I don’t want to be an advocate today.
Today I told my dietician in a session that I thought I was a little over my ideal body weight. She agreed with me.
I feel disgusting even typing that sentence.
Here are some things that are happening in my mind right now:
1. I miss the thin privilege I had when I was truly sick, the privilege to be taken seriously when I said I had eating problems.
2. Eating healthy doesn’t work. The only way I can lose weight is by serious restriction. When I eat normally, I gain weight. I’m not capable of eating normally. I don’t understand.
3. I hope I’m sick or something is wrong with me that means this weight gain is a fluke.
4. Having an eating disorder is easier than the “healthy” way of losing weight.
5. I’m not allowed to share these thoughts because they glorify an eating disorder, because I’m not actively telling people how awful it is to be sick, because I’m remembering how intertwined I am with the disease, the way it really is part of the way my mind works rather than something that needs to be kicked out of my life.
6. I’m hungry and I don’t want to eat. I’m tired and I will make myself exercise today.
7. I’m sick of trying to spin these thoughts into something useful or meaningful. Since I’ve started to write openly about treatment and recovery and mental illness, I feel as if I need to be a role model or someone that others can look to to see that mental illness does not destroy your life. And yet it’s consumed all of mine and I feel as if I’ve gained nothing except 50 pounds.
8. I don’t want to curate my words today. I don’t want to be careful not to trigger anyone or to mistakenly portray the ways I behave in a positive light. I want to be allowed the space to honestly portray my mental illness, including the way that it looks seductive when I’m anxious and overwhelmed. Right now restriction is the only thing that makes sense to me. I hate having to hedge that with the caveat that I know it’s not healthy and no other people shouldn’t do it and yes it will fuck up my life.
9. I’m so tired. I’m so, so tired.
10. As someone who has a mental illness and advocates for people with mental illnesses, sometimes I feel like I’m not actually allowed to have my mental illness. Sure, I get to talk about the experience and share inspiring stories or even stories about how nastybad it is and tips and tricks that I’ve picked up, but I don’t get to publicly have the thoughts and feelings that come with a jerkbrain. I don’t get to type “I think I’m a shitstain on the world” without people disregarding everything else I say. I don’t get to type “I truly would like to skip all upcoming meals indefinitely” without being accused of promoting unhealthy behaviors. Newsflash world: I have depression and an eating disorder. These are things that I think on the regular. If it’s too ugly to see it and you have to look away when I can’t be polished, then I don’t understand the point of my activism and advocacy. I don’t understand why I write anymore.
11. Sometimes I want to be sick. Lately the world has been making me want to be sick. Welcome to intersectionality.
12. I hope that part of activism can be honesty about the ways that mental illness is tempting and insatiable. I hope that it doesn’t look like I’m saying everyone should totally stop eating and get super depressed. What I am saying is that it’s so easy to want it when things are hard. “Fighting” seems like a foreign concept when something looks so calming and perfect and right. It’s less like a fight and more like a spell and some days the spell looks real nice.
13. I am reminded again and again and again that weight is a ridiculous criterion for an eating disorder. I am frustrated that the anxiety and stress and sadness and self hatred that just struggling with food causes aren’t seen as important enough for treatment, but that being over or underweight is. Of course physical health is important, but why bother if every day is a living hell?
14. I don’t know why this needs to be public except that I feel dishonest if I don’t admit that restriction still looks pretty good most days.