I Am That Girl Now

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Holy crap, you guys, you have to see this

PBS Nova program: "Dying to be Thin".

I've been going through Nova programs that are available online (they are truly awesome) and this was on the bottom of the page. I avoided it, then finally today I was out of other things to watch while doing boring tasks at work, and went ahead and started it.

Oh my God.

Okay, so I'd heard before that eating disorders are tied to a need for control. And I knew I had an eating disorder, and I also knew that I had control issues, but I swear to God that I didn't put it all together before with exactly what I was trying to control until a) the control thing came up in therapy, and b) I watched this program.

My head just exploded.

There's the control thing, there's the seratonin study (you seriously have to see that) and the fact that many, many people with eating disorders have high anxiety, are "parent-pleasers", sweet girls, wanting to do things the "right" way, obsessive, anxious, "harm-avoidant"... oh, man, the whole thing. It all clicked together in my head.

I just had a flash of insight: I gave myself an eating disorder because I wanted control. I overate and ate whatever I wanted because I wanted control. I started dieting and exercising because I wanted control. I started BFL because I wanted control. I have done so much in the past few years trying to make this all happen, make it okay, control everything about my schedule and my body and my personality and everything, and all the time it hasn't been about losing weight. I gained weight and lost weight for the same goddamn reason.


And you know, it's all in trying to control how other people react to me. I get such good feedback and I feel good about myself for that, I feel like I got it right, I feel approved of and loved and so everything is okay... until I inevitably fall off my tough program and it's devistating: I lose the approval, lose my confidence, lose my sense of self...

It's not just weight. It's everything. Particularly about what I get done... there's this rock-bottom certainty that I discovered that if I'm not accomplishing something, constantly, that I'm worthless. It finally occurred to me that this means that I'm valuing myself, my self, less than my accomplishments-- hell, less than my to-do list.

They said in that program that the difference between most people who encounter personal upheavals and are fine, and the people who encounter personalities

I'm definitely going to have to talk to my therapist about this stuff. The main question, though, is what the hell do I do now? Is just relaxing enough? Am I going to be okay?

Argh. So complicated.


  • I know how you feel. When you start to discover all of these things about yourself that are so painfully obvious and somehow you missed seeing them for years. I've been there. My hope for you is that you will find peace with it, and will find a way to change the behaviours that are hurting you, and keep the ones that help. That was what my therapist taught me.

    By Blogger ms ralph, at 2:59 PM  

  • high anxiety, are "parent-pleasers", sweet girls, wanting to do things the "right" way, obsessive, anxious, "harm-avoidant"

    Oh boy. You're freaking me out. That's me. ME, totally. I'm going to go watch this thing.

    By Blogger M@rla, at 6:04 AM  

  • It is so great that you're writing all of this down - it will be such a help if you ever need validation of your feelings in the future, for whatever reason. I wish I had thought to do that when I was going through difficult patches and growth spots.

    Congratulations on so much progress, though. I admire your honesty and your courage, I really do.

    By Anonymous Emily, at 8:03 AM  

  • As Michelle Joy Levine said in I Wish I were Thin, I Wish I Were Fat (a book I highly recommend), overeating and becoming fat is the LEAST anxious solution to the problems in your life and mind. For a lot of people, that solution gets defined as THE problem, but it's not.

    By Blogger The Troescher Team, at 8:20 AM  

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