Monday, January 31, 2011


My cousin is doing well and should get out of the hospital today.  It was really scary there for a bit but the doctors said they don't think there's any lasting harm.  I'm so relieved.  I feel like I can actually breathe again.

I called in sick today and am currently sitting on my couch in my pajamas, eating a plate of ants on a log (peanut butter on celery topped with raisins) and pink lady apple slices with a light Laughing Cow cheese in the new blue cheese variety.  Yum.  I approve of this meal.  Hopefully, since I picked it!  I'll probably want carbs in a bit but oh well.

Last night I made a delicious variety of fried rice.  I threw in cashews for extra protein in addition to the scrambled egg substitute, red peppers instead of carrots for the boyfriend, and raisins for my sweet-tooth.  I love savory and sweet together.  It was super good.  Too much white pepper though.  I'll fix that next time.

I also had a delicious Italian meal on Saturday night with friends.  If you can't tell I've been enjoying my food!  That's a very good thing.

On Thursday, after I made my last post, I was reminded of why anorexia is so insidious.  I couldn't eat and I felt horrible.  But at some point in the afternoon the fuzzy, floating feeling passed and I felt amazing and full of energy.  There's really nothing like that starvation feeling.  I haven't found anything that even comes close.  Too bad it'll kill me.  I desperately didn't want to eat dinner but I admitted to my boyfriend that I hadn't eaten lunch and he made me a nice caloric dinner of fish sticks and tater tots.  Blech.  The last thing I wanted to do was eat it but I know skipping meals is the first step towards a relapse for me so I did.  And the urge to skip meals and starve myself passed.  It's scary how quickly that happened though.  It makes me wonder if I'm going to always have to worry so much about this.

Anyhow, I'm off to play a video game.  Hope everyone has a nice Monday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The week so far

Today is not a good day.  I found out last night that my cousin had a horrible asthma attack and is currently in the ICU on a ventilator.  Apparently he's responsive (whatever that means) but as he was without oxygen for 3 or 4 minutes, there are concerns about brain damage.  He's only a few years older than I am.  How is this fair?

We used to be close when we were younger but I haven't seen him in about 5 years at this point.  And sadly, my first thought when my mom told me was, "At least it wasn't the drugs."  He's had his own struggles and maybe that's why we grew apart.  Neither of us had the emotional energy to support one another anymore. 

I just feel so bad.  He's never had a chance, not like I did and do.  Beyond the terrible asthma that he's had since he was a kid, my aunt and his father (what do you call your cousin's father if he's not married to your aunt?) fucked his life up totally and completely.  Actually, I don't think fucked up even begins to cover it.  I don't believe there's a word in the English language for how screwed up it is when your mother makes you go to 7 different high schools and your deadbeat doctor father gets you hooked on prescription pain pills.  Compared to this I've led a charmed life, anorexia and all.  I know you really can't compare suffering but still.  It makes me think about how silly my stupid little food issues really are.  My parents would have done anything they had to to get me better and still would if they needed to.  I really am lucky.

Needless to say my mom is freaked out.  Understandable, seeing that this is her nephew.  And I think it hits a little too close to home for her.  Not the asthma thing exactly, although me and my brother both do have mild asthma, but more the fact that at various points in our lives either of us could have been the ones being rushed to the ICU.  Me from the anorexia and my brother from the depression.  She told me on the phone this morning that she's really proud of me for working on my body image and my food issues.  I didn't know what to say.  I am trying to work on these things (buying full fat ice cream, wearing clothes that I bought but am afraid to wear) but I'm also struggling, a lot.  She said I'm an inspiration to her and I just feel like a fraud and a failure.  But I can't stand to make her worry anymore than she already is by telling her the truth.

Additionally, I don't think I'll be telling my mom anytime soon that when I saw a video from the Domodedovo Airport bombing in Moscow on Monday, that I recognized the smoke-filled area where bodies lay scattered.  It's where the boyfriend and I hung out for 20 minutes while waiting for our ride after we arrived in Moscow in October.  My heart is sick for everyone affected there as well.

And in the midst of all this, on the train to work this morning, my boyfriend told me that he thinks it's inappropriate for him to visit my grandfather at his nursing home with me since the man doesn't know him and won't remember him.  Not surprisingly this ended with me in tears on the train.  This came up because my mom has been anxious for me to visit my grandfather as I've only seen him a couple times in the past few years and he'll be 90 this year.  And his nursing home is near the hospital where my cousin is so if we were going to see my cousin this weekend it would make sense to do both.  I agreed with my boyfriend in that it would make sense for him to stay out of the room if we can see my cousin since they've never met but, while my grandfather is senile, he's not desperately ill, at the moment.  I told my boyfriend that I consider him part of my family and I want him there and he just kept arguing that this wasn't about me, that my grandfather doesn't think of him as part of the family.  Personally, I don't know that my boyfriend actually considers himself part of the family so I kind of feel like that's where this is coming from.  Which hurts since I agreed, for him, to wait on this marriage thing but assumed that we'd be at least acting like we were planning to get married while we waited.  And by agreeing to wait to get married until my boyfriend finishes grad school I made it likely that my grandfather (my last living grandparent) will not be attending.  No, I'm not close to the man but still, seriously. So I'm pretty upset about this as well.

