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recovery from anorexia and fear of intimacy


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First of all, Im not trying to pry information out of anyone. I'm just trying to share about a problem that I experience.

 

I'm in recovery from anorexia. My weight has been stable for over a year now. I've suffered from some form of an eating disorder, body image disturbance , and excessive dieting on and off for 20 years, but the last year is the first time I've ever truly been in recovery. I dont worry about what I eat, and I'm not preoccupied with what my body looks like.

 

I still wouldn't mind loosing a few pounds, but I'm not willing to ruin my life in order to do so. I've just started dating again recently, and I'm being really picky. I haven't been out on more than a few dates with any one guy because I fear getting physically ( and emotionally) intimate with somebody. I always find something wrong with the guy. I'm scared to let a guy see me nude. What if he thinks I'm fat? I feel really vulnerable about being with a man. Naturally, before an intimate situation deveops, I would like to be friends with the guy and trust him, but I feel like he would change his mind about me once he sees me nude. Obviously, I'm not completely comfortable with my new body yet, but I'm working on it. I'm going to start therapy again to address this issue. I feel okay in clothes. I'm just worried about being seen without my clothes on. Maybe it's natural to be worried about this at this stage of recovery. I plan on taking things slowly, but I don't want to miss out on a great guy or a relationship because of my fears.

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I was really picky with who I wanted to be with.....and with the one I am talking to now....I kinda just let go of that " I need to make my ex jealose cause she did that with me"/ I am very scared to be seen naked....So I understand but not to the point it consumes.....From what you write you seem to have things working out. Everybody is scared to be seen naked I think unless your some porn star... Other then that I hope and wish you the best.:)

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Curious, have you seen a therapist recently? Doing some talk therapy can help alot towards reaffirming your new self-image.

I battled anorexia for many years too so I can relate. It's really scary at first being intimate with someone new--and having come from the world of eating disorders, it makes it that much harder (body image issues and all....).

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Curious, have you seen a therapist recently? Doing some talk therapy can help alot towards reaffirming your new self-image.

I battled anorexia for many years too so I can relate. It's really scary at first being intimate with someone new--and having come from the world of eating disorders, it makes it that much harder (body image issues and all....).

I haven't been in therapy in about 6 months. I called my pdoc tuesday to get a referral to a therapist. She got back to me with some ideas tuesday. Just called one of them today for an intake, and they emailed me some forms to fill out. I think therapy is a good idea. I've had a lot of it, and I clearly need more. Thanks for suggesting it.

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Before I got married I did the exact same thing for the exact same reason. I didn't go out with any one guy more than a few times because I didn't want to get intimate with him. I felt too huge to be seen naked and felt flawed. I am in recovery from anorexia as well.

 

I agree that therapy is a good idea. And just something to think about: I had a male therapist and I found it very hard to discuss my "fat feelings" with him because he was a very fit male and he just didn't seem to "get it." I know that sounds sexist, and I know that not all male therapists would act like that. But I would think about whether or not you want a male or female therapist to discuss these issues with. It may have been all in my head but I just felt judged by him because he was a male. I felt very uncomfortable and wanted to discuss these issues but never could because I felt so uncomfortable. But that is just ME. And who knows maybe YOU would like a male therapist. Ok, I feel like I'm rambling now so I'll stop. I just wish you the best because I can really relate. Keep us posted.

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I think therapy would be a good place to go through it. I did have the same experience with Cheese, in that my tdoc would be all dismissive. I'd be like 'I feel disgusting and hideous in every way possible' and she'd respond with Don't be so Down! you have a lovely shaped nose. True Fact. Theres nothing wrong with being picky. But everyone has flaws, if you search hard enough you'll see something about them that isn't perfect. It's cliche'd but it's true, everyone has parts they'd rather no one ever saw but in saying that I find most people have something truly wonderful about them.

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Before I got married I did the exact same thing for the exact same reason. I didn't go out with any one guy more than a few times because I didn't want to get intimate with him. I felt too huge to be seen naked and felt flawed. I am in recovery from anorexia as well.

