Today I get weighed. And by the way, I’m 43.

A lot of people say that the Netflix film To The Bone glamourizes Eating Disorders.  I totally disagree.  I disagree that it glamourizes it and I disagree that an Eating Disorder can be glamourized.

You don’t eat – you pass out, you look pale, you loose your hair, your nails get brittle, you have low iron, poor circulation, dehydration, loss of bone calcium, muscle loss, weakness, fatigue, headaches, moodiness….

You binge and purge – you get tooth decay, acid reflux, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, intestinal problems, seizures, irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, dry skin….

And for both of the above; the biggest side effect is death.  Yes, an eating disorder can kill you.  It will eventually kill you.  And there is no warning.  You don’t get a signal.  You don’t get anything.

You.  Drop.  Dead.

People think they are invincible and don’t believe that it’s possible.  But it is the reality of an eating disorder.  You will eventually die.

When I attempted to do the program at Toronto General it was a huge mistake.  The program focuses primarily on weight restoration.  Everyone is on the same meal plan and it’s not a slow and gradual process.  On my first day I was expected to eat a tuna sandwich, two containers of chocolate pudding, two cartons of chocolate milk and a granola bar.  That was lunch.  Talk about calcium overload.  Snack time consisted of not one, but two bananas and a bag of pretzels.  Dinner was pasta, a baked potato, vegetables and a chocolate brownie for dessert.  Seriously?!  I was ready to make changes, to get well, to put the work in – but those were unrealistic expectations.

The feedback was not positive from the girls I met at the program.  Many of them were there for their second and third times.  One was there for her 7th time.

A big problem with eating disorders is that is becomes competitive.  I’m not as skinny as her, I am not sick enough to be here….Groups of people with eating disorders are problematic and a recipe for disaster.

I understand where I am and where I need to get to.  I know I’m not fat.  I do not look at myself and think that I need to loose weight.  But this comes over time.  Some of these girls and guys aren’t in that frame of mind yet so that is the reason I didn’t like attending group therapy.  It was not for me.  This is not a (pardon the pun) one size fits all disease.  Personally, I think help needs to be on an individual basis.

I do want to get better.  It’s not enough to say you have to get better.  In order to get better you have to want it.

It’s hard to comprehend why someone would want to live a life that involves constant laxative overdoses.  Taking hundreds of those pills tears your insides out and turns you into a zombie for days.  Who the fuck would want that?

I remember one day at work last year when I had taken my gross, disgusting usual amount of laxatives.  I was going to the doctor for my weigh in and I had to be sure it was as low as possible.

I was very strategic with timing out when I took and when I knew they would react. I had gotten so good at it.  This time was no different.  Within an hour I was sweating, dizzy, nauseous and had this overwhelming feeling of exhaustion.  Most people would hate feeling like that.  Me?  I loved it.  It meant success.

So I went into the washroom and spent the next hour and half in there.  Sometimes the pain got so unbearable I would have to use my sweatshirt as a pillow as I lay on the floor.

A dirty, disgusting, gross, filthy, public washroom floor.  When someone would come in, I had to jump up and get off the floor until they left.

When it was time to leave and go to the doctor, I had  sense of accomplishment. That was ED.  I also had a sense of disgust.  A sense of embarrassment.  A sense of shame.  I felt like absolute and utter shit. That was Lisa.

I went to the doctor to get weighed.  80.4lbs.

80.4 FUCKING POUNDS.  That is the weight for an average 10-14 year old girl.  My doctor stared at me with such sadness.  She had been trying everything in her power, but her hands were tied.  One discussion we had was about me checking myself into emergency.  Saying I had just overdosed on laxatives and the hopes would be to get into a program as asap.  My doctor said that it was possible but it was also possible they would send me home.  The latter was likely going to be the outcome.  Fucked I know.

She, as always offered me support, encouragement and other resources.  She also told me to come back next week for another weigh in.  Medically she did everything she could and should’ve done to make sure I was stable and well.

That was the lowest my weight ever was.  I did go back the next week and my weight was up.  She was relieved.  I continue to see her once a month for weigh ins, blood works, ECG’s and other tests.

