Before my power went out, I had wanted to write this post. A few weeks ago, I had this dream. I was at my old high school and mingling around. Maybe, this was a reunion but I'm not sure really. I came across this young woman who was a teacher. I did not recognize her but she somehow knew me. Her first words were, "You look too thin." I denied the answer and promptly left. I don't remember what happened after that.
Dreams are an interesting thing. There is such a variety in them. Sometimes, they depict subconscious thoughts underneath the surface. Other times, they are relevant to the present moment, becoming a way to suss out or mill over matters. Some are happy, some are sad and nightmarish, some are just in between, and some don't really have an emotion to evoke. My favorites are the dreams that make absolutely no sense, yet, you still try to figure them out anyway. Example: animals talking.
Then, in a category all its own, are the ED dreams. These are the dreams about food or treatment or your treatment team or the scale or your weight or your body image or the perception of yourself on others or illness or even death. I don't know about you, but these have always been some of the most vivid, memorable dreams for me. They tap into my fears and disillusioned perceptions and always ask "WHY" questions or leave strings unattached.
Fast forward a few weeks at my last therapy session. (I have another post on that in the works) Towards the end of the session, C. asked me how eating and exercising were going. I was honest, told her it was so-so. My exercising had decreased since I had Tovah and the visit with my parents--both good things for the most part. I told her I knew I had lost a little weight back in mid-late December. I only knew since I weighed myself at the fitness center. Of course, when I said the number which was not significant at all, C. claimed it was a lot. I told her I had probably regained most of that weight back anyway since I was exercising less and eating more.
Then, C. said, "You're thinner now than when I remembered you in college. Even today, you look thinner."
Seriously, I was quite shocked. I know my perception is skewed but I also know how my jeans fit around my waist, and they are not as loose as they were then. This should have been a victory for me--not falling down the rabbithole. (or is it pigeonhole?) But instead, it just made me question my perception of reality and wonder if I'll ever be able to see too thin, thin, normal, and fat, at least on myself that is. Has the eating disorder forever scarred my perception?
What's your take? For those recovered/in recovery, are you able to see the dimensions or your own body or the perceptions others see?
Related perception posts:
Perceptions and body image
Perceptions and our pets