 

I agree that therapy is a good idea. And just something to think about: I had a male therapist and I found it very hard to discuss my "fat feelings" with him because he was a very fit male and he just didn't seem to "get it." I know that sounds sexist, and I know that not all male therapists would act like that. But I would think about whether or not you want a male or female therapist to discuss these issues with. It may have been all in my head but I just felt judged by him because he was a male. I felt very uncomfortable and wanted to discuss these issues but never could because I felt so uncomfortable. But that is just ME. And who knows maybe YOU would like a male therapist. Ok, I feel like I'm rambling now so I'll stop. I just wish you the best because I can really relate. Keep us posted.

Thank you for sharing. I can relate to wanting to have a female therapist, especially if I'm going to be discussing sex. I've always had a female therapist in the past. I've had male pdocs and that has been fine. I'm not sure whether I will get a male or female therapist. I have to fill out the intake form first.My doctor referred me to a place where I might be able to work with residents, or I might get a seasoned clinician since I have insurance. I don't know what they'll suggest after they read my intake form. I'm going to request a female though.

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Congratulations on your recovery. That's a big deal. Therapy is always a good idea.

It's hard to get over the "fat" feelings. I've been in recovery for 2 years, it doesn't go away quickly. I'm at a high weight for myself, and it really really bugs me, but I'm getting used to being naked around my BF. He doesn't think I'm "fat" and he loves my body.

I have a lot of people that say "Oh, I'm so glad you gained weight, you were so sick looking before,  now you look healthy". I never realized I looked sick, and at first, all I heard was "gained weight". That goes away eventually. It's still present for me, but I can look past it.

An exercise program might help a bit with issues. The YMCA's here have trainers at no additional cost, and they make a program for you for your goals, so you don't get carried away and overdo it.

 

Sonicwhite: what does that have to do with eating disorders? I'm confused.

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  • 3 months later...

Just an update, I started therapy, but it's been slow. It's taken so long to fill in my tdoc on my history that we've barely had any time to discuss current issues. She's been really interested in the schizoaffective diagnosis, how I got it, history of auditory hallucinations combined with anorexia, blah blah blah.. I keep having to remind her I'm not there for schizoaffective reasons, that I'm no longer psychotic, depressed, abusing substances, or active in in my ed. I mean, I am in recovery and every day is a new day, so who knows what it will bring, but most of my issues now are normal everyday adjusting to life things.

 

I got really busy with work, so I had to stop dating back in September. Hmm... funny how that worked..I don't miss dating either. I enjoy working, even when I do it too much. Possibly because I was unable to work for so long. So the dating  and body image topic has only been mentioned a couple of times in therapy. She mainly just let me talk. Didn't have any advice.

 

 

 Fast forward a couple months,  Still don't want to be seen nude but not really an issue  now since I'm not going out on dates. This is genuinally the busy time of year for my industry ( will slow down in spring), and I've been taking a couple writing classes, so I have NO free time. Having a little holiday break today :) Of course I wonder how much my fear of intmacy and issues with body image contribute to my over working, so I don't have to deal with dating. Maybe I'm just not ready yet.  Frankly I'd rather write than go on a date.  Not sure how to discuss dating/intimacy/body  issue in therapy when it's not presenting itself. Guess we could talk about general body image concerns. Of course I wonder if dwelling on my body will make me think about it more, feel more conscious, and create more of an issue.

 

Those of you in long term recovery, how did you confront lingering issues surrounding your body? Or should I expect to always have a few? I suppose it's "normal" to be disatisfied with one's body to some extent.

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I have been with my husband for 3 years and I always wear something during sex like lingerie that covers what I consider bad spots.. He thinks it's ridiculous and that I look great but I find being naked humiliating, I am happy in my relationship.. You can still be intimate and keep your sense of security wearing something that makes you feel good. Just a suggestion :) I've tried to be naked during the act and all I hear are the voices in my head how disgusting I look and I can't concentrate on being intimate even though I'm half the size of my husbands ex wife so why the hell do I think I'm fat?..So I don't think it goes away for everyone.

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