I just feel so out of it right now.  Physically I'm at work and am going through the motions but mentally and emotionally I'm really just floating.  Luckily I'm doing an experiment I've done thousands of time.  If I didn't know the protocol by heart there's no way I wouldn't completely screw it up.  I also can't eat.  I just feel so sick.  I've had a few apricots and a cup of coffee with some skim milk today.  I'm positive I'd feel better if I ate but I just... can't.  Hunger is really the farthest thing from my mind.  More than anything I just want to curl up in bed and cry about all of this but I can't.  I have to get through work and then patch things up with the boyfriend and then force some food down my throat and just hope that tomorrow is better.

I really don't know that anyone is reading this (let alone managed to make it through this long post) and that's okay but if you are and did, keep my cousin in your thoughts, okay?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A reason to be sick?

I've been wanting to do a post that wasn't just "work is busy and I'm sad".  A post that actually focused specifically on some of the issues I deal with daily.  I probably have enough of those posts to last me a lifetime but as good as it feels to talk about them, they are hard to write.  I'm not really sure why.  I guess it's because not only are they personally revealing but then I worry about sounding like I'm somehow proud of these issues (I'm not, I swear) or worse, triggering someone else.  I know at the end of day that can't really be my responsibility and I'm pretty clear about what this blog is but I still worry.

So in traditional Abby fashion of never going easy on myself I decided I'd talk about one of the issues that I have the hardest time admitting.  Seriously.  I don't think that I've ever even manged to bring it up in therapy.  (As much as I liked my various therapists I always worried about them judging me for my crazier aspects.)  I've read many, many blogs where people talk about things that keep them from ED recovery.  And I've already talked about it myself, in not knowing if I could have a normal weight without an ED and how my ED soothes my stress.  This is one of those things.  The problem is that I don't think I've ever heard anyone else talk about it.  Which convinces me I must me the only one and I'm crazy and broken and a bad person.

I am terrified of having to take care of myself. 

Or maybe more accurately, I'm terrified of having to be solely responsible for taking care of myself.  I can completely understand where the misconception that anorexia was about adolescent girls not wanting to grow up and wanting to stay children came from.  Because from the very beginning this has been a theme in my eating disorder.  It's not why I developed an eating disorder but it's been a reason to stay sick.  And it's not surprising to me that my eating disorder started right as I was looking into the scary distance that was post-college adulthood.  If I was sick and couldn't even feed myself I certainly couldn't be expected to take care of myself in any other aspects of being a grown-up.

I remember talking to my best friend (who has fought her own battle with bulimia) on the phone when I was at the height of my anorexia.  I said something to the affect of, "I want my parents to know how sick I am.  If I'm like this then they will take care of me forever and I'll never have to worry."  I don't remember exactly what she said back but it was about how this was so strange to her because her bulimia was something she never wanted anyone else to see, something she was so ashamed for.  She was the only one I ever told because I've been terribly embarassed about it.  Admitting this sounds so selfish, so pathetic.  But I still feel this way.

I do actually do thing to take care of myself daily.  I've carefully cultivated this grown-up image.  Masters degree at 23, actual career job 6 months later, living with the boyfriend, no debt.  I get up, go to work, cook, feed my cats.  But I also want people to take care of me, worry about me.  My boyfriend, my family, my friends.  I know I've lost friends because of this.  They couldn't handle that a relationship with me includes these things.  And I don't blame them.  Someone to take care of is certainly not what most people are looking for in a friendship.  I hate this about myself.

Underneath it all though I really, really miss the days when I was so sick with my eating disorder and everyone cared about how I was doing.  As much as I hated it then I miss my parents asking if I'm eating, I miss my flatmate crying about how worried she was about me.  I believe this makes me a horrible person.  But when I'm restricting the ED voices say to me, "Lose some weight and people will care about you again."  Because why would anyone care about me if I'm not actively killing myself, right?  It's not that I doubt that my family or my boyfriend love me.  I know this to be true.  But they don't worry about me anymore.  I guess I should be happy about that.  I've come far enough in recovery that I can take care of myself and not scare everyone around me.  Too bad it just makes me feel so lost and alone.

