17 December 2010

The (mis)adventures of the brave Victorian lady

Ah, if only it were that easy to rid oneself of anorexia . . .

"You are not some brave Victorian heroine, sighing and weeping and fainting on a couch. You have simply found a powerful way to manipulate others and get attention. In someone of your age, class and intelligence it is truly a disgrace. say it how it is. You have wasted a good life and that is criminal." Anonymous

This comment was left by yet another brave anonymous poster. Someone who thinks anorexia is just a creation of my craven attention-seeking nature. Someone who believes that eating disorders are not real illnesses, but instead something each one of us has control over and can overcome if we would just stop being so silly and selfish. Someone without the guts to leave her real name. Pardonnez moi while I swoon onto my divan and call one of the servants over to fan my prostrate body.

Oh yes, anonymous, I've enjoyed these years of anorexia tremendously. I loved it when I had to spend two weeks in the hospital with a line running through my vein to my heart because I was so malnourished. It was great to go in and out of the hospital five more times two years ago when anxiety over eating and weight had me crawling the walls and literally pulling my hair out. I thought it wonderful when mere restricting wasn't enough and one evening I found myself slashing my skin, so angry at myself for having anorexia, so full of self-hatred I couldn't stop myself. The insertion of the NG feeding tube through my nose in February didn't bother me at all; I enjoyed choking on my own bile as the technician poked the tube down my throat and into my stomach for more than forty-five minutes.

Oh yes, anonymous, all this fainting and swooning has been a real blast. Do you know what happened to me yesterday? I woke up and reached for my robe, only to blackout and crash face-first into my nightstand, hitting it so hard that everything on it scattered throughout my bedroom and the contents inside all slid back. I ended up with a bump on my head, and spent the day with a headache and nauseated so bad I couldn't eat much even if my mind would have let me. I guess I just don't know how to swoon gracefully, which is strange because I've been practicing so hard, with all the recent dizziness and lightheadedness.

I'm sure while you enjoyed Thanksgiving Day you never gave a thought about those of us who struggle not only with either not being able to eat or binging and purging, but also that those of us with eating disorders realize that many people believe it is all our fault and we aren't struggling with a real illness at all. That was the first day I blacked out and fell head-first down our staircase, and spent Thanksgiving Day on the couch thankful I hadn't broken any bones or didn't have a concussion.

Oh, but wait. Why didn't I go to the hospital? After all, the emergency room is the ultimate for those seeking attention. The nurse spends lots of time asking you questions and showing concern, and most of the doctors are kind and attentive. Damn, I missed the perfect opportunity! (And I didn't go yesterday. Do you want to know why? Because I didn't want to bother the ER with my minor issues, feeling they have more important things to treat than just a woman crashing into her nightstand.)

Anonymous, you imply you have a physical illness that is possibly fatal and untreatable. Let's see — anorexia and other eating disorders also are illnesses that can be fatal and treatment often fails. Ever heard of Karen Carpenter? Christy Henrich? Margaux Hemingway? Each one of these gifted women died too soon of an eating disorder.

And you don't know a damn thing about me. I am a former social worker and journalist who has won numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal (the highest civilian honor given by the military) for my work in covering the local military's deployment, and I am currently a freelance writer and graduate student in English Communication and Composition carrying a 3.8 GPA in spite of the fact I haven't been well for the past year. I have a wonderful husband and great, caring friends and family, and I hope some day to recover and use my writing and other skills to help others. Sounds like a wasted life to me.

But probably none of that matters to you. I think your real problem is envy. As I wrote, I will pray for you.

Anonymous, you remain wrapped in your protective cocoon of self-righteousness and continue to pass judgement on people and illnesses that you obviously don't have the capability to understand. But the next time you post on my damn blog, at least have the guts to leave your real name. Otherwise don't bother.

Now, excusez moi while I try to recover while surrounded by ignorant, uncaring people like you. 


The Disturbed said...

I know shrugging comments like that off are almost impossible, but you have to try. You are beautiful and amazing, and people like this know nothing about the hell we go through on a daily basis.
My love is with you.

sarahlynn said...

