Tag Archives: honesty

A Lifesaver

I’ve had a draft of this post for awhile now, but hesitated to publish it because it makes me feel a little lame (you know how I get insecure with serious things.) However, the Studio 30 Plus prompt this week was :

“I said what I needed to say.”

I figured I should just say what I needed to say.

Shorter and lighter post next time.

It might sound dramatic to say blogging saved my life, but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it has been and is my buoy. It keeps my head above water. It keeps me afloat.

life-preserver

Because while I don’t talk about the serious things all the time on this blog anymore, that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

I’m still underweight.

I still struggle with the rigidity of OCD as it relates to food, exercise and daily activities.

Depression is not a dark cloak I can throw off with a shrug of my skinny shoulders. These are hurdles I face on a daily basis, sometimes sinking down, sometimes rising up, sometimes treading water.

Through it all, blogging is my buoy.

It’s not that I hide anything—this blog isn’t called “Abby is Extremely Well Adjusted”—but instead I blog about things unrelated to the “issues” I’ve dealt with for years.

Blogging lets me bring out other parts of me—whatever parts I choose, good or bad—and I’ll never hide behind any of those things on my blog.  Maybe I still bury those things, but I’ve also let others shine through.

It’s All About Me

I don’t really know or follow any of the preconceived blogging rules of design, etiquette or scheduling. There are blogs that I read because I enjoy the people who write them, not because I think it will somehow enhance my “brand,” whatever that means, or because I want to get my name out there.

There are also blogs I know I can’t read, not because I don’t enjoy the people writing them, but because I know topics as seemingly benign as diet and exercise will trigger my competitive nature and possibly send me two steps back when every inch forward is a fight.

Sometimes I think that’s selfish, but then I realize that my blog isn’t about pleasing other people all the time. I do that on a daily basis, so blogging has become  an escape for me from obligations and rules, and the only stress it brings is the stress and obligation I put on myself. 

I want to make people laugh, to make people think, to connect.

But most of all, I want to stay afloat.

Actually, It’s All About You

While I hate to say I seek outside validation at times, I most certainly do. On days when I’m teetering between self destruction and self care in a variety of forms, a comment or a post can change all that.

Not to bring it up again, but the book? This was the first thing I have actually let myself feel proud about, in no small part because everyone has been so supportive.

While I in no way base my self-worth on this outside validation,  I’ve found that sometimes I want that social support and connection. That’s something I’m completely indifferent to when mired in the muck of my mind, and while I have to tow the line between obsessing over the amount of interaction, seeking connection outside of my head is healthy progress.

It’s a healthy escape.

But sometimes I wonder if instead of an escape, it’s an excuse. Maybe not blogging about the ugly stuff is a way for me to pretend that everything’s fine. Health is wealth, and on those days I feel bankrupt, I wonder if I should share where I am at that point.

There is no right answer. But for now, I enjoy writing about whatever I want to share—the good, the bad, the in between—even though like everything else, I openly admit that I still put too much pressure, stress and obligation on myself.  

I’m a constant work in progress.

So while I’m sure  I use blogging as a distraction at times, I don’t know that that’s all that bad. Without a distraction, without a connection, without a way to express myself that isn’t revolved around other issues, I’m not sure where I would be.

That might sound dramatic, and to those who don’t really “get” blogging and the community it can foster, I realize that might sound ridiculous and selfish. But for me, being able to blog and use humor to heal has truly kept me afloat.

It’s been—and continues to be—my lifesaver.

For that, I thank you all.

Like the blog? Buy the book.

Coming Out On Top

I know that “National Coming Out Day” was last week, but I didn’t think about writing this post until now, so better late than never.

poster

First of all, no, I’m not gay.

But a few of my friends—not my “gay” or “straight” friends, just my friends—posted this last week on their Facebook pages, and I loved it. While I’ve never had to come out about my sexuality, I do have experience “coming out” about certain things, and it’s been about a year since I’ve done so on the blog.