I have my physical today.

I will be weighed.  Part of me doesn’t want to know – part of me wants to know.

I am aware that my weight has gone up from my last visit.  And I’m okay with that.  I know that is suppose to happen.  I know that means success.  I know that means living.  I know that means I am winning.

So I think I will find out.  I will ask her to give me the good news.

It’s just a number.  It doesn’t define who I am, what kind of person I will be and it most certainly does not put value on anything of importance.  Just like our age.  It’s just a number.  I’m 43 – so what does that mean?  It means I’m 43.

 

 

 

 

I know you stare

I know people look.  They stare.  They wonder.  They want to know why my body looks the way it does.

If you know me, you know why.

If you don’t, you have questions.  And sadly sometimes even giggles.  Yes.  Giggles.

This happened last week while I was at Vaughan Mills with my son.  I saw two women walking towards us in the opposite direction.  It’s a scene that has become all too familiar.  I was wearing shorts and I could see them both look at my legs.  As we passed, they whispered to each other, giggled than turned around to get a better look.  When they saw me turn around, they both quickly turned their heads in a different direction.

I understand human nature.  I know that people stare.  But it’s also hurtful and more than anything else embarrassing.  I can’t wear a parka all summer – I want to wear shorts, I want to wear a t-shirt – but at what cost?  When I get dressed I feel good about myself because this is the skin I have been living in for so long.  I am well aware that I need to put on weight.  I am well aware that my arms and legs are too thin – I get it.  So when I get dressed I am very careful what I wear.

Tank tops – no way.  Bicycle shorts – nope.  I don’t want to draw any more attention to myself than I already am.  So I will put on a jacket, sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt to cover myself up if I’m feeling extremely uncomfortable.  Even if it is 29 degrees out.  I  am extra aware around my family.  They have lived with my eating disorder for as long as I have, so I am very sensitive to their feelings.

When people look do they think that I want to have a body that looks like a little girls?  Do you think shopping at Gap Kids was one of my goals during the past 20 years?  No f’ing way.

This didn’t start as a goal.  I was curious and it became a habit, which as anyone knows is difficult to break out of.  Than it became my coping mechanism, than it simply became a way of life.

Fast forward 20 years when I am doing everything in my power to get the hell out of this way of life and keep living the wonderful life I do have – without ED.

I want to put on a pair of Lululemon leggings and have my body fill them out.  Not have them so loose around the crotch that they look more like slacks.  Again, this was not the goal.

The thing about an Eating Disorder is that is becomes a moving target.  You achieve one thing and you feel it’s not good enough so you have another target to move towards.

I do have a goal now.  Stop, aim, hit that target and get a bullseye.  That means I win.

 

Can I See Your ID Please?

Am I afraid that all of this attention (after my article was published) will make ED want to stick around longer?

Absolutely.

I am now known as the girl with an eating disorder.  I’m the one who has suffered for over 20 years.

ED will want to make sure that is what I’m always known as.  Why should I get better?  That is who I am suppose to be right?

Who will I be if I recover? I won’t be the girl with an Eating Disorder anymore.  Who will I be?

When you recover, you loose a major part of your identity.  But that identify is how you see yourself .

That is ED convincing you he is your identity.

I asked some family and friends to tell me what they see when they look at me.  What is my identity?

Funny.  Outgoing.  Loyal.  Devoted.  Generous.  Thoughtful.  Loving.  Caring.  Reliable.

The lists went on and on and on.

Nobody said that I was the girl with an Eating Disorder.  Nobody said that I was thin.

Because those things don’t matter.  What matters is (cliché I know) what’s inside.  That’s what counts.

So, as much as I try to think that I won’t have an identity without ED, I know that is not true.  His voice is the one that tries to convince me that I will be lost without him.  My life is better with him present.  If he’s gone, I don’t have an identity.

Don’t get me wrong.  Loosing a part of your life that has been with you for over two decades is difficult.  You have to find a way to fill that void.  To fill the time you wasted engaging with the illness.  The thoughts.  The actions.  It’s very time consuming and takes on a life of it’s own.

