A few days ago, I came across a blog post in which the blogger made a comment about how each roll of skin on her tummy represented a happy moment with her family in which she enjoyed that chocolate cake at her child's birthday party or had skipped the Jillian Michael's exercise DVD that morning so she could sit on the floor and colour with her daughter. For the first time in my life, the realization of my sick mindset entrenched in the lost, wasted, hungry hours I chose in order to be the thinnest mom on the block finally beat me over the head with a barbell.
To be happy not only with the squishy parts of my body but also to simply have so much self-worth that happiness is not directly correlated to my efforts to control my weight is such a foreign concept, and yet, I can't help but feel envy for those who, like Pink, do not rely on their daily caloric intake for their sense of identity.
The absence of visible symptoms is not the most accurate measure of someone's recovery from this disease. Weight is a physical thing, but anorexia also resides firmly in the psyche. Anorexia is like having the person who hates you the most, the most irrational tyrant you can imagine, living in your head rent-free, trying to burn down your physical foundation from the inside out. It's an interminable abusive relationship that's nearly impossible to leave because it transpires in your own mind. Those voices can cause problems before the weight loss starts to show.
I've spent these past several months adjusting to the diagnoses of my mental illnesses, redefining who I am as compared to who I thought I was. Sadly though, dependent on how news of my illnesses is viewed by others and based on the fact that my healing is partly based on perseverance and strength, never has the company I've kept been subject to more scrutiny.
Although my mental illness was recently diagnosed, I've known since I was a teenager that I had an eating disorder. In the case of the eating disorder known as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), lack of physically obvious symptoms makes it not only easier for this disorder to persist for years, but it also makes health care providers less willing and/or able to diagnose it.
Thinking of people with eating disorders as crazy or self-destructive is just wrong, says Dr. Steiger. In fact, there are still too many myths attached to eating disorders -- like the following. It's a rich girl's disease: In fact, eating disorders cut across all economic groups. Goals and values of being upwardly mobile, of being achievement oriented affect all social groups.
Are we doing enough about an illness that is silently eating away at both a mother and daughter? Twenty years ago, People Magazine headlined one of their covers with, "Princess Di: Struggle with Bulimia Brings a Puzzling Disease Out of the Shadows." Eating disorders still remain a private battle for millions of young women, and the faces of those affected are changing. We'd be downright wrong to frame it as a "rich, white girl's disease." How do you capture the cost of subjecting millions of women to calorie counting or religious scale stepping?
It is with great apprehension that I write this post and confession. Two weeks ago, I reentered a treatment program at the hospital, because I have relapsed into bulimia, and can't fight this alone. The treatment program will last at least seven months, involving multiple weekly visits to the eating disorder clinic at the hospital, where I will participate in supervised meals, various groups and one-on-one therapy. This is my third time going into treatment. The hypocrisy of preaching healthy eating while doing ED treatment fills me with guilt.
Recently I was asked if I ever worried that I was putting my children at risk for developing eating disorders by being so open and honest about my own. The truth is that they always knew their mom was a bit "different," they just didn't know why. I may have convinced myself that they were oblivious to my disorder, but how could that be true when we'd be walking out the door to go for dinner and one of them would ask, "Are you eating today, Mommy, or just watching?" or they'd shout, "Look, Mommy's a dinosaur!" because the bones of my spine would poke out so sharply from under my skin.
I had been toying with the idea of visiting a Naturopathic doctor for a couple of years when the opportunity came up for me to take the plunge. I have been OK with how standard healthcare has treated me thus far. But I have decided that I want answers. Not just band-aid solutions, or easy fixes. Enter Dr. Erin Wiley, ND.
The lives of thin women revolve around denial, restrictions, guilt, and depression over failing... I know because I'd been hiding my own fat monster and had to appease it with Prozac and talk therapy. Still, I suppose, I'd rather be sad than fat. And so would Kate Middleton, probably. And so would you.