See?  I can't even get anorexia "right".  People with eating disorders are supposed to want to hide them, not flaunt them for the attention.  This makes it easier for me to really believe that I somehow chose this eating disorder.  I clearly chose it because I'm a bad person who just wanted attention.  The really sad part is that even though I feel this terrible about it, it does nothing to stop me from wanting to be too skinny again so people will care.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yup, I'm alive

It's been a bit.  I know I keep saying this but work is ridiculously busy these days.  I have been running crazy live-in-the-lab-all-day experiments.  Plus my work laptop is circling the drain so I have all the tech guys in and out of my cube all the time.  And my boss is being her normal charming self.  I truly believe that woman may have some sort of personality disorder.  Blah.  Then I finally get home and for some odd reason the boyfriend wants to hang out with me.  Weird, I know!  So yeah.  No time for posting.

I'm feeling okay.  Well, at least relative to my last post.  That's better, though still not great.

There've been some good things lately.  The boyfriend picked me up from the train station after work on Friday with a bouquet of lilies, my favorite.  Awwww.  I felt cute in the outfit I wore to the party on Saturday.  I got to play Little Big Planet 2, the video game I've been waiting for.  The boyfriend's mom added me to her Amazon Prime account.

There've also been some not so great things too.  The elliptical machine is still in parts covering my game room because a piece came out of the box broken.  My boyfriend the economist had me open the wrong kind of retirement account.  I got denied for a credit card, not because I have too much debt or something but because I have none.  We got referred to at the party by the boyfriend's aunt as "one of the married couples".  Fantastic.  I can't get a straight answer out of the boyfriend as to when he'd like to make that statement true but at least his family thinks we're already married.  I'm in their professional pictures but I'm not technically family.  Nice.

And I ate way too much this weekend and have felt disgusting.  Maybe.  I kind of don't even really know anymore.  I mean, when you get very tipsy off of 1 glass of wine that means something about not enough food, right?  But I also ate a ton of Reese's Pieces.  So where does that leave me?  Normal?  Still screwed up but screwed up enough in each direction that they somehow balance each other?  I mean, I kind of think that's why my weight's been stable for so long.  My binges are balanced with my restricting.  I do think I'm at the healthy weight for my own body so that's sort of good but it's still not a great way to live.

Anyhow.  I promised myself this wouldn't be another post like last time.  Not that that wasn't therapeutic to let it all out but it doesn't really help long term.  So in the spirit of not saying anything if you don't have anything nice to say (because those nice things I can't come up with would have to be directed at myself) I'll end this here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I really need to remember to title these things before I hit publish...

I was planning to do a post with some sort of substance today but I'm really not in the mood.  I'm feeling anxious (about everything but particularly weight) and grumpy (about everything but particularly weight) and angry because I feel these things.  I'm angry because it's been so long.  I know eating disorders are chronic illnesses but come on.  It's been 5 and 1/2 years now since I started down the eating disorder road to hell, why am I not better by now?  Why do I still have these horrible thoughts about myself and all of these insane rules and food issues?  What is wrong with me?  I really wish I knew.

I'm mad at myself because I do things like eat greasy fried Chinese food until I feel sick one night followed by chewing 3 sticks of gum the next day to avoid eating a small piece of candy.  I'm mad because I can't remember the last time I looked in the mirror and didn't want to cry, unless I'd restricted for the last 3 days.  I'm mad because I hyperventilate when food plans change and that I can't pick something for dinner half the time.  I'm mad because I can't go to work events because there might be food and because I never went to any work events I'm not friends with any of my co-workers.  Maybe we wouldn't be friends even if I had but who knows?  I'm mad that I'll be skipping the birthday cake this afternoon because I want to look halfway decent in my dress and in the professional pictures at the boyfriend's grandmother's fancy party this weekend but that I'm going to go home and have to eat burritos or pizza or something.

More than anything else though I'm just tired.  I'm tired of the rules and the obsessing and the freak-outs.  I feel like I got better from the eating disorder, sort of.  I gained the weight I needed to, I stopped weighing myself, and (for the most part) I stopped counting calories.  But then I plateaued where I was.  Looking back on it I should have found a new treatment team when I moved back home from college but I was just so eager to be done with everything, show everyone that I was better.  I just didn't quite finish the job, I think. 

