Saturday, February 25, 2012

Food in disordered eating: a need/fear, love/hate relationship

I've thought thoroughly about the last few years of my life. It doesn't stop at a few years though. When I think about my life, you know what I picture? A blur...

Up until recently, I have lived in this blur. One, long, 26 year strong, blur. But, I am 27 now. Thank God for this 27th year...

In this 26 year blur, one thing is clear and clearly present.


Food. That is what stands out. That is what is reliably evident. Food is one thing that has dominant and recognizable presence in this blurred recollection. Throughout my life, I've ate about "it"...whatever "it" has been. I have obsessively thought about eating. I have compulsively eaten. I have purged what I've eaten. I have exercised off calorie-for-calorie-and-then-some of the food I have compulsively eaten. I've eaten only to eat some more. I have purged only to remain relentlessly in thought about eating even more.

Food. I have been in love with food my entire life. I have eaten in happiness and in celebration; I have eaten in mourning and in sadness. Whether alone or in company, when I have eaten I was never just eating. I was never just eating to live. In good times and bad, I have lived and I have lived to eat. I have turned to food and I have eaten about "it".

Food. I have been terrified of food for as long as I can remember. The thought of going to an event in which food would be present was always so scary. Holidays in which food is the center of attention have mocked me and succumbed me into my binging tendencies. Thanksgiving; I was never thankful for this holiday or any like it. I have spent hours thinking about and preparing for such holidays' meals. I have fasted before and after them. I have been that girl that goes to 2 hour spin classes and excessively exercised on and around these holi-days. I have rationalized and blamed overeating, binging and purging on said holidays. Not just holidays... Dinner parties, weddings, you name it... any event where food is displayed, served and present has pushed me into whorls of anxious fear and has terrified me.

Food. I have been totally obsessed with food for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would sneak extra food; I would sneak and eat food in the middle of the night. I would eat others left overs (hence a  [horrible] childhood nickname of mine: garbage disposal). I would eat just to eat because I couldn't stop thinking about wanting to eat something(s).

Food. I have rationalized and premeditated eating from the time I realized I could do such a thing. I have convinced myself why its okay for me to be eating; I have decided what I could/would do to get rid of what I was about to eat before I ever even ate it. I have eaten compulsively and uncontrollably. I have premeditated how I would get rid of [purge] what I was about to eat in order to eat some more after I purged what I ate in the first place.

Food. It has completely consumed, controlled and down right owned me. Relentless has been the thought of eating and not eating. Relentless has been the thought of binging to purge and purging to binge again. It has dominated my mind and controlled my behaviors. It has made my plans and canceled my commitments. Because of food, I have called in sick to work and have sold out my friends. Binging and purging does not like company.

Food. I have always been similar to the rest of the animal world in the sense that we all need food to live. Until recently, however, I was always quite different from the rest of the world in that I lived to need food. I lived to need, fear, love and hate food.

Eating to Live, Not the Alternative.

This transition, from LIVING TO EAT into EATING TO LIVE, is so incredibly and realistically possible. This blog entry has been about reflection for me. For those of you reading this who may be or may have suffered from disordered eating patterns, tendencies and compulsions, I hope and pray that this blog entry can serve as a reminder or first time revelation that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Feeling alone is a huge element of disordered eating and an even bigger barrier to recovery. But, you aren't... You aren't alone now, you never were and you never will be. I have been there. I hear you. I feel you. I understand.

All the while, during my entire tenure as a disordered eater, I lived a normal life in total facade. I always come back to poetry, the same poem every time, when I disclose my life in facade: Suffering In Silence. Specifically, I think of this stanza:

In a whirlwind of sorrow and war
Reality's blurred by her facade
Secrets, silence, truth; all these remain

You are not alone... You will never be alone. You do not have to Suffer in Silence.

Please do not remain silent. Please do not suffer in sorrow and in war without hope of recovery.


Not only is recovery possible, recovery is sitting right in front of you. Just like food is all around you, so is recovery. Food is wonderful and delicious and necessary. Food is not scary; it doesn't have to be. Do not be scared. Do not be scared that you can't be "perfect" enough to be in recovery. Do not be scared.

You do not have to try to exist in perfection. Perfection exists and has always existed in you. You were created perfectly. You cannot become perfect. Do not be scared.

You cannot need and fear nor love and hate food and truly live at the same time.

Let go...

You can live freely, easily. You can eat to live, not the alternative.

An Eating to Live, Not the Alternative life in recovery is possible.

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