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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Childhood things

I keep wondering if I would have had so many problems if my childhood had been better or different. I know there are people out there with eating disorders and anxiety disorders and depression. And they had relatively good childhoods. Their parents weren’t abusive. They weren’t raped. They weren’t married to men that abused them.

How much of my problems can I realistically blame on my childhood and how much is my own doing? Did my parents cause my issues? Or did they make them worse? Did I get the double hit of psychological issues and an awful childhood?

Why do people that weren’t abused as children wind up in abusive relationships? It’s easy for me to see why I would do it. I don’t have the same cues as other people. It’s hard for me to recognize normal/abnormal behavior. I thought all families and marriages were like my parents’. I’ve been conditioned to accept abuse. I didn’t even think there was better, let alone that I would deserve it.

I can’t even imagine myself or my life without my childhood. I can see where it has made me who I am. I can see that it made me a good person. But it’s hard to not wish my childhood was better. It’s hard to not wonder who I would be were it not for that. It’s hard to not regret that I’ll never know. It’s really hard to not feel jealous of other people that didn’t go through so much.

I can’t help but wonder, if I am just experiencing these issues because of my childhood, will I get over them easier? Will I be “fixed” some day? Or will this always be a regular struggle for the rest of my life?

Troubled

Lately I have been thinking it is probably a good thing I am single right now. I feel like my problems keep building up and stacking on top of each other. It’s becoming a LEGO city of troubles and issues and neuroses. And I wouldn’t want to wish that on another person. By which I mean putting up with me.

It’s hard to know if that is just my low self esteem or if it is me being considerate of others. I know I have good qualities. I know I have things going for me. And I know I am a good girlfriend. But it is so hard to not focus on the negative.

Then I see my friends. They are troubled. Some of them in the same ways as myself. And they are in reasonably successful relationships. Someone loves them. They are happy.

I should give someone the chance to love me. There probably is someone out there that would want to be with me. Even knowing my problems. There has to be someone that will accept who I am.

I start thinking that waiting till my problems are resolved before I start dating is like waiting to lose weight before buying new clothes (which I also do). What if I never lose the weight? Should I just wear rags? What if I am never “better”? Should I be alone forever? Don’t I deserve to have love too?

I actually don’t always believe I do. I sometimes think I should just take what I could get, no matter how bad the relationship or how abusive the man. Because I am damaged goods. I’m broken. And that means I don’t get to be happy.

But then, I also know that isn’t true.

What’s in a name

I know that having a diagnosis can be a crutch. An excuse to not participate in doing things in my life. Much like my heart problem excuse (At least now I have a normal person reason to not drink). I get that. I know the temptation is there.

But I also feel like there is power in naming the thing. There is power in knowing that even though I might be crazy, I am crazy in a specific way that others experience too. I can gather all my symptoms in one place and say “Yes. You all exist. You cause me to suffer. But I know what you are.”

I can expose them to the light of day. It doesn’t cause them to shrivel up or burn away like a vampire. But it does cause them to lose their power. At least for me.

I feel like I am not so alone with a label I can use to explain my unacceptable behavior. I’m not so weird or twisted or broken. Or ashamed. Because I know that other people suffer the way I do. People that I admire and respect and love.

I do wish I had named these things sooner. I wish I hadn’t spent so many years in silence and shame. I wish I hadn’t thought it was somehow my fault or that I wouldn’t be believed. I wish I had spoken up and gotten some help sooner.

But the past is the past and it is never, ever too late to get help. No matter how troubled I am.

MRI: Anxiety Machine

I feel like MRI machines were invented by someone that knew my specific fears and tried to cram as many of them as they possibly could into one thing.

 

The room is always freezing cold and the gurney/bed thing is less comfortable than some rocks I’ve laid down on. I can’t wear my glasses so I am blind and extra anxious. I can’t wear a necklace so I think everyone is looking at my freaky long neck. Also, I can’t wear a bra in there so I know everyone is staring at my chest. Plus I am wearing clothes made from paper that are ill fitting, rustle loudly, and are scratchy.

 

Sometimes they even to run an IV which means we’ve wasted an hour and I’ve been stabbed with a needle 10+ times. Sometimes they make me eat pudding. Which is nauseating. I have to hold it in my mouth without swallowing, letting it get all warm and repulsive, and then I do have to swallow it. That’s a special torture for me.

 

Then they slide me into this tiny tube where the ceiling is less than a foot away from my face. The lights are always a dim yellow which casts a creepy glow. The inside of the tube is far from high tech. It’s kind of depressing and always seems to need a paint job.

 

I have foam ear buds in (which the nurses insist on putting in). Touching my face and inserting something into my body, thank you total stranger. And yet, the noises the MRI machine makes are still the loudest god damn thing in the world. It makes an unusual variety of bizarre noises with no warning and in no particular predictable pattern.

 

My arms are trapped at my sides. I can’t get out without help, even if I tried. I am not allowed to move or twitch or shift positions. I’m not even supposed to cough or clear my throat. And I am somehow supposed to keep my heartbeat and breathing at a normal, regular rate the whole time.

 

And all I can think about are the three worst case scenarios running through my mind.

