Thoughts Running Wild

Well, the good news is I AM OUT OF THE CAST!!!!!

The bad news, I need surgery to remove my sesamoid bone but the podiatrist said if I can handle the pain we can wait for some of my marathons to be over.

The worse news, my eating disorder is stealing running from me.

(Trigger Warning)

I went for my first run today post-cast. It sucked. I did 2 miles total and needed to stop and felt as if I was dying during it. Logically, I get it. I ate 155 calories today before I ran, none of it had carbs in it, none of it had protein, none of it had fat. I had steamed cauliflower, 3 baby carrots, 2 sugar free mints. I know that is not conducive to life much less running but I can’t stop it, I only ate the baby carrots because I knew I was in rough shape going into the run but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t eat the carbs. Hell, I don’t even have carbs in the house.

I’m so weak. I’ve not consumed over 250 calories a day for over a week now. It’s killing me. The chest pain comes and goes, the black outs when I stand up too quick, the mental struggle, all of it is just killing me. I feel like my running is the only thing I have keeping me trying to eat and now, now I am losing the very thing I cherish and love.

Maybe needing surgery will be a blessing. Doc says no running for at least 6-8 weeks and he would prefer 10-12. I still want to do my marathons though. I am set on Chicago and Marine Corps because both have special meaning to me but now after today’s run I feel like ED is going to stand in my way more than my need for surgery. I’m torn. I know that is hard for anyone to understand who hasn’t been through this but I am torn between something i love and something i am obligated to.

The easy answer: “just eat”. Please don’t say that, it’s not that simple. If I could “just eat” trust me I would. I promised myself, after I realized my fears had warped into this, that i would never be one of those girls who let themselves suffer for years and that I wouldn’t let this thing destroy my relationships and life but yet, here I am dodging my friends, losing my ability to do the things I love, secluding myself, living a secret, living a lie, slowly killing myself each day, week, month and year.

Yesterday before I saw the podiatrist I got blood work done for my autoimmune condition which means I will be getting a call from my primary doctor in a few days to discuss the results. I secretly hope they’ll somehow figure out I’m sick based on the blood work but I know that they didn’t do the blood tests necessary to discover the horrors I’ve put my body through. I know I could also just say I need help on the phone and they’d make an appointment ASAP, but I also know, in my heart, I’m not ready for that yet.

Although, I keep thinking July 2 is a good date to maybe try to get help. It’s the day before I have off work for the holiday which means if I do tell, I can at least have the day off the next day to collect my thoughts and not have to face my co-workers and pretend like everything is still okay when I know in my mind it’ll feel like the world is crashing down around me- assuming they believe me. It’s also early enough that I could help and have folks help me through training, I hope. But then again, what if they steal marathons from me? That’s my biggest fear, honestly, that tops dying (again, I know it makes no sense unless you’ve handled this disease). So maybe July 2. Maybe.

Until then, I have to make it through one of my best friends’ wedding, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner and bridesmaid luncheon, a day of shadowing and somehow figure out how to not have a panic attack because of all the unsafe food, stress making it look like I ate, purging all the unsafe food that I may eat and people around. And I somehow need to figure out how to acclimate my body to running in this state again.

Because above all else, I can’t lose running. It’s been there for me longer than my ED has. It keeps me moving forward (in more ways than one). I can’t lose it. It’s the only piece left of me that I still control. It’s all I have left.

Dear Mom, I’m Sorry.

Momma Bear,

I just need to put this out there just in case you never find out in person from me: I’m sorry. I’m sorry I turned into this girl, sorry I didn’t ask for help sooner, sorry I am destroying my body in an attempt to protect it, I’m sorry I didn’t confide in you, I’m sorry for it all. Please know that it wasn’t anything you did or didn’t do. I’m not really sure when this started but it was some time after they told me to figure out how to fix the chronic pain and nausea with “trial and error”. After a year of error and hospitals and pain I couldn’t do that anymore so I eliminated the error but it’s like when I did that, this other person took over, took me hostage, protected me and cursed me all at the same time except I didn’t realize how bad it was until recently. I didn’t realize who I had become or what I had turned into.

I couldn’t ask for help. I tried so many times and I just couldn’t. I never thought you would turn your back on me or hate me so please don’t think that. In fact, I have many times thought you suspected something but didn’t know or wanted to believe the best in me. You stood by my side when I got sick initially so it wasn’t that I thought you couldn’t handle it, it was all me. It was this other person inside my mind.

I know there are two outcomes to this letter: I told you about this blog or you found out about it after I died. I hope it’s the former but everyday I feel closer and closer to the latter. It’s why I am writing this, just in case the worst happens, just in case you find out after I’m gone. If that’s the case know that you are the best mom in the world I’ve never once wanted a different mom or thought you weren’t enough. You were both a mom and a dad, a friend and role model and I’m so sorry for what I am putting you through whether it is the first or second outcome.

I hope one day i can say I am recovered and stable. That I can eat what a normal person would call a meal, that I won’t purge everything I eat, that I don’t live in constant fear of being in excruciating pain again and that I also don’t fear getting fat or being judged for my food choices. I hope one day I am strong enough to find love, get married and give you some rockstar grandkids.

I am scared to death that I won’t survive this- the side effects have been really bad lately- but please know I am trying so hard to fight back and live and that I am so so so sorry. I hope one day you forgive me.

Love,

(Your favorite) Baby Bear

So Long Social Media “Friends”

Lately I have been reconsidering the number of “friends” I have on social media.

Why?

It’s not that I have an overabundance of friends or that I don’t care about them or value “knowing” them or supporting them (many are people from running circles that are either at the acquaintance or online friend level only); but rather I have found that having all of these “friends” is making me worse. Mentally worse.

