My family and food. 

Where do I start?

Firstly by saying that this post is just me venting the triggers, rather than being about judging them. 

My brothers seem to be the ones who escaped the food trap. They both have no issues whatsoever with food and actually really enjoy it with freedom while maintaining healthy bodies. 

My parents on the other hand are where the problems lie. For as long as I can recall my mum has been on and off diets. Sometimes she has sustained weight loss for a decent time, while other attempts were short lived. I remember watching her read the information on food packets when I was a child, and recall people always praising her when she had been “good” on her diet. Fast forward to this afternoon, and we are in the shop. I commented on some dried snacks and she told me how sugary they are. You might as well eat chocolate if you’re going to have them. While her statements are always aimed at the generic you as opposed to me personally, it makes me feel that anything I select will be judged. I support her trying to lose weight, and on countless occasions have given her (sensible, healthy) advice, but I cannot stand hearing all this food talk. It’s one sided, because I couldn’t tell her my food thoughts without a. Feeling uncomfortable or b. Getting told I was wrong.

My dad is very different. He has been thin my whole life. As a child I remember him as a normal eater, but in the latter half of my life he has developed weird habits. My observations tell me he does a version of intermittent fasting. He is currently losing weight, despite being very low body fat and already healthy, in preparation for something, and frankly it is a bit obsessional. Neither of them have habits I would recommend to a friend, as food plays a bigger part than I feel it should in their lives. 

Families eh?

*i love mine to pieces, but my ed is very trigger sensitive and competitive so these things are just too much for me. 

Punishment

Every morning I wake up wishing that I could I restrict and/ or exercise enough to be satisfied, but that never happens.
I feel like my disorder forces me to be addicted to punishing myself; exercising when I’m exhausted, eating when I hadn’t planned to, restricting to a point of wanting to give up on living etc.. Most average people enjoy treating themselves, so why do I have to be different!? Be it eating out with loved ones, going for massage, taking an afternoon nap on the weekend… People do things that are kind to themselves.
I hate how I feel when I allow myself to break the cycle of doing punishing things. It’s like my mind doesn’t want me to feel rested or calm.

Well that sucks.

Can anybody help?

My family did everything to try and help me in the early days. It didn’t work because I just did everything I could to conceal my behaviour.
Now that they have given up , I pace rooms to burn calories in their presence. The need to do so is compulsive and I’ve stopped caring if they see me doing it or not. At least this way we can talk and see each other, instead of hardly saying hello because I would whisk myself off alone to exercise.
This has made realise that nobody can help you unless you choose to be helped. Mental illness may not happen through choice but it can be recovered from/ improved by choice. Personally , I don’t think I will ever be completely free of my eating disorder, but my cbt and antidepressants are beginning to make me more optimistic about being able to manage it better in the future.
Once you’ve had an ed, the thoughts remain at any weight. One must definitely eat normally during the recovery process, but eating alone is not a cure.

So many things that I can’t think of a title..

1. Loving food

What a lot of people find hard to understand, is just how obsessed you can be with food, in spite of being totally determined to control it. While I count calories, weigh food, and generally spend almost my whole day calculating the exact amount of exercise I need to do to earn the food I have planned for the day, I LOVE food. I love to cook, I love to read recipes or calories books, I love to bake cake, I love to watch anything food related. 

In my head, I plan meals and dinners that I would never eat, and I love seeing other people eat the unhealthy foods that I wouldn’t indulge in myself (apart from when deprivation turns into a frantic “binge”, or what feels like one even if it isn’t in calorie terms.)

I guess that I have always loved food; always been one to find something I liked a lot, and then go through phases of constantly eating whatever my favourites were at the time. My eating disorder has definitely heightened my feelings about food, but I have, on some level, always had quite specific likes and dislikes. 

Now I think about it, perhaps it is my love of food that has helped trigger my disorder. If you’re going to punish yourself, they you deprive yourself of something you love, right?

