In my recent ramblings here I’ve been focusing a lot on how I’ve finally been having some breakthroughs on some health-related issues (read: addictions); namely food, booze, and cigarettes. I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions here that I’ve had life-long eating disorders (ED), and have said that those are the root addiction for the other two. However, I don’t think I’ve ever really told my story here. In fact, the only person who really knows and understands the whole story at this point is my husband.
After spending a lot of intensive time thinking about my sordid past in the last six months, I feel like I’ve sorted through a lot of things (particularly some of the anger that I have surrounding my ED), and am ready to share it. I think that the backstory helps to give some context to what I’ve been struggling to pull myself out of for the last several years, and helps me to frame up some of where I want to go with my writing here in the future.
So, I guess the first point of clarification is that I refer to my history of food issues generally as “eating disorders” because I don’t feel like any of the three major “diseases” really accurately describes me. The three generally acknowledged eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. From what I understand, a lot of ED sufferers don’t feel that they fit squarely into any of the three categories. This is probably because the three have overlapping symptoms and hypothetical causes (there is no agreed-upon cause for ED), so a lot of people really do express all three throughout their lives.
My ED began as a pretty young child with straight-up binge eating, which is the least commonly diagnosed and, I feel, the ED that is taken the least seriously (which is very unfortunate because I would guess that a lot of the incidents of the other 2 EDs started out with binge eating, and all 3 disorders have negative long-term health effects). During my fairly brief stint in treatment for my eating issues, I was diagnosed with Bulimia. What that meant for me was that I would starve for 2 or 3weeks, and would then kind of “lose my mind” and go on a binge-purge spree for 2 or 3 days. Once I was “cured” of Bulimia, I stayed pretty stable and healthy for about 2 ½ years, and then slowly began sliding back into binge eating.
To keep any one part from getting too long, over the next week or so I’m going to break the whole story down into 3 parts: childhood, college, and adulthood.
Sorting through all this crud has been a 10-year work in progress of varying intensities, and I’m sure I’m not totally through it all yet. But I do feel like I am well on my way, and have a much better awareness surrounding it than I ever have before. For that I am grateful!