“Wannarexia” and distraction

Today I found myself in the awkward situation of someone telling me they thought I was mentally better than I used to be. I don’t know why, but sometimes I find it impossible to accept positive statements like that. It makes me afraid that I have let go of my eating disorder (even if I have literally done something very eating disordered that day, but hidden it).

I also sometimes find these kind of conversations make me worry that I’m just a dumb teenager who think having an ed is cool. I don’t think it is cool, but I do, on some level, like the fact that I have one. It might sound sick and wrong, but that is the honest truth:

my eating disorder gives me a purpose, an identity, a way to shut things out.

Realistically speaking, the fact I want to hold onto it is probably proof to any sane individual that I do have a disorder, but hey, my mind isn’t the most logical when it comes to these things.

Can you really be wannarexic? Can you admire a mental illness without being mentally ill? Surely, if you find such a destructive disorder attractive then you must have a problem?

In other news, I was trying to do some exposure therapy today by sitting in the middle of a large group and trying to openly drink something that wasn’t diet version WITHOUT distracting myself from the negative feelings this provoked. It was tough, and during a moment when my mind was trying its hardest to escape the panic going on, I got to thinking about what my ed does for me….distract.

When I was worried about having made a mistake today, the worry shifted and became I’m worried everyone will have thought I looked gross.

When I was worried about picking up the paperwork for something on Saturday, the worry shifted and became It is more important to plan my food for tomorrow.

When I got cross at the way someone was behaving earlier, the anger shifted and became it is my fault. When I’m thinner I won’t feel this way.

I have never noticed the way my mind seamlessly translates anything negative into an ed thought. Wow…


I don’t know my own body….?!

I look, obsess, analyse at it all the time, yet my perception of myself is constantly questioned by those around me. I feel my bones, I take every measurement I can, I perpetually compare myself to people, and so it is hard to believe that the view of my body I have created in my mind is wrong….

I have a notebook which I write in multiple times a day, in order to track food, body measurements and exercise etc.. it is my obsession. This evening I have got a new notebook and I have started writing in it (old one was full) which is what has got me looking back and thinking about how my body has changed.

Emotion-wise, today has been pretty rough. I was sat with my family in the pub for lunch. Nobody was making me eat, but my incredible hunger was fighting with my ed. I wanted to eat, but at the same time I wanted to stay empty. The hunger made me unable to think properly and the social eating scenario made me anxious before I even thought about maybe trying to eat something. I ran out and had a panic attack, then walked down the road with tears streaming down my face. I felt angry for not fighting the ed and eating- like I had let myself down, and I also felt hugely upset that my ed controls me so much. A lot of the time I’m able to imagine that I am in control of it, as I avoid so many situations which challenge its “rules.” It’s one thing when it leaves me feeling a state, but today was worse because my parents and siblings just had to sit there with me unable to form a sentence before I ran out. I just feel stupid I guess.

I don’t want a casual lunch with my family to be an impossible task; however I don’t want to confront the issues that make it one until I have justified it by losing more weight. A few months ago I was proud of myself for being able to understand and articulate my problems, but I don’t seem to be able to go any further than it. If I’m not doing anything positive with that knowledge then what the hell is the point?

I really couldn’t say whether or not I want to get better. Ambivalent isn’t even the word- as I know every ed sufferer feels that at times- I am just so utterly lost.

Random thoughts (same as usual really!)

I have a big rant to go on to start with, so going to get that out the way first…

Today I saw a friend who I haven’t seen for quite a while. She asked me how things were going ed/ depression/ anxiety wise, and I said that they were up and down but “fine”. Obviously they aren’t, as I feel totally unstable, but it wasn’t the time to say! Her response was “well you’re obviously doing some things right, like, you haven’t ended up in hospital”

My ed reaction to this was OH MY GOD SHE DOESN’T THINK I’VE LOST WEIGHT, SHE MUST THINK I’M FAT. This thought has been playing on my mind since the moment she said it. I suppose she may not have been referring to weight at all- I hope now! But I just hear the ed telling me that I’m tricking myself into being ok if I believe that.

On quite a different note, my evening ended with a family member commenting how thin I have gotten since I was home at Christmas. As usual, I couldn’t formulate a response and just kinda shrugged. Part of me is delighted at their statement, while part of me wants to curl up in a hole of confusion as I get less and less able to know what the hell I actually look like anymore!

My next worry is the coming weekend. I’m going with my parents to another town to see some relatives. We are going out to lunch. I don’t have to eat, but after the “are you eating? you’ve gotten thin” fiasco this evening, maybe people will leave me be if I do eat? But then there’s the possiblity I might have a panic attack if I try which I frankly don’t have the energy for at the moment. Ah what to do?!

I’ve been thinking a lot today about how food impacts my family generally. Since a young age, eating out and eating bad foods has always been a treat, a birthday thing, a celebration of an achievement. And I guess I do classify food as a treat, yet it has become something that I can never do enough to earn. Both my parents have quite focused relationships with their bodies and food: one has been phasey and researched into health and dieting extensively, while the other has only recently managed to successfully lose excess weight. My whole life I have watched the latter do a hundred and one different diets and always put the weight (and more) back on when it eventually fell apart.

