Tag Archives: eating disorder

On Anger and Helplessness

When I talk about my anger, I feel like people see me as someone who goes off on people, physically or verbally.  I don’t do that–mine is all directed internally.  I want to scream at people and pick fights, but I don’t.  It all just turns in on myself and makes me feel worthless and hopeless and suicidal.  If I had a foolproof way of ending it, I would.  But I don’t want to risk screwing it up and being “saved,” only to be abandoned again as soon as they decide I’m “okay.”

I don’t want to get rid of all the anger, either.  It’s the only thing that’s kept me alive this long–it’s a way of marking that a lot of terrible things happened to me, but the fact that they happened doesn’t mean they’re okay or I deserved it.  For a long, long time, I thought I never felt anger.  Nothing beyond mild frustration on occasion.  But I was slowly killing myself with my self-harm and eating disorder, and if that’s not the personification of rage turned inward, I don’t know what is.  I really believe that finally being able to get angry at the people and events that had driven me to believe I needed to annihilate myself was what saved me.  I could finally see that what they’d done to me wasn’t okay, and I could turn around and say, “No, it’s you I’m angry at, not myself.”  I could choose to stop destroying myself because I finally understood.

But now it’s different.  Now it’s not me destroying myself, and I can’t choose to change what’s happening to me.  The decisions and circumstances are, for the most part, out of my hands.  So I can recognize that it’s unfair and wrong, I can see that I don’t deserve to have my needs go unmet…but I can’t change it.  So all I’m left with is rage and the familiar desire to destroy myself.  Only this time I don’t want to do it piecemeal; I just want to get it over with and be done.  I just can’t live like this.  No one can really live like this.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Come On, Cosmopolitan

A friend of mine posted a Cosmopolitan article on her Facebook page.  It’s about measures of health other than weight.weight loss/BMI.  On the surface, that sounds promising.  God knows I’d love to see an end to weight shaming and the rhetoric of fat=unhealthy/skinny=healthy.

But when I clicked through, I was sorely disappointed.  Cosmopolitan seems to have traded in weight-shaming for ableism.

To be fair, the article is titled “Signs You’re Healthy,” and I’m not exactly healthy.  But the article uses the word “healthy” as a moniker for “acceptable” and “good enough.”  It subtly shames people who aren’t doing the things listed, the implication being that we’re not trying hard enough to be healthy, which is apparently something we owe to society.  God forbid we should become useless, disabled burdens on society.

Let’s look at Cosmo’s signs of “health,” shall we?

1. You eat more whole foods than processed foods.
Is diet-shaming really that much different than weight-shaming, really?  It still promotes the idea that certain foods are good or bad, and since you are what you eat, you’re bad if you eat bad food.

My UC has severely limited my diet.  I can’t eat anything containing dairy, gluten, or corn in any form.  I have to severely limit my fiber intake.  This means very few fresh fruits and vegetables.  It means more processed grains, like white bread and pasta.  My disease also causes severe fatigue, so cooking is usually not something I’m capable of.  I basically live off of one brand of frozen meals that are free from all the foods that make me sick.  If I followed the diet generally recommended as healthy, I would be in a constant UC flare, which could literally become life-threatening to me.

I’m far from the only one for whom the stereotypical healthy diet advice doesn’t work.  Diet is highly individual, and you can’t reliably judge someone’s level of health by snooping through their grocery cart.  I already get intrusive comments from grocery store clerks and baggers, so I don’t need any more diet-shaming from Cosmopolitan.

4. You move your body and call it exercise.
At this point, when I move my body, I just hope it supports me.  When I move my body, I pray it won’t collapse in the middle of the grocery store.  I beg my shaking muscles to hold me up for just a little longer.  I wish my aching joints would stop grinding bone against bone when I move.  I hope that I can make it from the bed to the bathroom without losing consciousness.  I hope that I will not lose control of my bowels and crap my pants again.

Two years ago, before I got sick, I exercised vigorously.  I ran about three miles four or five days a week, I practiced martial arts three days a week, and I walked almost everywhere I went.  According to this, I was very healthy–and yet I still got life-threateningly ill.  My immune system turned against me, and I nearly died.  Now my illness has taken away my ability to exercise, but that’s not because I made unhealthy choices.

6. You have some sort of connection to your community.
Boy, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?  I used to.  I used to connect with people through my martial arts school and political volunteer work.  But when I lost the ability to stand and walk reliably, I lost all of that.  No one stuck around; our society doesn’t teach us how to relate to and support people who are sick with no hope of getting better, so instead people just disappear from our lives.  Illness and disability isolate us

8. You can physically accomplish the things that are important to you.
Well, I guess I should just give up now, then.  I can’t stand for more than a few minutes, even with a cane.  Most days even taking a shower is more than I can manage.  Cooking is out of the question.  My muscles give out and leave me collapsed on the floor when I’m trying to grocery shop.  I see my doctors more often than I see my friends.  I have to make compromises every day because, while there are many things that are important to me, I have the energy to accomplish very few of them.  It’s a good day if I can get through all the things I need to do to take care of my basic physical needs.  Anything beyond that is a bonus.

