What if I can’t stop?

The first thing to do today is say: if you are at all vulnerable about food, weight, body image and other such things might be best if you skip over this one…..

I think there must be something in the air at the moment – because a couple of other bloggers have posted about similar things this week. Perhaps it’s National Former Eating Disorders Bite You On The Bum Week or something…..

I am recovering from an eating disorder. I say recovering rather than recovered because I don’t think disordered thinking about food ever truly goes away. It hangs around in the background and you have to work very hard to keep it there.

Nonsense thinking about food has been in the background of my brain for more than 10 years. During that time I’ve maintained my weight at an acceptable level with only one exception – when Mr Friendly and I split up. I lost an awful lot of weight at that point, dipped below ‘healthy’ and had a smallish battle to get back to where I needed to be. The point is, I did get back. The other point is that I have more or less maintained my weight for more than ten years. That other point is REALLY BIG NEWS by the way.

I still have a funny relationship with food. I eat because I have to. I rarely eat because I’m hungry and I hardly ever eat because I want to. The notion of ‘comfort eating’ makes no sense to me at all because I don’t ‘enjoy’ food. It’s just a necessity – like air.

My thoughts about weight are a little bit difficult too. I don’t know how much I weigh because I can’t know. If I knew it would bother me – I’d try to round the number down to something nice and even and then I’d get obsessed with it being even and I’d try to get it down as low as possible in an attempt to have the best chance at keeping it even…. If that doesn’t make any sense to you should count your lucky stars at this point.

Understanding of eating disorders has moved on a lot since I was poorly and I think most people know that eating disorders have absolutely nothing to do with being thin. What I don’t think many people realise is that eating disorders often have EVERYTHING to do with not being fat. It’s a subtle difference and one that still governs my life to a certain small extent.

I’m ashamed to say that I think unpleasant things about being fat. I have a morbid fear of being overweight and even if I could cure my fear I wouldn’t want to because it terrifies me too much to even think about it. This fear has nothing to do with vanity although it has a lot to do with outward projections and the space I occupy in the world.

Reading that back it must appear to you that I still have a very unhealthy relationship with food and weight. I know that it isn’t ideal but I do know that it is managed. I’m aware, I have insight and that means I can keep myself in check. It makes for a miserable existence at times, but the process of keeping a well body when you have a broken brain is actually like heaven on earth when you compare it to the horror that is an eating disorder in full flow. Forget the times when my brain wants to jump off a building, or eat three packets of painkillers, or write ‘POINTLESS’ on my arm with a razor blade. Those things are a walk in the park compared to what an eating disorder does to your brain, your body and your life.

I’m terrified of being fat, but going back to the dark days of the starvation diet terrifies me so very much more. It is genuinely my biggest fear in the world because I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you manage to beat twice in your life.

I suppose I should let you know why I’m telling you all of this (I’ve been putting it off). The thing is I’ve put a little bit of weight on recently. I know I have because I can see it, and because I can feel it. I know that I’m not anything approaching fat – in fact I look healthy at the moment. My backside has made a re-appearance and I can wear a WonderBra and look like I might have some kind of a bust going on. My skin is healthy, and there are two nice apple type things where my cheekbones used to live. My ribs are in retreat.

This is all great – it’s nice to look in the mirror and see a healthy human being looking back. But at the back of my mind there’s a scary, scary thought that won’t go away: what if I can’t stop.

It’s spinning round and round and round.

It’s screaming at me: WHAT IF I CAN’T STOP? It’s scary because I know exactly what the answer is.

The answer is JUST STOP. Just like that. Don’t just stop, make up for it – you don’t want to run the risk of being fat after all and the best way to avoid ever weighing too much is by weighing as little as possible. It’s like an insurance policy.

I know this is all ridiculous and disordered and not at all rational. But it doesn’t have to make sense for it to be scary. I am on guard at the moment. It seems I’m destined always to be on guard against something. If broken brain isn’t terrorising itself thinking about how pointless everything is it manages to find something else to keep me in a state of absolute terror.

Curse my broken brain.

Lots of love from WeeGee

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19 comments

  1. It’s rediculous, irrational and disordered, but it makes TOTAL SENSE IN MY BRAIN. Pretty sure it’s National Former Eating Disorders Bite You On The Bum Week as well as WeeGee Is In My Brain Again Week.
    Love xoxoxoxox

  2. It is good to remain on guard against ED. Thanks for your honesty. I remember the first time I tried on a two-piece bathing suit after having been away from ED for almost ten years. My old two-piece was wearing out. I was startled by my new curves, since I had slowly let my body be where it needed to be. Because I really liked my freedom from ED, I was able to adjust. I have honestly learned to love food and love my body. I am slim and not skinny. Healing is gradual and fully possible. It’s where I live now. I wish it for you too. It sounds like you are getting close to it.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

  3. IT’S LIKE YOU’VE READ THE INSIDE OF MY HEAD AND WROTE IT OUT! For me it’s not that I want to be thin and beautiful and get all teh boyz. It’s because at a healthy weight I feel ‘too big’, like I’m too big for this world and my presence is too great and I have to disappear. I had to get rid of my two (yes two, because one’s not enough) sets of scales back in June because knowing my weight made me want to keep it below a certain weight (which of course got lower and lower.)