If I'm being honest with myself, part of my problem is that I was heavy before the eating disorder and then I was too skinny and then I was this.  Just normal, I guess.  A huge part of me is afraid that if I let go of all these disordered behaviors my weight will balloon up to what it was pre-ED.  I've never been a normal weight without the crazy.  Never mind that my body has stayed this weight consistently for ages no matter what I do.  I think it's like my cat meowing constantly from the time he sees the treat jar to the treat being in his mouth.  He learned that if he meows he gets the treat.  I think I've taught myself that if I obsess I don't get fat.  But it leads to feeling like this.  Feeling like the insanity is leaking out my eyeballs.  Seriously, I'm pretty sure crazy just comes out my pores.

And I'm angry that no one else sees this.  It's something I've read from multiple people who recovered from eating disorders.  Your body looks recovered long before you actually feel better.  Being a normal weight doesn't automatically mean that all the brain issues that caused the eating disorder are gone.  And it's frustrating.  This weekend I mentioned to my mom that I'd bought regular ice cream and that I was proud of myself for that.  And she just kind of brushed it off.  I get that it must have been a parent's worst nightmare for mine to watch what I went through and that they were so happy when I seemed better but I want to scream, "I'm still struggling here!"  That I'm still totally broken.  My boyfriend has told me that he sees some of it.  Like when we go out to eat and I stare at the menu longer than anyone else mentally weighing the options.  Or when I stand in the cereal aisle staring at nutrion labels.  He's also said that he's proud of me for making good choices for myself.  Not ordering a salad sans-dressing everytime.  And I'm proud of those things too.  In the small moments that I'm not touching my collar-bone compulsively to make sure it hasn't disappeared under layers of fat.

I don't really know what to do.  I guess the obvious answer is get myself back into some sort of treatment.  It's what I would encourage for anyone else who said these things but I see it as a failure for myself.  I don't want to disappoint anyone who thought I could beat this.  The horribly chiche part of me is convinced whatever therapist I found would secretly be laughing because I'm not skinny.  I feel like I'd have to convince them I needed to be there.  Plus I tend to harp on the bad but I really do have my good days.  I'm not like this all the time.  And worst of all, what if I went back to treatment and I still had these issues?  At least if I have therapy as some golden oasis in the distance I can believe I won't be like this forever.  Because that's a terrifying thought.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Updates and Over-exericise

I can't believe I haven't posted since Wednesday!  It's been crazy busy.  Work was insane with training other people, liver samples, experiments failing, my coworkers being idiots, and computer systems failing me.  And home's been busy too.  We were at the boyfriend's mom's place for her birthday on Saturday and then at my parents yesterday for a belated birthday for my mom and souvenirs for us.  My parents got me a gorgeous scarf from Florence and a beautiful glittery masquerade eye mask thing from Venice that matches the colors in my living room.  I put it up over the fireplace already and the cat went crazy trying to get it, hahaha.  The boyfriend got a hat and a carrying case that I swore up and down was for a sex toy (it had a very manly transvestite on the front and is called Lolly Dolly!) that my dad apparently found in a camera store and couldn't resist buying for him.  I love my parents.  And my dad made his famous pea soup, which thrilled me no end.  My boyfriend even liked it and he hates peas.

I also had a huge fight with my brother about his annoying girlfriend so that's awesome and stressful.  I'm sure I'll write more about it later but for now it's just one more thing.  I've been trying to find some me time in all the craziness but it just hasn't really happened.

Luckily I'm off today, though I need to spend the afternoon doing boring stuff like credit card applications and possibly the trip to Target that I haven't managed.  At least I got to sleep in finally.  I needed it.  Now we're waiting for UPS to deliver our new elliptical machine.

I'm a little worried.  We dropped our gym membership last month because it was incredibly expensive, which was fine when we were going often but when your average is less than once a week, not so much.  The problem for me was just the 2 and 1/2 hour total commute I have added to my 8 hour work day.  By the time I get home I have no interest in going back out to the gym when it's already dark outside during the winter.  But in some ways I think that was good.  Not so much when it meant I rarely went but when my eating disorder thoughts kicked in it tempered how often I could give in.  It's an annoying balancing act.  Too little and it's not worth the money but too often and hello obsessive over-exercising, again.

I've never been much of an athletic person.  I was the kid whose parents told her to put the book down and go outside.  Even as a kid when I did swim team I hated the meets.  Practices were okay but then we moved and I quit.  I did swimming for one year in high school, sucked at it, and never went back.  My one non-A grade in high school was a C in P.E.  I swear, I still have nightmares about it.

When college came around I just walked everywhere and figured that was good enough.  Even when my eating disorder kicked in I didn't work-out.  I remember the first psychologist I saw asking at our first meeting if I worked out and getting this horrible flash of "oh god, I'm missing something".  I believe I said something along the lines of "I guess it's getting warm out again so I should start swimming again."  All I could think was "I can't believe I haven't been exercising, what have I been thinking?!"  I was horrified that this psychologist was thinking about how lazy I was, though of course in actuality she was trying to determine if over-exercise was part of my ED.  Shortly after that my athletic flatmate was going to the gym on Saturday and encouraged me to come along.  She knew some of my food issues and I think she figured if I exercised I'd feel better about myself and know I was burning more calories so I could eat more.  Unfortunately that's not quite how it works with eating disorders.