9. You can manage your day-to-day life — or feel like you have the kind of help you need to get by.
So if I can’t manage some aspects of day-to-day life and the help I need isn’t available to me, is that my fault?  That is not an unhealthy choice, Cosmo.  That’s the reality of circumstances.  Because I’m chronically ill and disabled, I’m poor: people with disabilities are three to four times more likely to live in poverty, and the programs in place to address poverty are woefully inadequate.  Most poverty programs don’t take into consideration the special needs of people with disabilities.  Other community programs don’t either: for example, my town has made the bus system mostly inaccessible to me because most stops don’t have benches for me to sit down while I wait, and they eliminated the stop near my house.  I’m not physically capable of walking the mile to the next stop.  There’s no service to provide rides to the grocery store or the doctor’s office.  There’s no service to have someone come in and cook meals for me so I have healthy food when I’m too sick to cook for myself.  Even therapy to help me deal with the depression and hopelessness that come from all of this is inaccessible to me.  That’s not my fault.  I’ve learned that I cannot demand my body do more than it’s capable of or I will get even sicker.  I cannot push my body beyond its limits to try to access services that won’t adequately meet my needs anyway.  Ultimately, Cosmo, that is a healthy choice, if not the most ideal one.

10. You can find a way to feel awesome about how you spend your days.
I try, I really do.  But let’s set aside all the inspiration porn about people with disabilities: being disabled is frustrating, isolating, and depressing.  Positive thinking has its place, but there are some things it’s impossible to reframe to make me feel awesome.  When I wake up and find myself and my bed covered in poop because once again, I’ve leaked during the night, that’s not awesome.  When I spend all day in the ER because I’m in severe pain and one of my five hundred doctors thinks I might have a bowel obstruction, that’s not awesome.  When the meds I have to take to keep myself alive make my bone marrow stop producing red and white blood cells, that’s not awesome.  When I collapse in a parking lot because my muscles have just stopped working, that’s not awesome.  When I try to make my life meaningful by doing volunteer work, but the people I work with give up on me and forget about me because accommodating my disability is too much of a hassle, that’s not awesome.  When poverty and inaccessible public transit leave me effectively housebound and isolated, that’s not awesome.

I would love to feel awesome about how I spend my days, but honestly, I spend most days in bed and in the bathroom.  Occasionally days are spent in doctors’ offices or the ER.  There are certain advantages to a life spent in bed: my bed is really comfy, and I’m an expert at cheat codes for The Sims 3.  I have connected with some amazing, supportive people through my blog, and I value that.  But mostly, the way I spend my days is boring and lonely and depressing.  Add to that that a lot of society is committed to rhetoric that characterizes me as a worthless drain on society.  Then consider that the government, in its failure to sufficiently fund anti-poverty programs, is basically telling me that I don’t deserve to be able to meet basic needs like shelter, food, heating, and medical care.  For disabled people, society’s message is that you either have to be an inspiring super-achiever (think Oscar Pistorius or Stephen Hawking), or you’re a totally useless burden on society.  It’s pretty impossible to feel awesome about myself and what I do all day when I’m inundated by those messages.

So here’s a radical idea: let’s stop teaching people that their value as humans depends on their health, or whatever markers of it society is currently obsessed with.  Let’s stop implying that people are only unhealthy because they choose to be and that bad health is a moral failure.  Instead, let’s teach ourselves that we don’t have to earn the right to exist.  Let’s teach each other that we’re already good enough.  Let’s create a society that includes people with disabilities instead of shutting us out of our communities.  Let’s change our perspectives so that we can see and value the contributions all of us make to the world.  Let’s start valuing people as they are, not as we want them (or ourselves) to be.

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Fuck It

Today I was supposed to have an appointment with the new case manager.  She never showed up.  I thought she was better than the old one, but apparently not.

I’d worked myself up to asking for more help.  I was going to tell her that I’m not sleeping and I’m severely depressed.  I was going to ask for therapy.  But then she didn’t bother to show up or call or anything, so fuck it.  I’m done trying.  I’m done looking for help.  I’m done trying to squeeze water from stones.

I’ll just stop even trying to get better.  I’ve tried and tried and tried, but I cannot do it without decent support.  So fuck it all.  I’ll just stay in my apartment, sleep all day, and binge and purge all night.  Clearly the people who could help don’t believe I’m worth saving, so why should I keep trying so hard?  I’m not important.  Eventually I’ll die–my heart will stop because of electrolyte imbalances, I’ll have a GI bleed, or my intestine will perforate.  A few people will be sad for a while, but overall the world won’t be any worse off when I’m dead.  I’m not contributing anything to society, so my absence won’t leave any big holes.  Just one less welfare queen.  Just one less pathetic loser who can’t function.  No big loss.  All I do is take money and resources that someone better than me could put to better use, someone who might actually do something useful with their life.  Spend that money on someone who matters, someone who can actually be saved.

Because I won’t be saved.  I could be, but apparently I don’t matter enough.  So for fuck’s sake, at least save someone.

