Friday, May 9, 2014

Where debt and my eating disorder meet

Ever wanted to know what it's like to have a binge? Well, here you go.

*Trigger warning for those with eating disorders.**

This morning I continued a conversation with the Chief Engineer, one we've been having for a couple weeks now. Do we cancel our trip with my aunt and uncle to Williamsburg or not? Cancelling it will save between $200 and $300.

I absolutely love the foot race that's the reason we go to Williamsburg every year. The race in 2012 was the first time I completed an 8k while still struggling daily with my eating disorder. It was a huge win for me, proving that I can still run even though I'm not thin anymore. Last year it was even more special because I don't have a relationship with most of my family anymore, except for my aunt and uncle, and I got to spend a lot of time with them.

The CE and I informally came to the conclusion that Williamsburg is probably an unnecessary expense right now. It left me seriously depressed the whole morning. My mother is also coming to visit for this mother's day, though I'm still so angry that she refuses to divorce my abusive father that I can barely talk to her anymore.

By 10:00 this morning I was so upset and so unsure of what to do with my feelings. The idea of going to see my aunt and uncle at another time just doesn't seem to live up to the fun we always have in Williamsburg. And besides, ED says that if we we're not going, then I have no reason to stay in shape, right? No reason to eat well, right? Go ahead and binge.

And that's exactly what happened.

First it started with the chocolate in one cabinet. Then the chocolate in another. Then it turned into the ice cream in the freezer. Then to the chips. Then I stopped. I was more or less out of interesting food. At this point I turned to the vending machines, but stopped. I had promised myself that I would skip the vending machines until our debts were paid off. So that's what I did. I can spend $10-$20 on binge foods in a typical binge. I kept eating what was around the house. Telework days are not good for my eating disorder. My "no vending machine" rule also helped.

The Chief Engineer won't be home in time for dinner today which leaves me on my own. There's not too much interesting to eat at home, so hopefully this will help slow down or stop the binge. But I really want tomorrow to just get here and fast, so that I can make peace with not going to Williamsburg and figure out how to motivate myself to run or go to the gym without knowing I have a race to prepare for.

The obvious solution is to call up my uncle and just ask if we can visit a few times this summer. It just doesn't feel the same though. But I don't wanna.

What would you do? Go to Williamsburg because it's good for your mental stability? Or go to your aunt and uncle's place more often?


  1. Could you enter a race closer to home to give you the motivation to stay in shape? Would that make not going to Williamsburg easier to bear? Perhaps it could become a new tradition for you :)

    Although going on the trip sounds like it would be better for mental stabilty, in the long run do you think you'd feel better if you saved the money and eased the debt situation...even if it means living with the distress at the moment?
    I don't know much about ED, but it sounds like avoiding the vending machines is a great step forward :)


    1. The races around here are pretty pricey, but still less than Williamsburg. In the long run I'd probably feel better not going. I just wish I were better at handling the disappointment and distress at the moment. My little vending machines rule does seem to help. Thanks again for the support, you guys are awesome!!

  2. Firstly, I'm sending a lot of love and hugs your way because neither decision is easy to make! And if it makes you feel any better, how you ate today is how I eat the vast majority of days. I have no handle on my emotional eating/love of carbs...and I don't work out. So just know that despite everything you are still FIT, and that is SO admirable!!!

    As for the trip, that is tricky. Part of me says go and part says to hold back. How much would a trip cost just to go visit your aunt and uncle? Is it significantly less? Could you plan special things to do that may be free/less expensive when you go for a visit that makes it feel more exciting?

    1. Thank you so much for the support. I really need it right now. Thank you for reminding me that just because I don't do the race doesn't mean I'm lazy, fat, and ugly.

      The trip would be about $300 total. Driving to my aunt and uncle's is about a tank of gas round trip, so $50. That's six visits. I think that's the right thing to do to just visit them. I don't think anything would be quite as exciting, but they did promise to teach us to sail, and I've always enjoyed falling out of boats! lol Thanks again, Megyn.

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  4. I'm sorry you're struggling... Mother's Day has always been a difficult holiday for me... this year even more than usual. It takes effort to remind myself that all those people out there with seemingly idyllic families have their own problems too - and that my mother's problems were her own, and nothing I could have done would have fixed them.

    I wish I had great advice to offer in regards to the trip, the binge, the whole 9 yards... but all I can say is what CatMan says to me repeatedly. In reality all of the behaviors are kind of irrelevant. It doesn't matter if one is binging or starving, compulsively spending or compulsively saving, hoarding or compulsively decluttering, exercising to exhaustion or addicted to television, doing drugs or being a hyper-moralistic teetotaler. The behaviors are just a symptom... they're just what we do to give ourselves something to focus on and get worked up about so that we don't have to feel whatever it is that we're running away from.

    I saw a documentary once about a morbidly obese woman who was on a "journey" - they followed her through bariatric surgery, and weight loss... yadda, yadda, yadda. At the beginning of the show, she weighs over 400 pounds and is a secret compulsive eater. On the surface she's just the sweetest person you'd ever care to meet. She's a single mom who loves her daughter to pieces and just struggles with this problem of being overweight. By the end of the show, she's had surgery, lost a few hundred pounds, abandoned her daughter and become an alcoholic and drug addict. What I took away from it all was that obesity and compulsive eating were not really her problem at all - and when she finally got the surgery and "fixed" the problem of food, alcohol and drugs very quickly jumped in to take its place.

    I dunno... I'm clearly not a person who has all of this stuff figured out, as my demons still haunt me on a daily basis. But I do think that I spend a lot of time agonizing about decisions and beating myself up about being "good enough" in just about any respect that one can imagine. Am I thin enough? Frugal enough? Green enough? Nice enough? Neat enough? Smart enough? But in the end, I think that the agonizing itself is what I'm really after. It's a lot easier to get worked up into a tizzy about chocolate, or my thighs, or some recent purchase, or the dishes, or WHATEVER, than it is to deal with the fact that I'm mad as hell because my mother didn't love me.

    So should you go to Williamsburg or not? I have no idea. But, if you're anything like me, I'm guessing that the whole dynamic of agonizing over the decision is probably much more important than the decision itself.

    Sending you much love,

  5. If the race is the highlight of your year, do it! That's my life is short side speaking! It sounds like this means a lot to you. More visits might be really fun as well. Don't forget your mental health, too! That goes hand and hand with your physical health!

    Hope you can come up with a great solution. :)

    1. You're absolutely right -- I found out the hard way just how important this race is to my mental health. So we're definitely going. Thanks for the encouragement!


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