That started it I think.  I began swimming in the mornings no matter how cold it was and elliptical-machining it most days.  One of the campus gyms was right across from my lab so it was easy to dash over there while an experiment was processing or something.  But I don't think it was ever obsessive, time-wise.  I don't think I ever swam or was on an elliptical machine more than half an hour at a time.  Feeling the need to do it most days maybe was but I think it was okay.

Then I moved home for 6 months after I graduated and all of a sudden had to eat around my family again.  Right after I moved I convinced my parents to join a gym and started cardio kickboxing, pilates, yoga, and a weight routine.  Exercise turned into something I felt I had to do to eat.  I'd get up and go to a pilates class followed by an hour on an elliptical machine and then 45 minutes of weight lifting.  And then often when my parents would go to the gym in the evening I'd go back with them for some more elliptical machine time.  3 hours at the gym a day wasn't all that uncommon and there were certainly no rest days.  Even when I went to visit a friend for 10 days I convinced her to get me day passes to her gym for that time.  Only my parents insistence that I eat kept my weight from plummeting I think.  The scary part though is that no one ever commented on this crazy gym routine.  No one.  Not my parents or my friends or the people who worked at the gym who I begged for band-aids for my blisters.

What saved me was moving out and not having the money for a gym membership.  At first it freaked me out but I began to see how crazy my routine had been.  The funny part?  I dropped my eating to make up for this lack of exercise at first and my flatmate (the same one who'd encouraged me initially to go to the gym with her) told me she was worried about my eating and that I could take her bike out whenever I wanted for some exercise.  How is it that restricting isn't okay but exercise bulimia is?  I never quite figured this out with anyone.

Anyhow,  I eventually joined the gym with my boyfriend.  After I explained to him some of my concerns about over-exercise we agreed I wouldn't go to the gym without him and it worked.  I had a safe exercise routine for the first time I think, even though I would occasionally get freaked out about skipping a day or having a shorter work-out.  My work day really kept down my gym time, which was good until it completely killed any time I had to work-out.  Now I'm going to have this machine in my house that I can use any time I want.  I'm a little concerned.  I've never had this before, minus my parents tread-mill in high school that I used maybe 10 times.  What if I start to get neurotic about it?  It's going to be there staring at me.  I know I'm just going to have to be careful and monitor myself.  I can't afford to start the over-exercise again, especially not with my eating to way it often is these days.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Look at me!

Oh god, my brain filled in that line with "I'm Sandra Dee".  Obviously I spent way too many hours working on that musical in high school.  It is fantastic though.

But not the point of this.  All I wanted to say was I accidentally bought regular ice cream last time I was at the store as opposed to the slow churned half the fat kind.  Because it was a flavor the boyfriend wouldn't touch I got stuck consuming it myself or throwing it out and my fear of wasting food trumps my fear of full fat things.  And man, that stuff was amazing!  I'd convinced myself I preferred the low fat ice cream but I most definitely do not.

So today at the store I picked up a carton of low fat ice cream as usual.  Then I very purposely put it down and bought not one but two cartons of regular ice cream.  And I'm going to have some tonight, even though I ate out for dinner.  Admittedly, I did still check the label to make sure it wasn't insanely higher in calories but still.  It's definitely a victory for me.  And I'm proud of myself.  I know I still have a lot of issues I need to deal with but I haven't bought regular ice cream in 5 years.  So this is good.


(I've got to get my dad to call his old Apple buddies on this one.  I think it'd be an instant success.)

Anyhow, it's been a super busy couple days between work and helping my boyfriend finish his grad school application essays.  Want a nice mental image?  I have chunks of mice livers piling up at work.  Nice, huh?  Luckily my boyfriend's a great writer so that's not quite so bad, even if I do believe he's having a secret love affair with dashes behind my back.  (Me: Why would you steal my boyfriend like this?! -: ???)  ...Yes, that is a hypothetical conversations I could have with punctuation.  My point though is that things have been a little stressful.  And not just this week.  This grad school thing is getting to me.  And it's not even my own applications!

I don't handle stress well.  I know some people thrive under it but not me.  I'm the girl who used to, at finals time in college, wander around campus at 3am on the phone with my best friend, in tears because I was convinced I was going to fail all my classes.  My parents were thrilled when I studied abroad and was on the semester system instead of quarters because I only had two near mental breakdowns that year instead of three.  There's a reason I'll never go back to school.

