30 April 2008

the weight of the universe

there are a series of ghanaian symbols - the adinkra symbols - that were the written language in the modern day region of ghana before the latin alphabet took over. one of these in particular, asase ye duru, meaning "the earth has weight" is particularly meaningful to me. it represents the importance of life sustenance, but also the possibility of something beyond the self. the earth itself has weight. it is not only something that we stand upon, but something that pushes back against us.

when i'm sitting here wondering if i can eat clean today and not binge, asking myself over and over again why this addiction is mine and what i have done to deserve this, and why i use food as a drug and why i can't just be "normal" like everyone else, i start to think about the weight of the earth. and the fact that i am not the only one that the earth pushes back against, rather there are billions of other people who counter the weight of the earth. there are billions of others who are struggling to plant their feet firmly on the ground and to feel the weight of the earth.

i have to ask the universe, the spirits around me, some power greater than myself, to counter the weight that i represent. and i'm not talking about the number that the scale reads when i step on it but the weight of my presense. sometimes i am scared of the presense i have, or don't have. i see myself as too intense to handle, my emotions too powerful to share. like the earth is not big enough to contain me and there is not enough in this world to fill me. but then i realize that my emotions are only that, and they can be sent out into the world and that the earth's weight can handle it. she's bigger than all of us put together and pushes back against us every day, as if to quietly remind us of our mortality. while the weight of the world is eternal, we are simply here for a short time. we do what we can and take the steps that we can, however our weight - our presense - is the ultimate impermanence.

25 March 2008

turning over a new leaf...

...or possibly it's just the other side of the same leaf. who knows?

anyway, i went to a meeting (formulated after alcoholics anonymous) for ED people on sunday. it was riddled with religious intonations, but other than that, was an interesting experience. it was the first time i've ever been in a situation where people just talk openly - and so matter-of-factly - about their ED experience. i spoke just for a minute, and said that i'm not sure if that's the right place for me, i don't know if i'm ready to give up the binge/purge/starve/binge cycle because it's my drug. it's how i cope with anxiety, depression, the shit that my life throws at me.

but things had been really bad the week before i went. spring break was pretty hard. both my roommates were gone, which means i had the apt to myself. and so, like usual, i became something of a hermit. binged and purged and starved myself. on wed the OAOA came over - we drank rum and had great sex - but i had binged so hardcore the previous day that i was more concerned with how i looked naked than anything else. the next day, a friend of mine from d.c. called saying he was in town and did i want to meet up to go clubbing? of course! until i got home and ate so much i thought my stomach would actually rupture. so i canceled on him. these are the reasons that i do want to be done with this. i eat and eat and can't even be involved in my own social life. i cancel on friends and am too preoccupied with body image/what i've eaten to be present with anybody.

on friday i didn't eat until nighttime when i started to binge. i felt it coming on. and then something clicked, or snapped. and i started just looking for something else. doing online research for support groups, i read an excerpt from one of geneen roth's books, i was ready to reach out to get help. which is something i've never done before (other than therapy, which is honestly rather disenchanting...) i felt like i was ready to be done with things.

i didn't binge saturday or sunday. yesterday was monday and i ate more or less normally (or whatever normal is for me!) and then this morning i had a mini-binge, but i don't think all is lost. i've been cranky and frustrated and angry at myself over these past days, because without food to mask things, all i have is myself and my emotions. it's really f-ing hard. which is why i don't want to give this up.

so it's a constant battle between wanting it and not wanting it, between having the energy to fight it and just giving up. i don't think i'm ready to just give up yet. but i really can't think about the long term. if i think that, right now, sitting here on my bed, i am ok. right now i don't need to eat something. (even though i feel like i could totally raid the entire fridge and eat every last drop of food in the house!) i can just sit here for this minute and finish this entry, move on to the rest of my school work, maybe work on my thesis a bit, and i don't need to have food to do that.

if i think that way, maybe i can get through today. and then maybe tomorrow. but i'll cross that bridge when i come to it.

the irony of this all is that in trying to get over my food issues and in trying to eat normally, i think i think more about food than i ever have. it has occupied my mind even more intensely over these past few days than it did before. because before, i would eat to numb myself. before i was stuck in the vicious cycle of eat/numb/freak out/purge/binge/get anxious/eat/numb... etc etc etc.

and now for these past few days, i'm trying to not do that. and in addition, i'm trying not to hate myself for every little thing i do eat, and also not to hold myself up to impossible standards of perfection. like this morning and my mini-binge: it's not the end of the world. i don't have to give in to the 'fuck it' mentality that i've already screwed up, might as well go buy out a grocery store, and start again tomorrow. i start again right now. and in this moment, i am ok. in this moment, i can just be here and i don't need food for that.