A great deal of my Facebook and even more so Instagram, is fitness and running posts from friends, groups, myself, etc. This isn’t a bad thing normally and I love following my friends’ posts about their trials and tribulations running, getting and staying fit, what races are coming up or new workouts to try but honestly, some of the posts are just not healthy for me to see.

Those posts are major TRIGGERS.

In case you aren’t versed in triggers, triggers are something that when a person with an eating disorder (or disordered eating) experiences them, they can cause that person to have the same emotions, experiences, behaviors, thoughts or anything of that type that instigates the ED or revives it.

For me these come in the form of many posts but the two worst are:

  1. Food Photos
  2. Diet/Detox/Supplement/Quick Fit Posts

Food Photos

I HATE this trend. Hate hate hate hate hate! Instagram takes first place for this one. It is inundated with photos of food and eating everywhere I look. It’s like a coffee table book of food sometimes.

Runners eat. A lot. Actually, I should say most runners eat which is part of the reason I hate this trend, because when I see the food it triggers me to either not eat because I see it as a “challenge” or to want to eat which because I restrict and purge isn’t easy. Fact: Even though you have an eating disorder you can still eat, still be hungry and still want to eat, it’s just that with an ED your actions and thoughts regarding food always revert to the negative. However, in a world where I am already consumed with thoughts of food, fear of food, hate of food, secrecy, lies and everything else associated with food the last thing I need is to open my app and have food thrown right in front of my face because I only treat it as a challenge of willpower rather than an association that people are supposed to eat.

Diets, Detox, Shakes and Supplement Posts

#sorryimnotsorry but I think all these posts about x day challenges and detox diets, cleanses, etc. are bologna. Do you lose some weight yes, but honestly all they seem to be is a natural (or manufactured) way to get the same effect that abusing laxatives and diuretics do for people with eating disorders. Additionally, they are usually accompanied by some unrealistic before/after shot of the 1 person who actually lost an insane amount of weight during the x day time frame.

As for all the other supplements and shakes it is rather ironic how I feel about these. On one hand I feel that anything you should be putting in your body should be good natural food. Why have a shake when you can just eat some darn broccoli or kale or protein or whatever you’re liquefying? And why are you paying so darn much? I’m skeptical of them. On the other hand I am skeptical for one reason and one reason alone: how exactly can you put food in and lose weight and be healthy and happy. In my current ED world that possibility doesn’t exist. Food is bad. The end.

On top of that the one thing that drives me just absolutely bonkers and is the trigger of all triggers when it comes to this is when I see the post and it is captioned: “Call/message/talk to me about how you can lose weight and get healthy too!”

OMGGGGGGGGGGGGG this one line on a picture/description/product image is like the king of triggers. I know about 99% of people that read this will probably think, “Why? If it isn’t something you subscribe to why do you care, why do you let it bother you? Just blow it off.” But I CAN’T. Here’s how I interpret that:

“x product is absolutely amazing see how skinny and healthy these people are you COULD be that way too but you’re not right now and that’s because you are eating too much and BAD foods. If you were to eat this food you would look like this too! And if you don’t contact me, it’s because you’re fat and don’t want to get healthy and skinny.”

And then I think about all the pain and torture I went through when my GI issues get worse and think of all the bad things that could be in x product or diet or whatever and then I get upset because I really shouldn’t eat that food (if you can call some of it that) and because I don’t want to get sick again and really it’s unsafe to eat anything other than what I know is safe because I have kept my illness under control by doing it and then I just get irritated because thinking of all the food makes me feel fat, unhealthy and alone.

Yes, I know that’s delusional.

Every time I get triggered the ED gets stronger and the person fighting it retreats more and more. Lately I have been struggling so bad with wanting to be around people I just don’t like it anymore. I had to force myself to go to my best friend’s birthday, I am dreading my other friend’s wedding in 3 weeks, I skipped my sister’s birthday dinner, I almost had a panic attack on the way to Mother’s Day dinner and I don’t even want to go to the grocery store and have to talk myself into it for hours before I can accomplish it.

Anyway, that’s why I am condensing my “friends” list. Getting rid of IG followers and hopefully helping myself eliminate at least a few extra triggers.

How This Tug of War Started

Honestly, I started this blog to document my journey and to hopefully encourage me to seek help for my struggle with food and eating. I am about 99% sure I can actually (by DSM-V criteria) be classified as having an eating disorder but I know I for sure have disordered eating at the very least.

I first started having trouble eating about 2 1/2 years ago when I developed a mysterious medical condition. The length of time it took to diagnose (?) – if you can call it that- led to a lot of weight loss, disordered eating and, according to my medical records, anorexia. And when I learned I was going to have to adapt my eating habits to prevent bad attacks, I developed an even worse fear of food than I already had by that point. Top that off with the fact that I didn’t- and still don’t- see the weight loss when I look at myself and you have pretty much got much a perfect recipe for an eating disorder.

About 4 months ago I really came to terms with this fact and I told the first person and, to date, the only person I personally know and who knows me about my eating problems.  I haven’t seen her in about 6 years but still, I feel a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from her despite the fact that I haven’t actually been able to move forward and seek help still 3 months after telling her I wanted to get help. I think it helps me knowing that I don’t have to face her everyday but that I still have her there to seek support from.  Although, I am sure she does- she is very involved in ED recovery and awareness- I hope she knows I a trying every day to muster the courage and ask for help.

See, that’s the thing about this disorder you are waging a constant battle. You vs. The voice in your head. The evil, mean, voice in your head that simultaneously feels like the only person you can trust. The best way I can explain this relationship is it’s like your mind is playing tug of war against the other part… and at least for now, losing.