But part of my problem is that even when I don't have stress around me it seems like I invent it for myself.  This post could just as easily been called iWorry.  Because I do.  I worry about things I have no control over, such as my boyfriend getting accepted to grad school, what if our house gets burglarized, what people (including random strangers) think of me.  I worry about things so far in the future (like what if I can't get pregnant when I want to) and in the past (like what if I had gotten into college closer to home and hadn't been so far away and so miserable, would I still have developed an eating disorder).  I worry about flagging friendships and family members growing older.  I even worry about the silliest smallest things, like what I'm going to do when the polish from my pedicure starts to chip.  Um, seriously?

I envy my boyfriend so much in this regard.  He doesn't stress.  He just doesn't.  We were in an awful car accident a couple years ago.  The police were talking to him afterwards, next to the totalled car, and one of them even said, "Wow, you're so calm.  Most people are freaking out right now."  (I was sitting in the dirt having an asthma attack from the stress, if that tells you anything.)  When I explain to him what I'm worried about he always asks me, "Can you doing anything about this?"  The answer is always no because being the perfectionist I am, if I could do it I have!  So then he shrugs and says, "Then don't worry about it.  It's out of your hands."  And that's just how his brain works.  I can't even imagine what that's like.

The disordered eating thoughts and behaviors really serve to calm some of the stress I feel most the time.  It's hard for me to stress when I see days "perfect" eats mentally laid out before me.  And it's hard to have room to worry about bigger things if I'm so worried about calorie intake and if my jeans feel slightly tighter or loser than yesterday.  A therapist once told me that eating disorders always serve a purpose.  This is something that stuck with me from treatment.  For me it's really not hard to recognize part of the reason why I still fiercely cling to some of these issues.  If I didn't have the disordered eating I think I might literally explode from the stress I couldn't distract myself from.  I know the coping techniques and what I should do when I feel stress but try coming up with those, not to mention putting it into practice, when your brain is going a mile a minute with worry.  So I'm curious.  What do other people do with stress?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I think I'm paranoid

Today is just a normal Sunday.  Slept in.  Played some video games with the boyfriend.  I just had a delicious apple, honey, and peanut butter sandwich with my new love, Pink Lady apples.  And I thought there was nothing better than Fujis.  Ha!  A trip to Trader Joe's later, possibly Target.  They sent me a giant coupon book, full of everything I use.  I love a good bargain.  And I'm feeling loads better.  I think sleeping for 12 hours yesterday helped a lot.  The boyfriend actually had to wake me up at 2pm.  My appetite even seems slightly better.  Yay!

I'm doing some laundry at the moment.  I opened the closet to the washer and dryer to discover that one of the friends who house-sat for us while we were in LA cleaned all the dried up soap that was all over the washer from when I bought a Costco thing of soap (never doing that again) and it leaked everywhere.  When I asked her about it she said she figured it had just happened and didn't want us to have to deal with it when we got back.  Oops!  I was almost too embarrassed to admit it had been there for months.  But I never claimed to be the best house keeper.  I try but when I go into the kitchen in the morning and there's a bunch of ants in the kitchen sink (not on any dirty dishes or anything, just hanging out) I just can't be bothered to deal with them.  Cleaning, meh.

It's probably a good thing we have friends over a lot.  I'm very paranoid about what people think of me so I go into mad cleaning sprees before anyone can show up.  It's probably the one time that my paranoia  about other people's opinions of me is a helpful thing.

I haven't always been this way.  I remember being 12 and some boy at school making fun of my hair.  I believe I called him a dickwad and told him to shove it.  (What?  I was precocious.)  So then when did this start?  I wish my fear of what other people think of me was something I could blame on my eating disorder but I think it was something that happened when I was first thrown completely out of my element by college and all the changes that went with it.  I never remember feeling so awkward that I was convinced everyone was staring at me and judging me, until college.  And then when I developed an eating disorder it helped to calm those feelings, both by giving me something else to worry about and in a I-can-shink-away-from-view sort of way, so I never really dealt with them.

When we were down in LA we went out to dinner with our friends and another of the boyfriend's friends who lives in SoCal.  He brought a friend of his and everyone there, except for me, is a part of a particular online community.  As we were saying goodbye this other friend said, "Why don't we get a picture of everyone?!  Here, Abby can take it."  I just kind of looked at him and said "Um, gee thanks," in a mostly kidding way that implies "Dude, think about what you just said" but he didn't say "Oh I didn't mean it like that" or anything.  He just said, "What?  You're not a part of XYZ."  And no one, not my boyfriend or the friends we were visiting said anything.  My boyfriend later apologized, said he felt really bad the whole thing but it didn't matter.  I was in tears that night convinced that no one, including my boyfriend, wanted me there and that secretly everyone would be so much happier if I wasn't around. And clearly the reason was because I'm fat and ugly.  I still feel sick when I think about it.  Which is so silly because really?  Not that big a deal at all.  But that's how my brain works.  Someone says something without thinking?  Someone doesn't like me instantly?  It's my fault, there's something wrong with me and I'm fat.