16 March 2008

sitting in the corner of my room...

it's been way too long since i've been here.

so much has happened yet i don't really feel the need to update anything because i'm back where i always am. the proverbial vicious cycle that is my life is back in full swing, and i'm sitting here, resentful. the other day in my german lit class we were talking about nietzsche and thomas mann and kafka and the question was posed whether man has free will or is predestined: ein Schicksal oder das frei Wille?

sometimes i believe in one more than the other, but in the end, i'm not sure it really matters. the choices we make, whether it is us that makes them or some higher power that ordains this upon us, i do believe that everything happens for a reason - no matter how fucked up that reason may be.

it is five minutes before midnight and i am realizing that i will wake up tomorrow with the repercussions of what i did today. and by did, i mean ate. i feel sick. same old story. i took a bunch of laxitives and maybe it makes me feel better to purge to a certain extent, but i am so sick of this life. so sick of living the same day and the same experiences over and over again. i told myself i was going to "detox" this week - i'm on spring break, and what a perfect opportunity for some introspection? well it's not starting out too well. mostly because by detox, i secretly meant to starve myself while drinking a lot of peppermint and ginger tea in order to lose the weight i've put on over the past few days from bingeing.

the other day i was at lunch with some girlfriends and heard a friend of mine talk about a friend of hers who has food issues - and from what this girl was saying, pretty much like what i have. and the way she spoke about it, almost with respect for the path that this girl must travel and what she must go through every day, made me want so badly to be able to talk to her about my own issues. and maybe i will. i was so close to being ready to tell this guy about my shit - we were on the brink of dating, you could say - and then he decided his own emotional issues that were coming up from a previous relationship he had been in, were just too much and he can't do the whole relationship thing again right now. except the way he did this was basically to ignore me, and upon my own insistance and grovelling, practically, we got together and had an actual conversation about it. and i haven't heard from him since, whence i deduct his decision to not want a relationship. regardless. i was so close to telling him, or to wanting to tell him. to wanting someone to know so that i don't have to do this all alone. it's so hard to go through life as if in a bubble, and that's what i've been doing my entire life.

so spring break. starting off with a bang. and by a bang, i mean one of the worst binges i've had in a really really long time. and now i'm realizing i won't wake up tomorrow without the consequences of this. and it might take a few days for me to not have the consequences of this - physically. but then again, the physical consequences are almost secondary to what goes through my head. i just wish i could overcome. wish i could like one normal day so i would know what it's like. good god i wish i knew what that was like...

29 October 2007

sweating and healing

in the spirit of changing and starting over and trying to shed myself of the things in my life that no longer serve me, i spent the weekend (with my cell phone turned off!!) in the country, taking part in a sweat lodge.

with about 20 other people, we sat in a pitch black wood-framed blanket covered 5ft tall lodge and we sweat. basically we built the biggest hottest fire i've ever built and in the fire were 32 rocks, dedicated to different spirits and to our intentions for the lodge. i dedicated mine to the power of dance - to be able to move fluidly through life with conviction and intention, yet with joy. to be able to dance on my demons is something i strive towards every day.

after the rocks in the fire are red hot (seriously. hot enough that most of them split into pieces!) we undressed as far as we were comfortable, got into the lodge, and the rocks were brought in. the water pourer douses them with water to fill the lodge with hot steam, and for four rounds (8 rocks at a time) we sat and chanted and prayed and healed and emoted and sweat and sweat and sweat.

this was one of the most powerful things i have ever experienced. the first round was dedicated to our inner child. to reconnect with him or her and to ask that small child what s/he needed or wanted or desired. as many times as i have tried to connect with that part of me, i have never been in a community and heard other people talk about their inner child. it is so amazing to observe and hear that other people struggle with the same things that i do. that i am not the only being in this universe to feel abandoned, alone, hopeless, depressed, silenced, undeserving and under-appreciated.

all of the negative in me i was able to externalize.

