Is food an issue now?

In therapy yesterday, J was insistent that I start eating more. This was surprising to me, because I can’t recall her ever telling me what to do in the past. Usually she makes suggestions, or phrases her requests by saying something like, ‘I would really like it if you thought about’ doing this or that. Yesterday she basically told me I have to start eating again.

It was a strange experience because part of me resented her telling me what I should do and felt pushed. That part tends to respond by doing completely the opposite of what I’m being pushed towards. At the same time, another part liked her concern and felt really cared for. It was confusing.

Since the start of January I have lost about 16kg in weight. I wasn’t overweight to begin with, but I was heavier than I wanted to be. Up until my depression took hold a few years ago, I had been a keen athlete and was used to being in good shape. As I became more ill, I gradually did less exercise.

Then, in hospital they put me on a load of medication. I ended up so sedated I could barely walk around, let alone do any sports. Not that I wanted to anyway. I had decided that I wouldn’t survive my illness and so there seemed no point. Instead, I indulged the huge cravings the antidepressants gave me and binged beyond the point of feeling sick every evening. And thus the weight piled on.

Before going into hospital, I had stopped eating altogether. I frequently passed out due to starving myself. I was underweight. I felt my bones when I sat down. I couldn’t wear my wedding ring anymore because it just fell off my finger. So I did need to put some weight back on, but I was very unhappy with how much I gained in that time.

I’m not sure what triggered my food issues again more recently. The easy explanation is that it’s just more self harm / self neglect. But that’s a description, rather than an explanation. And now I know I am probably underweight again, but I feel very resistant to taking any action.

I suppose I am also confused by J’s response to this because I hadn’t really considered my current eating habits to be a big problem. While I know my avoidance of food is not healthy, I do eat enough that I don’t faint or get sick. And of all my destructive behaviours, it surprised me that this is the one J is most concerned about. I wonder if she sees it as an eating disorder, because until she made an issue of it, that thought hadn’t crossed my mind.

Maybe it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back, in terms of my damaging habits. Perhaps J has to call a halt to my growing collection of problematic coping strategies, and this was just one too many. I don’t know. But I do know I am probably going to have to talk about it some more tomorrow, which is something I am really not looking forward to.

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