I'm slowly but surely working on it.  Simply commenting on other people's blogs is hard for me (I worry about people judging me) but I try to do it pretty regularly.  And hitting publish on these entries I write?  I swear, I nearly have a heart attack every time!  But I'm going to keep at it because I have to show myself that no one is going to think I'm an awful person for what I write (you know, assuming anyone is actually reading this) and if they do?  So what?  As long as I'm happy with them, that's what matters.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Missing: One Appetite

Last Seen: January 1st at some Indian restaurant in LA
Reward: I'll share some of the food I keep forgetting to eat.  It's tasty, I swear.

So I thought it was just the cold medicine killing my appetite but it's been 36 hours now since I had any so it should have cleared my system.  I used to lose all appetite when I was sick as a kid (leading to secret eating behind my mom's back while trying to convince her I was sick enough to stay home from school when I really wasn't) but I'm definitely on the mend now.  I don't get it.  But I want it back!

A good clue that something was weird was last night, eating dinner.  I had some vegan black bean soup and a handful of Ritz crackers with creamy blue cheese on them and when my boyfriend offered me more cheese I turned him down.  "Nah, I'm full."  And I was full.  That's very, very weird for me.  Years of eating disorders have pretty much destroyed my hunger and satiety mechanisms I think.  Unless I eat to a stuffed, couldn't-eat-another-bite stage I am never full.  Done for me is when I've eaten a normal amount of calories and what I say I'm going to eat at the beginning of a meal.  It's actually kind of annoying.  So if that was how my missing appetite was only manifesting I'd be pretty happy.  Not that that's really enough dinner but whatever.

But things like it getting to 1:30 and my stomach not even making the faintest rumble of hunger when I normally eat at noon keep happening.  I just forced myself to eat a big salad with avocado and now I feel absolutely stuffed.  Blah.  This sucks.  After that dinner last night I wasn't even hungry for anything else all night either!  What's up with me?

I'm sure it's just the cold or something and it'll be back soon but I guess I get frustrated and worried when I'm not hungry.  Frustrated because forcing yourself to eat when you're not hungry isn't fun but skipping meals is the first step down a dark path for me.  And worried because this is so unlike me.  Generally nothing deters my stomach.  I like to say I have a stomach of steel.  (Okay, I've never said that but it sounds cool.)  It takes a bit of time to wake up in the mornings but once it gets going it's great.  I mean, I've never had food poisoning even when I've eaten the same things that made other people sick.  Medicines never give me an upset stomach.  Even when I had horrible stomach aches from stress that landed me in the emergency room I was still hungry. I convinced my mom to pick up an In'N'Out milkshake for me on the way home from the hospital.  And, see?!  That doesn't even sound at all appealing to me right now and I adore those things!  This just... sucks.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Body self-esteem, jeans, and randomness

First off let me say I'm an idiot and I do not recommend emulating me in any way.  Ever.  And before you ask why, it's little things like this:

Last night was awful.  I got no sleep.  I must have woken up 6 times.  Not because I'm getting over a cold but because I took 4 different types of cold medicine.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Who takes one drug and, when it doesn't work, proceeds to take 3 more in rapid succession?  I'm lucky all that happened was I couldn't sleep.  As a biologist I should know better, and I do, but normally it's hard for me to care.

When your self-esteem in regards to your body averages a 2 out of oh, say a million, things like possible drug interactions lose their direness.  I'm so used to being disgusted with my body and seeing it as an enemy that possibly hurting it doesn't really strike fear into my heart.  And that's a big problem because I don't know where I'd be or what I'd be doing without this body but it certainly wouldn't be sitting here, typing this.  I should be worried about drug interactions, not nourishing my body, and fixing whatever damage I've already done.  But I can't help it.  99.9% of the time I hate what I see in the mirror.  And if what I see is already so bad then what difference does it make?

I worked on some of that in therapy for my eating disorder, after I was out of the woods food intake and weight-wise.  Unfortunately that wasn't until my last few sessions before I moved home after I graduated so it obviously didn't stick.  If (when?) I go back to therapy I know that would need to be something I focus on.