Keeping It In

To try and summarize for those of you just joining us today, my name is Abby. I am a smart-ass with a lot to say, most of it funny and sarcastic, and I love that I can share my neurotic view of the world and myself with others through my tiny little piece of the Internet.

But I am also the face of depression/OCD and there is absolutely nothing funny and sarcastic about the days I feel like getting out of bed are tantamount to climbing a mountain with the weight of the world on my bony shoulders.

It’s real, it sucks, I’ll spare you the details.

So up until last year, I kept my blog to myself and strangers on the Internet, with people in “real life” completely oblivious to the fact that I had a blog at all. I wrote much more about those issues and focused on my struggles, something I wanted to keep out of my daily interactions with people.

Coming Out

But then last year I was approached by Deb to be a part of something amazing, a calendar to raise money for cancer research in memory of her father, a man who loved his daughter’s blog friends and the very world he lived in. It was such an honor—and such a personal cause to all involved—that I felt selfish keeping it from my own friends and family.

So I came out.

I linked a blog post up to my Facebook page, sent my mom a link and the rest is history.

Part of me thought it would suck, as exposing what others might perceive as a weakness or flaw to the whole World Wide Web can be daunting, but exposing what others might perceive as a weakness or flaw to the people you see on a daily basis can be even scarier.

Most people don’t understand the issues that me (and millions of other people) deal with, and I would never expect them to. Some equate being depressed or having OCD to being sad or wanting to wash your hands, which is about the rational equivalent of complaining to someone with no legs that you haven’t had a pedicure.

There is no comparison.

And while I’m not comparing coming out about one’s sexuality to my issues, for me, coming out was the start of living a more authentic version of myself.  It gave me a chance to find a voice I forgot I had, or hadn’t let develop. It opened me up to relationships and a world outside my often crazy head.

It also opened me up to the realization that people might view me differently, that instead of being just Abby, I might be “disordered” or “depressed” Abby. While I don’t feel the need to explain myself for my decisions, I sometimes want people to see me as “just Abby” without a skewed perception.

So even though there are posts that are a personal, I try and keep it lighter here (I promise my next post won’t be this serious.) I like to laugh, not stew, and even though I don’t censor myself at all—that will never, ever happen—I’m more selective about what I share with the world now than I was a year ago.

Blogging’s an escape, but that doesn’t mean those issues go away. 

I have equal days of good and days of struggling to tread water without drowning, of wondering why I can’t be “normal” on some relative scale.

But I’ve found a better way of thinking about it is not as a struggle to regain a level of health that the rest of the population never needs to work to achieve, but rather as hard work that results in a self-awareness and stability that most of the population are never forced to make the effort to achieve.

I’m stronger for my issues and for “coming out,” and realize now that the fear of doing so was much more about accepting myself than it was a fear of not being accepted by others.

So I tell you that I am the face/voice of depression/OCD/eating disorders, and I hope that you won’t see me as my issues—see poster above—but just as me. I am a smart-ass with a lot to say who takes things—the good and the bad—day by day.  

I have issues.

So do you.

The don’t define us, but rather make us who we are today.

quotableequal

They can be an unexpected gift.

This post was also in response to the Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Unexpected Gift

Admit It

Whereas I used my last post to educate you about the dangers lurking in the mall, this post is going to be used to make you feel a bit more normal about yourself.

Or it will make you think I’m a total weirdo.

will-today-be-included-in-your-memoirs

It’s a coin flip.

But I’m willing to take that risk, as I find it hard to believe that I am the only person that does certain things—and I don’t mean just eating with plastic silverware that has been washed and stuck in the drawer at home, even though the “real” stuff is right next to it.

Ahem.

Let’s move on to some things you might not admit to, but know you have recently done once or twice  (and by “you” I mean “me,” of course). 

