This morning my December/January roommate Angela (destined to achieve a veritable brunette bombshell fame as I'll keep talking about her 'till I'm blue in the face...) inquired as to why it appeared as though a bomb had gone off in my room.
Easy...I was sorting my laundry. The question she should have asked--the question that would have gotten me: why was I just now sorting my laundry? After all, I've been back in New York since the evening of the 31st. Tomorrow will be the seventh of January. What had I done in that time? Hmmm...very good question. Well, I'd seen a movie (Revolutionary Road..blah, don't get me started), picked up a pay check, made some returns, payed some bills, been a very good girl and gone to the gym every day but one...heck, I'd even done some decor rearranging in my room (jury's still out on whether I like the change, but to be fair I won't be able to tell 'till I pick up the splinters of my bomb site). Actually, this written list gives the false impression that I've been productive. I haven't been. Not really. I haven't done any of those things that I declared would get 2009 rolling. I haven't done laundry. Haven't cleaned my room. Haven't cashed in my 12 days of free YMCA in order to check out their pool. Or checked out the NY parks and recreation pool. Haven't slept at night. The only thing I have done that's taken some effort is to develop a mild case of insomnia.
So yesterday. After getting out of bed around eleven (I'd fallen asleep at five (a.m.)) and eating nothing but cinnamon rolls, I was lying on Angela's bed watching Oprah. And there she was. Doing it. Doing what no one does. Talking about her weight. I know what you're thinking--people talk about it all the time. And you're right. But what they talk about is their tried and true diet of choice, or the latest exercise craze, or (and my personal favorite) cutting down any rumor of an eating disorder: Please, I've always been this thin. No, Brittany Murphy, you can't say that...we have proof. Clueless exists as actual, living proof that that was not the case. How unfair of me to single out Britt, she's not the worst offender, not by a long shot. Back to the point...there was Oprah talking about the shame, the guilt, the embarrassment, the struggle. And I sat in stunned silence shocked by her courage. And I thought, if Oprah can do, so can I.
Because the thing is...I've started this new year off dictated more by my fear than anything else. And the really crazy thing is...it's a fear of success. Because this will be the year that I say goodbye to Ned for good. There's no question in my mind as to the veracity of this statement. It's just a matter of having the courage to say I don't need him any more. Perhaps the first small step (in 2009) to eradicate his existence is to introduce you to him...
Reader this is Ned.
Ned is my nasty little eating disorder.
I read a book once that says if you give it a name then you separate it from yourself and this can be a positive tool on the road to recovery. Most people name their's Ed. I put an "N" before it. Thought the "N" was emblematic of my sharp, biting sense of humor. In truth, the "N" just helps me cope a little bit better. Ned sounds like a smaller, more diminutive man.
I can already see the email from my father now. You shouldn't be blogging about this, he'll say. It's dangerous. There are nasty people out there who could use it against you. I say let them try. Chances are Ned will have thrown much worse in his day.
No, I'm not anorexic. And I'm not bulimic. I remember learning about eating disorders in elementary school. With the first you didn't eat anything. And with the latter you threw everything up. Well...no worries here. With my potent love of food and unimaginable fear of throwing up, I was safe. Untouchable if you will. Turns out only 18% of those diagnosed with eating disorders fit into either of those two categories. The other 82% are diagnosed as having a non specific eating disorder.
At the beginning of my fourth year of school I was diagnosed as being a "non purging bulimic." But in all honesty I fall into the category of binge eating. In recent years binge eating has become a more recognized form of the disease--so much so that when you google search eating disorders it appears in all your results, but not so much that any order doctor knows how to diagnose it.
The whole reason I'm now talking about this...is because no one really does. Not in open, public forums anyway. And because no one talks about it...no one understands it--even within the medical community it remains (in large part) a mystery. It took two years before a doctor could diagnose me. Two years of living with it and suffering...two years of asking for help and being told it was simply depression, anxiety--that if those things could be treated, than the eating would naturally correct itself. No one should have to endure that. So it's time for people to start talking. It's estimated that 24 million Americans suffer from the disease. And as obesity becomes an ever greater problem, the need to talk about the American relationship to food is at an all time high. For the first time in our country's history a large number of obese women are giving birth. Doctors don't yet know how this will effect the children, but studies conducted on rats suggest that the children born to obese women will suffer from slower metabolisms and a propensity for less healthy food. Thus the fear is: obesity as an epidemic is likely to snowball even sooner than expected.
The diet culture of America proves to be one of the greatest culprits. We're ruled more by a calorie count than the body's natural impulses. Dr. Bob (often mentioned in passing--he's an eating disorder specialist) was interviewed for a local NY paper. The question asked of him was what can we do to lose weight and be the healthiest version of ourselves? Based on his response the newspaper chose to pull the article since it went against all the ad space they sell--meaning his response was in some ways "anti-diet" and the ad space was bought up in large part by diet companies. Imagine that...a leading expert on how to be healthy and his response was not as valuable as the advertisements being sold. What Americans and the government will have to soon realize is that if we actually want to combat obesity and the onset of eating disorders then the dieting industry will either have to be eliminated or take on new forms. Just as we're now in the hunt for alternative energy forms, we have to realize it's time to embrace alternative methods to losing weight.
Okay, so this post has gone on for entirely too long. And I recognize that some people may not appreciate the content. But as I am the ruler of this blogdom I get to write about what I know. And what I believe in. So if anyone is still reading this...I'll be writing about this more and my apologies if that upsets you...but it's a new year and it's time for change.