the second round was dedicated to the period of our lives from 7 to 15. it was really hard to figure out how to succinctly word my desires for this part of my being. to send away the pain and suffering and struggles i went through, and to be able to ask for something else was amazing. i can't remember exactly what i said, but i know that it felt right. and honest. none of this "please relieve me of.." or "take away the pain of..." but to banish or send away the things that no longer serve us in this life was an amazing opportunity.

in the third round, we all spoke simultaneously about our adult lives. just to continue to send away the extraneous and ask for strength in the necessary. and the fourth round was dedicated to our "elder" self. speaking from a future point of view as if we were looking back on our child, adolescent and adult lives. joining those three parts of our being into one positive powerful being.

one thing i said was that i was thankful for the pain and struggling and suffering i have in my life because it has given me the opportunity to know myself better. the opportunity to go deeper into myself and to discover who i am and who i want to be. and i truly am grateful for that.

after the experience of the lodge, there was a lightness in my heart. in my entire being. my mind seemed clearer and less cluttered. i had a light smile on my face and laughter came easily. today i am back in new york. things are back to normal and after a binge this morning i know that i am not suddenly "cured". but i did not berate myself for binging. as i go deeper within myself, this desire to numb and to medicate will probably only be stronger because the emotions are more intense and the possibility of hurt more real. but i think i know myself better now, after this experience. and i know now what that feeling is - to not worry about anything, really. to have hope and a sense of community and connectedness to the pain and joy of others.

i feel like i am part of that chain and can access it again if i try. i can step back and reenter into that lodge, even if i am in new york. one day maybe i'll live in a permanent sense of lightness and with a lack of clutter in my mind, but for now i still strive. and i know i'm not the only one.

15 October 2007

just another day...

so i guess relapses happen.

and i probably shouldn't beat myself up over it.

but it's hard when you spend years fighting something. you think you've made progress or are making progress or are at least taking two steps forward for every one step back, and then suddenly you find yourself ass down in a pile of mud and you're the one you got yourself there.

that's how i've felt these past two weekends. first weekend, i had friends visiting and we had a crazy-party-weekend, and then my little sister and her friend were here this past weekend and we had a fun-girly-touristy-weekend. both brilliantly fun, both followed by the biggest binges ever.

and now all i want to do is smack myself. why can't i do this?

but i had something of a revelation. the whole weekend, i spent with these two young girls who were practically idolizing me. telling me how cool and fun and amazing i am and how awesome my life here is. and i was tempted to believe it. i got home on sunday and was looking in the mirror, trying to find faults. trying my best to find something wrong with me - which isn't hard for me to do. i compared a picture of me from the beginning of the summer (incredibly tan and maybe a few pounds thinner) to how i look now, and how shitty i think i look now. i even showed the pic to my roommate and asked her to tell me that i look pasty and gross without my tan. i was looking for rejection. and i didn't get it.

so i turned to food, because i knew that it would fill that hole in me. i would eat and eat and eat, and then be able to reject myself. it's easy.

i do enough bad things (that i KNOW are bad and that i KNOW will make me hate myself) and i end up getting the rejection i'm looking for. if i hate myself enough, i can avoid having anyone else reject me, because i'll do it preemptively.

pretty fucked up way of looking at things.

oh well. tomorrow i go to therapy again and we'll talk it all out...

09 October 2007

the highs and the lows

it's funny how you can feel so amazing. just sitting there, telling myself exactly that. coming home on subway at 5:30 am with some of my best friends, having had an incredible weekend (albeit a bit crazy and completely exhausting) and then it only takes one little tiny thing to bring me down.

on sunday afternoon, i met up with a friend and her sister who just moved to the city. and her sister has got to be a size -4. the girl is tiny. i had been feeling fabulous, and just two or three hours with these girls, comparing myself to this stick, and i go home and i binge. and i eat and eat and eat and eat. and it didn't stop. i went to bed on sunday and got up on monday and continued. i don't even know how much i at over that 24 hour period (not even, more like 16 or 18 hours) but now i feel like shit.

i woke up this morning just wanting to crawl into bed (i still do!) and not have to face the world. it's amazing how much just one little thing like that can screw up an entire day or week.

i finally start therapy today; how à propos. although honestly, i'm feeling so completely resistant at this point, i wish i could put it off another day or 7. i'm really angry at myself. like really really really angry. why did i have to go and fuck up like that??!?!? that's my big question. and it always is: why do i always have to fuck things up?

ok, so i'm being a bit melodramatic right now, but this is how i feel. and now i'm supposed to try and get work done??? right. good luck me.

