*I’m updating this post with a few words because this also serves to help me remember and I forgot something*
*Subject is food and whatever else comes up*
I am just beginning to realize that something may be wrong with me. I swear if you guys laugh at that obvious statement… 😉
All of this food stuff has taken over my life and my mind so completely that I can’t even believe it’s happened. It’s like it snuck up on me and now I’m under. At the same time I have come to wonder if all of this has been a means of distracting myself from other fears, anxieties, and thoughts that maybe I don’t want to deal with.
First…eating. It started innocently enough; I hated the way I looked and I just wanted to lose weight so I could be my old self…my old skinny self. I had hit a plateau and couldn’t seem to budge my scale past those loathsome numbers. I decided that I needed to be more strict with myself…I said that I needed control, more control. So, I ruthlessly suppressed my appetite and increased my exercise, hoping those two steps would be enough to get those last pounds off.
I made what I called a “Fat book”, which was clippings and pictures from various sources that showed women with the type of thin bodies I wanted to have. I also threw in pictures of fat women to remind me of how awful I am.
I lost weight, but it wasn’t until after my therapy appointment that I started realizing that I was in trouble.
The first clue was my reaction to my appointment. I came home that day and tried to eat normally…trying not to care how many calories something was and not keeping to a strict numerical intake. My emotional response to eating like this was very bad. I immediately started hating myself and my anxiety climbed sky-high until my mind was just full of numbers and scales and fear. I hadn’t exercised yet that day and I immediately started my routine in an attempt to fight off what I’d eaten. I should note that I hadn’t eaten anything bad…it was just the act of eating without strict control that set me off I think. I also skipped my workout for 2 days after this because I was really tired. I also took laxatives for a few days to try and rid myself of the food I ate. Made myself sick a bit with that.
The rest of the evening I was overwhelmed with fear that I had gained weight. The next morning I woke up to do my daily weigh-in and my fears were confirmed because I had gained .4lbs. I’m sure that sounds like nothing…less than half a pound…but for me it was everything. That weigh-in started my next phase, which was extreme anger. I was angry at my therapist, angry at my husband…so angry. And I was angry at myself for listening to my therapist and trying to eat. That anger stayed with me all day and eventual shifted and settled to anger focused mostly at my therapist.
In a previous post I wrote that I asked online doctors if I had an eating disorder and was told that I did not…that I was doing things perfectly. This increased my anger at my therapist as I felt that she had caused me to gain weight. I gained again the next day (again it was less than a pound) and thought I was going to lose it. I started thinking of cutting…I needed to be punished, I needed to get control back. I thought to myself that if I gained again, I would cut. That was another clue that something was off.
I became strict again…I guess that would be this week…and I again restricted my calories and exercised everyday with the specific intent of burning, at the minimum, half the calories I had consumed each day, but most of the time I burned much more.
After gaining, I had to get that weight off first (which increased my anger again) and then I had to get lower than that. I had gained 2.6lbs (for which I blamed my therapist). In 2 days of strict control, I lost 2.4lbs and by 4 days I had lost about 4lbs. A pound a day.
Clue three came because when I saw the lower weight on the scale (I was at a new low since being diagnosed bipolar), I was thrilled and in my mind I thought of celebrating by cutting. What the..!?
Yea, that made no sense to me, but it also got my attention. Over those days I came to realize that my whole day is consumed with thoughts of food, calories and weight. I started getting hit with strong waves of nausea and I would eat a few saltine crackers and sip ginger ale to help settle my stomach. AND YET, while my stomach swam sickly and I nibbled on crackers and ginger ale, all I could think of was how many calories I was eating. In my mind I could see the numbers swirling around my head because I know the exact caloric value of everything I put in my mouth. I would see the numbers and hate the fact that my stomach was forcing me to eat 10, 20, 30 calories etc.
I was obsessed but I hadn’t started noticing until then. My days are also filled with fear and anxiety. I wake with fear that I’ve gained weight. I’m afraid as I step on the scale everyday. I’m anxious every time I eat. I’m anxious when I go to bed because I wonder if I ate too much that day or didn’t exercise enough.
Speaking of exercise…that’s an obsession too. I’m obsessed with the numbers…how much I burn. The fatigue I feel only pushes me because I believe that if I control my body, I’ll win.
It was during these moments of realization that I noticed something else. I was still having random flickering images involving my uncle. I was still seeing that room. But if I thought about those images at all, the images or anything connected to them was immediately pushed out with thoughts of food, calories and weight. That made me start to wonder and then I realized that I’d had all this progress in therapy and then suddenly food took over. Was the timing of this new obsession coincidental or was there a purpose behind it?
I’m not sure, but I can’t rule it out either.
Then, while talking to a friend on Twitter I started to see how disconnected I’ve been. I was really surprised that I hadn’t seen it before then. My therapist told me that ignoring my body’s needs would cause me to disconnect from it. I didn’t care because I thought that disconnecting from my body would only help me to control my hunger, eating and weight. Maybe the disconnect has gone further than that? Has all of this been a distraction to keep me from thinking about darker matters?