Sunday, April 11, 2010


My parents are visiting this weekend. So far, it has gone well. It's the first time in a long time I have not felt an overwhelming anxiety upon their visit. Perhaps, it is because it is a "working" visit with getting stuff done around the house? In any case, it is nice to not feel so anxious about it. I think a lot of this also has to do with the fact that my parents no longer hate where I am living, my job, my boss, etc.

But still as thoughts like this change, there are other things that do not.

At at Thai restaurant we went to last night, we were talking about people who had cancer (my mom had breast cancer back in my teens, my father has had colon cancer and melanoma twice). My father made the comment,

"I made a deal with God that as long as my family stayed healthy and okay, he could do whatever he wanted to me. And so far, this has been the case. Tiptoe here is healthy, except for that small health scare."

And it is that last part that always gets to me. That time period he is referring to are my ED-filled years where it was so blatant, out there. It was noticeable then. It affected everyone then. It made my parents fearful that they might lose me if I continued to go down the path I was.

So luckily, this didn't happen, right? True, yes. But at the same time, my parents, well at least my father, view this simply as a "blip" in my life. A blip to me seems like something that is short, brief, hardly noticeable, NOT something that lasts 12 years.

There is a small part of me that holds some resentment, like how could they view this part of my life that way? I guess it is easier for the participant versus the observer to feel this way. Although there isn't a flat out denial that the ED existed, viewing it as a blip doesn't seem right or fair to me. How can someone feel this way when something like this consumed your life for so long?

But maybe in a way, a blip is better? Maybe, it's a way to be able to move on for some. For me, even if it is a"blip," it is not something I can ever forget. Perhaps, it's too soon to feel something like this or maybe later in recovery, my feelings will change?

For those in recovery, how do you view your ED? Does it feel like a distant part of your life? Does it feel like a "blip?"


Missing In Sight said...

I view my "career" as an anorexic hardly a blip, and I wouldn't consider having an ED for 12 years a blip either. I've been in and out of recovery for over half my life. My ED has come and gone several times. ED comes out like an angry monster and then goes to "sleep" as I try to recover. But no matter how far down the line I am in recovery, he has always come back. So it's never a distant part of my life. I have to continually work at recovery. I don't know if my ED will every go away.

Angela said...

It never feels like a blip! I wish... Unfortunately over 20 years into this disease, it has robbed me of so much of my life. Even though for only 10 of those years I was noticebly sick, the years before and after have been consumed with ED. Even while in recovery, we are consumed. I think that the people who love us try to minimize it because they were so afraid that they were going to lose us.

James Clayton said...

As much as you don't want to be defined by your eating disorder it is never a short term blip. Maybe in weight or appearance terms, but anorexia is a mental illness. The recovery process is a job of sustaining recovery and keeping things in check. Superficially it's easy to see why others may see periods of struggle as a 'blip' but for the sufferer it is anything but.

ola said...

It is weird - on the one hand I was trying to act like my ED was just a blip in front of many people- something short-term and something that has nothing to do with my identity. On the other hand I would never call someone's (mine) ED as "blip". 10 years of my life were driven by it unfortunately:( I understand how you feel about your father's comment - after I gained weight last summer, some people started immediately speak about my ED in past tense...

Kim said...

I think there was a time, a year or two into recovery, that I wanted to think my eating disorder was just a blip. But, no. Being that I've been in recovery for a number of years, with ups and downs, I consider anorexia something that is so complicated and integrates itself into my life even if I'm at a healthy weight, etc. I have to keep things in check, and it is a process and journey. I still don't know what I think about people saying, "I'm recovered." I don't know if I'll get there. I feel like I'm in remission, and I know what to look out for. That's progress for me and I'm happy about that, but I see my eating disorder as a life-long type of management issue. I don't think most people see it that way. Most of my family members (especially extended) see it as something that was in issue back in 1999.

Cammy said...

I deal with this with my family too. The sickest of sick periods was a scare, and now that I'm functional and moving forward in the world everything must be fine, dandy, and rosy-smelling as we sweep it under the rug....

How open are you with your parents about your ED today? Do you ever mention to them if you're having a hard time? It is really frustrated when family doesn't understand, I guess it's one of those things that no one can fully "get" without going through themselves...but don't be afraid to speak up if you feel like they're not hearing what you need them to about the issue.

Finding Melissa said...

I can really relate to this. My eating disorder is not referred to as a 'blip' as such - just something that should be quickly moved on from now and not really referred to again. After investing 18 years of my life in it, this feels like a total negation and quite hard to stomach.

It's not that I would like to wallow in the eating disorder; nor cling onto it. It's just that this hushing up and skating over doesn't appreciate the courage and energy required for recovery, nor the huge impact that an eating disorder can have across multiple dimensions of a life.

Maybe it is easier for those who have to watch someone suffering to frame an eating disorder as a 'blip' as this will alleviate the fear a little?

For me, however, I need to acknowlede the eating disorder in its entirety, so that I can make sure that I move on and work through the sense of regret that my recovery has also brought.

Thanks for sharing this. xx