Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vegetarianism and eating disorders

I was asked by Dietician recently why I became a vegetarian. I gave her the standard “so I will feel better” and “I’m against animal cruelty” (which I am) answers. But after thinking about it, I know being a vegetarian has to do more with my eating disorder and less to do with animals. I know being vegetarian is just an extension of my eating disorder, another way to control my diet.

My first stint into vegetarianism was in 2004. I was working as a bookkeeper for a small health food store and was drawn to the very different world of vegetarianism and veganism. So I slowly started sampling the foods around me like tofu, seitan, and tempeh. I started feeling better, having more energy, and losing weight as I cut out meat. The weight loss lit my eating disorder on fire. I started cutting out more and more foods from my diet. But eventually I left the job and went back to eating meat, where I engaged in other eating disorder behaviors.

Something new: Nature's Path Flax Plus waffles. Now, I'm not a big waffle fan, but I wanted to try something new for my breakfast. These sure didn't taste like an Eggo waffle. They tasted fresh (although they were frozen) and went perfectly with a little almond butter and sugar free maple syrup. Also at the breakfast party were Greek honey yogurt and fresh blackberries and raspberries. A very satisfying breakfast.

When I went in treatment two years ago, I was not vegetarian. But when they served me what I thought was a big piece of meat, my eating disorder said “Hell, no”, and I told them I was vegetarian. Eating food has always made me feel dirty and tarnished, so by restricting anything, i.e. meat, I would feel clean and good about myself. I realize logically that eating meat or food in general doesn’t contaminate someone or make them dirty. But the idea that there’s still something I can restrict, i.e. meat, is comforting. Just the idea that there are foods that I will not let myself have brings me peace.

Morning snack. Dried mango. I forgot where I picked these up, but they really have me missing Trader Joe's dried mango. They just weren't as flavorful and had a sandy texture to it. It might be worth the 30 minute drive to go to Trader Joe's and pick up the real deal.

I wonder if I will ever totally be over ED. It appears like I’m doing such a good job with my meal plan but my thoughts betray my actions. I’m constantly berated by myself for eating, for being a failure yet again at food. And, yet, there is a strong dichotomy inside. If I wanted to restrict I know one of my members would see to it that it would take place. Her words taunt me. Just try it. Just miss one snack. You remember how good it felt. I want to listen to her voice because she instantly brings me comfort and safety. But there’s the other side of me that enjoys food, that wants to be healthy, and that wants friendships.

Lunch: French green beans, Salt and Vinegar chips, and veggie bacon with avocado on a Griller from Morning Star. I forget what the fruit is. That was also another "let me try something new" purchase from Whole Foods. I don't know what it was, but it tasted like a plain tangerine. Booo.

Food has always been important to me. I remember as a child I use to bake cookies and cakes when there were no recipes. I just threw a concoction of different ingredients together in a bowl and it somehow turned out edible. I would feed my creations to everyone in the neighborhood. I wonder if there is any coincidence to the fact that this was around the time I developed the eating disorder.

This fancy camera work makes me feel upside down. :)

Dinner: Almost a repeat of lunch, except we have a mushroom and swiss "burger", a boat load of French green beans, Salt and Vinegar baked chips, and Oikos honey yogurt. I was surprised at how good my mushroom & swiss "burger" tasted. I don't know anyone other than me who likes mushrooms.

Even knowing now that my motivation for vegetarianism is largely related to ED, I still won’t be giving it up anytime soon. I like eating healthy. I like Green Monsters. I like coming up with 101 ways to cook tofu. It brings out my creative side. But being a vegetarian doesn’t feel like a choice I’m making anymore. As with an eating disorder, it feels like it controls me. But I can’t face the alternative. It’s restricting at its healthiest.

Snack: vanilla soy milk and Honey Smacks. My fav cereal.

We baked Banana Bread today. I love to bake. And this bread is so, so good.