I am SO happy you are so angry.
I think it is as wonderful, as much as the feeling sucks.
Because that anger is RIGHT, and because some of that anger seems very rightfully directed at the ED. And at the idiot and at the world. I think anger is a great thing - it helps to fight back. And you fought back here, with class and articulation and strength and it makes me SO happy. *hugstight*
You're amazing, don't forget that. And everything you've said here is true.

Lisa said...

THE ANGER IS JUSTIFIED. I'm so fucking angry as well. We can get through this. You can do it.

flaweddesign said...

well said!

Little Lyric said...

Will you give me some of your conviction? It seems like all I've done the past few years is to do everything I can to AVOID attention because I used it all up "manipulating" with my ED and such. Even though yours is a momentary response, it is a good one - I wish I could get myself riled up with purpose without exhausting myself in two seconds. :P Keep fighting.

Pen said...

I haven't read your post because I was thinking of the last one and wanted to comment. You just sounded so Depressed! I wonder if that's more of a concern right now than your ED. I have lived with Anorexia for years, but I still enjoy my life! I Love my life!! One does not give up living just because they have an eating disorder! Just as a person with cancer probably doesn't want to die and doesn't quit living. Try not to put so much focus on your ED and get back to LIVING and having FUN! So many people have so many unfortunate circumstances and illnesses- and it sounds like you really have a lot to be thankful for (husband, job, roof over your head, this beautiful world out there!) Enjoy it while you can, with or without and eating disorder. Take care!

Ashley said...

You hit everything right on the nail. I am glad you wrote that post. It makes me angry when people try to tell us that eating disorder is a form of attention-seeking or vanity or (insert whatever excuse here).

I have always enjoyed reading your posts. You are very intelligent, thoughtful, deep, and beautiful person. Don't let this person drag you down.

As cliched as it sounds, it happened for a reason; to show you that you are not a "swooning frail little flower" but a powerful, strong woman who is bravely facing her eating disorder.

Zena said...

I just have to say WAY TO USE YOUR VOICE, that Doush bag who left her no named comment clearly has her own issues, I too have had to deal with these commentors who have no balls to say who they are, Angela, Im very proud of you, for not only useing your voice but responding to her comment with grace and respect, I would not have been so kind, I may even have tried to hunt her down snd mame her bossom.

Love and strength


Angela E. Gambrel Lackey said...

Thanks for your concern. I actually have been concerned about you, too. Your last post sounded as if you have decided to give up recovery and just live with anorexia. I'm not so sure that is conducive to enjoying life. I think part of the reason I get depressed is that I *do* very much want to be free of anorexia, not just accept it, and that being recovered will make life mean so much more. You wrote that you were recovered once. Wasn't life easier and more fun when you recovered than the middle ground you (and me) are in?

Don't let your ED tell you that you can enjoy life, live life and continue indefinitely to have anorexia. Some day the illness will catch up with you, and it seems to be catching up with me (I have a few medical issues, such as blackout and crashing face-forward) Yes, I enjoy many things in my life and I have a lot of fun and do a lot of things - but I know I really need to be healthy to fully embrace life, and that is my goal. Thus, I get depressed sometimes with the struggle and write about it. It's my outlet.

Silly Girl said...

I have worried about you but after reading this post, I know that you are doing okay. I am glad you told anonymous how it is and not let it fester inside you. You are awesome and have so supportive and encouraging of me. So I give it back to you. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

Blackouts? Falling over? ITU? Dashes to the ER? Family terrified that you are dying? Occasional self harm? A psychiatrist on stand by? (All secondary to my illness btw); Yeah. I do all that - and guess what? I didn't do it to myself! If I could choose to do something that would rid me of my life threatening disease then I would? But will you?

The disease of anorexia is not a choice. The anorexic thoughts are not a choice. The anxiety and self hatred are not a choice. The wallowing and the deliberate, moment to moment choice of 'not eating that' might gain a gramme and 'I don't give a damn about anyone else because my feelings are the most important'; the secret hope that someone will give a book deal or you'll get invited onto Oprah for more oxygen for your demands....Those? Those are all choices.

And 'doush' is spelt 'douche' by the way.

You have a classy and literate bunch of followers don't you?

