I have suffered with an eating disorder for 25 years. This is my path through recovery.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Just Like Gloria Gaynor...
Well. It's been some 20 months since I first wrote and I'm still fighting with this bastard Ed. Only, surprise! It's really not some "bastard Ed," but a leftover remnant of my rebellious teenaged self who's still asserting her existence and belligerently stepping in to protect me from the controlling world around me. She's got this sassy, "Hey! I'll show YOU!" attitude which I love, but which just comes out in the worst way. I call her, "Eddie."
I'm finding support in a wonderful group of women at Renew, where we laugh, cry, get pissed off, love each other and work our collective way through all the sludge and bilgewater that builds up in our lives and threatens to choke the breath out of each of us. I also have an amazing nutritionist with whom I work regularly, and a therapist I adore.
So - what's been going on since that first post? I can't honestly say. It's been up and down and up and down; compression, release, relax; reduce, reuse, recycle. Some days I feel like Typhoid Mary; others like Little Mary Sunshine; then, of course, there's Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, but my garden is overgrown and overwhelming. The very vagaries of day-to-day living are sometimes just beyond my ability to cope.
There's been a lot of upheaval and turmoil in my life in the last year - some good, some bad, as most things are. Some of it brought me new and wonderful friends, though (you know who you are!), and a few of them are wonderful helpers to me in my ongoing struggle for supremacy in my own life with Eddie.
Eddie is not all bad, you know. No, Eddie came along at a vulnerable time in my life and stood up for me in ways no one else ever had. She's feisty, yet passive-aggressive, angry, and boldly protective of me. And she's smart. This girl has a Mensa-level IQ. She figured out that control didn't have to be what others expected it to be. I could be in control of what I ate no matter what dictums others tried to place upon me - and believe me, plenty of others tried to control my choices.
My parents, naturally, tried to make sure my life was lived according to their standards and by their rules. Their standards weren't always mine, though. In fact, if my mother saw the complete dishevelment of my living room, she'd plotz. They tried to control everything in my life - my friends, my likes and dislikes of clothes, the layout of my bedroom. I think that my current laissez-faire cleaning style is still in direct rebellion to that, but it's still a choice I want to make differently. I would eat in secret from them as a passive-aggressive rebellion.
My friends also control(led) my life. I would do anything to be liked and accepted, for the most part. I let my so-called friends walk all over me for a long time. They dictated what was cool and what was not. I had so many nerves around them that I just ate lots when they were around. Some of the folks I counted as friends once upon a time weren't ever really friends to me. I know that now. They used me because I was needy enough to allow it. I probably knew that deep down, but again - there was no feeling of being able to stop it. I needed control somewhere in my life, and food was the only place I could find it for myself.
Enter Eddie. Feeling unloved? Eat! You'll be full, and you won't have to think about that. Feeling angry? Stuff it down with food so you can feel stronger. Sad? Eat! It'll comfort you.
Geez. Smart, smart girl, but not smart enough to see more than one solution for every problem.
The time is long past to help Eddie move on and mature. That is the only way she and I can continue to coexist. I am so grateful for all the help she has given me for so long, but we need to find other coping mechanisms now that fit both of us. It will be so difficult to tell her that she has to change, but she needs to know that her "help" is really not help anymore, but hurt. That she is damaging the very person she is intent upon saving.
So. I think I'll write her a little letter. I'll let you know when I get an answer.