But You Can Tell by How They Look…

Author note:  if you have ever had, recovered, or are going through it right now , this post is about eating disorders and may trigger you.  Please have the hotline number available:  1-800-273-8255

It’s very hard for me to write this blog, considering it’s something that I’ve been dealing with for years.  I had to, however, because I needed to bring attention to a problem the mental health field doesn’t really talk about because of misconceptions.

A significant majority have in their minds what someone with an eating disorder “looks like”  You know, the 5’1″ girls who are skin and bones.  Of course, they have a bit more shaky appearance of Bulimia since weight can be lost quickly or slowly, and weight fluxuations are common.

I’ve been struggling with disordered eating for years of my life. I’ve never been less than a size 10.

There are four times in my life when I have lost significant amounts of weight.  2001, 2007, 2009, and currently.

In 2001 I had just about enough with my weight problem.  I started to see myself as worthless, and that’s when everything started happening.  It started small, eating my regular amount of food, then trying to throw up.  I perfected it in less than 2 months, and could see results.  After that was when I started eating very large amounts of food, then purged all that.  After a couple of times doing this, I would make the decision to not eat, and after I started losing weight again, I let myself eat a little.  But then it was back to the bingeing and purging… and other forms of self-harm.  going back to college (I had been taking a break), and having someone take an interest in me made some of that suppressed .  Eventually, however, I went back to eating under what I was supposed to and exercised every day to lose weight to please them.

In 2007, I was working at the bookshop, which my favorite job in the world (unfortunately, money gets in the way).  It started when I literally didn’t have enough money to buy food.  I would buy cans of tuna, mix that with salt, pepper, and oregano (or Italian spices) and just eat it like that, because even bread was a luxury that I couldn’t afford.  Then… I saw what the scale said.  This time I did restriction only.  I would eat even less of that can of tuna… just enough to make sure I was still in control.  By mid 2008, though, I was back to the purging again, and gained all the weight back plus more.

In 2009, I actually lost weight by having smaller portion sizes, eating low-calorie things more frequently, and exercising.  I had really read up on my food issues.  And even though I wasn’t losing weight in between these years didn’t mean I was “recovered” for x amount of months or years.  At one point, I became just a binge eater and my self-confidence plummeted.  So, when I lost the weight in 2009, it was by healthy living and eating, and I felt so much better.  That was when I was in a size 10.

Then in 2011, I realized the scale was going in the other direction thanks to an increase in food and a decrease in exercise (which I half blame my boss for since I had to be at her beck and call even during my lunches).  I lived with two guys and we got things delivered CONSTANTLY, instead of actually doing some grocery shopping.  So when I moved here with my mother, I started loosing again (correctly), until I had an issue with my Lithium levels.  I was put on another med instead, that made me gain almost 70 lbs in 3 months.  I was completely devastated.

After I had gotten off that med, I tried to do the healthy eating and exercise like before.  I couldn’t afford my own food, so I had to eat what was made for dinner, but I still tried to have a proportional meal.  And I was at the heaviest weight I ever was, and unless I wore a back brace I wouldn’t be able to walk 10 minutes, or even 5 sometimes.  I started working part time (as I am on disability), but even though I lost some weight and was wearing my brace, the physical pain left me in agony, which is part of the reason I left.

Currently, since last year, I’m on another binge and purge cycle, with occasional fasting.  I’ve lost a lot of weight.  But I’m tired of feeling the shame of this anymore.  I want help, but at the same time don’t.  I often say that I’m happy at the weight I’m at, but secretly despise myself.

I even put my foods on a plate without them touching and only eating one thing at a time.

So, I’m definitely not what one would think someone with an eating disorder, and now, at size 14, I don’t think anyone would believe me.  If I told a doctor, they would probably diagnose me as EDNOS.

All this disordered eating has led to cavities, tooth decay, and tooth breakage.  In fact, one of my front teeth completely broke off as I was eating tonight.  My mouth is atrocious, and I should have gone to the dentist when my friend told me to back in 2004.  But, such is life, right?

So, I guess I wrote this because there are so many people with disordered eating that would never fit the “skin and bones” eating disorder qualifications (or the opinion people that recognize them by).

This actually hurts those without eating disorders as well.  My sister has always (and is) very thin and about a 5’6″ height.  The only thing that has changed her appearance slightly is that she drinks beer everyday (you know, that little tummy pouch (that is ridiculously small on her as well).  Anyway, all her life, or after she entered middle school, had people constantly pointing out how thin she was or telling people that she is probably anorexic.  They obviously don’t actually ‘know’ my sister.

SO… if any one of you have similar experiences, I would love to talk with you about that (or to just chat, if you want).

Blessings

-H

 

 

About I.V.

