11 April 2012

Living with an ED... and re-joining the gym

My son and I have been members of a gym for several years and we just joined a new one, closer to our house, better hours, more options, and something we can do together... let me explain a little though...

I have always been into working out, which is where my whole ED thing seriously started to spiral. I was sick of being teased and picked on at school and my parents didn't do much to soften the blow... my mom did more more of rubbing salt in the wounds.

Anyway... my son is a big kid. Our family is not well known for it's petite delicate frames. He is taller than me, his feet are 11's and he definitely outweighs me... it is like a big teddy bear... or a bull in a china shop. Depending on the situation. He has also been teased and picked on. He is quiet, soft-spoken, and would rather be to himself... which he kinda gets from me. But... he has a martial arts belt and so do I. We did it together. But no one would guess it, from the type of person he is. He is most likely to be teased, most likely to not fight back, but most likely to scare the hell out of someone if the instincts kick in. That's my boy and I love him.

Okay, back on topic here. In my early 20's, I met a guy who was big into working out. We tried to cook (and eat) healthy, and that kinda rubbed off on me. I worked full-time and took care of my dad. I made time to go to the Athletic Club and work out. I worked with a personal trainer. I exercised, I watched my food. I lost weight. I loved it!!! I could wear clothes that I hadn't been able to wear. I got compliments. Considering I was the ugly duckling, I loved hearing people tell me I looked good... although I was never able to graciously accept a compliment.

I lost weight, I worked out. I was happy, I felt good, I felt sexy, I felt like people noticed me.

Until they found out I had established an ED. Yep, I did. Not afraid to admit it. All workout, lots of water, little food. But I FELT PRETTY! Okay, sad excuse, but when you are wrapped up in it, you don't see what is going on. Like with a diet, you know what works and that is how you base your structure.

My dad was heavy, he had diabetes, he died of congestive heart failure. My mom was always heavy, she couldn't stay away from the snacks, and she has health issues also. My one brother has diabetes and heart problems. My second brother had diabetes, several heart attacks, and passed away due to heart failure. This is not a real good scenario for living my life and keeping my son healthy.

Once everyone found out that my weight loss was not a healthy one, I was treated like I had the plague. My world started spinning out of control and I couldn't stop. The voices, or should I say "demons" in my head kept on me. I was at the weight that I was my lowest... I was at, what they tell me, is my "ideal weight", which is why I have a hard time wrapping my head around.

To this day, I struggle with that "ideal weight". I try to explain to those who do our health risk assessment and my own doctors that that last time I was at my ideal weight, I was anorexic. I stand over 5'8" tall, I am muscular, my hands  are large, my structure is large. I cannot be a healthy ideal weight.

When I got pregnant, I really lost it. I knew I had to eat and my ex-husband made me eat. I hated it. I couldn't do it. I felt gross and disgusting. My anorexia turned to bulimia. My body didn't know which was it was going anymore. And then, in the midst of all the stress and anxiety of gaining weight, having to eat, feeling fat & bloated, stressing out... I spun back into the other side of my darkness... cutting. There was (and still is) something about that. Many people can't imagine it. Many can't understand it. Just like binging and purging... no one really can grasp that either.

There are many things that live in our darkness. I have these demons that continue to haunt me, even after 20+ years, a marriage ending in divorce, a happy healthy son, and routine excessive stress.

Okay, so we are back to the new gym. There are all body types, ages, and athletic abilities there. I feel like I can fit in. I want my son to feel comfortable and find a happiness within him. The last thing I need is for him to suffer the way I did.

I am working to make things comfortable for him. My mom is retired, so she does the cooking and much of the shopping. She complains about his eating habits and his snacking, but... seriously... SHE buys the crap he snacks on... Neither of them need it!!! Neither of them need the gallon of ice cream, the cookies, the chocolate, the chips, the other junk. 

I go shopping and buy the diet stuff, fat free stuff, mildly healthy stuff. I told my son if there is anything he wants me to buy, let me know, I will. I have also told him that just because Grandma makes a big meal, you DON'T have to clean your plate or eat everything!  If she wants to complain, she can take it up with me.

Okay, we have gone to the gym. I have hooked my son up with the personal trainer, to find out how to use the machines, what he wants to get out of this, and his whole nutrition/fitness thoughts. I think this has worked well. He is enjoying it.

Me, on the other hand, the demons still fill my head and make me think those thoughts. I see everyone working out. I want to be thin and feel pretty. I don't like how I look. I don't like anything about me, really. I want to feel sexy, but I struggle with that. I don't like looking in the mirror, I don't like my reflection, I don't like what (or who) I see. 

To be a good role model, I have to provide my son with guidance and good knowledge. I also have to battle my demons and fight with myself. I cannot let those thoughts fill his world, as his obsessive personality traits will lead him down the wrong path also. I learned from my mistakes, have to keep him from making those same ones, and still tell myself I can do it.

Struggling with any type of ED is difficult. To be honest, unless you have been through it, battled it, fought with it, you have no idea how hard it is or how strong the demons are. Those voices never seem to truly go away... they just get quieter.


Nani said...

Posting this helps you be stronger and remain stronger for your son. I have a great deal of admiration for you facing and fighting your demons. And yes, like any of the more common conditions that people are willing to talk about, you are always recovering and every day is another battle, hopefully an easier one then yesterday, and another victory.

Julia said...

I am sorry you have had to go through that struggle. It is wonderful that you can now use that as an inspiration for your son. Hang in there, it sounds like you are making great choices.

Jackie said...

Thank you for having the courage to share your story. Keep up the healthy life, one day at a time!

Angela Shelton said...

I know all about the healing world. Boy do I ever. Good for you for moving ahead! Feel free to check out the links on my site for loads of stuff to help with the self-abuse healing.

I'm still trying to figure out what ED is though. I had to ask a mommy what she meant by her "no R word" rule too. I'll read more, thanks for sharing and being a great example for your son.

Gia said...

Ugh, what a tough struggle you've had.

Stephanie said...

I'm so sorry for your struggles. I'm sending you positive thoughts.

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

I'm sorry you're struggling with this. That you're setting your son on the path to healthy living is a good thing, and I hope that it works out for both of you.

Ali said...

I have bulimia ( I don't think it ever goes away, even if it's 'dormant') and I used to self harm also. 5 weeks ago I had a baby girl. I have never wanted a girl because of fear of passing on my issues to her (my mum is the same). Thanks for sharing what you are going through and making me see my son is as easily influenced too. Good luck with it all. Xx

Stephanie Sikorski said...

Weight was certainly a challenging thing for me too. Thanks for sharing and good luck w yeahwrite!

Michelle Longo said...

Thank you for sharing your story.

XLMIC said...

I truly believe that your amazing sense of self-awareness will take you far in terms of being an AWESOME parent for your son. I wish you the best of luck navigating these huge and sometimes seemingly overwhelming issues.

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