I dyed my hair red brown today

I did a Google blog search for "eating disorder," just to see what popped up.

There were, of course, plenty of "personal journey" blogs that came up, but I wasn't really looking for that category. I wanted to see what kind of facts and figures someone searching for eating disorder facts might find in the blogosphere, as defined by Google. So, among the blogs not being written from a patient's (or former patient's) perspective, what helpful info did I find?

... A lot of misinformation, e.g. "People with anorexia have distorted body images that cause them to restrict calorie intake." That's a bit like saying the egg had the chicken, but whatever.

The Royal We also stumbled across a blog written by someone claiming to be a clinical psychologist whose raison d'écrire is the belief that all women have some form of an "eating disorder." Well, We hate to prove her wrong, but We know fully TWO who do not. (One is Our nana; one is not Our grandma.)

We found some blogs stating that if one is fat, then one has an eating disorder. Um. No. The analogy "Fat Person : Eating Disorder as Male : Y Chromosome" does not work.

Our favorite was the blog We read suggesting that pregnant women who are concerned that their pregnancy may trigger an eating disorder (due to weight gain fears)... SHOULD CONCENTRATE ON EATING A LOT OF SALADS.

GAH. GAAAAAH!! GAH!!!!!!!!

Reading these "facts" on easily available media was like reading in the New York Times that the relationship between eating disorders and substance abuse is a New Discovery. In other words, it made me feel all stabby.

I'm not trying to pick on the writers of these blogs, per se... I mean, at least they're trying to get awareness of the issue drummed up, right? Except, NO, no, NOT right. Eating disorder awareness in the above forms is like... it's like my husband trying to pick out who's the stronger singer: Fiona Apple? or Miley Cyrus? ... and guessing WRONG, so wrong. A for effort, my tone-deaf love, but ur doin it rong.

So. What to do, what to do? Well, let's start with some fact correction on a couple of the points above:

1. Many low-weight eating disorder patients did not start out with distorted perceptions of their bodies; in many patients, the distortion progresses with the illness. Additionally, anorexics as well as bulimics can suffer from body dysmorphic disorder.
2. The pregnant woman afraid of developing an eating disorder should see a nutritionist or talk to her doctor, rather than getting info from a blog. Obsessively eating salads can trigger a diet cycle that is more likely to lead to anorexia or bulimia than generally being uneasy about weight gain. Telling a pregnant woman to mostly eat salads is like telling someone afraid of slipping into alcoholism to cut out 70% of their daily fluids. Or maybe that's just what it seems like to me.

Okay, now that that's that, how 'bout some WEBSITES WITH ACTUAL INFORMATION. Jeez.

Aaaaaahhhh. I feel much better now.


Not to sound like a Scientologist, but...*

This week and weekend I've been thinking that I'm terribly, terribly gross, and expanding at an exponential rate. Not to say that any of this is out of the ordinary on the whole, but it's been pretty consistent for over a week. As you may imagine, it's uncomfortable to have that suite of feelings performing in your mind's eye like an over-emoted iteration of Puccini... especially for that long.

The relevant facts: I stopped taking my SSRI a month ago or less. These last ten days leading up to and encompassing the visit of a best friend who hasn't seen me since I gained some weight have been Tough. Like, Let's Capitalize The Qualifiers That Refer To Them On My Blog tough. Welcome to the eating disordered/former anorexic/former (or present?) body dysmorphic mind. 2-to-5 pounds is the end of the world.

Anywho. I'm incredibly happy to see my friend, YET I can't get beyond the fact that Oh my God I look so fat and she and her boyfriend and her mom and dad and brother and sister-in-law are all looking at how fat I look now. Despite the fact that her mom (who last saw me when I was in treatment and, oh, a BMI of 16.5%) said today, "You look great!"

"You're so big!" is what my mind heard. I know, I know.

It sucks. Unequivocally. I wish I had a big handful of my beloved Lexapro (actually, I do, on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet) to shove in my mouth and then feel all, "aaahhhhh," like, "I forgot what I was worried about. Um... what?"

Except, I'm not ignoring what I'm worried about and preoccupied with right now. I'm acutely aware of it, and in some way thankful for that awareness. Since I went off my meds, this is my first string of significant social interaction with a friend who's known me a long time and who is incredibly important to me. (Yeah, I don't get out that much.) I'm living through the most grueling obsession with my hip/arm/thigh/stomach/lower back/shoulder blade/chin fat since probably November. November was the last time the number on my shitty drugstore scale went up. So I may be seeing more bulges in my mirror and feeling a lot - A LOT - more mental anguish about objectively ridiculous things, but I KNOW why those feelings are surfacing now, during my friend's visit. And if my clothes are feeling tighter, the scale number is also staying the same. And while I would never have thought a number might be helpful, it is right now.

I don't know if I would have appreciated all this while taking my meds. The only upside: My "symptoms" might have been less frequent. (I hate that word - "symptoms." I learned it from my first-ever eating disorder group, and it has stuck, and I think it's ridiculous. But clearly I still use it, which is proof to me that e.d. centers are, in their own way, retrograde.) So I'm not on meds, and I may not feel as emotionally even, and it's tougher right now not to punish my body for being in league with my mind, but doesn't it count that I'm paying attention? I don't pay attention on my meds. And that's got to count, right? I hope. I started this blog as an e.d. outlet, so it's about time that I write about it point-blank again.

I have no intelligent closing to this post. I was typing something about the importance of self-awareness and how that affects one's empathy and actions toward others, but I am tired, and absolutely giving up on typing THAT one without sounding any more like a melodramatic weirdo than I already do. OMG depressing post. Awesome. Okay, going to bed now, and trying not to look at my stomach in the mirror on the way there. ... But if I do, accepting that I maybe looked with an evil eye, and hoping that maybe next time I can look without a second thought.

Here's everyone: "... Wut?"

Night night.

* Everything written here is a personal opinion. Please don't use my words in a "Pros and Cons" list of whether or not to stop or start psychiatric meds. For the love of God, ask a doctor, if for no other reason than going off meds without one is A LOT HARDER than quitting with one. (For me, at least, speaking as a spaz who psychosomatizes** everything.)

** Not a real word.