Tags: eds


lost dog

Happy belated new year, LJ.
I'm sorry I went AWOL. My ED update is simple enough, - I lost some over xmas (staying with my food-phobic parents) then gained some this month and now I'm ambivolent about getting back on track. I'm maintaining and trying to restrict more yet I know what I should really do is put all these concerns out of my mind, eat intuitively and get on with my life. As if. I'm cutting back to 500cal again tomorrow. Yeah. Phew.

I've been dodging phonecalls and emails and not going into my internship. I hate hate hate being unreliable but not as much as I hate dealing with real life right now. I'm applying for jobs and talking the talk but I dont really want the future I'm chasing. I'm like electricity - I like to take the path of least resistance, I'm just not sure what that is right now. I'm also trying to convince myself I love my boyfriend and I want to look for a new house with him. I have a horrible suspicion this is what love is - you make it work out of guilt or naivety and after a decade of making do you've become dependant on each other.
God, I'm such a lame misanthropic bitch. I'm too old to be so melodramatic and too young to be so jaded.

Aside from all that personal blah, there's a lost dog outside my house, it's an Akita and I'm scared of it but it's wandering in front of trafic, in front of a school and I feel I ought to do something. I probably won't though. I always feel bad for lost dogs, they seem to alternate between gleeful interest in their surroundings and dire anxiety about not knowing where to go next. If it keeps going on the road, I'm calling on the dog warden.

A retarded part of my brain suggested that blogging here is just a way my disorder perpetuates itself and that I should refuse to engage with ED related thoughts. But I know that journalling here has helped me understand myself so much better, there's a fine line between pandering to the disorder and working out my own issues but I'm mostly aware of where that line is. Over the last six months, I've really worked hard at consolidating my sense of self, which I justify by considering it an investment in my future. Yeah, I was probably supposed to do that during childhood but those processes were arrested and I'm now perceptive enough to know I need to work on myself as I also work on my future and public persona.

Hope everyone is doing ok, I'll be back on LJ to catch up soon.


Shock horror - I've been spending money. Just went and blew $1.99 on a new LJ user head because it's Rene Magritte and that's all the reason I needed. I've also been feeding my 90's obsession buying old magazines on ebay, if I turn up anything scannable I'll post it here. Then I got sidetracked looking at 90's hairstyles. I love hairstyle models, some of them look so gauche especially this girl, I mean, even I know not to hyper-extend my knee like that in photos, it just looks odd. Oh here she is again rocking a look I'd love to bring back today, ...if not that pose.

I know it's dated but I was thinking about Primal Theory and it's explanation of neuroses as being formed in infancy in reaction to our basic infantile needs not being met. Here's what the wikipedia page says :-

  "Primal theory contends that many or most people suffer from some degree of neurosis. This neurosis begins very early in life (especially in the "critical period"—birth plus the first three years) as a result of needs not being met. There may be one or more isolated traumatic events but more often it's a case of daily neglect or abuse.
Neurosis therefore may begin to develop at birth, or even before, with "first line" Pains. Subsequent Pain is thought to be added on top of previous pain in what is called "compounding" the Pain.
Throughout childhood more elaborate "defenses" develop as the early unmet needs keep pressing for satisfaction in symbolic and therefore inevitably unsatisfying ways."

