Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"does this hemoglobin make my butt look big?"

I discovered that my ED is not really dead. The thoughts are still there, lurking.

Yesterday I had my hemoglobin checked, because I have been feeling weak and anemic. I usually am slightly anemic, but I wanted to find out if it had gotten worse. So I was suprised when the nurse told me it was a 12, which is within normal range. Following the suprise, I immediately felt...disappointed? Embarassed?

Fat?

Yes, ridiculous as it sounds, having a normal hemoglobin level made me feel fat. You know how anorexics commonly confuse "healthy" with "fat"? For example:

Well-meaning person: "Gee, Lisa, you are looking so healthy!"
Me: "your MOM's healthy."

Ok no I wouldn't really say that. But you get what I mean. To someone with an ED, "healthy" isn't always a compliment.

I have the same thing with my blood pressure. I have hereditary low blood pressure, and combine that with the ED my blood pressure was like crazy low. In a sick way I guess I felt a little proud of it and whenever I was in the hospital I wouls always listen as everyone was getting their bp's taken to make sure mine was the lowest, or at least in the bottom three. I know, right? Whatever gets you through the day, I guess. Inevitably as I would start to restore weight and get hydrated my bp would rise and I would fall into a bit of a funk as I realized that I wasn't "sick" anymore. Without an acute illness to define myself by, I didn't feel special or important.

I still feel that way a little bit sometimes. But I have to tell myself that what makes me special and important is not the ability to starve myself, or throw up my food. I am special because I am human, an individual, someone with many talents and abilities. I have the ability to grow, change, love, and be loved. I am important to many people, but especially my girls, to then I am the whole world.

Why did I , at such a young age, buy into the belief that my worth could be measured by weights or numbers or lab reults? Why did I cling to it for so long?

So yes, I still do have the thoughts. They pop in and out. But I don't act on them anymore. Mostly I just ignore them. Sometimes I ponder them.

And sometimes, they make me laugh.

10 comments:

flaweddesign said...

:) this post made me smile. well the title did. it's so similar to what i posted about being hung up on numbers. i feel the same way about lab results and blood pressure and heart rate and everything. when will healthy be a compliment to us?

what frustrates me the most when people tell me i look healthy is that they didn't have the balls to say i looked like death when i did. so what gives them the right to tell me how i look now? that's my biggest beef.

as if i can lead by example i try and center my compliments that i give to people on things that are more specific, you look happy, your hair looks beautiful, are those new jeans? they rock!; and so forth. healthy is so generic. i think when people say it it really means we may look better than the last time they saw us. or it's good that we have color in our faces (perhaps blush but we can't blame them for not knowing), that we have energy, that we smile and it reaches out eyes again, that we're out in public....so many things.

i have to repeatedly walk myself through this process each time someone comments on my appearance or 'wellness'. it's a societal thing, and interpretation thing, and really, it's the self talk after that matters the most.

keep fighting girl. you're inspiring. :)

Sairs said...

I am the same when someone says I look healthy I equate that to I must look horribly fat. I think it first started to me when I was put weight back on after refeeding. Which was awful because I was being told that all the time.
~Sarah~

littlemissminny said...

this post is like I've written it!
I completely understand you. I just got my blood checked out, and except a bit low hemoglobin and glucose levels, all is ok, and I feel like I'm not so underweight as everybody keeps telling me. The test isn't wrong, is it. But that's just stupid. Healthy is not fat, healthy is beautiful. I wish I would not be affected so negatively with the positive things, like normal blood tests, or people telling me I look ok.

Angela E. Gambrel Lackey said...

I love the title - your sense of humor shines through!

I always felt the same way when people said I looked "healthy." I also get hung up on numbers and labs, and unfortunately it might come back to haunt me (blog post about this later.)

But it sounds as if you are healing and staying with recovery!!! I'm so happy. I know so few people who have kicked ED's ass, I'm proud to know one who is doing it every day!

What makes you wonderful is your kindness, your mothering, how you are as a wife and a human being, your writing skills, etc. That's what people will remember.

Stay well, my friend.

kris said...

You know, this will sound crazy, but reading your post I couldn't help but think: No one has ever called me "healthy" looking. Even when I was healthy/bigger. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side, right?! All I ever heard were things along the lines of "you look like you're IMPROVING." Although I completely understand what you're saying, I somehow long to hear the word "healthy" used as a descriptive about me -- so I'm inclined to say you're lucky and good for you!

I am also anemic on and off though, and when I had my blood tested last it was normal, and I think the most disappointing part is that you wonder if that's not the reason for being tired, what is?

