together do. All cultures celebrate with food. Healing from an eating disorder involves the flexibility to eat, more or less, what others do. This doesn’t mean the client should become a junk food junkie but less rigidity and fear is essential to normalize eating.” —Monika Ostroff, MSW is the Program Coordinator at the Eating Disorder Treatment Center at Hampstead Hospital in Hampstead, NH.