Wednesday, February 16, 2011

in denial about being in denial? say wha?

so i have a few things I want to say, but i was stalling because up until a few seconds ago I didn't know how I was going to say them.
here goes nothing. (what does that even mean??? more like here goes something.)
I think i've been lying to myself. <---i'm resisting the urge to put the phrase "a little" at the end of that sentence. lies are pretty black and white. you either lie or you don't. period.
i think i've been "messing with my food". (again, resisting the phrase -urge)
Carrie just wrote a really great post on "needing a gps" and how we kind of need a "gps" in recovery.
i think i just realized that she's right.
today was a little bit of (ah, shucks, gave into the urge, sorry!) a wake up call for me.
i was sitting in therapy and then i started talking about my food and somehow we got to the place where D was like "Are you messing with your food, Rose?"
I was all like "um, well, no i just---"
                     "What just happened to your voice?"
                     "My what?"
                      "Your voice. Your voice just completely changed. You're messing with your food,                             aren't you?"
                     "No, i mean, i'm not. I'm just not hungry. I'm really, truly not hungry. I don't eat when i'm not hungry. that's normal. "
                       "You need to eat. Does L (dietitian) know about this?"
                       "Yes. And so did you. L knows, she weighs me for gosh sake."
                       "I did not know about this. I thought you got over that little period of time a few months ago, you didn't tell me about this"
                      "I didn't because it's not a problem, i'm not doing it intentionally"...blahblahblah rose's eating disorder continues to fight a losing battle with her therapist for a good ten minutes of a 3/4 of an hour-long session
Eventually my brain kicked ED out for a few seconds of clarity and I realized that I have been lying to myself, and to all of you for a little while.
(I say "to all of you" because I feel that as a recovery blog, I have an absolute obligation to reveal when I am struggling, so as not to let my eating disorder lurk anywhere in these pages.)
Here's the deal. I cut back on my food a little over a month ago because my anxiety was getting super bad (i've now switched meds) and my stomach just couldn't handle a lot. That kind of triggered a little bit of restricting that I thought I had put an end to but it has still been trickling in.
I thought I had totally kicked ED out when, this weekend, i basically had a food fest and just ate tons of delicious food at every meal and was totally chill about it. (pictures of said deliciousness to come, no worries)
But then on monday and yesterday and then again today my food has been kind of off.
It took my therapist getting pretty effing angry at me for me to realize i had fallen off track. And i was in denial. And i was also in denial that i was in denial. woah there.
so, there. i said it. and it's awkward and weird (especially because my parents read this from time to time and that thought just embarrasses me a little bit but i'll get over it)
just now I ate a bagel (after solemnly eating a proffered [more like irritatedly insisted upon] balance bar in my therapist office, and i'm going to get back on track. (i hate that phrase. can we come up with a new one, perhaps one that doesn't rhyme quite as cheesily?)
i'm grateful that Carrie posted about a recovery GPS because it really helped me put this whole thing into perspective. I just needed my therapist to be my GPS, I needed someone to tell me that i was lost, so i wouldn't spend the extra hours roaming around before I realized I was going south instead of north.
That being said, it was also a really icky feeling to have my therapist be "mad" at me back there. I didn't like it one bit. I think that's almost a reason not to restrict in itself.
A reader recently emailed me and told me how much my blog has helped her. I love hearing that. And for that reason also, I know I need to keep going, because if there's one thing I want to do in this world, it's help people, and I only have a shot at that if i can help myself first.

PHEW. now wanna see some #MomofukuMadness???
now that all of that is taken care of, wanna see some photos of deliciousness?
sure ya do!
went to Momofuku's Milk bar with my daddyo

i was immediately drawn to the crack pie, of course.

they also have all these weird milks...i think they have something called "cereal milk" too...

the goods:

the compost cookie. uh-mazing. very possibly the best cookie i've ever tasted.
and i know my cookies, ladies and gents.

last but definitely not least, the famous Crack pie.
it's a drug no doubt. thought it's definitely cooler than crack, i assure you
thanks for listening to my rambles!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Eating Disorders

