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.