I dont think everything that's 'wrong' with a person can be traced back to just their early experiences. But I do think there's a part of us that always operates at the level of that baby - a proto-personality who only knows that they have needs which are either met of frustrated. Apparently I was a very needy baby, I wanted a lot of contact and attention. My mother blames her arthritic wrists on having to cary me around so much. Whatever. A study I read about in Just the Way You Are by Winnifred Gallagher found that babies seek out and thrive on physical contact more than anything else, even food. I might have seemed demanding to my parents but from my point of view I was just trying to get my developmental needs met. I wasn't fully booted up as a person yet and my knowledge and feelings about my existance were very black-and-white. I was either happy and having my needs met and the world was great or I was abject and not having my needs met and knew only unhappiness. I didn't have a concept of waiting 'or in a minute', I just lived in the moment and it was either good or bad. That's a pretty dramatic and powerful way to live but that's what babies experience.
And although we are all born with certain innate personality factors, animal studies like the one described in this cool article: "The Brain: The Switches That Can Turn Mental Illness On and Off " suggest these early developmental experiences do influence the adults we become and how we deal with adversity. Blaming the parents/upbringing for EDs is passe and even contraversial these days and I wouldnt for a second blame my parents, they've alwys been awesome. Still, I find it interesting to consider that perhaps as a excessively demanding and clingy baby by nature, if some of my needs (enevitably) weren't met it might have had a hand in shaping the anxious and reserved adult I am today.


Interesting new deveopment. Also gluttony.

I couldnt get up again this morning, I felt totally disconnected from my body like I'd taken a ton of vallium. I have tired phases like this sometimes, I feel like all my bodily systems slow down. I also got a stern phonecall from the landlord about my not having paid the rent for months. I ought to feel more anxious or ashamed than I do but it's been going on for so long I've just shut my feelings off in the back of my mind and I'm in barely caring mode. I think it's just burnout.
Haven't eaten yet today and I don't know if I will. Not out of choice, I really don't want to fast and fuck up my metabolism any more. It's not like it's beyond my ability to go get a yoghurt out of the fridge, I just think it's the swallowing it I'd have trouble with. Which is odd for me. What normally motivates me to not eat or restrict is the fear of how bad I feel after I eat. I'm pathalogically avoidant - I live in the future, in potential consequences. Right now I'm not at all sure why I can't eat what I could have done yesterday. The power of this disorder over my thoughts and behaviour never fails to baffle me.

I've been reading an article about the sin of gluttony. It's interesting how it used to be one of the worst, if not the worst sin but these days we're more worried about wrath and lust. Gluttony has evolved, too. It's fundamentally about favouring animalistic, physical satisfaction of the body over spiritual concerns. However, words we now think have a positive or neutral meaning such as delicacy, luxury, gourmand used to be much more perjorative. The quality of delicacy has come to mean sensitivity, demureness, tact, refinement. However, "delicacy initially meant the quality of being addicted to sensual pleasure and encompassed both lust and gluttony, but mostly gluttony". So really, the sin of gluttony can encompass both gross over-consumption of food, or simply taking too much pleasure in luxurious and over-wrought cuisine.
To avoid the sin of gluttony, many people jump too far in the opposite direction and we have fasting saints and ascetics. However, Religion has been known to condemn this extreme, too. I tend to agree, there's a moderate grey area and extremes are anorexic black and white thinking. Gluttony and abstinence might not even be seen as opposites in this sense, they're both excesses of the body which place unseemly emphasis on food. I certainly consider anorexia my own form of gluttony. (I'm not sure it's exactly sinful though).
I do think the fasting saints and modern anorectics who (and I'm guilty of this myself) deny the body are missing the point somewhat. In the past people percieved a seperation of body and spirt and the spirit was definately higher in the hiarachy. In Modern cartesian philosophy we have a tendancy to replace spirit with intellect but to the same ends, we denegrate and distrust the body and only value the intangible other. Why must we be so judgemental of the body, why are we so dualistic in our thinking? I'm not really arguing against mind/body dualism at all. I'm just wondering why throughout history humans have assumed this hierachy with the body at the bottom? We go on about "Sins of the Flesh" but what about the sins of the mind? I don't think the body is intrinsically worse than our other component parts.
Not sure where I'm going with this, I just find my reading going off down interesting avenues and I tend to trace it all back to EDs in my mind. For the record I'm coming at it from an academic standpoint, I'm not a believer in the biblical take on sins as such.