(hopefully i come back and read this post in an hour and laugh at how shitty i'm feeling now because i won't feel that way anymore!)

02 October 2007

trusting ourselves

i'm 22 years old and have been struggling with disordered eating and distorted body image and such for about 10 years now. i fluctuate between extreme binge eating and starving myself (as a way to make up for all that i've eaten, or simply just because..) and struggle every day to have a day of "normal" eating. i am able to do it here and there, but i find the trusting myself part to be the hardest. today, for example, i was hungry at around 1:30. so i walked around the neighborhood I was in (i live in manhattan, so there's no lack of options for food!) trying to decide what i wanted to eat. Running through a list of all the possible foods I could ever want, there was nothing that really sounded good. i feel like i've been so entrenched in this for such a long time, i don't even know what i want anymore. i don't know how to trust myself or what that would even be like. i ended up eating some grilled vegetables, more because i know that i like them and know that you can't really go wrong with that than because it's what i really wanted.

every day i wake up thinking about what i should/could eat and what i might want to eat - but like i said, figuring out what i want is the biggest problem. i've squashed that voice in me for so long now, i don't even know what it sounds like anymore.

eating has become such a chore, a frustration. something else to figure out. whereas most people i know actually enjoy eating - picking something that sounds good, the taste of food is good to them. i barely taste food, and trying to pick something is usually hell. i've actually walked around a foodcourt before with over 40 restaurants, found absolutely nothing, and walked out.

i wonder if this voice - that silenced part of me that doesn't know how to speak up - manifests itself in other parts of my life. okay well i don't wonder too much, i know that it does. with guys, with my family, friends..school..everything. i become a people pleaser, a non-confrontational lover who doesn't know how to stick up for her own wants and desires, a friend who will go much further for people than is convenient or practical. and i don't complain.

a big step for me happened the other day, actually. i was able to talk to my current lover about some really big things in our relationship that were bothering me. but it all sort of happened by accident. he fucked up big time, and then came asking my forgiveness, allowing me to be upset. had he not come to me with the knowledge that he had screwed up, i wonder if i would have been able to voice my opinions, my problems with our relationship. had he not effectively created that space for me, would i have been able to do it myself? i guess i won't really know. but either way, i spoke up. i could have just glossed over it and said 'whatever, it's fine' but i told him how i felt. i guess we have to take baby steps in everything we do.

progress won't come in leaps and bounds, so i take every day as unique, as another chance.

27 September 2007

the range of bad days

keeping my head above water is i guess all i'm really trying to do now. to avoid completely falling apart. to have one day of normal eating.

today was ok, although affected by a huge binge yesterday night so i wasn't hungry most of the day. though i ate dinner - late at night too, which is a huge thing for me! - and i don't (as of right now) feel any binge tendencies.

my intake therapist called and i'll probably have a therapist by next week. thank god too. because i need some grounding.

i'm on some sort of stream of consciousness thing right now and i don't even really know what i'm thinking. my brain is pretty much mush right now. end of the week - tons of work, tons of stress.

so this guy that i like to call my oaoa (on again off again) totally stood me up tonight. we were supposed to get together for drinks (i called him yesterday after telling myself i wouldn't be the one to call him, i'd see if he ever called me..) and he told me to give him a ring when i was done for the day. so i did. three or four times. he didn't pick up, didn't call back. i think i need to delete him from my phone. he has always been more important to me and in my life than i have been to him. the relationship has never been equal. i knew this from the get go, but told myself i wouldn't get attached. until i did. and i've known for a while now that i should just end things. but i haven't. so now i think i really just need to take the number out of my phone. i can't keep having someone around that continuously makes me feel like shit.

enough about relationships. enough about guys. it's gotta start being about me now. i have to stop dealing with issues with other people, guys, friends, school, and just deal with me. if only i could just delete everything else for a hot minute and deal with me. fix my problems, fix me.