Admit it, you’ve:

  • Dusted around certain things instead of picking them up and dusting under them. It can be a coaster or a toaster and yet I will occasionally decide it’s too much effort to actually lift it up.
  • Sprayed perfume/air freshener and then proceeded to walk straight into it with your mouth open.
  • Heard the doorbell and thrown yourself  across the room and/or dove behind a large piece of furniture like a stuntman in an effort to fake out one of the millionteenth neighbor kids begging you to buy overpriced wrapping paper and stale popcorn.
  • Yelled at an inanimate object in a way that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush, only to find out that you forgot to plug the damn thing in.

toast

  • Gone a whole day before realizing you have a fabric softener sheet stuck in a sleeve or pant leg, and then decided that it smelled just lovely enough to keep there.
  • Created a paper jam at the copy machine/printer (accidentally), checked to see if anyone saw you (discretely) and walked away (quickly). 
  • Given an automatic reply, such as “You too,” “Love ya, “ etc. in situations where it absolutely makes no sense.
  • Wanted to bitch slap douche from the gym who wears his “Leg Day” pants, tank top, lifting gloves and weight belt to the store and looks at everyone else like they’re the weirdos.  mr-abdominal

You know you know him.

  • Spontaneously busted out with “Dancing Queen” as you walked into your boss’ office (much to her surprise, and dare I say…delight?) 
  • Avoided purchasing an article of clothing because you might have to iron it at some point in the future and even though you have an iron, that’s not the point.
  • Found yourself typing out basic words in brand new ways—“thare” and “Noo York,” for example—and got pissed when spell check pointed this out.
  • Farted while doing yoga. (Don’t pretend it’s never happened, unless of course you’ve never done yoga or you practice at home—like me—and now you’re pretending you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

Well, there’s a look at how my week has gone so far…

Admit it.

You feel a bit more normal. 

01353

My work here is done.

The truth, part 2

Anything you say/write can and will be used against you/misunderstood in a court of public opinion.

Anyone who has a blog knows that once you hit “publish,” it’s public and up for interpretation anyone sees fit. I know this, but it’s also why I took down my last post.

Yes, I put it back up.

The truth?

I wrote it because I wanted to write it.  I posted it because I wanted to post it. Then I had my doubts. Why?

Not that anyone said I was, but I’m not that girl.

I’m not that girl that wallows in negativity and plays the victim to situations within my control. I’m not that girl that feels hopeless and lost. When I put up posts like that, I feel like that’s the vibe.

The truth?

I took it down because even though I don’t have a lot of readers, I know I have a few new ones that know me in everyday life. While I know it’s my blog and I can write what I want—just as that post emphasized—I want to move on.

That said, this isn’t an eating disorder blog. I don’t read them, I get bored, I don’t want anyone to think that’s what this is.

It’s a blog where I can spew some verbal vomit and get things off my chest. It’s a blog for people with issues and those just looking to commiserate about the pointless nature of chit chat or underwear. There’s much more to me—to life—than just food and exercise, and I want to focus on that.

So, that’s why I wanted to take that post down.

I didn’t want to appear weak or pigeon-hole myself into something that I hope to leave behind. Am I ignoring issues? Nope, but the only way to focus on the things that make me happy are to focus on the things that make me happy. It might be food, but it might just be stupid board games, stupid people or birds humping plastic toys.

The truth?

I owe no one an explanation, but I gave one anyway. What I don’t have an explanation for are two of the search terms used to find my blog today:

“Does Gilad have  pajama jeans? “

and

“Thong drawer.”

I think I have an idea for my next post…

The truth?

Even though I blog and put it all out there, there are still things I can’t say to people I see on a daily basis. Part of it is that I’m a private person, but another part of it is that I have trust issues and doubt the authenticity of intentions—warranted or not.

I also doubt that anyone will understand, that the truth is boring and repetitive and of no interest to anyone else.

But sometimes I feel like putting it out there—at least on the blog and sometimes face-to-face.  Sometimes I open up and realize that it’s nice just to be able to talk without really self-editing—much how I write here—and not think about fixing something, but rather just talking about something.

When I am busy being analytical, I tend to forget that there’s a relationship between the physical and the emotional and that I can’t separate them into neat little packages. I can’t talk about one and numb out the other.

I can’t always think myself out of every situation, even though lord knows I try.

So, the truth?

I don’t want to have to think about it. At all.

