Today was the day I was supposed to start IVF treatment, but we had to put it on hold because of some worrying lab results. So instead, I spent an extra hour at the gym, had lemon water for lunch and ate a pan of fudge left over from an office party and spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff as soon as I got home. Now I’m going to vomit until I bleed and then take however much Xanax it takes to get me out of this day. I am so sad and my life feels so pointless and empty. Every part of me is failing and I am ready to be done.
When I’m on tour I often stop in the airport bookstores during layovers to do rogue signings. I do them when I can and sometimes strangers stop to ask about the book. Sometimes they buy a copy or two. Mostly they don’t. But last week one older woman in particular looked at Furiously Happy and told me that she […]
I left this comment earlier today on a post that felt like it could have been ripped from my own diary back in 10th grade. It made me realize that I almost never post about the good things here, and there really is so much good in my life, even with my physical and mental health problems. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for a little over the past year, and as such I have been working so hard to eat and digest enough to make my body strong enough to support a fetus through a successful gestation. I’ve been working hard to avoid having access to triggers, both in terms of emotional stimulation and foods that are likely to start the binge-purge cycle all over again. I really do mean to post some of the recipes I’ve come up with for less-bad alternatives to entire boxes of cookies. I think some of you might find them really useful.
No matter what happens, please remember that you are valued, you are precious, you are loved. Even when it doesn’t feel like you matter, you do. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now, and fuck anyone who makes you feel like that isn’t good enough. I know it doesn’t feel like it most of the time, but you are enough.
A few months ago, one of my favorite people in the world opened up to me about her depression, anxiety and eating disorder. She is working so hard at recovery, and every day I’m more proud of her. She’s one of the only people I love so much it makes my chest hurt. She’s smart, and passionate and so unbelievably kind. It breaks my heart in a thousand ways to know what she deals with, but I also know that if there’s anyone in the world who is strong enough to face this shit head on and wrestle it into submission, it’s her. She’s the kind of person who makes me want to be a better person.
I don’t know when she’ll find the time to read this, but when she does, I want her to know that she’s the reason I ate dinner tonight. She’s the reason I didn’t throw up, and the reason I let myself opt out of teaching next semester so I can try to finally get my dependence on narcotics under control. Her honesty and her strength are the reason I am trying to learn how to practice self care. Her friendship is one of the reasons I have hope.
Baby carrots, rice cakes and celery…I’ve somehow managed to binge all my safe foods in the last few days and it is taking everything I have to not purge. What kind of weirdo cries in the shower because she ocer ate celery? A bulimic-subtype anorexic, that’s who. My husband keeps trying to get me to just eat intuitively, but I don’t know how. My intuition tells me to either eat 4 bites of nothing or to eat whatever is in front of me until I’m so full I can justify a purge. I need to go back to portioning out my food before I start eating so that I can get my body an appropriate number of calories without getting to a panic point. But until I can make the time to do that, I’ll just whine to the internet until the most recent urge to purge fades.
This blog has a LOT of pictures of overweight and obese people, so please don’t click over if you find large bodies triggering.
If you were looking for proof that our culture is unbelievably messed up around dieting, you need look no farther than the fact that a study has come out called “Dietary restraint of 5-year-old girls: Associations with internalization of the thin ideal and maternal, media, and peer influences.”
Yes, we have reached a point where we are studying dieting and thin obsession in kindergarten girls. So what did the study find?
Thirty-four percent of girls reported at least a moderate level of dietary restraint. While most girls were satisfied with their body size, half showed some internalization of the thin ideal. Girls’ dietary restraint was correlated with weight bias favoring thinner bodies, and greater internalization of the thin ideal, media exposure, and appearance conversations with peers. Media exposure and appearance conversations were the strongest predictors of dietary restraint.
That is straight up horrifying, but sadly not even…
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“That sounds like something a person with an eating disorder would say,” said my husband. He had that look of false calm on his face that means he’s desperately trying to hide how upset he actually was. “You are so beautiful and I love you so much. I’d rather you weighed 300 pounds than starve yourself for a day or throw up even once.”