    I’ve been a healthy weight for three months. My ‘thigh gap’ is officially gone, my face is full, my hair is thick, my skin is amazing. I have a waist, and hips, and yes, I may even be able to one day attempt a cleavage. Hardly see ribs now… I should be happy, yet I’m not. I feel I take up too much space. I miss my bones some days. I also fear not being able to stop too. I think our logic is the same ‘if I weigh less/ get underweight then I definately won’t end up huge if I’m further away from ‘huge’ number.’ Now I am comparatively closer to ‘huge’ number! It’s scary!

    Haha! I say ‘starvation diet’ too.

    Ok, this is my way of saying ‘I know!’

    xxx

    1. Hey – keep up the good work. You seem to be doing so very well.

      It’s nice that here are people out there who ‘know’. Don’t forget where I am if you ever need and ear or two xxxx

  4. I’m sorry about your food issues, but it does seem like you’re doing really well – keep it up WeeGee!! I know what you mean about the “what if i can’t stop” thing, I feel like that about losing weight and also about putting weight on. What if I end up fat, or what if I can’t stop losing weight and make myself very ill… I hope you can maintain the healthy weight that you’ve achieved, and remember I am here to support you if you ever want to talk or anything. Lots of love and ellie hugs xxx

  5. “I’m ashamed to say that I think unpleasant things about being fat. I have a morbid fear of being overweight and even if I could cure my fear I wouldn’t want to because it terrifies me too much to even think about it. This fear has nothing to do with vanity although it has a lot to do with outward projections and the space I occupy in the world.”

    Holy fuck. Thats it! Thank you for ‘finding my words’

    And how does it make sense we can keep ourselves balancing on the lower edge of healthy for years, but find it so difficult to let ourselves maintain on a higher range of healthy? Even if the balancing on that edge might as well be unnatural (because honestly, some bodies just stagnate at a higher BMI).

    If you’re on guard anyway, and fighting and kicking, then don’t let yourself ‘make up for it’. Keep this upwards trend. Because, as you said, you can always stop at some point. Just see where this takes you, it you’ll find that good ol’ balance point. Because truth is, you probably WON’T end up overweight. (I know this is rationale that you might not be able to ‘feel’ in agreement with, but sometimes we need to do what we/others KNOW is right i/o what feels right… And I say ‘we’ here for a reason..)

    1. You’re right. I know you are even though I don’t want you to be. It’s such a chore, isn’t it?

      Hope you’re okay and that you can continue doing the right thing. That’s my plan – your words spurred me on xxx

  6. I don’t have anything useful to say, but can totally relate to you, especially as the last couple of posts I have made this week have been ‘ED in a previous life’ themed…. funny isn’t it…. anyway, hope you are ok xxxxx

  7. This, “I’m terrified of being fat, but going back to the dark days of the starvation diet terrifies me so very much more. It is genuinely my biggest fear in the world because I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you manage to beat twice in your life.”
    That’s where I am at. I eat anything now, but it’s because I know I have to and am petrified of being cold and [insert all the other starvation symptoms here]. And right now, I don’t feel hungry, and food is totally one of those chores you just have to do.

    It’s not irrational or illogical to think that you might gain and gain and gain. It happens to me still. I gain like a pound, and even if I’ve been trying to gain it, and purposely ate more to gain that, it still freaks me out that, that pound might turn into 100 pound, and then I’d want to “die”.
    I think, given this current down turn I’m in, weight or fear of being fat is still a relief to the other very real things I think about. Sometimes, I get scared of my own self, and don’t feel safe and feel out of control, and it’s as though being scared of being fat, gives me something to concentrate on, that still despite knowing first hand it’s not the case, I think I can control.

    Like I’ve said over and over on my blog and to my treatment team, I don’t think my eating disorder is a problem, or that it was even a problem on it’s own. It’s just a coping mechanism for the broken brain that’s there at whatever weight. That’s the problem I feel like I need to sort, or the ED will just be waiting there in one of the crevices of the broken brain, waiting until the moment I crack, and cannot cope.

    Also, it’s mad the things you forget about being low weight. I still remember how horrible it was, but sometimes all I see is that it helped. This is very bad, and constantly need to reread the horrible parts of my blog when I was deep in ED, to see how horrible it really was. Then usually, I eat pizza, or fish and chips because that does frighten me.

    Hugs beautiful. Sorry this is so long, and I’ve mentioned myself several times. I guess it was easier to explain what I think this way. Lol xxxx

    1. I think I forget about the physical symptoms but I’ll never forget all the horror that it brings to your head. It’s the worst thing ever.

      I agree that nine times out of ten it’s symptomatic of much bigger problems, although I also know how much worse being starving makes those other problems….

      We just have to keep going, don’t we? Remembering what we’ve learned and taking the support that is out there. An ED isn’t a life sentence even if it feels that way from time to time.

      What I really mean to say is strength to your elbow lovely, and keep on keeping on. Here for you always xxxx

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