25 September 2007

terrified to succeed

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

-Marianne Williamson

i feel like this quote pretty much sums up my life. well, at least that third sentence. "who am i to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" i am so terrified to being in the open, of being noticed, of being successful beyond measure that, more often than not, i sabotage my own success. i binge until i can't move, numbing out the possibility of any rational thought. i am so obsessed with body image and how i look and what i have eaten - it must be occupying at least 95% of my conscious thought!

instead of enabling my own success and trusting that i was "born to manifest the glory of God" or whatever higher power or spirit or soul that is within me, i enable only the part of me that wants to bring me down. the part that is terrified to succeed. because ultimately, success means you have something to lose. with every step higher you climb, that's just one more step further you could possibly fall.

i am at a point in my life where i have climbed really high. i'm finishing up school, writing my thesis, getting ready to graduate and to try to find a real job (make some money instead of just spending it all!) but not only that, i weigh less now than i have since i was probably about 14 years old. maybe even younger. over the past year i've lost about 50lbs and i like what i weigh. i'm happy(er) when i look in the mirror. i am glad to be able to go shopping and fit into clothes properly.

i am terrified of fucking it all up.

now that i weigh what is arguable an "ideal" weight for me, i feel like my disordered eating is rearing it's ugly head more than ever. i binge uncontrollably and freak out about ruining everything. i'm constantly paranoid that one extra bite of whatever it is i'm eating will make me instantly go back to weighing what i used to. ok, well i'm not that dumb, but i'm terrified that this is completely impermanent and that sooner or later i will step on the scale, realize that i lost track of things, and weigh again 50lbs more.

this is not necessarily a ridiculous line of thinking. yes, if i continue to binge and continue to eat way more than i should, i will gain weight. but that does not mean that i have to starve myself to make up for extra calories. nor does it mean that my entire life has to be devoted to thinking about what i ate, what i will eat, what i want to eat, what i can't eat, what i should eat, what i would eat ad nauseum infinae.

school deserves more thought than that. my social life deserves more thought than that, for god's sake a rock lying on the side of the road deserves more than that. i am torturing myself with this and i've had enough.

i wish i could say i'm getting better, but i just don't see it. i don't know exactly how i lost all the weight that i did, but the consequences are so bipolar it's unbelievable. who am i not to live up to all the potential i have?? who am i not to be brilliant and gorgeous and talented and fabulous??? these things do not preclude failures in my life and yes, failure hurts. but if i don't set myself up for failure and sabotage everything i do, at least then i have the chance to succeed. at least then, there's the possibility (no matter how slim) that i won't fail.

24 September 2007

the availability of desire

if i were to live in the middle of the jungle, i know for sure i would never crave starbucks coffee, or tasty delite, or dunkin donuts, or chocomochalattéfrapawhatever. and when i lived in dakar, none of that really was missing in my life. when i lived in marseille, it wasn't either.

somehow, as soon as i move back to the good ol' states, all these desires come back. just walking around manhattan today, i passed starbucks (three times), spacemarket, oren's, think coffee, and a slew of other places where one could buy coffee. i didn't want coffee. but somehow i ended up with a 16oz hazelnut coffee with milk and i don't know why. constantly surrounded and bombarded by all the possibilities of things to consume: food, clothes, shoes, food, food, food... what's a girl to do?

so i tell myself i don't want it, and don't need it and that it won't fix or change or help anything. and it becomes a forbidden fruit. walking around in the midst of everything i can't have. tell myself i don't want. and suddently i find myself bingeing beyond belief at my apartment when i'm supposed to be doing work. (that never-diminishing pile of work..)

what has my life become???

19 September 2007

wading through water

sometimes i feel like things will never get easier. like i will be stuck like this somehow for the rest of my life. today has been really difficult for me. between counting calories at breakfast and then going to the gym (which i had previously planned to do) and having it turn into a calorie-negating project rather than just a workout. breakfast wasn't a binge, per se, but i could feel it coming on. and i was able to view it objectively and stop myself, which is something i am rarely able to do, but i just feel like i'm in a really precarious place right now.

went out to lunch with friends and ordered something that didn't fill me up, so now i'm still hungry after having spend like 11 dollars on lunch, and i don't know what to do. like i said, i feel like i'm in a really precarious place.

i guess all this is just to check in and get my thoughts down on paper (or on the screen..) as a way of self-therapizing. i'll write more later, but i have work to do right now. and possibly have to find something to eat...

