2 days ago, I did an interview with CBS New York talking about eating disorders, drunkorexia, and recovery.
Throughout the interview, I felt calm, I felt poised, I felt eloquent.
I win at life, I thought. Woo – I got my shit TOGETHER!
Flash forward 4 hours later and I see the following picture:
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING, I thought immediately. NO. My ASS. My THIGHS. NOPE. NO-NO-NO-NO.
That is NOT going in the segment, I hissed at my poor friend nearby. Not to millions of people.
My panic heightened.
I thought of the person I’m dating.
GOD THEY’LL BE EMBARRASSED.
I thought of what I ate the night before. WHY DID YOU DO THAT, I panicked.
I thought of my thighs. WAS I NOT PAYING ATTENTION?
I thought of how this shit never ends.
Linds, my friend whispered. You’re not serious right now…
But I was.
Momentarily, I was.
The most difficult part of writing about recovery in the media is the assumption that it should be a linear rom-com film with an easy end.
Eating disorder, struggle, rehab, recovery, end. *CREDITS ROLL*
It’s not, but when you’re writing about your shiz all over the place for people to read, you sometimes pretend like it is.
Or, not even that, that’s lies.
But you feel a pressure to wrap everything up with a tidy bow: to end every article and post with a happy, inspirational note.
Recovery isn’t always that way – straight up – it just can’t be or what you’re really doing is embarking down the same perfectionist “I HAVE TO BE THE BEST AT EVERYTHING” mentality that got you stuck in rehab – with a counselor standing outside a stall while you piss – in the first place.
Eating disorder – CHECK
Rehab – CHECK, GOLD STAR – BEST PATIENT
Recovery – CHECK, PERFECT. NO STRUGGLE EVER AGAIN.
Just because I get positive acknowledgement for my experience with eating disorders online does not make me any less prone to ticks that stay with me, nestled. They are part of me and they flare when I least expect – when my vulnerability is high, or my feelings distracted.
There was a camera ON. MY. ASS.
I have body dysmorphia.
Of course I was going to struggle. Seems so “duh” in retrospect, but it wasn’t in the moment.
For 5 minutes, as the photographer reworked his camera, all I could think about was how “lazy”I had been for eating whatever I wanted coming into the interview.
To not have run the week before.
Here I am doing a national interview on eating disorders, and all I can think about IS MY EATING DISORDER.
The hypocrisy, I know.
But at the end of the day, I’m only as healthy as my transparency.
So here’s the nitty gritty:
- I don’t know what I weigh currently
- I suffer with body dysmorphia
- I haven’t been working out regularly
- I am dating someone and I’m all happy and giddy and functional and I haven’t been paying attention to my weight (I know, HEAVEN FORBID)
All of this is just reality, so it’s hard to ever really rationalize what is “in my head” and what is truly fact in terms of my body shape, structure, what have you.
I’m proud of doing this interview, but I am also a human with an eating disorder, which means for years I relied on other people to make me feel okay about me.
I sought validation through other people, through my looks, and through my body.
In other words, I never planned on being a national advocate for eating disorders.
I didn’t think I was smart enough, didn’t think I was motivated enough, didn’t think I was cultured enough, didn’t think I really had “that whole package” that people need.
but I damn sure knew I could take care of other people, and I relied on being someone elses support system because I sure as hell didn’t know where to begin on my own.
Rehab doesn’t fix that innate mode of being, PS.
Treatment is helpful, but it is a beginning. Not an end.
Recovery is a series of choices:
Don’t calorie count.
Don’t run a 1/2 marathon to burn calories.
Don’t drink to not eat.
Recovery is all about momentary choices; Momentary changes of perspective.
Standing in front of millions of people on a camera, I felt that wave of insecurity flare.
Your ass is bigger than you’d like, I thought. What if no one takes you seriously?
BACK ON IN 3, the camera dude said.
I looked at my friend, standing there holding her phone with the picture open.
I hate it, I smiled weakly.
Okay, she said. You can do that.
I do, I said. I hate it.
Unsure of what I hated exactly.
That’s the thing – I don’t know if I hate my ass more than my eating disorder – or my eating disorder more than my ass sometimes.
But look at what you’re doing, she reminded me, pointing out over the Hudson.
Look at the world you’ve created for yourself.
I sighed. You lil Freud.
I know, I said. I’m not sick anymore, but I’m always “kinda” sick.
You’re not sick anymore, she repeated. And you’re only “momentarily” sick.
Cuz hell if you were, you wouldn’t be here.
I nodded. Nice phrasing.
I went back on.
Be gentle to me, you little turd, I told my ED.
Every day, I fight a lil’ demon in my head.
Every day, I learn how to tame it.
This is recovery in a nutshell.
*PS I will post when interview airs 🙂
4 thoughts on ““So, Does The Camera Make You Gain 10lbs?”: Being On Television With An Eating Disorder”
I just found your blog and I have to say we speak the same language. Thank you for your honesty and bravery! It’s so refreshing to hear the honest voice in your writing that I hear in my head. I’m recover(ed / ing) from AN and BN. It’s immensely validating and reassuring to know that these same thoughts are being fought by others. While I’m not in CBS interviews, these issue creep in whenever I see any photo or video of myself. It for many years stopped me from printing or sharing photos of my adventures. And that’s something I’ve been actively trying to put a stop to because by not printing them proudly or sharing them with friends, I lost so much. Including self confidence. I can feel society SLOWLY shifting to hero’ing the message of “self love”. But right now it’s being undermined by the message of “but first be thin”. So the fight continues, and the voices of the brave individuals like you are being heard and respected. Thank you for that. Maybe one day I’ll share my whole story. Maybe.
I love this: “GOLD STAR, PERFECT PATIENT, CHECK”.
Thank you so much for always being raw and honest. For the longest time I was telling myself that I had to be an inspiration, had to be positive, had to…be perfect? (haha surprise ;)) The reality of the situation is that I’m 8 years into recovery and while I’ll never regret choosing life- don’t starve, don’t purge, etc… I’m human. And that’s ok. I don’t have to apologize for it. There are days I feel massive and miss the safety of the disorder. But I also know that life is much more than my pant size, and even if I allow myself to be real about the struggle, it doesn’t take away from the good.
I needed to read this this evening. We’re allowed hate it sometimes. I wanted permission to hate it today- thank you for giving me that. I know we need to keep going despite it all though- thank you to your friend for reminding you of that so you could in turn remind me!
You never need permission – but boy, do I know that feeling. I need it too sometimes – so thank you for your comment as always. I love reading them.