Maybe eating healthy and the ED don't have to be mutually exclusive. Maybe I could find a way to eat healthy, get rid of the ED, and still avoid eating meat. Maybe I could be free of ED and eat healthy because I WANT to. Maybe...

Friday, May 14, 2010


I feel so emotional. The least little thing is provoking tears. I never cry, so why are these tears so special?

I'm living in a dark place where no one can see me or touch me. I do not feel safe.

I had an MRI today to help determine the cause of my dizziness and fatigue. I hope they find an answer soon because I am so miserable. I didn't have the physical or mental energy to get off my couch and walk to the kitchen for a cool drink.

I use to go to the gym for that release, but there is absolutely no energy for the gym, which is also causing me great mental and emotional stress.

Just thought I would throw these words into the universe and hope somebody can relate.

Breakfast was my new granola, soy milk, and an orange.

It's a tradition that I take my girls to Dunkin Donuts on Fridays. I had already enjoyed my breakfast above so I just sat and sipped an iced coffee.

I was having a craving for sushi since Lea and I went out to a Japanese restaurant. So I bought some from Whole Foods. It was good, but restaurant was much better.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad

I find it kind of funny.

I find it kind of sad.

The dreams in which I’m dying

Are the best I’ve ever had.

Gary Jules – Mad World

Those lyrics are in my head as I contemplate this post.

I find my situation disturbing. I wish it wasn’t happening. What does it say about me?

There can be no truth in dreams; if there is, I’m totally sunk.

Chocolate VitaTop Muffin, honey yogurt, honey graham gold fish, and blackberries. VitaTop muffins, where have you been all my life?

I feel dirty for even broaching this subject: dreams about Therapist still continue. Hold the phone, people! It’s not those kinds of dreams. There is NO sexual content to these dreams whatsoever. But I still find the dreams about Therapist to be unsettling. If it was a one time dream I would think little of it. But it’s happened a handful of times, and enough is enough.

I went crazy for this wrap. It has veggie chicken, spinach, tomatoes, swiss cheese, veggie bacon (a must try if your vegetarian) and of course avocados. All complemented by green beans and mango.

I can’t always remember the dreams, just a bit here and a bit there. What I do remember of the dreams is that Therapist is being kind in some way. Take for example last’s night’s dream; Therapist was consoling us and talking us through a memory. He talked to us very calmly when we were freaking out; he even offered a hug. (I want to rinse my emotions in bleach to take the filth of that away.)

Sweet potato fries, anybody? More for me, then. Also green beans, a cherry yogurt and a Quorn chik'n patty.

I can’t fathom why we’re having these dreams. I’m petrified of what it says about us. We’ve never before had dreams of a therapist, and we’ve had many mental health professionals come and go. Does this mean we’re too dependent on Therapist? Does this mean there is a growing attachment to him? Does this mean the last bit of resistance is wearing away and we will finally give in to the therapeutic process wholly? Conversely, are we still holding back because we’re trying to distance ourselves from Therapist? URRGGH!

We needed a stress break so we baked some Graham Cracker Bread. It didn't turn out as good as we wanted but at least it helped us focus on something other than feeling fat. More on feeling fat later.

I’ve always prided myself on not “needing” a therapist: I’m strong, I'm independent, and I can take care of myself. But what if we are needy? Is that such a cardinal sin?

In the dreams Therapist is emotionally taking care of us, as if he cared and as if we trusted him. Holy h*ll, what does that say about us?

Leftover graham crackers make and excellent evening snack, along with vanilla soy milk.

A mega monster salad. Filled me up good. Spring Mix, Spinach, Green Bell Pepper, Quorn chik'n patty, vegetarian bacon, quinoa, tomatoes, celery, baby carrots, and edamame. And a few pretzels to get my carbs in.

I don't eat food that has a face, but I'll make an exception here. My cute little orange tasted so much better because she was smiling at me.

