Let’s throw anorexia into the mix

I haven’t thought much about eating disorders. For a while, I have understood that my eating could be categorised as ‘disordered’, but I haven’t framed it as a condition.

I know that I deliberately under eat, that I restrict my food intake. I’m aware of how much weight I have lost, and how different my body feels lately. I notice my bones when I sit against a hard surface. I can feel how much harder and sharper my body has become.

Despite seeing this change and feeling the excess space in my clothes, I am not satisfied with my weight. I don’t see myself as fat. I just imagine that if I lost a little more and a little more, I might like myself better. Each time I lose weight, I feel like I’ve achieved something, some small victory. And I have become afraid of gaining any weight at all.

In recent weeks, J has been focusing on this in my therapy sessions. She has been uncharacteristically assertive about it and I’ve found it hard to manage. I don’t want to discuss it and I don’t feel I want to change it right now. Until she started making an issue of it, I didn’t see it as a big deal.

Today, she went into it again. Starting the usual way, she asked what I’d eaten today. I don’t lie to her and I don’t want to start. But it would’ve been so much easier to dodge the discussion by making it up. Anyway, I said I’d just had an apple and I knew where the conversation would go next.

I got grumpy and defensive because I feel like a child being reprimanded when J pushes me into talking about this. And it seems to invariably bring up really difficult feelings for me; painful, powerful ones. J has made it clear that she wants something from me – she wants me to eat more, and I don’t want to commit to that. So we are at a kind of standoff, and I feel stubborn about it, while also feeling like I’m failing her.

What really upset me today then, was J bringing up anorexia. I didn’t expect it, and I didn’t think it was relevant. She asked me what I know about it and I told her I hadn’t looked into it. She suggested that I did some reading on it and I wanted to tell her to f*** off. It isn’t relevant.

Except it is. Because I have read a few things about it tonight, and it seems a lot more relevant than I would like it to be. Not because I can’t cope with naming a symptom or behaviour, but because I don’t want another diagnosis. I don’t want to add one more issue to the growing list. This already includes; major depression, anxiety, CPTSD, EUPD, substance abuse and self-harm.

Not wanting to recognise it however, doesn’t make it less real. And after reading various definitions and diagnostic criteria, I am hard pushed to argue that I am not anorexic. I don’t know how I feel about this. I guess I am shocked.

Right now, I am massively preoccupied with what horror I will wake up to following the general election here today. I don’t anticipate that the result will lift my mood.

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. I think that most, if not all of us who struggle with mental illness find that we deal with multi-faceted “diagnoses”, but I think they are all interrelated, so if it helps, just consider all of the specifics as various symptoms of the one main problem. I’ve grappled extensively with depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, insomnia, and probably quite a few other things I’m forgetting at the moment. Rather than view all of these things as multiple issues, I now tend to see them as symptoms of the larger problem. And in fact, dealing with one tends to deal with all of them since they are so interrelated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you for that reassurance. It’s definitely a better way of looking at things. I’m sorry you’ve struggled with so many difficulties. It sounds like you’ve got a good sense of perspective though, and that must help you face it all.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. sadamy says:

        I also recently got reminded of my “disordered” eating during therapy, which turns out to be Avoidant Restrictive Feeding Intact Disorder (ARFID). It is a brand new category in the new version of the DSM, DSM-V. I agree that it is upsetting, and not very helpful, to get reminded of its existence, honestly. I, too, do not see the ED as a separate issue, but rather, one branch of an issue shooting out from the root of all my problems (others being complex PTSD, depression and anxiety), which for me is perfectionism/control. Sending hugs.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Laura says:

        thanks for the hugs. I wish you well in your recovery.

        Like

      3. E says:

        I’m not familiar with that new diagnosis (and I should be) but I love that the acronym nearly spells the word Afraid. Fitting. That’s why I prefer going hungry 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      4. sadamy says:

        Haha, it’s a good one. I’d prefer the same but they’re going to be coming after me if I do😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. manyofus1980 says:

    laura, I hope you are ok and you didn’t wake up to a horrible mood today. it seems like the general election went in a different direction than people thought it would go. I struggle with bulimia well an alter in my system does I have did, so yeah, I get where your coming from, I hate when my t pushes the issue too. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      I was awake most of the night, the results got a bit exciting… I am relieved and optimistic about the result. It’s not perfect, but way better than expected. Sorry to hear that you struggle with bulimia. I don’t know a lot about it, other than that it must be hard to deal with. And I guess that because it’s a part rather than all of you that complicates it further. Thanks for sharing your identification, it helps. x

      Like

  3. Fabes says:

    I think it’s just a part of the illness avoiding the issue and feeling like it isn’t an issue at all. Unfortunately it does get looked at as a seperate issue and I don’t understand how people cant see how entwined all things are. I hope you’re feeling ok and are getting what you need 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you. I’m lucky that my therapist sees the connections and she is the one person who treats me these days and sees me regularly. I trust that I can work through whatever it is with her.

      Like

  4. Hey! I am also currently struggling with disordered eating and can relate to a lot of what you’re writing about even though the illness is so individual. I really hope you start to feel better soon. I just started a blog in order to fill this summer (in which I have had to cancel all my plans and try and get into a NHS clinic to recover!) so I would love if maybe you check out my blog and see what you think? That would be great 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura says:

      Sorry to hear that you are struggling too. I hope you get access to the treatment you need. Starting your blog is a great idea, I find it really helpful to have this space to connect with people who understand some of my experience. I hope it is useful for you too. I’ll come by and take a look later. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

  5. bipolarbree1 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing with me. I really related to how your thought or did not think you were under consuming with it comes to eating, enough to raise alarm. This is a situation I have been in for years, it is like the big elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, because deep down myself, and my parents do not see a problem. ~ Bree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks for sharing your feedback Bree. I hope you can get the help you need to work on your eating disorder soon. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bipolarbree1 says:

        Thank you. Cheers to happy and healthy lives

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Postivfworld says:

    Thank you for sharing this, and the rest of your story too, i share your feelings of not wanting to label the situation as it adds to everything else going on, another one of the list of things that aren’t ‘normal’ with me. Its not fun at all, Its great you do have someone that is trying to help you though, and i hope that things get better for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. It helps to hear that other people identify with what’s happening for me. I wish you well too. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

  7. aspoonfulofevie says:

    I know what you mean about not wanting to add anything else into the mix. I explained this directly to the health professionals working with me and found that my eating was often more difficult when other things were harder – by focussing on resolving the other things, we just hope the eating will sort itself. Thank you for sharing xx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I hope you can get some help and get on a good track. I know how hard this is and struggling to deal with anorexia myself. I recently posted a blog about this and it was the first time I openly spoke of my troubles. Sending you well wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you for sharing your identification. I wish the same for you too. Laura

      Like

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