I don’t want to have to think about the when, where and what of exercise or food. I don’t want to have to think about excuses for why I can’t (don’t want to) go out or answer in vague terms what it is I’m doing that keeps me busy.

I don’t want to have to think about whether my decisions are made from a healthy place or simply motivated by a search for the next opportunity to perpetuate the comfortable cycle I’m in.

The truth?

I can’t imagine it being okay if all that was taken away. As much as I want to not think about things, thinking about it—and then acting on those thoughts — paradoxically grants me some peace.

If I can check certain things off on my must-do-for-sanity list—eat what I want, when I want, how I want it and go for a walk or the like—I can move on and function with some sense of calm and relative normality.

Everything’s okay.

The truth?

I can’t imagine being at a point where extra food and extra rest weren’t necessary somehow in my mind, where it was something I physically required. One of the reasons I find it hard to challenge some of these thoughts is because it’s become the only way I can imagine allowing myself to eat what I want all the time or to let myself “be” on certain occasions—and enjoy it.

While I restrict certain things, I don’t ever want to be restricted.

I worry I will miss the pleasure that I get from eating— or rather, the pleasure of routinely eating to feel clean—and that if I get too relaxed or have too much of something on a regular basis, it will be impossible for “normal” to feel like enough.

I wonder what will ever be enough.

The truth?

The fact that I allow myself to lose/maintain this weight while not believing for a second that I am overweight or attractive at a lower weight confuses the hell out of me.

It’s not driven by self hatred but by a deep (if misguided) belief that what I do protects me from any discomfort—now or in the future. It is hard to untangle myself when my body and  mind are craving food, rest, emotion and relief.

The truth?

I don’t want to think about it. At all.

But I do. All the time.

I also doubt that anyone will understand, that the truth is boring and repetitive and of no interest to anyone else. But sometimes I like to put it out there, if only for myself.

When I am busy being analytical, I also tend to forget that achieving this body/mind balance is a lifelong journey for everyone, that each day is a chance to even the scales (no pun intended—okay, maybe a little bit.) I have to trust the process, not judge the past or predict the future and learn from each stumble and success.

My truth?

It will happen.

I like to think about that and I do.

All the time.

Pity Party Pooper

I totally had the underwear post just about ready to go tonight, but there’s been a slight change of plans. Feel free to check back for lighter fare this weekend.

Tonight’s posts is one of those that I will not be linking back to on Facebook, one that I hope no one in “real” life reads. But since this is my blog, I can write what I want. It’s not always unicorns and butterfly farts, as you know.

I’ve actually had a really good week. There have been snags with the usual family, work and general Abby things, but for the most part, I’ve been in a really great mood. I felt productive, I felt social, I felt…happy-ish.

Nothing has really happened to change that, but yet tonight I’ve reverted back to the enabling restrictive Queen of instant gratification. I skipped the work holiday dinner/party for no good reason other than I always do stupid shit like that. Things that aren’t an issue for other people become THE issue for me and I fall back to my default—impulsively cop out and restrict the fun, social aspect of things.

Then instead of letting it go—I stew.

It was just dinner about half an hour from my house, yet when I got home and started getting ready, I pulled out my trump card of “if I don’t have to, then I won’t.” Here were my justifications (in no particular order):

  • At first I thought it was because I wouldn’t be able to do anything physical at all today, what with being at work since 6:30 in the morning, temperatures being in the teens and then the dinner in the evening. However, I could totally rationalize that it was just one day and honestly, my body is tired from just being me.
  • Then I tried to tell myself that it was about the food, how I really didn’t want to eat at the restaurant because it wasn’t from my own kitchen at the regularly scheduled time. Plus, I don’t really drink and everyone else does. What if my gut acted up after eating different things? However, we ordered beforehand and I was pretty sure I would be fine. Plus, it was one damn meal.
  • Finally, I tried to tell myself that I was at work all day and didn’t really want to go hang out with people from work in my free time. However, I can’t use that as an excuse either, as they are really a decent group of people (with a couple exceptions, of course.)  So, I couldn’t chalk this up to being a bitter employee, as that’s really not me…at least not today.

