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Archive for May 11th, 2009

I had my yearly physical, and I entered into it with trepidation. Last year, I told the nurse and doctor not to tell me my weight. I was up front with my doctor about having a long history of an eating disorder. She was so cool about it – much better than any doctor I have worked with before. Then, her nurse left me a message that included the dreaded number and advice to lose weight. I was incredibly triggered, and that kicked off another round of eating disorder h@#$.

So, I decided that, this time, I would flat refuse to step on the scale. That was my game plan up until that morning. Then, something inside of me said that I needed to treat my physical reality the same as my emotional reality – quit hiding from it, face it head on, and heal it. So, I stepped on my home scale for the first time in years and was shocked by the number – the highest I have even seen. (Ironically, I still wear size 8 jeans, which is what I wore in high school, so the number really took me by surprise.)

I went to the appointment shaky but not afraid of hearing the number. The doctor forgot to review my chart about the eating disorder and began a candid discussion about what has changed in my life because I have gained 8 or 9 pounds since last year. I had a panic attack right there in her office, complete with uncontrollable crying and shaking. (She immediately wrote me a prescription for Xanax.)

I then went on to talk about the horrors of my childhood and that it is by the grace of G*d that I am only struggling with weight and not a drug addiction or prostitution. She was very kind, patient, and apologetic.

The doctor then asked what I eat for breakfast. I surprised her by saying a cup of rice milk with my vitamins along with a cup of orange juice. I told her that my eating patterns are just fine during the day. It is as the sun goes down and I feel unsafe that I eat. This, combined with my attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) child being out of control in the evenings, puts me over the edge, and I eat to stay sane. She encouraged me to drink more red wine in the evenings (I drink ½ a glass a few days a week – she said go up to 1 to 2 glasses a day) and/or the Xanax (which is the lowest dosage they make) every evening to help manage my anxiety. Her thinking is that, if I can manage the anxiety in other ways, I will not need to rely so much on food.

I am going to try this and hope that it helps. I am trying very hard not to fall back into the trap of destructive thinking that goes along with the eating disorder. I am trying to be kind to myself and nurture the wounded little girl who wants to wrap herself in fat to avoid being raped again. It is just very hard. Of all of the aftereffects of my hellish childhood, the eating disorder is my strongest and most persistent enemy.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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