Another issue with having such poor body self-esteem (and yes, there's something weird about that phrase but I haven't come up with anything better) is that the smallest thing can trigger an avalanche of bad thoughts about your body.  For example last night, before the drug interactions, my boyfriend was putting his jeans away.  He grabbed a pair from the suitcase I haven't unpacked from LA and I started freaking out that he'd mistaken my jeans for his, again.  (Okay, to be fair they were actually his last night but he did confuse them when we were in LA and took my jeans into the bathroom to put on after his shower.  So the freak out was still justified.)  I accused him of thinking I'm fat.  That's the most logical explanation for why he'd think my jeans were his, right?  Never mind the fact that I just got these jeans that are the same color as his favorite pair.  Our exchange went something like this:

Boyfriend:  You know I don't think you're fat.  I think you're hot.
Me:  Well, fine.  I think I'm fat because you thought my jeans were yours.
Boyfriend:  (trying uselessly to reason with me) What do you think is more likely?  I'm dumb and grabbed the first thing I saw without actually looking at them or that you're fat?
Me:  Both can be possible at the same time.
Boyfriend:  But you say you know you're crazy.  So if you're crazy you're not actually fat.
Me:  Both can be possible at the same time.
Boyfriend:  So you're crazy and fat?
Me:  Yup.
Boyfriend:  If you weren't crazy you'd see how hot you are.  I mean, I'm glad you're at least a little crazy because then you don't see that you're out of my league and dump me.  But I wish you weren't so crazy that you think you're fat.
Me:  Yeah, me too.*

And it's true.  Once in a blue moon I get this weird flash where I can see myself for what I actually am and recognize my flaws but see the nice features I do have.  Then I can see that I'm totally average sized, actually leaning towards the slimmer end, but the rest of the time all I see is fat and gross.  What came first?  The body dysmorphia or the poor body self-esteem?  I don't know and that's for another post but I do know that my poor body self-esteem makes me so sensitive to anything I can even remotely blame on my supposedly being fat.  And it makes me not care about harming the one body I have.  Both of which are really, really bad.  So how do you overcome poor body self-esteem?  Anyone?

And now the random.  I hate it when I cut into an avocado and it already has brown patches.  Why does this happen?  Seriously, why?!  They look so nice on the outside.  Grrrr.  I don't eat enough lunch to begin with and then I have to cut chunks of it away.  But on the positive for today I saw a super cute dress in the window of Anthropologie while waiting for my bus so I think I might pop in there after work.  Who cares if I have half a dozen dresses I've only worn once?  The boyfriend's grandma is having her 75th birthday party soon with a professional photographer and I want to look cute!

*This conversation was immediately followed by me desperately trying to prove I was fat by telling my boyfriend my jean size at my skinniest and my jean size now.  This goal was slightly hampered by the fact that my boyfriend just looked at me and told me those numbers meant nothing to him.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Back from LA, back to work, and back to not being a biohazard.  Okay, back to not being a complete biohazard.  And no, that doesn't have anything to do with my lab work!  I've been sick.  Blech.  I woke up Sunday feeling like someone was stabbing me in the throat and all the cups of tea in the world didn't make it feel better.  But 3 days of sleeping on the couch has helped.  I'm now in the totally disgusting hacking and sneezing phase.  I'm back at work though.  The NIH says you're much less contagious after the first 2-3 days of symptoms.  And I'm trying to catch up with blogs since Google reader backed up on me while I was gone then sick and couldn't even read.  When I'm sick my brain basically refuses to do anything more strenuous than watch Law and Order reruns. 

Now I just feel doped up.  I took some Advil cold and sinus that has pseudoephedrine.  That stuff works but it makes me super loopy.  As evidenced by the fact that I just laughed at the phrase "super loopy".  It also murders my appetite.  So I was in the lab half an hour ago wondering why I was so light-headed and out of it when it occurred to me that it was probably because I hadn't eaten anything today and it was 11am.  So I ate an apple and now I feel much better, though still slightly stoned.  I'll force myself to eat lunch soon too.  Lesson learned.  Remember to eat while on drugs!

LA was a lot of fun even if I'm positive one of those flights or Disneyland gave me this cold.  Lame.  We played board games, ate out, went to Pinkberry, wandered Disney, and played with our friend's kitten.  Food was bad.  I ate a ton of high calorie high fat stuff and felt both physically gross and mentally pissed at myself.  So then because I was upset I ate more.  Awesome.  I need to work on this whole moderation thing.  Life does not need to be a choice between binging or starving.   But I forced myself to eat more when I got back than I normally would after a week like that since I was sick and definitely needed the calories.  And even so my clothes are already back to fitting normally.  What can I say?  My body likes this weight.  I just wish I did too.

I promise a post with more substance later today or tomorrow.