What reason did I come up with as to why I did actually stay home? I suppose it was a combination of those things mentioned above with a dash of feeling a bit frazzled with professional stuff today, but more than that it was just overwhelming physical insecurity—again. Not much embarrasses me, but this does.

I often feel like the fat kid that dreads the pool parties because of the bathing suits.

Even if the party would have just been drinks and dinner could have been eaten at home with plenty of time to workout and get cleaned up, I probably still would have wanted to bail. I still would have struggled to find something to wear that didn’t fall off me or make me look like a 12-year old boy dressed in drag. I still would have struggled to try and do something with the handful of hair I have left.

Even though I love being social, I still would have struggled to put aside this insecurity and go join the group.

Did I have a bad night tonight? Not at all. I got some stuff done, including some work (ironically.) And I realize this might seem like overanalysis—no one from work probably gave a rat’s tookus that I didn’t show up—but I’m pretty sure I will still feel awkward going into the office tomorrow. That’s part of the reason I wrote this, so that I can remember that I often bring feelings of guilt and insecurity on myself.

Then again, maybe I’ll go into work and find my picture being used as dartboard material and find out they auctioned off my job in a holiday raffle right after a jar filled with M&Ms. At least then I would have a real reason for a pity party.

As for this one, I’m declaring it unproductive. In fact, I am going to be my own pity party pooper.

**Edited** It’s the next day and I’m fine, reading the comments and of course wishing I could take this down (but I won’t. That’s annoying.) No offense, but I wasn’t in need of “hugs” or pity or anything. This post did sound “self”-centered only because, well, I wrote it for me. Trust me when I say I’m cool with who I am, minus the physical crap, and not all “woe is me” for any reason. It was just one of those “issue” moments. My next post will include underwear–I promise.**

The secret’s out-I pose with produce

This isn’t a big deal to anyone but me, but I actually posted a link to my last post on Facebook. Why is that weird? Because I hadn’t shared my blog with anyone in “real” life—even my mom.

Good lord, the woman took pictures of me dressed as a hippie and posing with asparagus and avocados in my living room without even asking me what the heck it was for. I told her in general terms, but haven’t showed her the finished product because my blog was on there.

Cover

There were a couple reasons I kept the blog to myself for the most part, one of them selfishly being that I kind of liked having some place to go where I could vent without pissing off anyone that I had to face the next day after they read too much into something.

Another reason was that as much as I embrace myself in all my “issued” glory, I guess there’s a small part of me that’s still not OK with sharing where I’ve been or am trying to go. That’s ridiculous, as what makes me who I am is where I’ve been and how I’ve used it to strengthen my character. I am and always will be a work in progress.

However, the fact is that I hate the labels and don’t want anyone to think anything less of me for reading about my issues. I feel like a label and the fact I’m so thin is an external reflection of a weak internal state, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In other words, that self-consciousness is also ridiculous.

But lets be honest. It’s hard to admit that you have vulnerabilities and struggles, especially to those you interact with on a daily basis. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the blogging community the past year, it’s that the best relationships come from complete honesty and vulnerability. These people know all my crap and like me anyway. Those are the only kind of people I would like to have in my life on a personal level.

So while I’m not vain enough to think that any of my Facebook friends/family will take an interest in my occasional ramblings, for me, it’s kind of nice to just put my issues out there and be honest.

It’s not that I was ever dishonest about anything, but this breaks down one of the many walls in my fortress force field of fickleness.

Anyway, if they choose, I want people to know me as I am and not how I think I should be. So if you’re new here, I indexed some of the highlights according to category one afternoon when I was bored. Whenever I get the urge, I write about food. I write about random observances. I write about serious things and then might follow it up by writing about cleaning the house naked .

Because despite my various degrees of awesomeness, I do have issues—we all do. But there is also a hell of a lot more to me than that and sometimes I have really cool stuff to say.

And, well, I pose with produce.

abby_thumb

We will return to our regularly unscheduled ramblings in the next post. You’ve been warned.

