Monday, August 8, 2011
My brain... on psychology!
Speaking of recovery, I was talking to a friend the other day who said that before she was hospitalized for her eating disorder, she wasn't even aware that she had one. When she was in the hospital, they gave her parents information on eating disorders and she asked to read them too, because she didn't really understand what she was being diagnosed with. I just find that so so fascinating, because I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware that my eating habits were disordered. There might have been a time at the beginning of my eating disorder, when I was 13 or so, when I thought that everyone was dieting and bingeing and that stuff. But I quickly realized that I had an issue. I just couldn't stop using my ED behaviors because I was so terrified of being fat. This is probably the psychology major in me too; I've known the DSM diagnoses for eating disorders ever since I knew that you could be diagnosed. I know what weight I would have to be for my BMI to be "anorexic." I know how many times per week you have to purge (or fast, or use laxatives, or whatever), and for how many months, to be considered bulimic.
And I felt A LOT of pressure to meet those standards. I didn't want to be EDNOS, because I felt like it was a wimpy diagnosis for people who didn't really have eating disorders. So I did my best to meet the standards I needed to, so that I would be taken seriously in treatment. I mean, it's not like I decided to throw up a certain number of times per week. That sounds silly. But I did feel like I had to learn to purge in order to be considered bulimic. What I was missing was that I was already fasting, overexercising, and using laxatives: all things that are considered bulimic when combined with bingeing. Oops. So when I finally got into treatment, I didn't have a mild case of bulimia; I had severe bulimia. Partly because of the pressure to fit a diagnosis, and partly because I was so scared to recover (read: get fat) that I had waited until my ED behaviors were super out of control. Ladies, never learn to purge. It only comes back to bite you in the ass. Once you can do it, it's always in the back of your mind as an option. And you think you can control when you do it, but really, it's controlling you. LAME.
By the way, all of the above refers to my first round of eating disorder stuff, ages 13 to 16/17. I had that relapse in February 2010, when I started this blog, and didn't quite make it to the bulimia diagnosis. But that was different, because I knew new tricks and ways to hide and ways to avoid bulimic behaviors in favor of restricting. So yes, different than high school.
Ok, enough of that. In conclusion, the weekend was good, if not stressful because of family dynamics. I'm looking forward to driving back home tomorrow (driving all day sounds suuuuper fun... not) and having a day off to do nothing :-D I hope your weekends were awesome too!