Hilda and Peggy

I've been reading Peggy Claude-Pierre's book The Secret Language of Eating Disorders. It's...very much of its time, it was published in 1997 and the lack of references to genetic/biologicalfactors is pretty glaring. It's interesting how even ED literature for mass consumption is much more aware of the biological findings these days and how much the emphasis was on the psycho-social a decade ago. The blurb to this book promises a revolutionary new cure for AN and BN. I found it frustratingly unscientific and anecdotal, repetetive and much longer than it needs to be. It's one woman's insights into how lots of treatment programs don't work because they're not addressing anorexic patients' intensely negative mindsets. Her solution (which could have been laid out in a book half the length) is unconditional love and 24 hour care. Not a bad book really, just not very useful. The Golden Cage is older but has more useful insights, IMO.
I was interested to read the book because Peggy is quite an enigmatic figure. Her treatment centre in Canada was shut down under contraversial circumstances and there was even an exposé book written (her supporters and critics are at war in the amazon comments section). And now I notice she's back and blogging again with a new book in the works. I doubt we'll ever know the truth.

Speaking of Hilde Bruch, I'm a massive fangirl. If Wasted is the ana bible, Hilde is my Marya Hornbacher. But seriously, she was writing in the 1970s and her interpretations of EDs always ring true and still seem relevant. I don't think theres one book I'd recommend as fully explaining EDs but The Golden Cage is a good starting place for the uninitiated. It does blame family dynamics a bit too much but apart from that, good stuff. Here's a quote I like:-
"It is perplexing that this direct influence of hunger on the psychic functioning of anorexics has been overlooked. (...) Many of the more alarming symptoms - splitting of the ego, depersonalisation, sever ego defects - are directly related to the starvation itself. A meaningful psychiatric evaluation is possible only after the worst effect of malnutrition have been corrected." It's not a revelation now but it wasn't widely practiced when she was writing.


Belated insight of the moment

Reading this post about the 'coming out' involved in blogging about EDs made me realise how odd it is I'm so secretive about my interest in EDs. So many of us have our public blogs and online identities and then keep our ED community identities sepearate. And I can see why when no one around you knows about your ED yet and you don't want them to but what about people like me, whose friends and family are well aware of my anorexic past? I'm not entirely sure why I should keep my ambivolence about recovery so secret. I even hide my ED books from my BF - Why? I honestly can't figure out why I feel like I'm doing something wrong by taking an interest in EDs and my own condition.
Perhaps it's because I'm supposed to be recovered and it would be too much of a blow to my loved ones if they knew I was still a bit wonky. But lying to them and being furtive about my eating makes me feel just as guilty.
Perhaps it's because I'm scared of the reaction I'd get if they knew I wasn't cured. When I was last ill with anorexia I ended up back living with my parents and while they were for the most part fantastically supportive they gave me a strong sense that they thought this was my problem to solve alone. I tried to give my mum some books on EDs to read, to better understand me but she was so reluctant - possibly because she was scared they'd blame her as my mother, I don't know. They didnt want to know and I suspect they over-estimated the amount of choice I had in staying sick.  
I'm just wondering how my boyfriend can openly research his condition - bipolar - and I feel like I'm indulging in something forbidden when I seek out ED literature. Seriously, I'd rather be caught with the filthiest niche fetish porn the internet can offer than a copy of The Golden Cage

Busy day yesterday, I went on a 'staff development' trip to art galleries in Liverpool. My bank account was more empty than I realised so I couldn't afford any food or drink throughout the 12hr day. I eventually managed to beg some tap water from one gallery and normally I wouldn't have minded going that long without eating, but since it was enforced I felt deprived! I wanted my chance to um and ahh over what I might be able to buy in the cafe then give up because deciding, as ever, was too difficult. My friend I went with who has recently lost a bunch of weight said she prefers to eat just one meal in the evening, which of course ought to be death to her metabolism. I hate it when people shake up my understanding of how dieting works. It skews my whole perception of reality!