But it’s not my identity that I’m looking to fill and regain.  Because the reality is an eating disorder is not an identity.  It’s an illness.

Taking hundreds of laxatives, sleeping on washroom floors, throwing up from nausea, lying to those you love because you feel like absolute shit and missing out on events is not living life.  It’s living a mental illness.

I don’t want to look back and remember my life with an Eating Disorder.  I want to remember me living my life.  Not my Eating Disorder living it.

So don’t let your eating disorder take over who you are, because you are not an Eating Disorder.  You are you.  He is an illness.  And we certainly wouldn’t give any other illness an identify.  Don’t let him convince you that you won’t be able to live without him.  Because I have news for you.  You are not living your life.  He is living it for you.

Turbulence

I flew home to Toronto this morning from Ottawa. I flew back to Ottawa tonight. I wanted to pay respects to my great aunt back home.  I also wanted to continue my family vacation.

If you know me, you know that I hate flying. I hate it. I loathe it. I’m petrified of it. But this trip was non negotiable. I wanted to be there today.

While I was 28,000 feet in the air the plane went through some bad turbulence. I was scared, nauseous and as usual talked myself into being further paranoid of flying.

What am I afraid of?
Not flying.

Crashing.

I’m afraid that my plane will crash.
The turbulence surely must mean that something is wrong with the plane. It will crash.

Lisa. Honestly.  Flying is the safest form of travel.  They say you are more likely to get in a car accident driving to the airport (not that this makes me feel any better). But you have to look at the statistics.

So I’m afraid of crashing. I’m afraid of dying. I’m afraid of death. Ironic that I discuss this on a day where I’m saying goodbye to someone I loved so dearly.

Isn’t what I’ve been doing to myself basically turbulence. But the fear I’ve created is something I’ve put on to you. Those that read my blog. Those that love and support me. I’m creating the fear of my death in others. Because I certainly don’t see it, otherwise I wouldn’t continue this behaviour.

Turbulence creates anxiety that is uncomfortable and scary. And I am doing the same to you.

Imagine your husband telling you that he looks over to make sure you are breathing at night. Turbulence.

Imagine your parents being afraid that you will be driving your car and pass out on the highway. Turbulence.

I hate the feeling of turbulence. So why would I want to put that fear onto anyone else?

More importantly why would I want to play this ‘game’ with my life. Why take the chance? What makes it worth it? Turbulence is an awful feeling.

As I said goodbye to Auntie Sarah, I marvelled in her 101 years of life. I want to enjoy every day like she did. If I keep up an Eating Disorder I won’t be able to enjoy the next 58 years of my life.

And why shouldn’t I?
I deserve to be a great aunt one day too. Surely as not as great as Auntie Sarah (nobody could ever measure up to her greatness). But I certainly want to try. To make her proud of the legacy she left behind.

Goodbye Auntie Sarah. You were one of a kind and will forever be a part of my heart.

Say hi to Bubie and Zaidy.
I love you all so much.

Published

https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/7449210-20-years-a-prisoner-thornhill-woman-shares-struggle-with-anorexia/?S=E

Thanks as always for your support.

To those of you joining me for the first time…This is my journey. The hell called an Eating Disorder has haunted me for over 20 years. I am working on fixing myself, getting better and taking my life back.

Sit back and welcome to my world.

Always open to hearing from you.

shynz10@gmail.com

Coping. With death. And life.

My eating disorder is how I cope. How I escape. How I chicken out.

My 101 GREAT aunt passed away yesterday.
When I found out I was mortified. She was so special, generous, loving and extraordinary. Truly one of a kind.
I was so sad.
And I thought of turning to laxatives in that moment.
I stopped my thoughts. OMG. I am so sad and using them is a way not to deal with my grief in this moment.
That’s what I do. That’s what I turn to laxatives.
Those stupid pills make me think they will take away pain and sorrow.
But in reality they give me a lot more pain and sorrow than I could ever try and escape from.

And if I did take, my sadness will still be here when the effects wear off. She will still be gone. I will still not have a great aunt.

So, taking them is making myself suffer even more than I already am suffering.

I don’t deserve that.

Auntie Sara wouldn’t want that.