18 September 2007

tuesdays suck.

not all tuesdays. pretty much just tuesdays when i'm depressed and cold because the weather is changing and i feel like i can't get out of my head.

in the end it's nothing specific to a tuesday, just today. yesterday felt like a vacation from myself and today feels like a return to reality. i'm trapped in this prison between my skull and it is slowly sucking away at my life force. i'm unproductive, tired, lethargic, depressed, moody etc etc etc. doesn't help that i only got 6 hours of sleep and woke up at 2am and 4am, i'm on my period, and have more work than you could shake a stick at. (and that's a lot.)

i love what i'm studying, it's just so completely overwhelming me, and with all this other bullshit ruminating around, it feels like i'm on a never-ending upward slope.

on the plus side, two of my best girlfriends are coming to visit from d.c. and detroit in the beginning of october (only 16 more days!) and a couple other friends might be coming that weekend too. we were all in senegal together so it would basically be the hugest reunion ever - full of ceebu jën, ataya, café touba and all things sénégalais!

i went and had a smoke break with becky between paper writing and class today. she is seriously my sanity. it might be because she's a social worker and can totally see through my bullshit (which is good and bad - bad when she calls me on shit that i would rather her not call me on. like when she tells me that my recent weight loss made her have a nervous breakdown when she saw me for the first time in a while and tells me she knows how much i struggle with disordered eating and is worried that things aren't ok. that made me, in turn, spiral into an enormous binge. but that's not about her, after all...) anyway, smoking and chatting and her telling me that it's not worth it to break my back for all this school bullshit. what's the point? she asked me. i guess there isn't really one. it's all just pressure i put on myself. bizarre standards i set for myself that are a little bit insane, but i feel like i can't back down and can't back out and should be able to handle all this.

i think i can handle it. it might make me a bit insane, but then again, it's only a few months. i guess the question is the opportunity cost of it all. i can handle it, but should i be doing this to myself? what other options do i have?? i tell myself that next semester i'm totally not taking a full course load, but i wonder if i'll be able to stick to that promise to myself.

for now, i'm just going to look at things like an alcoholic. one day at a time. and when that's too much, one hour. i don't have to shoulder this all alone, and soon enough, i'll be back in therapy!! (never thought i would be so happy to say those words...)

17 September 2007

taking it off my shoulders

in waking up this morning i felt somehow lighter than i have in a while. not physically, but emotionally. i walked into the bathroom to shower and thought to myself, i'm just not going to deal with it today. the big "it". that's to say: all the bullshit associated with my eating disorder and feeling like shit about myself and hating myself for everything that passes my lips.

so i didn't.

somehow, i ate breakfast, packed a lunch and ate that (when i was hungry), bought a little snack in between lunch and dinner, and even went out to dinner and ate past 8pm, which has been a cut off point for me for a long time. (no food past 8 o'clock = losing weight. right.)

i didn't count calories, or berate myself for having tea with whole milk in it or for being hungry after lunch or anything. it wasn't a perfect day, i'll admit. thoughts crossed my mind that weren't of the most positive spin, but this was probably the best day i've had in a while.

no binge, and honestly, no urge to binge. i'm not sure what was different, but i think it was all in the way i started my day. saying to myself that i just wasn't going to deal with it. i handed my problems over to someone else. i'm not a religious person. i don't really believe in God with a Capital G, or even in a (singular) higher power, but i do believe in energy and a universe with the amazing ability to shoulder and channel energy. so maybe i just channeled my energy in a way that someone else could should it. who knows.

don't get me wrong. i still came home and looked at my stomach and thought fleetingly that it's too fat. i still wonder how much i should be eating in order to maintain my weight the way it is because i'm friggin paranoid of gaining weight. i will still binge in the future. i will slip and "mess up" and take one step back for every two steps forward. but i will still take those steps forward even after falling back, or falling down, or being trampled on. (oh, the metaphors!)

something i've realized lately is that this isn't something that's been in my life for 10 years and then will just disappear. i will deal with disordered eating and distorted body image probably for the rest of my life. i guess i'm just trying to get to the point where it's liveable and doesn't handicap me so much i can't function. right now i live in fear of food. i'm constantly terrified of eating, of needing to eat, of having to plan what i will eat. and i'm just working to get to the point where eating isn't such an unpleasant act. maybe even a fun one. who knows, crazier things have been known to happen, right?

