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Hi, I'm Willow. I've lurked a bit and not posted much beyond an intro, so please forgive me for sort of barging in. I'm having a bit of a crisis today, and since it seems to be manifesting as binge behavior, I thought I would post here. 

Let me back up a bit. I'm depressed. Have been all my life, off an on-- seems more on than off. I also grew up in a household where disordered eating and dysmorphia were the norm. When I discovered Geneen Roth in my early twenties, I recognized myself immediately. I'm an emotional eater and a lifelong fat person (sorry if that's triggering), but I spent a long time dealing with that, and I thought I had more or less got past it. I'm still fat, but while my diet isn't the world's healthiest, I'm mindful about it, try to eat when hungry/stop when full, focus on self-care and sitting with my emotions, etc. Depression continues, but for the most part I don't stuff it down with food any longer.

Two years ago, my husband died very suddenly, 3 days after his 40th birthday. In the year that followed, I lost a huge chunk of weight-- mainly because I stopped eating. I couldn't care less whether I lived or died, and I only swallowed food if someone reminded me to. People were supportive, but gradually I started to notice that their comments had become less "how are you doing, is there anything I can do to help" and more "you look great, how are you doing it!" I would look them straight in the eye and say, "Bereavement diet. You don't want to know."

As the fog of grief receded and I started to return to the world of the living, I finally noticed that all my clothes were hanging on me. Nothing fit, I had to buy new clothes, and for the first time in forever I was buying them at "normal" stores instead of Lane Bryant or ordering from plus-size catalogs. And it felt good. Nothing had felt good since my husband died, but this-- being at my lowest weight in my adult life-- felt good.

Unfortunately, around the same time, food began to taste good again too. I started to eat again-- anything I wanted, because I'd been through so much-- why should I have to deny myself? I have nothing to live for, anyway. Who cares if I'm fat? No one will ever love me again. I'm doomed to three or four decades of being alone and miserable, so why shouldn't I have that mocha and a cinnamon roll?

Predictably, I've now gained about half of what I lost back, and I can't quite bring myself to care. At the same time, I've been having a resurgence of the old bad body thoughts-- beating myself up, hating on myself-- and today, stuffing myself with donuts and anything else I can get my hands on. It's purely emotional eating, I know that, but it's like... giving myself a hug from the inside, because no one is here to give me a real one. :(

I don't know what to do. Just go with it and eat? Give in to the urge I suddenly had in the bathroom to start gouging wide scratches in my hateful, expanding belly? I want to scream. I want to pound my fists into the wall. I feel so ugly and fat and worthless. I feel like I did 20 years ago, except now I'm 20 years older and I hate it. I'm alone, a widow with three kids-- who would ever want a fat slob with so much baggage?

That's pretty much the constant monologue in my head. Today I want to binge to shut it up, and I haven't done that in so, so long. I'm scared. I'm confused. I hate feeling like this and I don't know how to stop. If I weren't at work, I'd retreat to my room and cry myself sick, but I have to keep the "yes, I'm fine, everything's normal and fine" mask on. I'm miserable, I don't have any real hope of not being miserable, and if eating makes it temporarily better, why not? But the realistic side of me knows that's not rational. I'm only damaging myself further, setting myself up for more misery. I'm stuck and I don't know what to do.

Thanks for letting me vent, anyway. Apologies if I said anything wrong. 

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I'm very sorry for your loss. 

I'm sorry that you are dealing with intense emotions.  It is not easy by any means.

13 minutes ago, WillowWanders said:

but gradually I started to notice that their comments had become less "how are you doing, is there anything I can do to help" and more "you look great, how are you doing it!"

I absolutely do not like when people start saying, "you look great!"  when losing weight.  The same thing was said to me while I was losing weight and was becoming anorexic.  And I thought, 'I must have looked really bad for people to come up and start saying this, that no one had ever said to me in my lifetime.' 

(I know I've said it before to people, and I now totally regret it.  It was before I knew how it actually felt when someone said it to me).

 

20 minutes ago, WillowWanders said:

I don't know what to do.

I think therapy would really help you a lot.  I had talk therapy which was a blessing when I first started, no DBT, no CBT.  But that was what I needed at the time (talk therapy).  There are  tdocs out there who can teach you skills to help cope with things.  Do you have a therapist (tdoc)?  Or are there some in your area you could possibly see?

 

25 minutes ago, WillowWanders said:

I don't have any real hope of not being miserable

There is always hope.  You may not realize it now, but there is hope.

The biggest piece of advice I have is to find a therapist you can connect with (if you don't have one already).  I think that would be very helpful.  (If you see a tdoc, and you don't find it helpful, then move on and try another one until you find one you work well with). 

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Thank you for your reply, sometimes it helps just to know someone has heard me. I do have a therapist-- I've tried therapy several times in the past without much success, but this time it seems to be going better. I'm on meds as well, and they were recently adjusted, so I'm hoping that will help soon too.

My biggest concern with therapy, I think, is that I'm not sure I can be completely open with anybody. I always have to hide part of me, tell people what they want to hear instead of what I really want to say. I don't think there's a single person on the planet with whom I can completely be myself. The few times I've tried have failed, and I'm scared to let anyone in. I'm having a hard time believing there might be any hope for me to have a reasonably happy life, and I'm tired of trying. So I think I'll have another donut. :-\

That's wrong, I guess. Ugh. Just... ugh.

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I'm glad you have a therapist already.  It definitely makes a difference if you like the therapist and you can get along with him/her, and to be able to make progress.  Being completely open to a therapist takes time. Being honest is another thing ... if you are honest with your therapist, that (to me) is what counts.  When your therapist gets to know you more and vice versa, maybe then you'll start to feel more comfortable about being completely open.

Maybe the med adjustment hasn't taken total effect yet, and like you said, will help soon.

25 minutes ago, WillowWanders said:

I always have to hide part of me, tell people what they want to hear instead of what I really want to say.

I have this problem also.  I've learned that when talking with anyone, if they wont listen to what you have to say, I will say whatever it is they want to hear to get them onto something else, or to just leave you alone.  It is useless (IMO) to have a conversation where you have someone who wont listen to what you have to say.

I hope you are able to talk about these things in your next therapy appt.

 

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