I would never blame anybody else for my problems, but I suppose it isn’t surprising that I have developed pride in being able to lose weight & attached a sense of achievement and necessity in doing so. Couple that with a perfeccionist personality and lack of confidence and BAM…

As it is 11.30 pm I think it is time for bed. Zzzzzz

An unofficial Christmas…

As we are all off back to family for Christmas, we had our own celebration day today. It was actually lovely, despite all the food being present. I am so happy to be at the end of the day having not panicked at the dinner table, thrown up, eaten the wrong thing etc! For once I have done vaguely ok…

Thinking about the festive period I had last year, I am disappointed at how I handled myself. Thinking about all the secretive eating, crying, failing, exercising at night and insane food plans makes me sad. I really hope that I can stay in this restrictive pattern and not go into the ups and downs of last year, as I can feel pretty low at times as it is!

On a happier note, today has got me thinking of all those little Christmassy memories:

*Decorating the Christmas tree

*Sitting by a lit fire

*Playing board games

*Going out in the snow

*Seeing my favourite family and friends 


*Buying, wrapping and receiving presents

*Christmas music and films!

Happy December!

It’s all about the thinking..

My Friday started HORRIBLY, but my first class really turned it around. It seems to be that mind over matter is the key to how I feel, unless it is anything food related… Not sure how or why, but when it comes to the latter my brain seems to have a life of its own!

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. “– Carl Jung


The other day I reached total exhaustion point. I just never thought that undereating would ever “get to me”, yet there I was feeling sick, total not with it and ready to fall over! After numerous tears and panicky moments I decided to attempt to make a mature decision: I told somebody what was happening. Although they can’t do anything, the reassurance that it was out of my own head was soooo good.

I guess it just made me realise that however strongly I try to be positive and be in control of how I feel, it will inevitably not be possible to do so without energy. Will I eat more now? I doubt it, but maybe next time I have an exhaustion day I will have a little more patience with myself. I hope that other people who feel like me can reach this point of accepting the ups and downs of it all as part of a journey (that will hopefully arrive where it is meant to!)

Mind over matter

Monday and Tuesday felt like I was stuck in such a deep hole of depression that I wouldn’t ever get out. Fortunately though, I left the house today and enjoyed some of it. To someone who has never been depressed, this would seem like I was just making it all up in the first place, but even when you are in a mental place where you are questioning the value of your existence some things are good. Mind over matter… well, some of my mind keeping all the horribleness inside for a little while at least!

What is kinda frustrating is that I had a panic attack today. As always the first signs (which for me are thinking very quickly, feeling trapped and unable to stop either) came rushing in at an inconvenient moment. Nowadays, I am often able to force this to stop and avoid the panic going outside my own head… but not today. Despite willing myself to be calm and forcing every reassuring thought I could think of to be on repeat in my mind, I just couldn’t stop it. The more cross I got at myself, the worse my panic became.

It did stop eventually, and I cannot express how happy I am that I went back to what I was doing and didn’t let it ruin my day. I suppose that being a strong person in the face of the mental challenge of eating disorder induced anxiety doesn’t always mean that you can keep things at bay 24/7.

“What defines us is how well we rise after falling” (Lionel, Maid in Manhattan)

Eating Disorder Criteria

I’m sure there are a million and 1 posts about this, but I just felt like putting my opinion out there. Now I have settled into what I am calling a “comfortable” phase of my restrictive disorder, I am looking back on the past few years and trying to work out what the technical name for it all would be…

At the time of my diagnosis my disorder was “Atypical” purely because my weight had gone a little above the anorexia criteria due to bulimic behaviour springing from nowhere as a result of the stress of getting and waiting for treatment. Essentially I have gone between these two states of feeling terrified of food and then feeling compelled to eat without really being aware, and subsequently purging, taking laxatives and obsessively exercising.

If someone were to try and stick a label on me now, I think it would be difficult. As not all the separate phases have been significant in length. Right now I’m in an anorexic phase and have been for a long while, but who knows when that is going to change.

The criteria are too black and white in my opinion, considering how grey and undefined it feels to be the disordered person. Everybody has different thought patterns etc, even if they have the same diagnosis and it just seems to me that eating disorders only get worse when somebody is turned away and told they do not have a problem because of some minute and unimportant detail. Surely, if you weigh 2 pounds over the  cut off but are having your life disabled by a fear of food, fat and numerous physical complaints you do still have a problem? What if you purge but not frequently enough? The EDNOS category is one that often makes people feel “not sick enough” and almost encourages them into further trouble in pursuit of having their problem validated.

I don’t know… just been thinking a lot lately about what makes me different to someone who is obsessively dieting and lets themselves eat chocolate every now and again! For me I have concluded it is the exaggerated version of dieting psychology and the extreme physical feelings (tiredness, stomach pain, coldness etc) and that when I do eat outside my safe foods, it is never acceptable and I am NEVER able to move on without engaging in compensatory, unhealthy behaviours.

Hopefully the diagnostic criteria will place more attention on the feelings and thoughts of the person and not just stare at non negotiable facts.