I just want note here that there might be certain triggers for those of you with eating disorders so please skip this post if you feel you are prone to triggers or currently in a bad place. Thank you x
For as long as I can remember, I have had issues with food. I was bullied at secondary school for being fat and ugly. I was probably a normal, healthy weight for the average teenager, but all I can remember is skipping breakfast and lunch, and eating a small plate at the dinner table. If I had anything at school, it went from a yoghurt and crisps, to a small pot of sunflower seeds.
I don’t remember what I was like as a child. I’m told I used to eat peas and sweetcorn and apples, and all sorts, but my tastebuds changed, and I couldn’t stand them. Now, I love sweetcorn but still can’t tolerate other, foods.
Throughout my “young” adulthood, (Yes, I know it wasn’t that long ago) I was trying to avoid all meals altogether and on a bowl of rice a day if I could bring myself to manage it.
I guess, I was picking at some things too. I remember working at a retail shop, and being the teeniest there. I’d catch myself looking at my stomach in the lunch break, working out if the trousers I had were too tight for me or if I could get even smaller.
It wasn’t until I fell ill with appendicitis, that things started to change. Being in hospital, I had to eat three – meals – a – day! Something I wasn’t used to. I thought that this would help me with changing my eating behaviour at home. So when I left, I tried to eat normally. It was okay for a while, but as soon as I felt I was getting bigger, my clothes no longer fitting me, I started to worry. I was cutting back again. I then ended up with my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and then with the amount of medication I was on, I reached my biggest size and highest weight.
I’d gone from people saying I was too skinny, to people talking behind my back about how much weight I’d put on.
I stopped the medication, and did whatever I could to lose the weight. It come off fast. And I was starting to be complimented for how I was looking, even if I was getting to a dangerous level, and doing it in a dangerous way – what were they to know?
It wasn’t until I tried on my wedding dress at the beginning of last year, that I realised I’d gone back to that 18 year old, and weighed too little, and my size was too small, however – I felt proud. I felt like I’d achieved something. And then the horror struck – I wasn’t getting married for a further 11 months. It meant I needed to stay that small.
Throughout last year, my weight has gone up and gone down, almost so it’s been unnoticeable. Only my wife has been able to feel the bones and say how skinny I am, which leads me to say – No I’m not.
I’d like to say that, I did manage to fit into my dress. Thankfully. But only just. I thought it was too small for me, but everyone said it was a perfect fit. If only in my head it was.
I’m now at a point, 10 months after the wedding, where my weight continues to change.
I threw away my scales so I was unable to weigh myself. It had become an addiction. Every time I ate, drank, went to put makeup on, etc, every time I went to the bathroom, I would find myself monitoring.
Again, since I can remember – I have stared for long amounts of time i the mirror just trying to recognise the person staring back. I’d stare right into the eyes trying to find answers, and screaming inside my head. It was a silent torture.
With my fibromyalgia being an obvious cause for concern, and not being able to function as well as every young adult should, I asked for my tests –
I ended up being tested for Coeliac Disease, via a blood test. But with my GP not wanting to put me through the colonoscopy, he said that it was more than likely I had an intolerance to gluten, and by cutting it out of my diet would help… It sure helped. But it also helped me avoid other foods. Most Gluten Free foods pre-made are filled with sugar, so I would be able to avoid them too.
Since February this year, I’ve also become vegetarian.
Not only did this mean I was able to cut out food, but also stand up for something I’d become passionate about, saving animals, helping with animal cruelty rights and or course, making myself believe that it would be a healthier lifestyle for me.
I’d eaten off a small plastic child’s plate until I was 18 or so. I was a very fussy eater, and didn’t like trying new foods. Only now, was I trying new fruit and veg, but also finding different ways of cooking vegetables to be able to “like” them.
For the past year or so, I’d been trying raspberry ketone to help aid weight loss, as well as diet pills and abusing laxatives more so than I ever thought I was capable of.
I’ve now got to the point, where crying out for help since, what feels like forever – about my body issues. I feel as though there’s no more point in fighting for help.
I can see my eating as a separate issue to my bpd.
My issues with food have started, as I said since I can remember. It’s always been there. Okay, fair enough, I have also always been an anxious, nervous, cry baby wreck. I’ve struggled with adapting to life, lets say!
I’d cry at anything, but it wouldn’t have anything to do with my weight issues. My weight issues become concerning when I start on the laxatives, hearing the voices, telling me to make myself sick, fighting the urges of eating, not wanting to eat, feelings of guilt and betrayal against something.
When I look in the mirror, I see someone fat, someone thin, someone normal, someone different. I see a girl often screaming, but sometimes I see a fragile elderly lady.
Why have I wanted to write this today?