 

One: Zombies are going to come in, kill the nurses, and turn them into zombies. Then they are going to come over and bite my legs (which are still protruding out into the room) before I can even protect myself or attempt to fight back. Also, I’d still be stuck in the tube so I’d die of starvation without even getting to “live” as a zombie.

 

Two: Some killer/rapist is going to come in, kill the nurses, and torture me for an indeterminate period of time. I will be completely helpless to stop him, or get away, or even to see him. Which means if I somehow did survive the ordeal I wouldn’t be able to positively identify him at all later.

Three: The roof is going to cave in, killing the two nurses (see the pattern here? Never be a nurse). I’ll be trapped and will have to spend the next few days soiling myself and trying to painstakingly inch my way out like a worm. Even if I did manage to get out I would still be screwed because my glasses would be crushed and useless under a fuck-ton of rubble and building materials. I would eventually find one to steal off a corpse, but the prescription won’t be strong enough and I’ll get horrific migraines for weeks.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what an anxiety disorder looks like. I think I was minutes away from freaking out and having a panic attack. I was about at my breaking point.

Size Matters

The strangest thing about having an eating disorder is how long it took me to realize I had one. I mean, I used to be really, really thin. If I am being honest (and why not on an anonymous blog) I was unhealthily thin. But I was actually still a size 6. I mean, yeah I was over 6 feet tall. And yeah, I sometimes went 3 or 4 days without eating. But I thought it was because I just wasn’t hungry.

 

Even though I thought about food obsessively. It’s not like I was eating until I hated myself and then vomiting it up. I mean, except for the times I did exactly that. And that did happen more than once or twice.

 

Despite the way I always hated my body. How repulsive I thought it was. I always thought I was fine. Despite thinking that gaining any weight would make me disgusting and fat. I was terrified of that.

 

Even despite the complicated, intricate food rules I still have to live by and can’t logically explain to anyone. Despite the fact that I ate nothing but an apple for lunch for three years in middle school. Despite the obsessive working out that I did every day starting when I was 10 (yes, 10).

 

I somehow knew that I was fine. I couldn’t possibly have an eating disorder. That was for pretty, rich girls with nothing better to do. It was for people shallowly obsessed with their appearance (in ways far inferior to the way I was shallowly obsessed with my appearance). Lastly, it was for girls that were actually thin. But not thin the way I was thin. It was for skeletal, emaciated girls on the verge of death. That’s how I could be so convinced that I was fine.

 

I never wore size 6 clothes. I didn’t want anyone to really see how thin I was. I still don’t like wearing anything too tight. I don’t like showing off my body. It’s funny how I still rationalize things. I have actually said, out loud. “You just haven’t seen me naked. I look way better in clothes.”

 

I’m a size 12 now. I’ve gained almost 100lbs in the past 10 years since graduating high school. Nobody in their right mind would say I was fat. But I still do. And I still genuinely think it.

 

I’m still shallowly obsessed with my appearance. I still have an eating disorder. Only now you wouldn’t know it to look at me. That scares me. I’m scared people won’t believe I have a problem because I am not underweight anymore. I’m afraid people will judge me the way I used to judge myself. That I must be healthy and normal because my weight is healthy and normal.

 

I usually eat now too. And I am much less obsessed with eating “healthy” foods. I do still skip meals, but still, only because I am “not hungry.” Though I’ve found my hunger seems to be based more on my emotional state than anything physical.

 

I rarely go more than 24 hours without eating anymore, which is a huge improvement. I eat things I used to never allow myself. I am actually waiting for a pizza delivery as I type this. But I am still so picky about every detail of my diet. I will still vomit up something I find “gross.” I still make myself vomit sometimes. I would still rather not eat than eat something I don’t feel like eating. I’ll still eat an apple as a meal.

 

Most people think I am just extremely picky and uptight. Which I am. Almost nobody knows I have a real problem. So, what changed?

 

Four years ago I was doing an extremely strenuous workout. And for the first time in my life, I couldn’t force my body to do what I wanted. I couldn’t understand why it was failing me. This was during my super fitness phase. I got angry with myself. I hated my own weakness. I hated my body. And for the first time I realized, I hated myself.

 

Approximately two weeks later I found out that I had a heart defect and needed immediate emergency heart surgery. I could have died. I almost did die. I thought back to that day when I hated myself so viscerally. I hadn’t been weak. I was ill. I cried, thinking about hard I had always been on myself.

 

I decided to eat all the foods I had been denying myself. I was waiting to have the second of what would ultimately be 5 heart surgeries. I didn’t want to die without eating pumpkin pie one last time. Or ice cream. Or fried chicken.

 

And then I was eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Since I was so sick, I wasn’t able to exercise either. I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom at times and would have to crawl to get there. I immediately began putting on weight.

 

And now I’m here, uncomfortable with my weight. Enormous in my mind. Self-conscious of the way shirts cling to my chest and stomach. Convinced everyone is silently staring and judging me. Envying those thin girls that I see.

 

I still hate my body. But I also like it more now than I ever have. There was never a weight that made me feel pretty, or good about myself, and there never will be. Sometimes I think “If only I could get back to 180.” But, when I was 180, I wanted to be 160. And when I was 160, I wanted to be 150. It will never be enough. Even with the insight I have now, even with the hindsight…

 

The problem isn’t my weight. It never has been. The problem is with my mind.