Monday, December 13, 2010

The truth behind the "thin".

Going into IP was one of the most memorable events of my entire life. I don't mean this in a good way, but in the fact that I'll never forget it. I met some great people there, and I believe it was what I needed at the time being. There were a lot of things that I didn't agree with, treatment methods that were outdated, but that's not what I'm going to talk about.

The unit I was at was actually a general psychiatric ward, which meant we had a wide range of people with various psychological issues there. One of the most typical questions we were asked by fellow patients after our name and age were "What are you here for?" And the answer to that question was always followed with "Why?".

That question (although pretty inappropriate now that I think about it) struck a chord with me, because at the time I had never stopped to think about this aspect of my illness. It was just something I HAD to do. I didn't know why, I just did. So I set out to find out why. The psychiatrists did little to help in that aspect. Later on I was told that I would probably never discover the reason because it's a complex issue so I might as well not try.

I am not advocating the fact that you should understand your illness and all the reasons behind it perfectly before you try to recover. That's not the point. I've had a specialist tell me that even HE doesn't always know the answers, because this illness is so complex and varies from person to person. But I think discovering some of the reasons that brought you to this point can be helpful in aiding recovery or preventing a relapse.

I had my first driving experience today (on snow - talk about scary). And my instructor made a comment about how petite I was (in reference to my feet not touching the pedals). Anyhow that comment made me happier then it should have, and then I started analyzing why. Why petite? Why not curvy, or womanly, or anything else? I think I figured out the answer to that question, one that is definitely in some small way tied into why this illness had such power over me.

It's hard for me to say this because I don't talk about it, but I was in an abusive relationship. Most of my closest friends don't know this, and I have a hard time telling them. I feel like they wouldn't believe me, or think I'm making a big deal out of nothing. In a way I feel responsible for letting it go on as long as it did, and even letting it happen in the first place. But it happened and it did affect a lot of things - my self esteem, body image and general happiness.

After it ended is when my ED really took off. And I think one of the reasons I craved (and still crave to a certain extent) being petite is because I wanted to be protected. I longed for someone in my life who would stand up for me; someone who would defend me. I had been so hurt that I just wanted someone to protect me. I was tired of the tough" facade I carried around. I wanted to somehow let the people around me know that I had needs, that I wasn't as strong as I pretended to be. And somehow for me the physical tied in behind the mental.

I guess I need to learn to use my voice to communicate what I'm feeling. I'll be the first to admit that this is hard for me. I don't want to be a bother, and I don't want to be seen as "weak" or "needy". What I need to realize is that I am a person just like anyone else. And people need each other. It's ok for me not to be strong 100% of the time. It's ok for me to have issues, everyone does. It doesn't make me less of a person to have needs. We all do and it's ok. It's okay to be human.


  1. Hmm, I think a large part of my ED stems from me wanting to look and feel needy as well. And I never thought about it in this light, but it did seem to start hitting me harder after my last relationship. It wasn't abusive either way, I just didn't like how she wanted to always be alone and I wanted to be with my friends more often. But I think maybe it has something to do with that? I don't know.

    I fully agree with "It's okay to be human" because we all have wants, we all have needs and that doesn't make us weak or greedy; it's simply human nature and once we accept that, the better off we'll be. :)

  2. It was like you were writing just what's in my heart! I crave being loved. I want a guy to wrap me in his arms and reassure me that I'm a jewel, beautiful, worth all this fighting... But that right now is impossible.. I wrap myself in a heavy shawl/blanket and close my eyes pretending... I know I could ask for a hug from my family but it's not the same...

    You are completely right at the end. We are human and constantly "messing up"... That's how we learn..And it's OK to lean on others! Everyone feels strong at different times so we can share how were feeling and use our voices!

    Excellent post! <3

  3. Wow, that's such an awful thing that you were in an abusive relationship. I'm so sorry that it was so awful for you :( But the thing is that now, you are getting better. And you will come out soo much stronger in the end!!