Anyhow, your post made me smile (the title especially) and I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that way -- it seems that a lot of us do. Thanks for the inspiration :)

flaweddesign said...

ok, so i don't know how to comment on comments on my blog. my computer won't let me. sooo here i am. lol yes there are a few longer term treatment programs in Canada. i attempted a 3month one last year and dropped out after 5 weeks. i was sent to another in january and lasted 1 week. in BC there is just one 3 month residential program for adults with a 8-9month waitlist. i was treated long term as an adolescent once for 4 months and once for 9 months at the Children's hospital. the adult clinic focusses on medical stability and trying to maintain people in the community. basically death's door therefore inpatient or pretty much recovered and just need a good boost or some extra encouragement (the residential program). there's nothing in between.

i was referred to Edmonton's University of ALberta program which keeps your 3 month min ip and then has a very gradual step down program and you can remain affiliated with the program for as long as you need. years! but they suggest being open to one full year of treatment. i found it was just behavior modification and that's not good enough for me. there is another in ontario, homewood, that is funded and looks great but really challenging and pretty strict about how much room they give you to struggle without asking you to step out and reconsider your commitment to recovery. pfft.
at some point i may look at going to the states. there are a few private residential places in canada but none that really appeal to me. it's challenging to get out of country referrals and financial coverage if you're not dying. such is our system.
so i'm working with what i've got.
even for the inpatient program there's about a 8-9 month wait in BC and to be referred to that program (which is just three weeks...sometimes shorter or longer, it's becoming a bit more tailored...of medical stabilization) you have to be severely ill anyway. then wait months and months?? it's lame. anyway i've done their IP program 4x and don't think doing it again would do me any good. we'll just see how things go.
thanks for the support. :)

flaweddesign said...

ok, so i don't know how to comment on comments on my blog. my computer won't let me. sooo here i am. lol yes there are a few longer term treatment programs in Canada. i attempted a 3month one last year and dropped out after 5 weeks. i was sent to another in january and lasted 1 week. in BC there is just one 3 month residential program for adults with a 8-9month waitlist. i was treated long term as an adolescent once for 4 months and once for 9 months at the Children's hospital. the adult clinic focusses on medical stability and trying to maintain people in the community. basically death's door therefore inpatient or pretty much recovered and just need a good boost or some extra encouragement (the residential program). there's nothing in between.

i was referred to Edmonton's University of ALberta program which keeps your 3 month min ip and then has a very gradual step down program and you can remain affiliated with the program for as long as you need. years! but they suggest being open to one full year of treatment. i found it was just behavior modification and that's not good enough for me. there is another in ontario, homewood, that is funded and looks great but really challenging and pretty strict about how much room they give you to struggle without asking you to step out and reconsider your commitment to recovery. pfft.
at some point i may look at going to the states. there are a few private residential places in canada but none that really appeal to me. it's challenging to get out of country referrals and financial coverage if you're not dying. such is our system.
so i'm working with what i've got.
even for the inpatient program there's about a 8-9 month wait in BC and to be referred to that program (which is just three weeks...sometimes shorter or longer, it's becoming a bit more tailored...of medical stabilization) you have to be severely ill anyway. then wait months and months?? it's lame. anyway i've done their IP program 4x and don't think doing it again would do me any good. we'll just see how things go.
thanks for the support. :)

flaweddesign said...

ok, so i don't know how to comment on comments on my blog. my computer won't let me. sooo here i am. lol yes there are a few longer term treatment programs in Canada. i attempted a 3month one last year and dropped out after 5 weeks. i was sent to another in january and lasted 1 week. in BC there is just one 3 month residential program for adults with a 8-9month waitlist. i was treated long term as an adolescent once for 4 months and once for 9 months at the Children's hospital. the adult clinic focusses on medical stability and trying to maintain people in the community. basically death's door therefore inpatient or pretty much recovered and just need a good boost or some extra encouragement (the residential program). there's nothing in between.

flaweddesign said...

i was referred to Edmonton's University of ALberta program which keeps your 3 month min ip and then has a very gradual step down program and you can remain affiliated with the program for as long as you need. years! but they suggest being open to one full year of treatment. i found it was just behavior modification and that's not good enough for me. there is another in ontario, homewood, that is funded and looks great but really challenging and pretty strict about how much room they give you to struggle without asking you to step out and reconsider your commitment to recovery. pfft.
at some point i may look at going to the states. there are a few private residential places in canada but none that really appeal to me. it's challenging to get out of country referrals and financial coverage if you're not dying. such is our system.
so i'm working with what i've got.
even for the inpatient program there's about a 8-9 month wait in BC and to be referred to that program (which is just three weeks...sometimes shorter or longer, it's becoming a bit more tailored...of medical stabilization) you have to be severely ill anyway. then wait months and months?? it's lame. anyway i've done their IP program 4x and don't think doing it again would do me any good. we'll just see how things go.
thanks for the support. :)

Cat said...

the title of this post is hilarious and sad all at once. It's amazing the ways in which ed thoughts manage to creep in. I'm in really solid recovery (finally!) and I still experience that shit from time to time. Most of the time I am able to look at my disordered thoughts and se them as unhelpful, often false, and blown out of proportion. But other times they just get me and I believe them. Despite that I find that recovery has been worth it a million times over. The hardest and most worthwhile thing I've ever done.

XO

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