Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fixing Fear with Food

For a girl who once lived every single day wondering where, how, when and how much I could binge and purge so that I could relieve the excruciating pain in my heart and quiet the noise in my head, it seems strange to say I’m having any trouble at all with food today.  But for a girl who lived 15 plus years in the throws of bulimia, I can’t afford to decide I’m just the same as every other woman out there worried about body image and dieting.  This isn’t because I’m such an abnormal eater today or that I’m in a constant battle with food and weight because that’s just not true.  I enjoy a great deal of freedom in my meal plan and certainly ‘look’ normal in my approach to food.  People appear almost shocked when I do share my eating disorder story with them.  The reason I cannot afford to say I am a ‘normal’ food person is because that’s just not true either.  If I begin to playing with my food, adjusting portions to fit into a new size jean or feel better around certain people, I’m playing with my life.  If I allow myself one day of restricting, one binge, one purge, I’m opening a whole box of crazy, and there’s no telling if it will close again, ever.  I know how fast and hard I fall when I go there and in a very short time most everyone can see I have changed.  They might not know it is food that’s striking me psycho, but they know something is seriously wrong. 

So I am struggling with food lately and it’s really affecting my body image.   Interesting now that I wrote that, I don’t know which came first.  You see, my husband and I moved across town a few months ago, and I have been uncharacteristically shy around new people since.  I feel such a powerful loneliness even when surrounded by a hundred folks in recovery and I have frozen up and closed myself off.  So I show up and am in my head at meetings and gatherings thinking that everyone is judging me… BY THE WAY I LOOK.  Danger, Danger, Danger!!!   I don’t know about you but if people are just going to judge me by what I look like and decide from that if I’m good enough to talk to, I better look super duper uber HOT!!!!  I have no idea how much better I need to look to get to superduperuber, but I know darn well I’m not even close.  That’s enough for me to start the mental tirade against my own body and overall self worth.  I’m not pretty enough.  I’m not skinny enough.  I’m not fit enough.  I’m not good enough.  I’m not what I used to be.  I’m a failure.  I SHOULD FIX THIS.  If I can be skinny and fit and drop dead gorgeous again, THEN people will talk to me and like me and THEN I can be happy and outgoing again.  THEN I can be me again.  

The temptation to actually act on the barrage of criticisms in my head has been extraordinary.  I have felt the extra bites, the skipped breakfasts, the late night eating that I really, really wish would just fix my discomfort.  I want to believe my screaming head that says I can fix it with food, because that seems the quicker way.  Thankfully, I have been taught to seek the truth in all things before I act out of desperation and before I go on a full scale binge or purge or start weighing myself multiple times a day.  So, I took some time today to find the truth through all the bullshit in my brain and found it fairly quickly.  The truth is that change is really hard, and I am uncomfortable.  That’s it!  I have not recently become ugly or gross or less than or incapable of forming new friendships.  Nothing about the funny, outgoing, grace-filled, caring, friendly, recovering woman I am has changed.  I simply don’t like feeling vulnerable and am afraid of rejection.  Duh, I’m human.  So after two weeks of internal turmoil and self deprecating thoughts, I can see that my perception of myself, my own worth and my security were knocked off balance by the fear of change.  I will ask to be put back to center now and smile into the mirror a few times today in gratitude of the woman I see looking back.

Maybe this week I’ll play a different tape when I go to meetings that says, “I’m okay and what you think of me is none of my business anyway so what’s your story?”

Related Posts:  So little talk of food

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