2. Mental illness and getting on with life all at once

I feel extremely negative, down, angry and/or tearful on a regular basis. Sometimes it is just for a snippet of the day, and other times my utter hopelessness dominates lengthy periods of time. I have stayed in the house for days because of these feelings, yet I always seem to manage to shove it all to the back of my mind and carry on with life. My depression, anxiety, and eating issues have not taken away everything from my life, but they are so mentally overwhelming, that I am unable to devote a minute to anything without all of that crap being there too. I am perpetually waiting for one of the “outburst” days/hours to come- and they do, frequently.

At the moment, I keep finding myself google searching medication for depression and anxiety, so I must know I have problems but I simultaneously find myself thinking that I’m just a weak idiot and/or that there are so many people who are properly depressed or anxious and I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I know somebody who is currently in a mental health unit in hospital. Of course, this saddens me because this person is lovely, but I’m also having a weird feeling of jealousy. What the hell? I don’t know whether that is because I feel desperate for help, desperate for somebody to just get me out of the not knowing whether I’m “ill” or not, or just because if I were to be inpatient then nobody would disbelieve I have problems (not that anybody has told me they think I’m a liar.)

So. very, confused…

3. Mood swings

I am beginning to wonder whether it is normal to feel intensely irritated/irritable, cross and sad 5 minutes before feeling almost hyper with bubbliness. Weird times.

Things I don’t usually admit.

I am someone who wants to please people. I like things to happen smoothly, without conflict or disorganisation. I hate admitting when things are wrong, and I am hardly ever able to be one hundred percent honest about my ed issues. 

So, here goes the honesty:

-I am unbelievably grateful for the opportunity I have right now: to train as a dancer and performer. I have dreamt of this since childhood, and now it is a reality. I love that my classes are almost all things I am very passionate about, and I appreciate how lucky I am to have the chance to do a job I actually enjoy. But, this means being in a girl dominated, body focused environment. I HATE how frequently people talk about food, body shapes and ed’s- especially as a lot of what is said is inaccurate! My eating disorder finds it challenging to be in a bubble where people don’t know what goes on in my head… granted, many people at home didn’t know either, but most of them had known me my whole life, and on some level were aware.

-I hate how confused I feel about my own body. I have literally no idea whether what I see is distorted or normal, which makes me enormously paranoid.

-I hate some of the people I live with in my student house.

-I hate that the end of my tether never comes, as in there is always a worse mood, worse anxiety, worse physical feelings..

-I hate how isolated I am at times. I never feel like a normal teenager.

-I hate the stress I am under at the moment. I can’t really talk about it whether ruining my anonymity, but there are too many things for me to get done in 2 days, and I wish it was done already….

Venting over. Never really say these things. I just go with the flow and take it out on myself afterward.

Spotting the signs.

A friend of mine has recently admitted to having an ed, and it got me thinking about how everyone has an individual experience.

For me, the warning signs were weighing out food and becoming increasingly inflexible about deviating from my food plans. Those were behaviours that people noticed as being obsessive and abnormal. But for her. it is different. She has become very spontaneous about eating, because she gets so hungry that she eats exactly what she craves, followed by nothing for several hours (length depending on the ed voice).

So, what changed when your disorder developed?

Doubting my disorder.. again.

As usual, I am pondering whether I even have an eating disorder. I just feel like I need to vent and reassure myself that I’m not just making a fuss about everything…

I perceive myself as disgusting and often feel like I just take up more room than everyone

I have a fear of weight gain. I always say I would rather die than be average or fat.

Every time I feel a strong emotion, my first thought is to control food, make food plans,(or occasionally to binge and obsessively exercise.)

I’m sleep either very lightly or I sleep constantly, often reaching a point of falling asleep as soon as I sit down when I get home.

I’m have an obsessive knowledge of nutritional content & love to talk about and cook it.

I have lost my periods due to my weight and lack of nutrition, and now they are random and light as I’m losing weight again.

I see everything as black and white.

I have panic attacks in the supermarket sometimes and avoid people seeing me buying or eating food.

Yeah.. I think that is a real problem. Cheers to the person who told me I was attention seeking earlier.