16 September 2007

a long sunday of procrastination

you know when you have something on your mind and nothing else seems at all possible? i mean, you feel like you can't do anything except obsess and obsess and obsess. well, i've been obsessing. and usually all you need to get it off your mind is a good distraction. like a list of 17 books to find in the library, or an entire thesis to start researching. none of that seemed to work today.

not only am i still thinking about fred's visit - and my having to tell him that, while he is pretty much in love with me, i will never feel the same way about him - but also about the huge binge i went on yesterday and the day before, and the day before... i can't even begin to explain what a mind job this whole thing has been on me. fred, because i can't handle having someone love me. or even like me. the way i see myself and the disgust, even, i have for my own body makes it impossible for me to believe that someone else could find me attractive. as soon as a guy tells me he likes me/is attracted to me, i start thinking - even if only subconciously - 'what's wrong with this guy that he's actually attracted to me?!!??!' yeah, i know. deranged. and then there's the binge thing. they talk about the 7 steps of mourning. denial, a few other things, and then anger fits in there somewhere. i'm at the anger stage.

every time i binge, there's this immediate thought of incredulity that directly follows, and then there's just anger. how could i let this happen? AGAIN?? do i have no self control whatsoever? is there nothing i can do to stop myself from eating everything in sight; to the point where my stomach is hard and bulging and just hurts. hurts so bad i can barely move.

but enough of my self-berating misery. after ten years of dealing with disordered eating, i know all of the red flags and all of the mistakes, the signals and the things i should and shouldn't do. i can recognize the negative thinking, the feelings that'll bring on a binge and what i should or could, in theory, do to avoid it. but somehow that hasn't helped.

so i'm angry. why me? what is it about my life and the way i've grown up and who i've become that has made me this way? why can't i get over this, or at least get it in check. all i know is that i'm looking forward to starting therapy more than i've looked forward to something in a really long time.

i guess my goal for the week is to avoid falling back into the hole. because at least today, i managed to crawl my way out. ok so honestly, i don't know if i've crawled out all the way yet or if i'm digging myself back into this proverbial hole. but all metaphors aside, i can't afford to let my life be taken over by bingeing. this week is mine, not my eating disorder's. this week i need to get work done, go to school, do yoga, maybe even go for a run or a swim or something. i don't need to binge, i don't need to feel like shit about myself, i don't need to sabotage my life.

more joy, less shame.

15 September 2007

the addictiveness of sugar

one hour since my last post. i guess i like to start things off with a bang. i'm supposed to go to a friend's birthday party that starts in about an hour, but my head is completely preoccupied with everything i've eaten today.

you know when you get that completely numb feeling and can't really concentrate on anything else. it's like a post-meal drunkenness that just takes over everything. except this one has lasted for the past seven or eight hours. and how am i supposed to go partying when i have a stomach full of binge food.

about a week ago i started on an effort to give up sugar. there's this great website, first ourselves, that talks about eating disorders and body image distortion that i've been reading recently. the woman who runs the site talks about her addiction to sugar and the way that sugar affects her body. i've always believed that disordered eating is just as much an addiction as an alcohol addiction or a nasty coke habit, and the similarities i see in myself and in what she says on this website really lead me to believe that sugar might be my crack. the need to eat more and more once i start. fantasizing about cakes and cookies and ice cream and icing. not being able to stop once i start, and the almost hung over feeling i get after a good long binge. yeah, i'm pretty sure sugar is my crack.

giving up sugar is not easy. ever since i've become more aware of sugar and the amount of sugar normally in my diet, it seems like it's everywhere. people are obsessed with it. our culture would probably cease to function as we know it without those wonderful little crystals. every bodega and café and train station and restaurant pushes sugar and sugar-laden sweets at you to the point where it's practically impossible to avoid. and it's been really hard.

sometimes i wonder if this is just another way that i've been trying to control my eating. the sort of situation where i make deals with myself. example: "ok, peggy. you can eat xyz today but you're not eating for the rest of the day." or: "fine. you binged all day today, you're not eating tomorrow or the next day." when i put it on paper (or on the screen as it may be) the entire situation sounds absolutely ridiculous. to tell myself i can't eat just because i ate too much one day? it's pure absurdity.

but hey, life wouldn't be interesting if we didn't each have a mountain to climb. i'm just waiting for the view at the top!