Well, I had my discharge meeting on Friday from the therapeutic community, shortly after I posted my last blog entry.
In many of my meetings, and at the community, my issues with my wright and the way I see myself have often been brought up. But because I feel ashamed, trapped, idiotic and embarrassed, I find it hard to talk about and divulge in. I’d use art therapy or throw some words in here and there in writing. But it often got over looked, or so I thought.
I have, in my head, an ideal weight. A number which screams at me every time I eat something. I will never reach that number if I continue to ignore the voice which is getting stronger and stronger the more I avoid it.
Well, it appears that this is – although, a potentially damaging thing – is not an eating disorder.
But, a way of me coping with things.
Yes, I know…
Now, I just want to share something with you: “…This compulsion manifests itself in particular around self harming behaviours and Erica’s attitude towards eating, both of which seem to come to the surface when Erica is distressed, as a way of managing her feelings and taking control over them.”
My heart just skipped a few beats typing that out. The above is something written in my 9 month review, which was back in April, this year.
Now, the thing I am struggling to believe is, sure I have struggled, my self harm issues started when I was a young teenager, but eating habits started way before then, and were only triggered further when I was bullied at secondary school. (I was bullied at primary school, but as far as I can remember, it wasn’t near enough as bad).
When I had my discharge meeting I felt a bit rejected at the end of the meeting as it felt like it left on a bit of a low point.
My last meeting with my care coordinator felt like I was being called an attention seeker, but apparently they were my words. We’d been discussing something about me being emotionally neglected, and how I’d mentioned how I’d been feeling, and about food issues in the community, and I asked her what she thought, which was basically her saying it’s a way of me finding ways to get my needs met.
At the end of the discharge meeting, we had about 10 minutes to run over some things before a review of the discussion and next steps.
Of course, for me – I have always, as far as I have seen it (I don’t know how many times I can vent this!) had an issue with eating, weight and all that crap. Well, I’m told that it’s basically a way of managing emotions. That I will find something to control when angry or frustrated. However, I feel it is in actual fact that end up getting frustrated when I feel like food has been longer than the issues like self harm. And I really cannot see a connection between BPD and the eating behaviours, unlike my link therapist and care coordinator.
Why do I feel this way? Well, when I feel as though, and I do as with most people with eating issues, it is secretive. I have been secretive my entire life about my self harm and all sorts I think and feel about myself. I hate talking about the thought voices in my head, and having given them names etc. To me, I label myself crazy. And that doesn’t help!
Anyway, being secretive has been a huge part of my life. I had ended up with being able to have such a strong reaction towards things. But throughout my time at the community, I have learned to be more open about how I feel, and managed – fairly well, in the community.
Both my link therapist and care coordinator see that I internalise struggles and feelings, and because I tend to deal with it all on own, I have learned to manage via partly with a relationship with food.
Whereas I see it as an isolation, and a completely separate issue to the BPD.
They try to get me to understand that it’s a part of integrated self image. The way I see myself. I tired to get an explanation re: why do I see myself differently in the mirror all the time, and the answer, again is about identity, sense of self, not having a strong sense of self, distorted body image, such thing. I need to continue to “find” my identity?
Of course, these as any are only opinions, which I can take on board – even if it is with a bit of resentment… They explain they may be wrong, they may not be right. Well, we can all say that.
So, why is it bothering me so much right now?
My three – day – a – week therapy has ended. I see a couple of therapists in Leavers Group for 2 hours a week, barely any time to start an in-depth discussion about food and identity. It’s been agreed that I’ll see my care coordinator for some time once every two weeks. Will that give me space to work out who I am?
If this has been an issue for me, for most of my life, how the hectare things going to start changing?
I’m not eating much, barely anything. If I feel I eat too much, I abuse the laxatives. I continue to want to punch the glass when I stare in the mirror, and my obsession with weight had returned. I’m sure though, that it will be put down to being able to control something since leaving the community.
I’ve weighed myself several times in the past couple of weeks. I’ve lost a fair bit. I’m now, according to my last weigh in, yesterday – UNDERWEIGHT.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes for some sort of acknowledgement that SOMETHING is WRONG. Because all I want to do is live a life without worrying about every darn thing, without worrying about being criticised with the way I look, without me hating how I look or feel.
I have found one site which I’m going to read over and over, about how Eating Disorders can co-exist with BPD:
It discusses the 9 criterions with BPD, sure enough, I’ve all 9. But hey, it’s not a competition.
I want to get better believe me. I’m my own worst enemy.
Perhaps I need to listen to what is being said to me, and work on it from the BPD level first, and see where that takes me?
Do you have a separate diagnosis, or do your care workers, GPs, therapists refuse to see a difference?
What are you doing to get support?
Thank you for listening to this ridiculous mess.