Hi, my name is Jess. I live with disordered eating. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. And I feel compelled to write.
What is disordered eating? And how is it different from an eating disorder? The way my therapist explained it is that I show some of the same behaviors and symptoms of an eating disorder, but I don’t meet all the required criteria for an eating disorder diagnosis. This article from Psychology Today explains it well.
Disordered eating is serious. For me, my eating is tied so closely to my depression and anxiety, that it’s hard to separate the three. I have undergone treatment for all three. And when my depression and anxiety got better, my disordered eating got better.
But it’ still a struggle. Binge eating is still my default coping method. It’s scary how easy it can be to fall back into old behaviors. Just yesterday, in fact, I got super stressed out and overwhelmed and engaged in binge eating.
Today is a new day. And today is better. I have bad days and good days. This is what it looks like to live with disordered eating.
I read this post on TuDiabetes today, and it really tugged at my heartstrings. I can so relate. This bit especially got to me: “Dr. Ann Goebel-Fabbri from Joslin Diabetes Center has said, ‘Teaching a person to be a good diabetic is akin to teaching them how to have an eating disorder.’ Interestingly, 18 of the 40 questions on the EAT-40 eating disorder test, when answered affirmatively indicating risk for an eating disorder, would also be an indicator of good diabetes management.”
If this is true, I’d totally believe it. Diabetes so effs up a person’s relationship with food. I don’t know anyone living with any kind of diabetes who is able to have a “normal” relationship with food. It’s complicated. I binge. I know others who’ve struggled with diabulimia (more info on diabulimia her).
If you or someone you love shows signs of an eating disorder, please get help. TALK. Talk to someone. Call the National Eating Disorder Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237. They can help.
Asking for help was the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. It was terrifying. And being in therapy hurt. It’s hard work. There are no quick fixes. Recovery is a journey. Not an overnight change. Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Don’t give up. You are not alone.
You know when your pump site is too close to the waistband of your pants? And your pants rub and rub and try to rip it out? But the site is working beautifully so you don’t want to pull it?
I wrote this last night. About 10pm. With absolutely no intention of posting it. But today, I took another look at what I’d written. It’s real. It’s what happened. And I try to be honest on this blog. So here it is.
Last year, I flew to Las Vegas to join Sara and George in the JDRF walk to cure diabetes. Go team TriSaraTops!
This year, I’m not able to be there in person. But I want to support Sara and help her reach her goal. So I am virtually “walking” to Vegas!
Flyer created by the fabulous Sara Nicastro.
The walk is only 16 days away. I don’t expect to raise as much as last year. But every little bit helps. No amount is to small. I strongly believe in what the JDRF does. Not only research towards a cure, but treatment and prevention too.
Will you help me reach Vegas? Thank you.
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.” – George Eliot”
Autumn is my favorite season. No contest. So I’ll sit here all cozy with some tea and read some dblog posts. I think I can handle that.Best Use of Humor: Diabetes is hard, but Catherine points out some good things about diabetes.
Best Vlog: Melissa is one of my favorite people. Ever. Check this out and see why. And this. And this. Basically all of her parody videos are the best.
Best Use of Photography: Break out the tissues. A beautiful post celebrating an amazing girl and an amazing dog. So much adorableness.
Best Advocacy: This one is a tie. I couldn’t choose. Reva shares a story of advocating for herself at her endocrinologist’s office. And Craig advocates for all people with diabetes by educating a local politician. Both are advocacy. and both are important.
Best Story of a D-Meetup: This story from Alexis gives me chills. Even chance meetings can be important. The power of “me too.”
Best Post by a Type 1: Thank you, Dayle, for sharing this story with us. Love you.
Best Post by a Type Awesome: However you feel about beauty pageants, Hallie explains why seeing an insulin pump in the Miss America pageant matters to her.
Best Motivational Post: George has a way with words. This post lifts my spirits a lot.
Best Diabetes Art: Heather’s idea brought vividly to life by Mike Lawson.
Best Comments: There are a lot of great comments on Kerri’s post, but Ria’s is especially awesome.
Thanks to the other nominees and those who nominated!
Grab that button and display it proudly. And thanks for helping me catch up on some reading.
