I’m a bit wary starting new things that exist on the internet. You don’t know who sees them, who they share it with, what they say about it. None of it. It makes you feel somewhat helpless and makes you better understand why therapists are still doing a very brisk business. But therapy costs money and you are free. And right now, I have a couple hours and a million thoughts to kill.
There was a nice paragraph about myself typed up at first. But it sounded so forced and contrite. No, what I really want to talk about is my internal struggle with what may one day develop into an eating disorder. Let me explain…
I have been diagnosed as overweight, even obese at times, since I was in my early teenage years. We’re now looking at approximately the last fourteen years of my life as being told that I should look different than the way I do. I’ll set aside those fourteen years and all the medical diagnoses that have arisen to focus on the now. Because the now is what is most concerning.
It’s incredibly discouraging to discover that unless you take specific medication, your body isn’t going to do it’s job. Starving yourself is not an option. Neither is binging and purging. But once you go on this medication, it’s still not an easy journey. However, you begin to mentally distance yourself from your body. The only way I can really describe is as if you look down at yourself, whether clothed or naked, and you feel like you aren’t looking at you. And because of this body disassociation, you almost don’t care what happens to that body. At all.
I see a personal trainer once a week. On top of that, I go to the gym an additional 3-4 times a week, doing various circuits and classes. Every time, I walk out of there, I am physically exhausted. Different muscle groups hurt, sometimes my joints hurt, occasionally I am a bit short of breath (usually when my trainer has me do sprints). But the one thought going through my head when I walk out of there is, “Good. Pain is weakness leaving the body. And I am very, very weak.” I feel that I deserve this pain, that I deserve it because of my size. One of the unwritten rules of being overweight is that you don’t have any real feelings while you’re in the process of trying to get in shape. Anyone who is in better shape than you is, by default, a better person regardless of their actual personality or previous acts. My trainer is a great guy and has never, ever actually made me feel this way. But I don’t think I imagine the looks I get or the looks that I give myself. I don’t deserve a decent life until I look more like everyone else; until my BMI is within an acceptable range; until my mom doesn’t flaunt her obsession with America’s Next Top Model to me. Maybe until never.
Maybe that way of thinking is a disorder in and of itself.