Not manipulative or attention seeking? Oh please, do some reading on psychodynamic theory and secondary gain before you throw your toys out of the pram again.

Grow up all of you.

Angela E. Gambrel Lackey said...

Do you really think I care what you think? Please go away. (I know you are the same person as before. I can tell by the anger spewing out of you.)

And as for my followers-I have met some of the smartest, most talented people through my blog. People with degrees and careers; people who are out there doing things trying to help people; people who are raising children and living their lives in spite of struggling with eating disorders and other things. You know the person whose spelling you made fun of? Her husband killed himself in the spring and she is left alone with anorexia and three children to raise. Do you feel better now?

I will keep this comment up to remind myself that I need to be careful, that there are such hate-filled people as you out there. Any further comments will be deleted, particularly if you choose to attack those who have done nothing but given me support.

And as far as psychodynamics; wow, I'm so impressed you know such a big word. I happened to have a degree in psychology, so I suppose I also could sling around such big words to show how smart I am. Try harder.

I Hate to Weight said...

anonymous must be one unhappy person. i feel badly for her. why on earth would she need to strike out at you?

i think it doesn't matter why or what or how -- you are struggling and hurting and that is the issue. i care about you and want you to get to a place of freedom from the hell of an eating disorder. i care about your well-being, both physically and emotionally.

i hope you'll email me at mstatmore@mindspring.com or send me your email (i know, again. i am the world's most computer illiterate.) i'd love to "talk".

i've been places where people have said, "just one drink" or "it's the weekend. can't you just drink on the weekend?" Some people really don't get it. We need to know where we are and what we know is our truth. nothing else matters.

Anonymous said...

beautifully written

Missy said...

Funny that "Anonymous" is so worried about a life being wasted ....
Maybe he's right.

We should all get and live more useful lifes. Let's start by reading blogs we do not like and leaving rude and hurtful comments.

Mean People Suck.

Anonymous said...

The charming person whose spelling I corrected threatened to 'hunt me down and harm my bossom'.

I have said nothing abusive. All I have done is made some valid points. I have clearly hit a nerve.

Some people love their disease and are furious when they are found out because their 'innocent victim' status is then threatened.

How do you think people recover from EDS? A magic fairy does not arrive and wave their wand and voila appetite restored. What actually happens is that they realise the damage that they are doing to themselves and those around them and then............they pick up a fork or swallow their ensure and don't spew it up later.

It is that simple. It is also painful, difficult and a huge challenge, but the recovered get on with it.

You have invested your whole identity around 'Angela, the anorexia victim'. You need to get a real life instead of a virtual one.

I bet you don't leave this up - because you know that I'm right and we can't have that can we?

Anonymous said...

I've decided to apologise. I know that I have come across as harsh and angry. The latter is true, I am angry. I didn't mean to be harsh. That came across as a result of my anger.

You touch something off in me. We are the same age, have the same level of education, but clearly different lives.

I had anorexia as a young adult, but was completely ignored by my family and was never, ever offered any help in my battle to recover. Which is how I came to believe that actually there is only one person who can change things.

You do infuriate me because as I have said, I have a life threatening illness and as a result have very limited energy which primarily goes into my work - which I love, but leaves me too tired to do anything that I want to do.

You seem to have it all but be intent on destroying what you have, which is so rare and so special. It breaks my heart and makes me mad.

I truly regret what I have posted, and would prefer it if you would delete it.

I'm not going to sign in because of the tremendous hostility from some of your posters. Such rage - that I think I did hit a sore spot. So I am sorry.

If it helps any, as I have said I too suffer from anxiety, depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts. Put it down to my instability, but I should not have lashed out as I did.

With regret and apologies.

Pen said...

Your right I OFTEN feel like giving up on recovery but...I'm not. I still go to therapy and dietitian appointments twice a month so I must want to recover a little bit down there somewhere. I use to think I was recovered when my children were younger but now looking back I think just because I was at a healthy weight Doesn't mean I was recovered. I think ED has been with me since I was 17 and that's a long time for me. I said once before "he's like an unwanted friend I can't get rid of!" Anyway try to stay positive and glad to hear you DO have some fun in your life and keep fighting!