I laugh and hug him, reassuring him that just because I still have disordered thoughts, that doesn’t mean I’m still engaging in disordered behaviors. Yes, I tell him. Yes, I know you think I’m beautiful. Yes, I know you want me to eat and digest and to be as healthy and strong as I can be.
But what I don’t say is that he’s not even bothering to think about what I want. I don’t say that it’s phenomenally self absorbed and disgustingly arrogant to think that I starve and vomit and claw at my lumps and wobbles because of him or anyone else. I don’t explain for the thousandth time how much I hate myself, how much I hate the flawed, broken, useless body I’m stuck in. I don’t explain that even though I only tell him I’m in pain when it’s too bad for me to type or walk, I am still in pain all day, every day. I don’t explain to him how my useless body doesn’t deserve food when it won’t move, but that when I’m well enough to go to the gym, I’ll make sure to eat at least as many calories as I burned off. I don’t explain the satisfaction and catharsis that comes from any self harm, including a strong, thorough purge.
Instead I smile at him and touch his arm reassuringly. I thank him for loving what I hate. I thank him for the support he tries to give.
TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of unhealthy habits and behaviors. These behaviors are not a proven weight loss method and are extremely unsafe. Some description of prescription drug abuse.
I am visiting my family for a sister’s wedding. My horrible uncle made repeated comments about how fat I am, how fat another sister is, and responded to my inquiry as to how his wife is doing by telling me how fat she is and how little she used to weigh when they were first married. An emergency visit to a doctors office after vomiting in front of my family led to him telling me not only that my weight is high, but that it’s especially high for a short woman like myself. This of course came before examining my abdomen, pinching and pulling my body fat and telling me that even though I don’t look fat (I can currently press 60lb, so a lot of my weight is muscle tone) I still HAVE fat. Tomorrow we are going to visit my husband’s family for 10 days as they also live in the region. My MIL has lost a horrifying amount of weight due to health problems and is thrilled about her new, tiny body. His cousins are so incredibly mean to me about the way I look, but I don’t know if I can manage to avoid them over the whole visit. I am so far behind in my own work that I feel like I’m about to burst into tears every time someone mentions my “vacation.” I am too ill from eating the food my parents swear they prepared carefully to get much done and I am so stressed I actually just cried over laundry. Two sisters have called me out on my love of Vicodin for both its pain killing and relaxational effects, so I am trying to only take my recommended daily dose and it is so very, very hard not to indulge when I feel this terrible.
I need a vacation from this ridiculous misconception people around me have of vacation. I need a vacation from the body fuckery I’ve been bombarded with constantly since I got here. All I want to do is restrict and take pain killers. I want a fist full of fiber pills and a gallon of coffee and three hours at the university gym.
I need vacation from myself.
In so many ways my life is amazing. It feels so small, petty and stupid to feel this overwhelmed by my silly little problems when I know I have so very, very much to be thankful for. But some days, even the good just feels too sharp, too bright, too much. Everything I feel, the good, the bad and the viciously ugly, it all overpower me in waves. I want to laugh and sob and sleep for days just to get away from the intensity with which I feel. I am raw and peeled and everything I touch burns me to my core. I hurt all the time, both physically and emotionally. Some days I feel like I would do anything if it meant that I’d be able to turn this down, even just a little.
For my sufferers and survivors: I wish you strength to fight for health every day; to choose life; to find the freedom that is possible and to hope for it. I wish peace for you in your distress. I pray that you love yourself gently, then fiercely and without question. No love is merely deserved. It is necessary for our very existance and God gave it freely to the undeserving. Remember this every time you hate everything about yourself, when ED whispers lies that you hold as truth or as you recall the gospel of starvation to mind. I hope you find the perseverance to fight ED in any way possible: even the small ways are victories within us. I wish you passion instead of numbness. I wish you fullness of mind and spirit and even body instead of this all consuming emptiness. I pray that the demons which dog…
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