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

stupid

“Who’s ‘you’ when
your own body is
your biggest enemy?

“If her own body
can’t recognize
her, how can she?”
Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling, Lucy Frank

I want out of my body.  I didn’t ask for this to happen.  They tell me I didn’t do anything wrong to cause it, but I’m the only one who has to suffer the consequences.  I did not sign up for this shit.

I’m not sure how much more I can take.

And not only am I sick ALL THE GODDAMN TIME, everyone either pities me or thinks I’m faking.

Or they just act like I don’t even exist.  Tonight, a dinner before the wedding.  I knew almost no one.  My mother introduced her husband to everyone, but not me.  I guess I’m not important enough to introduce.  No one talked to me.  I was sitting next to a family friend who had a stroke, whose entire vocabulary is “yes,” “no,” and “damn.”  I’m pretty sure he said more than me.  My mother kept checking to see if he was okay…but not me.

There was also NOTHING on the menu I could eat.  So I just got to sit there and watch everybody else eat.  That and cry in the bathroom.

It’s like I don’t exist.  They’d probably all be happier if I didn’t.  I’m the fucked-up sister, the sick sister, the crazy sister, the crippled sister, the sister covered in ugly fucking scars, the sister with no social skills, the useless failure sister.

I want to slice myself up so I don’t have to feel all of this.  If I had a blade I would.  I could take apart my razor, but then I’d be hairy for the next 2 weeks.

But I don’t matter to anyone, and I can’t deal with the feelings.

I do have a bunch of food, so I guess I could binge and purge.  Because that’s a GREAT idea when my digestive system is already fucked up.  But I have to do SOMETHING.

I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need to do anything stupid but it’s not working.  I know some of it is hormones but that doesn’t help either.  I just can’t deal with this.  I never should’ve come.  My sister probably didn’t even really want me here, and I couldn’t really afford this trip.  I’m so fucking stupid.  What made me think any of them could ever love me?

17 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Feeling Unwanted

FO called me last night to see if I wanted to go to the opening of the new campaign office in our end of the state.  I thought it would be good to get out, and that’s something I could do mostly sitting down, so I said yes.  He said he’d call me in the morning and come pick me up.

He didn’t.

So now I feel pretty horrible.  I feel unwanted.  I feel like everyone hates me and wishes I’d just disappear or die so they wouldn’t have to deal with me anymore.  I feel like cutting.  I feel like purging.  I’m not quite suicidal, but I wish I could die.

And then I feel crazy for feeling this way.  I know I’m overreacting.  Probably something came up at the last minute, so he couldn’t pick me up or go.  And even if it were true that he didn’t want me around, that can’t possibly be true of everyone.  Hell, the vast majority of people in the world don’t know me, and it’s generally pretty hard to hate someone if you’re not even aware that they exist.  I know it’s crazy to go from “One person failed to give me a ride to an event” to “Everyone hates me and wishes I were dead.”  That’s a HUGE leap.  It’s even a big leap to go from “FO didn’t come get me for the office opening” to “FO hates me and doesn’t want to deal with me.”  He’s always been nice to me.  We’re not best friends or anything, but we’ve always been friendly.  So it’s probably not even true that he doesn’t like me.

But none of those rational arguments make me feel any better.  I still feel like everyone hates me and wants me to die, and I still feel like hurting myself to dull the feelings.  I still feel like I shouldn’t exist at all.

I think I’m going to take a nap instead because otherwise I probably will end up purging or cutting.

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Mixed Bag

Therapy today was frustrating. First I was (accidentally) locked out of the office and left standing out in the cold, which feels like a metaphor for something.

Then I just didn’t want to talk. About anything…but I made the mistake of telling A that I feel totally stuck and alone, and she zeroed in on the alone part. She kept naming people and asking if I felt connected to them and asking when I last felt connected and so on. And I just wanted to scream, “SHUT UP STOP TALKING CANT YOU TELL I DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS YOU ARE JUST MAKING ME FEEL WORSE.” But of course I didn’t. I just shrugged a lot and said, “I don’t know!” With mounting frustration. It wasn’t quite true–if I’d looked I would’ve known, but I just can’t stand to look at myself right now.

The whole rest of the day, I’ve wanted to binge and purge. I’ve been wanting to do that for the last few days, actually, out of nowhere, and the urges just intensified after therapy. Everything just feels so wrong and sick and I’m way too full of all of it. I need to empty it all out because everything inside me is wrong.

It probably also doesn’t help that it’s a bad pain day and a bad poop day. I’ve been crapping orange for days, and I don’t know why. Is it bad that I hope something is wrong and I’ll just die? Lots of things are definitely wrong, they’re just not wrong enough to kill me yet.

But on the good new front, my old apartment complex finally returned my security deposit, so I have an extra $975. So tomorrow if I feel up to it, I’m going to the bank and then dress shopping. B and I are also planning a road trip to Alabama for my sister’s wedding–B is big on road trips. Last summer he wanted me to go on a cross-country road trip with a couple of his college buddies, but I wasn’t up for that. This’ll be more manageable, and it should be fun.

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized