Intake, output

I have trouble sometimes believing that I ever had an eating disorder, or even that I still have issues. I went for an intake assessment at the ED clinic and was half convinced that they would throw my ass out the door. I could imagine the looks of astonishment: who is this fat chick walking in the door? I'm not underweight. I eat fairly regularly. My eating disorder behaviors are minimal.

I got a big shock when I took some of the questionnaires.

Maybe physically I don't look eating disordered.

But damn my mind is still messed up.

I wasn't expecting that. I really wasn't. I knew that mentally my recovery was lagging behind the physical aspect. But the It was so shocking.

I still look at the spread of my thighs and am disgusted. I still ruthlessly compare myself to others. I still cringe at some of the foods that I eat.

And there's a part of me that wishes I still looked sick so that there would be some sort of congruence on the inside and the outside. I feel so messed up, and there's a part of me that wants people to recognize that. I do function pretty normally (whatever normal is), but there are still so many things that are so freaking difficult. And I want someone to recognize that. I know my blog friends do. But it's almost as if I want people to appreciate the difficulty.

That's why this blog has become so important for me- that people recognize and understand what I'm going through.

I don't necessarily want John Doe on the street to say "Oh poor girl. You're so sick. Let me help you." But there are times, when I'm sitting with friends, and I want to be yell "Do you know how much work it's taken me to get to this point? This might be easy for all of you but things are different for me."

Mentally things are still such a struggle. I look normal, in all other aspects. It's hard for me to accept that I am allowed to struggle. I look better, therefore I should be better. This is the hardest part. I am better than when I was at my sickest, but there is still plenty of ways to go.

It's hard. And confusing. And I wish I could make sense of it. I can't. I don't think I was that sick. In fact, half the time I think I was faking this whole eating disorder thing. Screw the effed-up EKGs, the black outs, the whole nine yards. I wasn't sick. But now I'm painfully aware of how messed up my mind is and I just don't get it. I was never ill, but I'm definitely not well.

What the hell? What gives?

Was I sick? Probably. Am I still sick? Definitely.

Maybe the past doesn't matter quite as much. Maybe I can still get better regardless of what I think of my past.

And maybe I can stop thinking things to death. I think.

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Libby said...

Did you borrow my brain to write this while I was sleeping? Because this is exactly how I feel.

If I were to say more, I'd end up writing an essay longer than your original entry! Perhaps someday I will. But for now, know that you're not alone on this one... and it really helps me to know that I'm not either.

mary said...

Getting through the tough days is going to be challenging.
You're amazing Carrie. Learning to stand alone without basing our worth on what others think is sometimes quite difficult. We want to shine..we want to be someone who others take notice of. Therefore we forget that it's our own inner sense of self that matters most. Us girls, in particular, need to learn to stand alone so we can find out what we are made of. We need to feed our own compliments and fill our own cups of self worth. This may seem easy but it's damn hard work. No other person can fill this cup. Even guys start out all twitterpated and charming but eventually he'll fall short IF we don't have our own sense of security. We need this!

Even though I see a beautiful young woman in you it's still not enough until you to see the beauty in your own self. I [we] can shine a mirror but you need to look deeply to see just how wonderful you are and then you can draw on that.
Some people go a lifetime not knowing how valuable life is. Gratitude is a powerful healer. Love yourself...just for today and be thankful you are such a lovely mess so you can work on you as you are today. Admire the strength of those thighs as they carry you throughout the day.
Admire something outside yourself too. Give someone else the boost you need. By extending ourselves we develop strong roots to really lean on. This is your time to work on developing strong thick roots!
Nourish all of you.

disordered girl said...

It is the hardest, hardest thing I have ever faced, and I know it is for you too. At least with this place, we all get that and can appreciate how big those "small" steps are.

Faith said...

Oh my god. The congruency issue is something I fight with every day. I feel like therapy and these blogs are an outlet for that. That "Look! I'm in pain here, people!" part of me. I also feel like my tattoo serves that purpose.

Getting better regardless of what you think of your past is a goal I'd like to borrow.

This post was really helpful Carrie.

Thank you.


æ said...

Hi Carrie,
I don't comment here much, though I'd like to. It's because I think we have different philosophies about what an ED means, where it comes from, how to treat the emotional stuff, and I don't want it to seem like I'm shoving my beliefs down your throat (that's not an ED reference, I swear! well maybe a binge joke, ha.). I know I feel weird when people come by my blog and say things that are totally out of line with my approach or belief system. Well, not weird as in all-bad, but weird as in I don't know where to file that.

So anyway, I read your feed, I think many of the people I care about are part of your community etc, etc, and it finally occurs to me TODAY to just flipping ask you about it.

So if you were to say that people with airy-fairy ideas of recovery, people who believe in the inner child and somatic psych, were welcome to blech their patchouli ideas all over your blog and you'd feel supported by that, IF you said that, then I would probably comment something like

it's been really hard for me to feel like my body is not showing how much pain I am in too. Part of my body's job all these years (in active episodes of restricting, binging, and all that in between) has been to express what I could not or what I felt like could not be heard. In order to give up my body's job here, which I really do need it to do, I have had to have several really wonderful people consistently remind me that
I can see how much you hurt even when it's not written on your body. I can tell how much it hurts, you don't have to wear it for me.

And somehow, slowly, this is sinking in more, as my body quits being the canvas on which I paint my pain. And power. And joy and success and all those things that I have felt punished for exposing in just about any other place.

(yeah, I leave long rambling voicemails too.)

take care,

Jeanne said...

Wow, carrie. I get you.

And for me, I struggled with the fact that I was never physically sick. My physical self never was harmed. Thank heavens? Well... Sometimes I wish that I had some physical scars, some outward war wounds to show for all the mega-battles I've fought and continue to fight.

But that doesn't mean that I'm not sick and never was sick. The same is true for you.

thinking of you...

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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