FYIs, part 3

Sneezing when you’re driving is kind of scary.

I love a good book, but hate when it’s finished. For that reason I will always leave the last few pages and kind of ration them out over a couple days, unless I have another book waiting to be read. Then I just finish the first one and move on.

Larabar is retiring the Cocoa Mole flavor, so stock up if you like it.

lara (It was never my favorite flavor, but maybe I should still send a card joking about all the extra time it will have to go golfing now?)

Two people can experience the exact same thing in entirely different ways.

When you are running behind, the following things are bound to happen on your drive: you will realize your gas tank is on “E” and debate the merits of stopping or chancing it and waiting until later; you will hit every red light; you will get stuck behind a farm implement with no room to pass (still obsessively checking the gas gauge every five seconds) before passing a cop and silently thanking said farm implement for forcing you to go under the speed limit even though you’re late.

OK. Maybe that just happened to me.

I love The Onion and this one is so, so true. Person With Almost No Responsibility Always Stressed Out.

I can feel much more insecure than I thought, and this royally pisses me off.

Baking salmon, steaming broccoli and boiling eggs at the same time can make your kitchen smell…interesting.

Amy’s Four Cheese Pizza is in fact a bit more delicious than just the cheese version.

4chz

They claim the crust is thinner, but I didn’t think so (I love the crust on this one.) And as we know, thin food can cause controversy.

Post block syndrome—similar to writer’s block in that one feels unable to come up with any post-worthy content.

"People can’t conceive of a virtue in someone else that they can’t conceive in themselves. Instead of believing you’re stronger, it’s so much easier to imagine you’re weaker." — Chuck Palahniuk

If an old lady calls you “sweetie,” it’s sweet. If a woman your own age calls you “sweetie,” it’s completely condescending.

Speaking of sweet, here is your cute animal video for the week.

Finding a band-aid anywhere is just really gross.

There will be people that don’t like you. There will be people you don’t like. Shrug it off.

I’m learning it takes trust and vulnerability to really be a friend.  See, a true friend is one that has seen your vulnerabilities, couldn’t care less and reminds you that this too shall pass.

On that note, it’s “couldn’t care less” and not “could care less.” Sorry. Pet peeve.

All my magazine subscriptions arrive on about the same day and I feel overwhelmed and like I have to hurry up and read them all. However, two weeks later half of them will still be sitting on my “throw it there” table, unread. Sigh…

I always doubt myself the second I hit publish on certain posts, but it helps to remember that:

"We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path" ~ coehlo

Nuns riding bikes will not always yield to pedestrians. Trust me on this one.

Just like the last two times, share your FYIs!

Obsessed

FYI: I think I’ll make these a regular feature for purely selfish reasons in that a) I have many random thoughts  and b) I love your additions in the comments. They make my day.

Anyway, here is where I turn off all those readers. I need to ramble incoherently, so buckle up.

I’ve recently become obsessed with “Obsessed,” and the irony of that fact isn’t lost on me. While I in no way deny that I have food issues, I also acknowledge the fact that I’ve had OCD long before it turned into an eating disorder (I would say as early as six or seven years old.)

Anyway, I was “professionally” diagnosed with OCD about five years ago, but was always sent to ED treatment centers due to the fact that my obsessions and compulsions manifest in food and exercise. I’m underweight, and my behaviors, compulsions are rather maladaptive ways to deal with anxiety.

Simple as that, except it isn’t.

If you’ve ever watched the show, you have an idea of how seemingly illogical routines, rituals and compulsions are the only ways some people can even touch on any semblance of normality. Most of the time they’re so deeply ingrained that being a productive member of society and carrying on personal and professional obligations becomes impossible, as anything and everything revolves around the obsessions and compulsions. It’s a mental illness with biological roots, but it’s also often developed as a defense mechanism in response to a traumatic event or situation. It’s not a choice, as the thoughts take over and you feel there are no options or defense against your thoughts.

It’s a mental illness, and it stinks.

