Sunday, April 18, 2010

My disease

I don't know where to start. I guess it would be good to share why I'm here...not in the existential sense but rather why I'm upstairs in my room tapping this out on my laptop instead of downstairs with my husband and Pug.

Let's start with the basics:
I'm a compulsive binge eater. I suffer from depression, obsessive/compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Food is at the heart of nearly every one of these disorders for me and when taken all together you start to get an idea about why I've gained and lost over 100 pounds five separate times in the last 25 years.

What does this look like in my everyday life?
  • I eat a lot, far more than a person without a disease would ever even think about eating.
  • I eat when I'm not hungry
  • I eat beyond the feeling of being full, to the point of discomfort
  • I do all of these things in secret because I'm ashamed of my behavior
  • I get frustrated by my unwillingness to give up these behaviors and, if I stay frustrated long enough without anything changing, I sink into depression
  • Depression for me is not having a bad day, it's feeling as though I could sleep forever, lie around doing nothing forever, and just getting up and going to work is a moral victory for me when I'm depressed
  • My overeating/binge eating is at its worst when I'm depressed because I don't want to sit around looking at my crappy life, so I get lots of food and sit in front of the TV or some other spot where I don't have to see myself, and I just eat and eat and eat
  • Sadly, there is not enough food in the entire world to make the pain in my heart go away but I never remember that until I'm sitting here - like right now - so uncomfortable I'm afraid I'll get physically sick
  • The OCD joins the party because I have to have things "just so" and whenever my behavior (or, God forbid, my house) doesn't meet my expectations, it makes me angry and frustrated which eventually leads to my becoming depressed
  • The ADHD makes it difficult for me to sit and concentrate on something for long periods of time. I really wish I'd known that what I had was a disease back when I was in school because I always just wrote it off as being lazy or easily distracted (words my teachers always used when talking to my parents). I also find it very difficult to sit still for long periods of time, too...makes my beloved Yoga classes really challenging but I've found ways to flex and unflex certain muscles as unobtrusively as possible while in poses to let the wiggles out without offending my teacher or distracting the rest of the class
  • I can go long periods of time being totally perfect (that's the key...NO detours or deviation allowed!) on whatever diet plan I've decided to follow and during those times I'll start to think that I've got it all figured out. I now realize that it is at that moment that I should be most afraid because that is SUCH the classic symptom of the OCD screaming triumphantly over any semblance of a balanced, healthy life I might have
So, how can I fix this?
There's nothing I can do to cure these disorders ("my disease"), but I must find a way to live in harmony and health. My therapist wants to put me on an antidepressant to help with both the depression and the binge eating and I suppose that's a good first step but it can't work on its own. I think there will need to be extensive, really hands on cognitive therapy - that is, retraining my brain - to stop the obsessive behaviors. I don't know if getting to the root of why I have these problems would be helpful or not...that's where I've spent most of my time in past attempts to deal with my disease and it hasn't gotten me any closer to FIXING it.

God, I'm so tired of all of this. I've spent most of every waking moment for the last 25 years either binge eating, obsessively dieting and exercising, or in therapy trying to deal with the other two. So much wasted time. So much misery. I do not know how to make the disease stop but I do know that I can't stop trying because, especially combined with my diabetes, this disease will kill me if I don't learn how to deal with it in some productive way.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer but I just had to get all of this out of my head, and I can't see any of your faces while you're reading, so I don't have to deal with the shame of admitting just how messed up I really am.

6 comments:

gingersnapper said...

Oh Denise sweetie. You can be Debbie Downer as much as you want -- we KNOW how messed up you are! A lot of us are in a similar place, I suppose, or we wouldn't be doing this crazy blogging thing. I know you can accept and love who you are, because all of us love and accept you, and I know you are not going to insult me by saying I have bad judgment in friends.

You've got such a good handle on this now, AND some solutions on the horizon - that is what will make things different for you from now on. Focus on the future (I know that's easier to say than to do) because you have SO MUCH wonderful life ahead of you.

Hang on monkey!

MargieAnne said...

Hugs.

You are putting all you have into living. It can be exhausting.

More Hugs. *smile*

Little Yellow Porch said...

I think we're all pretty messed up, you just know what to call yours. I back you 100% percent.

Shauna said...

just wanted to add my good wishes and don't you worry at all about being a debbie downer! i'm currently trying to unravel the binge/depression/life in general puzzle and can so relate to the above. it's hard work. i saw on Erin's site that you had been reading the Geneen Roth book too? it is painfully true in parts but determined to keep reading...
keep writing comrade, you know we're all here to listen and support.

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I just re-discovered your blog (I used to read it every day waaay back in 2005 then somehow lost it), and my heart broke when I read this post. What you're going through is so difficult!

Just recently I corresponded with a woman who wrote up a really inspiring story of overcoming lifelong struggles in this area -- it's the last link at this page, the one by "Stephanie Z"). Just thought I'd share in case it offers you any kind of inspiration.

I'm so glad to hear that you're so committed to not giving up. You have so much to offer the world!

You'll be in my prayers. God bless.

Melissa said...

Oh Denise! I'm so sorry for what you struggle with on a daily basis--I wish I could give you a hug!
I think a good step is to take the anti-depressant that's been recommended.
Feel free to vent any time you need to get it out there.
Obviously we all care about you.