Well as predicted I feel like crap! Started the reduction of my medication today and I am sure I am not the only person who knows that joy.
I know that most my posts deal with issues such as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. But so as not to play favorites to only select illnesses I am going to throw another one into the mix; anorexia/bulimia. I spent many of my younger years from about 18-25 bulimic. I recovered but when the monster reappeared it came as anorexia.
To give a very basic explanation of the difference bulimia involves binging and purging which is when you eat everything that you can get your hands on then forcing yourself to vomit. Anorexia is a starvation process. Back then it was very different than the way these illnesses are dealt with now. There was no information, doctors knew little so treatment or even diagnosing was scarce. I learned on a tv show where they were interviewing a girl with bulimia that I could eat all I wanted and still lose weight. I thought I had found gold.
It is hard to imagine but food can become your enemy. With either disorder your world revolves around food. When you can or cannot eat. What you can or cannot eat. Someone inviting you out to eat can cause so much anxiety! You know your friends are going to pressure you to eat more or you are trying to devise a plan as to how you are going to get rid of the food after you have eaten. Anything that involves food is trauma.
It is so much more than just being about how you look. It goes much deeper than that. There are many emotional issues but one common denominator is that self worth is virtually non existent. Self-loathing yes! No matter what the image is in front of the mirror…it will never be good enough. I know with bulimia I would be consumed by guilt after gorging. Like this horrible monster had a hold of me and the only way release would happen was for me to induce vomiting and rid myself of that poison.
I cannot write just a blog about all the turmoil you endure with an eating disorder. I could however write a book. These illnesses are very complex and not easy to treat. Like the process of being a recovering alcoholic…recovery from an eating disorder is letting go of something that has had complete control over your life. Taking back control can be a very difficult path to follow. In saying all this…it is NOT impossible. Recovery IS possible. When you have spent however long despising what you look like, despising who you are and now you have to learn that what you see outside and who you are inside is beautiful.
One of the most wonderful changes that are happening now in society; is the acceptance of women no matter what size they are. Women loving their look whether big or small. The realization that appearance does not hold any importance over who you are as a person!
One thing I did learn is that if you do not take care of yourself physically and emotionally, it can come crashing through the door again. I was around 33 when I got slammed. It is hard for even me to believe that I could relapse after all those years. But I was manic. Food held no appeal. Then I got to where I was almost 40 and was still a size 0. Didn’t need food anyways so to me it worked out perfectly. I just had to stay a size 0.
It was during the recovering process of my bipolar disorder that it became obvious there was a connection. The plus side of this was as I improved, I improved all over. I cannot stress enough how much better life is without being a victim to an eating disorder! I may not be where I want to be but I am happy through the process and everything now revolves around being healthy. There is life after an eating disorder!
Self-love and self-care are not selfish…they are essential!