“Talk” therapy doesn’t work for me. I know what my issues are, I have a pretty clear picture of how I feel, I have no self-love/body issues and I don’t think that I’m fat. When I feel the need to exercise, it’s not to lose weight. When I feel the need to restrict, it’s not to drop a dress size. Talking about things doesn’t really help, as I need to expose myself to the anxiety-inducing experiences and challenge the thoughts that tell me these routines have to be followed, that I have to do them to feel calm.

Why am I bringing this up?

Good question, (and I’m not sure), but I think it’s in part because lately it seems to me that my indifference towards so many blogs has to do with the fact that I am kind of viewing them through a splintered lens. To be honest, I think there are  different factions of people with eating disorders. Just like OCD, eating disorders are a mental illness, something that I think many people are hesitant to admit.

There obviously is no right or wrong, there is just different, so don’t bite my head off yet.

GROUP 1

One group’s actions are truly motivated by a desire to fulfill some idea physical image they feel they need to attain for happiness or acceptance. For some people, I think it really is about the food on some basic level. Yes, they use it as a tool to manipulate their figure and their thoughts, but once they eat and restore the weight, they are seemingly “fine” over time. I’m not making light of it at all, but it’s almost as if it’s a deadly phase they eventually pass through.

All the focus goes towards food, because if it is about the food and looks, then eating more is the simple answer. There is less of a stigma. It’s a tangible act they can engage in to change their physical appearance, with a side of therapy to build self-love.

GROUP 2

For the other group, I think the development of the disorder is more deeply biologically rooted and motivated from a genuine place of anxiety over things completely unrelated to food, weight and body image. They acknowledge that the disease has everything to do with control, routines, etc. and that the mental aspect of it is the be-all and end-all of the issue.

It has nothing to do with looks or physical beauty, but everything to do with feeling restricted in their choices for no other reason than they are obsessed with finding some sort of contentment, some sort of peace from their racing thoughts. Simply put, it’s an entirely internal struggle that’s often revealed externally. The food becomes directly involved because it is one of the only things that can be completely controlled and predictable. Numbers are tangible, numbers and routines can be used to neatly classify things into tidy groups of solid evidence.

The food and/or exercise are simply one way to try and regain control, as many of these people also have other areas in their lives where they are either restrictive, impulsive or obsessive.

On “Obsessed, the patients logically know that what they’re doing is illogical, but they feel powerless against their thoughts. I can relate to this 100 times more than any ED group, book, blog or video. For me, I feel I HAVE to exercise at times, I HAVE to eat a certain way, etc. or else things go nuts in my mind and I can’t focus on anything else. I know the world won’t end, but I don’t want the discomfort–physical and mental–and I don’t want to be stuck feeling I made the wrong decision.

No, it’s not a worry about my weight or looks, but rather a worry about discomfort and chaos in my head. I want to feel clean, neat and tidy. Even though I know an extra snack here or there won’t “taint” me, it still feels unnatural in the same way that I feel anxiety when someone walks in my house with their shoes on, the toilet paper roll is put on wrong or I can’t do the dishes right away.

WRAPPING IT UP

My point is that there is so much chatter out there about what constitutes health and what constitutes disorder, when in all actuality, we all deal with our issues in different ways. I can in no way relate to those people that see food as the enemy, that are driven by a desire to look a certain way. I know there are people out there than can in no way relate to my issues, and I don’t expect them to.

Regardless of why or how you struggle from any mental illness, I do think that relative “recovery” is entirely possible. However, I believe that in most instances, it’s  impossible to just eat and think that any deeper mental issue is fed and has now disappeared.

Eating disorders are real. OCD is real. Depression is real. Sometimes they overlap, and sometimes there’s no connection.

While food/body image may be the root of the evil for some, for others it’s simply a branch on a very tangled tree. Only by exposing themselves to the anxiety head-on and learning to sit with the discomfort—learning that there are alternative actions to take without their world falling apart—can they begin to recover.

Like I said, there is no right, no wrong, but only where you are right now—and we’re all in different places. Now I just need to figure out how to get on “Obsessed” for my own hour…

We will return to lighter topics in the next post…