37 year old woman with Schizoaffective, Bipolar 1 type. I'm also intelligent, mostly positive, fandom junkie. Oh, and I have two cats: Zim and Gir... they're 12. So... fandom junkie? Ah, yes. Supernatural, Merlin, Buffy tvs, Angel the series, LOTR, Harry Potter, old x-files. I also like anime and and Manga. farvorite anime? Vampire Knight... and it cannot be dubbed! I also like plenty of others, I think of Elfin Leid when I say that... oh, and Blood+. Favorite Manga? Junjou Romantica, Vampire Knight, Loveless, Gravitation. I like the anime for these as well if they have it. Books: Dune, HP, LOTR, The Hunger Games, Wicked, the Southern Vampire Series, Snow Crash, American Gods, Pride and Prejudice, comics. Movies: The Boondock Saints, LOTR, HP series, Girl Interupted, SLC Punk, Walk Hard: the Dewie Cox Story, House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, Foxfire, Empire Records, Star Wars (only episodes 4-6), Iron Man (both of them), Thor (1&2), The Avengers Video Games: Dragon Age 1,2 and Inquisition, Kingdoms of Amalur, Little Big Planet, Star Ocean. I also love watching other people play Mass Effect, Dead Space and all the above mentioned games Oh, and I love Sushi :)
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4 Responses to But You Can Tell by How They Look…

  1. Ah yes the stereotypical anorexic/bulimic. I was both in high school and I went through binge/purge sessions fairly recently. I also really believe my current condition is either dud or exacerbated by the fact I pretty much had exercise bulimia for years. O worked out seven days a week sometimes when the scale stopped moving. Currently I’ll binge still, but at this point my prime goal is figuring out what the hell is making me so tired all the time. I definitely have an ED though, but the weight thing doesn’t bother me anymore. Feminism has really helped with that, because your worth as a person isn’t tied to how big/small you are, and I’m more likely to get angry at people who try to fat/body shame. I’m also on antidepressants, which help immensely. Now I get righteously angry at poor treatment instead of hating myself for not living up to some bullshit ideal. Would I like to be smaller? Maybe for cosplay, but really what I want is to be able to run 5k and 5 miles again. Me having a fat body doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not I can do that. I miss being able to exercise or walk without getting tired. It’s what my body can do that concerns me more than what it looks like at this point.

    Like

  2. Harley Quinn says:

    Yeah… I know you’ve been suffering with all kinds of physical problems for a long while now. I remember when you first told me… I hoped that things would get diagnosed, etc. fairly fast. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. The goals that you want to do will most likely be able to be easy to accomplish once you actually figure out what’s really wrong.

    I honestly don’t care about anyone elses’ weight or body. I like people for who they are, not what they look like, etc. I don’t feel that it matters.

    It’s very different for myself though. I lose weight fairly fast when I do the ED things. And then people compliment me, and that makes me do it more bc those compliments are like an approval for what I’m doing, so I keep doing it. You can imagine how much all the compliments at the 4th of July party did to me. Now, though, I have reached that point where I’m not losing anything anymore and I literally have to stop myself from not eating. I actually cry when I just see the same weight on the scale. I won’t even look at pictures from when I was at my lowest weight because I get so depressed.

    All the binge/purge stuff has completely ruined my teeth. Last week one of my front teeth broke off completely, and I have several broken teeth, some even down to the gums.

    And this post was the first time I EVER told anyone about it. It was pretty hard to write, actually. I just don’t know what to do to stop because I don’t know how they would want to treat me, bc I will refuse to do anything that might make me gain weight again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, I think people deal with it/think about it differently. It took a long time for me to not give a shit about it, and I’m able to not give a shit about it, but other people can’t do that. There’s no rule or obligation for you to “not care,” because it’s not something you can control. It took me getting more into feminism and learning more about how weight works to come to this conclusion, and I know a lot of it is due to the fact that I’m on antianxiety/antidepressant meds, which helps take the edge off.

    I’ve actually stopped diet talk altogether or at least I try to. It’s so hard to do because it’s ingrained in our society, just like people complimenting weight loss. It’s so common because despite best interests, we see smaller body size as “good,” when thta’s not the case. Weight loss can occur for a variety of reasons just like weight gain, and if you remark on loss in a good way, what’s happening to you will continue to happen. You’ll be encouraged to continue a detrimental behavior because you’re receiving a positive result. That makes it hard to break away from it.

    Somehow or another I avoided messing up my teeth with my bulimia. Possibly because I did it in high school and haven’t really done it as an adult. I did have exercise bulimia though, which I really do believe helped put me in this situation.

    If they treated you, they’d probably have you talk to an ED therapist, because it seems like you have a huge fear about gaining weight that’s not based on fact, but rather on perception. You perceive it’s bad because you’re receiving compliments on losing weight even though losing weight is truly bad because of the way you’ve done it. We really have much less control over what size our bodies are than most people think, and in actuality constant dieting can throw us off far more than anything else. You actually end up being larger due to it. I don’t have answers for you. I probably have some links with facts and information that I read that helped me realize exactly how fucked out our perceptions of body size are, and I’d still consider that I have an ED, more of a binge one…when I can eat, because one of the medicines I take pretty much leaves me without appetite all day, and I’m more than likely now anemic for other reasons. I’ll probably text you tomorrow and tell you all about my latest doctor adventures.

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  4. Harley Quinn says:

    Yes, I can agree with what you’re saying, but it’s so much harder to stop than saying I need to stop. Ugh.

    Yes, text me tomorrow (after 11am lol).

    Like

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