Afternoon snack. The honey goldfish took a swim in my tummy and they were so, so yummy.

My friend Lea and I went to eat dinner after A.N.A.D. This was my first time eating out at an "unsafe" place. I didn't know the calorie content of anything I ate. I panicked a little bit but Lea was able to talk me through it.

For an appetizer, we had Tiger Edamame. Sautéed in garlic, these were a great way to start the meal.

I forgot to take a pic before I started eating so the picture didn't portray a complete amount of what I ate. It was good and I ate it all. Though now I feel gluttonous and guilty. I came home and immediately looked up the nutritional info to appease my anxiety.

All in all, whatever their meaning, we are having dreams of Therapist. We like the way we feel in the dream because it feels safe, but we don't want the dreams because it feels like it's improper and like we're crossing a line. Whatever the case, I’m angry, angry, angry because it now appears Therapist has this control over us. And I’m angry with us for being needy.

What about you? Do you have dreams about your therapist? Do you feel it crosses a line to have dreams about him/her.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Question Asked, Question Answered Part 2

Castor Girl asked a question of me in a post on May 8 regarding our loneliness and what was causing it. She asked, “Do you know what’s happened to you to make you feel so lonely?”

Several events have taken place that explain the recent onset of loneliness.

First, I started reading a book called Beating Ana, and in this book the author asserts that relationships replace eating disorders. We began to think about this idea and began to see the trueness of the words. For so long we’ve turned down offers to see movies, go shopping, or have lunch because we were too caught up in our eating disorder. Several girls from treatment have tried to befriend us, and, except for one girl, we ignored them. We cultivated a friendship with our eating disorder rather than people. It was more important to us to skip a meal than dine with someone. We didn’t have time for relationships because we were too busy exercising and calorie counting. Restricting food was restricting friendships.

Totally forgot to take a pic of breakfast, and what a shame because it was phenomenal. Anyhow, we picked up with our A.M. snack of mangoes and raspberries. I love raspberries and I love mangoes, but not together. The raspberries were really sharp against the sweetness of the mango.

Which brings us to the second event: what’s important to us is shifting. Being alone may be safe, but it’s not very fun or rewarding. Every now and then we get glimpses of what life could be like without an eating disorder. We see ladies at our EDA meetings and A.N.A.D meetings who all sit and chat and laugh before and after the meetings. We want that.

This was one of the best meals we've had, at least until we ate dinner. But more on that later. Here we have a salad monster, mango, pretzels, and veggie patty with avocado. This was the BEST avocado in the world.

We sit by ourselves while the rooms fill up with people and chatter. We watch and feel jealous of other girls and the friendships they appear to have. It’s a good jealousy, though. It’s a motivator for us to do the work we need to in order to be one of those girls who is friendly and chatty with everybody.

This is a repeat offender of lunch except with green beans and veggie bacon. OMG! The avocado and "bacon" rule! And the green beans with butter wasn't anything to sneeze at. Honestly, the best meal I've ever had. Hands down. Look for it again tomorrow. I've got half an avocado left.

It hasn’t just been about the eating disorder, though. We’ve felt damaged and bad and unlovable. Who would want to be friends with that, with us? But maybe a more objective viewpoint is trying to surface. Yes, we are shy. Yes, we don’t always know the right thing to say. Yes, we are extremely anxious to talk over the phone. But does that make us inherently bad? Does that make us unworthy of friendship?

Snack time. Little honey goldfish swimming in honey yogurt. Tasted like dessert. This was a great day for food.

While we want friends and see the benefit of having friendships in our life, it is also exhausting trying to like and be liked. There is so much baggage that comes with us that we don’t think a friendship is possible. There are too many declarations that need to be made. Too much background, too much get-to-know-you information. It’s just overwhelming. And how much work do you have to do before you begin to relax with that person and let your guard down? Sometimes I think it’s not worth it.