Still here. Still have diabetes. Just haven’t been blogging for a while. I’ve just been…living my life. Connecting with the Diabetes Online Community in other ways. And I don’t feel like that’s a bad thing.
But I do miss writing. And have some stories to share. But those can wait.
I am SO BEHIND on DBlog reading! So behind. Will you help me catch up?
I am hosting Best of the Betes Blogs this month. Woot! Give me a lot of posts to read! Nomination is super easy. Just fill out the form and submit. Nominations will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday, October 1st (technically, that’s the 2nd, but you get the drift. So you still have over 24 hours to nominate.
Help a girl out and point me to some good posts. And thanks!
I blame my new flip flops.
Something has irritated the skin between my big toe and its neighbor on my right foot. It’s nothing major, just a bit annoying.
Part of me is relieved I can feel the discomfort on my foot. How morbid is that?
Oh, how diabetes messes with our heads.
I don’t think I can say things any better than Kim did. She hit the nail on the head, precisely.
For me, what gets me down about diabetes is the mental and emotional side of things. As a person living with diabetes and mental health issues, life gets pretty rough sometimes. Diabetes + disordered eating + anxiety + depression = one hot mess Jess.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell where diabetes ends and my mental health issues begin. They are all so completely intertwined. That’s not to say that every day is awful. Because that’s not true. I have good days and bad days. And the bad days seem to come in clumps. I’ll have stretches of bad days. To be honest, I’ve been in the middle of a difficult stretch for the past few weeks. There’s been a lot going on in my personal life. A myriad of smaller stressors that have left me feeling completely overwhelmed.
Stress can trigger my binge eating. Which triggers my anxiety. Which can trigger my depression. All of which can do a number on my blood sugars. It’s all inexorably linked, like a spiderweb.
I may be a hot mess, but I’ve come a long way. This Mental Health Month, here’s what I want you to know: you are not alone, and don’t be afraid to seek help. Seeking treatment from a mental health professional was the best decision I could have made. Yes, I still have bad patches, but I’ve come so far. And things are so much better overall. I am better equipped to handle and process my feelings. The difficult patches don’t last as long as they once did.
Like my grandma always said, this too shall pass. And depression lies.
Diabetes is strong.
Some days, it is a cunning villain
Taking me by surprise.
Other days diabetes plays nice
Lying in wait.
And other days, diabetes is a roaring dragon.
A foe so fierce I can barely stand.
One those days when I cannot stand
When I am losing ground
I cling to hope
I cling to those I love
Knowing I am not alone.
Diabetes is strong.
But what diabetes does not know
Is that I
I am stronger.
“If I could chaaa-aaaa-aaange the world…”
Anyone else have Eric Clapton running through their head right now?
Today for #DBlogWeek (technically yesterday- I’m a bit behind), we’re supposed to write about a diabetes topic that gets us really fired up. I’ve written about my issues discussing complications before. And I’m working on being able to have a civilized conversation on the topic.
In doing some reflecting on why complications elicit such a gut reaction from me, I’ve realized something. It’s not discussing the complications themselves that irks me. It’s the judgement and blaming behavior that so often accompanies these conversations.
Judgement and blame can be found in all kinds of conversations about diabetes, not just complications. Your A1c went up? How did that happen? Should you be eating that chocolate cake? If you just eat right and lose weight, you can control your diabetes.
Unfortunately, these types of comments are not only from people outside the diabetes community. They can come from healthcare professionals. Family members and loved ones. From other people with diabetes. And from myself. Boy howdy, am I good at internalizing guilt and blame. Oh, my blood sugar is 340? What did I do to cause that?
Here’s the deal. Nothing constructive comes from judgement and blame. These actions and feeling are not empowering. In fact, they’re debilitating. Want to help motivate someone to take better care of his or her own diabetes? Complication scare tactics are not helpful. Nor is blaming them for having a rough time. We need to help empower people living with diabetes and their loved ones. Break things down into reasonable goals. Be encouraging. Remind people they’re not alone. Kindness and compassion are empowering. When I’m having a hard time, a simple tweet or text from a friend can make a huge difference. The compassion and encouragement I’ve received from many in the Diabetes Online Community has changed my life. I mean that with all my heart.
Let’s banish the blame game, and focus on empowering each other. Kindness and compassion, FTW.