"A big part of why I didn't want to get better was because I felt that if I lost my eating disorder, I would lose a sense of myself. I was good at starving/bingeing. I didn't know who I was without the eating disorder, and if I didn't have it, I felt I wouldn't have anything to turn to in my time of need, and I felt that I wouldn't be able to cope when things got bad. As much as it made me miserable, it was all I knew and it was my security blanket. After I went into treatment, I had to find out who I was without the ED."This is so interesting because I can totally relate. In my life, I have been good at two things 1. school and 2. bingeing.
Here is some background: I was an awesome student. in college I graduated with almost a 4.0 (magna cum laude). I just GOT school. I understood how to do well... and I did!
Throughout high school and college I was always extremely busy with youth organizations, extracurricular activities, homework, sorority, the newspaper, etc... When I graduated college, things got bad. I left the city I was living in, moved back home with my parents, and got a pretty good corporate job. But, as I worked day after day NOT using my creativity, I thought to myself "THIS is why I worked so hard?" Truthfully, I thought my life would be more glamorous than this. I thought I could do something great.
Unfortunately, I have wealthy friends and many of their parents supported them while they figured out what to do next. I know it was financially unrealistic, but I really wanted my parents to say “Go figure out what you want to do; we will support you.” I also resent MY decisions because I now realize that I could have NOT listened to my parents advice and moved to a different city and figured it out myself. Most people my age do not rely on their parents nearly half as much as I do. I have a lot of trouble making decisions that they don’t agree with (this is a topic for another post).
Anyway, my life is boring now and I am unhappy, so I do the thing I am second best at... BINGE. I went to a therapist with my mom today and this is what we talked about. After the session, my very insightful mother (my best friend- who I love more than anything), sent me the following email:
“I think that one of the most difficult things for you has been you not being a student. You know, you got HUGE strokes for your self esteem being a student all through elementary, middle, high school and esp. college. Everyone was always complimenting you on all your successes and everything almost always went your way academically. Maybe after graduation, being in the "real world" where you don’t get those kind of strokes, etc has been hard. Also, that along with being in a job you feel you are too smart for and where you are bored makes for you feel sad. I guess that is why you always want to be a student b/c you know you do that so well!! Of course, you are doing this job well also but its not the same. I believe this is a big part of your sadness. I also think you don’t have enough to do like when you were in school (like we talked about in our session today). You are so use to be busy and now you come home every night with nothing to do. So, in the meantime, until you make a new plan, try to be as busy as you can. Starting next week, you will be a lot busier with this program. I actually think you like having structure and goals and work to do, and this has been hard for you not to have all that. You can incorporate this into your life in other ways... let me also add that whatever you choose to do in the future we will help in any way we can....the sky is the limit!! you are only 25!!!!!!”
I know. She is very insightful. I hope that this outpatient program really works and that I do feel better and get to a place where I can do some things for myself. I am tired of being sad.