But I digress. We feel lonely because we recognize we are alone, and it is now on the radar as something we want to change. We’ve felt the heart of being lonely and it’s not good enough for us. Being alone is not an option.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Question Asked, Question Answered

A question was asked on my formspring page about why I don’t call my birth mother “mom”. This is a complicated question that has two answers.

First, I stopped calling my birth mother “mom” a long, long time ago. As a child I always called her “mom,” but it was years later when I evaluated her actions that she turned into a birth mother, not a mom. When I conjure up the image of a mom in my head and heart, it is someone who is nurturing, loving, affectionate, and compassionate. It is a woman who protects her children and goes to all costs to ensure they’re safety. My birth mother did none of that.

Fake chicken, it's whats for dinner. And so yummy. Even my meat eater Husband liked it. Tastes like chicken. :)

Was she emotionally or physically protective? No. Did the birth mother set us up to be abused in her house? No. I don’t believe she ever knew about the perpetrators. But later when she did get knowledge of what happened to us it became all about her. It wasn’t, “Oh, you poor daughter. I’ll get you some help.” It was all about her: how could someone do that in HER home and to HER daughter and be HER relative.

Sometimes I don't feel like making a meal, so then I reach for the veggie hot dog. And we sampled some new bar-b-cue chips and they were really yummy.

She was all about the control she had over me. Asa teenager she didn’t want me going over to friend’s houses. So she would create a whole list of Cinderella chores and tell me I could go when my work was finished. There was never a way to finish the work. So I stayed home under her thumb


Honey Smacks, anyone? Perfect treat and even better in my paint-your-own pottery bowl.

There were too many fights that she had with the birth father. It made the environment tense and threatening. When birth mother was angry you knew she was coming after you next. She stopped being a mom when she would beat me or throw things and scream. A couple of times she cursed me out.

Veggie ribblets and sweet potato fries. Along with salad monster, mango, and a good book. I was

almost at the end of the book and I wanted to finish reading it. Exciting book.

I grew up feeling like she loved me second to everybody else. Birth mother was always trying to take care of people and she loved kids mostly. She would often invite other children to the house and love on them right in front of me. I never received the attention that other children got. I also remember asking birth mother if she would make me her special dish of macaroni & cheese for me. She said no, but when the other neighborhood kids came over and asked for a special treat they got macaroni & cheese.

The production? Pizza. Cast of characters: Boboli mini crust. Pizza sauce. Fresh tomatoes. Veggie Italian sausage-style crumbles. Mozzarella.

Before and after.

The final production. Delizioso

Another aspect, and more difficult to grasp is that the birth mother only gave birth to this body; she did not give birth to any of us. It is part of the Dissociative Identity Disorder. She did not give physical birth to all of us. Some of us were “born” from her in that her anger produced a part that was needed to deal with her actions, and thus we were created.

Mother’s Day is hard. There is no card exchanged. No brunch to be had. No gift giving or flowers offered. I want a “mom” more than anything. Whenever she’s around I get sucked back into her web thinking “maybe this time she’ll act like a mom.” But things don’t change. I mourn my birth mother every day, but on Mother’s Day it is worse. I think about the good moms out there, ones that treat their daughters with respect and care no matter their age. Ones that promote independence and leave manipulative aspects alone.

Went to a Georgia Tech baseball game. It was fun until I got bored.

So I took a picture of my feet for amusement.

Georgia Tech won the game,

8-4. Go Jackets!

I’m sure to a lot of people it may sound disrespectful not to call her “mom.” It is not meant to be punitive or spiteful to her. It is a matter of protection for us. By not calling her mom it creates an emotional space between the two of us. I can distance myself from her and refute any attempts from myself to get sucked back into the IDEA of her being a mom. I need distance from her. Otherwise, I’ll just end up being hurt again by her.

Castor Girl also asked a of me in her comment. It's a good question and I'll post a second part in "Questions Asked, Questions Answered." Stay tuned.