today in my (amazing, exhilarating, totally awesome) Popular Culture class, we watched Fantasia. 
For those of you who don't know, Fantasia is a film that was originally produced by Disney and released in 1940. It was all about the merging of cartoon and classical music, a phenomenon that was really well received by film critics but that pissed a lot of music critics off (because they think Disney was "cheapening" the music)
For my class, we had to read an essay about "Reception theory" , which is basically what it sounds like, a study of how audiences receive or understand certain media based upon their personal experiences, outlook, socio-economic status, race, etc.
I had never seen Fantasia before. What's funny is that my favorite part of it was definitely the Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment, which i've embedded below.
In it, (if you don't want to take 8 minutes to watch it, which is totally understandable, even though it is a Friday - thank god!!!) Mickey is the apprentice to a sorcerer. He is shown carrying heavy buckets of water up and down stairs, and feeling tired and strung out from all the heavy-lifting. He then starts playing around a little bit (by putting on the sorcerer's hat) and tries to make a broom come to life. It does. And then Mickey tries to teach the broom to do the heavy lifting for him.
The broom starts going up and down the stairs while Mickey just enjoys himself, sits back and relaxes. then Mickey falls asleep, and the next thing he knows, he is drowning in water because the broom  has totally overdone it and is out of his control. Mickey doesn't know what to do. He freaks out and tries to get it to stop but then the brooms multiply and there are tons of them and they go faster and faster and Mickey is drowning and scared.
Eventually, the Sorcerer comes along and stops all of this madness, and Mickey is left ashamed and, well, in trouble for playing around.
I "received" this as an analogy for eating disorders. It hit me immediately that we are Mickey.
Tired and bored of the hum-drum of everyday life and feelings and all that other stuff, we tried to find a way out of it. We tried  to find a way where we wouldn't have to do all the work. Feel all those bad things. The broom is our eating disorders.
At first, it was nice. We had a nice system going. The brooms were doing all the heavy-lifting. It gave us a nice break, a chance to relax, "take the edge off", kick up our feet (as Mickey does, literally) and just sail smoothly for a while, not feeling any feelings or having to actually engage in life.
Inevitably, though, we somehow let it get out of our control. We couldn't stop restricting. Or purging. Or bingeing. We begged and pleaded with our eating disorder to just stop, stop the awful thoughts and the crazy behaviors, as Mickey fruitlessly pleads with the brooms. It doesn't work.
Eventually, someone intervenes and we are left ashamed and confused as to how we got there. I mean, c'mon-- we were just playing around a little bit! Skipping a couple meals. Seeing if sticking our fingers down our throats would make us feel better. Trying on the proverbial sorcerer's cap. We then spiraled out of control and were drowning in our own, self-made flood of anxiety and fear and food. Finally, (hopefully), someone steps in and makes it all stop. Calms the waves for a little bit. Takes control. We, having (again, hopefully) learned our lesson walk away, not unscathed, but at least we didn't drown.
We are the Sorcerer's Apprentices. 


Monday, February 7, 2011

you don't know how lucky you are.

 i was talking in therapy today (isn't it just darn comical when people start their sentences [or blog posts] like that?) about how i am always jealous of girls who are sicker than I am, or was.
I've always kind of been curious about this phenomenon, as it, being related to eating disorders, has always kind of seemed different, or somehow more complex than just your standard, run-of-the-mill jealousy.
i'm pretty sure this is a  common theme in eating disorders...jealousy/competitiveness/whatever you want to call it. It's kind f the source of a lot of tension the "ED world", so to speak, because most people with an ed do not think they are "sick enough" or as "sick" as the next girl (in the waiting room, the dietitians office, the doctors office, on the street, etc). 
(Source: Samantha Conlon)

some quotations...

18036) My best friend is my trigger.

18126) I secretly wish that all the ED girls who I follow will have a bad day, so that I can feel even better about my good day.

(from Confessions about Eating Disorders (i'm only posting the link b/c i have to for copyright reasons--but don't visit this site if you're easily triggered, please.)
so...what the hell is up with us? 
What's with all the competition and jealousy? 
Anyway, so i was talking in therapist about how
yes, i, too, still get really upset/jealous/whatever when I see girls who are visibly very sick, or when girls who I know relapse. I was talking about how I hate that they get more attention than I do.
D (my therapist) asked how I know they get more attention. I said, in my experience, they just do. 
And i, being bulimic, i have always felt that I do not warrant the same kind of attention as a super-underweight anorexic. (see this post for more on that)
(Source: 1000 nightmares)
I was saying how I "hated" the girls who came into treatment, kicking and screaming and ridiculously underweight, usually between the ages of 14-18, forced by their parents or doctor. I said I hated them because they didn't know how lucky they were. how lucky they were to have people who noticed early. How lucky they were not to have to take responsibility for choosing treatment. How lucky they were to be in the position of stubborn, sick, anorexic girl who needs lots of care, attention and coaxing and support. 
How lucky they were to still be stuck in the oblivion of their eating disorder, making the rest of us miserable with their stupid comments about how "this place just wants to make me fat", and not having to worry or  think about recovery because, in fact, they didn't care.
I talked about how I'd always wanted to get out of my chair or off my couch in the group room and scream at them, lungs full and face red you don't know how lucky you are, you skinny fucking bitch!
But then D said something really smart. (lol, look at that, Rose-a therapist said something insightful!) She reminded me of something I had totally forgotten. she said, I think you want to tell them how lucky they are in general, but you're just minimizing it down to food and body-weight and ed-stuff.
true, true or true?
I pick all three. 
I forgot about this.
I forgot about how eating disorders do this.
How we feel something very strongly but then we make it all about food and weight and ed-related stuff. 
just cause we're programmed like that. or cause it's easier. I don't know.
but when I thought about it, and I mean really thought about it, I realized D was right.
What I really wanted (and want to) say to all those girls (and not only the very sick ones, but also my friends from school and many people in my life) is you don't know how lucky you are. 
Because, at times,  I feel unlucky.
Whether that is depression, anxiety, teenagerness, ed-ness, or circumstance, I don't know. But I assume I'm not alone in this. I think we all envy others when we are feeling down ( I know i have days where i'd rather be the homeless man on Fifth Avenue than be myself), and I think those of us with eating disorders just attribute it to weight/degree of sickness or acuteness/ ed-related attention, etc and so forth. 

I'm not really sure what the remedy for this is. I think for those of us with eating disorders, it can simply be remind ourselves that it's about more than what that girl weighs, or what you weigh. 

(Source: Tumblr Photography)
And it's about more than how she is still "allowed" to starve herself, etc, etc. And for all of us, I think it's about being grateful for what we have. Even if it feels like not a lot sometimes. I know my ability to be thankful for the things in my life changes from moment to moment, but i think no matter what, i can always find something, even if it's just a blanket or a cup of tea, to be happy about. 
What are you grateful for today?
And can you relate to any part of my crazy-jealousy?
 Let me know in the comments :)