Eating Disorder Recovery · Uncategorized

Family food dysfunctions

Being positive is really hard to do sometimes isn’t it?
I’ve been trying since Friday to remain focused on it though, trying to not let myself get swallowed up by the thoughts in my head that say “screw it, the worlds shit, let me go curl up in a ball and be miserable” because if we’re honest those thoughts are entirely unproductive and after some time begin to get a little bit annoying. So I’ve been tying to accept that my situation is what it is right now and that’s ok. I can still get my work done, get back on track with my meal plan, fight off the exercise impulses and the bad body image without getting disheartened by it all. I can. Sometimes there are moments when I can truly believe that and having this sense that things might actually turn out to be ok. Recovery seems like a realistic option and if I can just manage my anxiety then the process will be much smoother. However I repeatedly find myself coming up against the same stumbling block and it’s getting hard not to let my frustrations overwhelm me.

As some of you will know I am currently staying with my parents and it’s fair to say that that is not the easiest environment for me to be in. It would be fair to say that I’m not the only one with food issues in the family and in terms of engaging in recovery it is proving to be quite a big challenge. At the moment there seems to be some strange thing going on and maybe it is something that applies to most people, although I’m not sure as it is hard for me to gauge what normal is sometimes. My Mum has a strained relationship with food and is a serial dieter who has been on every plan practically under the sun before giving it up. Currently she’s doing slimming world (again) and thankfully this time after a few desperate pleas from me she has stopped talking to me about it. Which normally would be fine and enough but seen as though I’m staying here I now have to bear witness to her eating habits, which is mostly eating cereal, snacking constantly on fruit and then at some point saying screw it and having some form of sugary snack. I am trying so hard to bite my tongue and not became the nutritional freak who says that what she’s eating is crap but it’s hard. Trying to establish a routine here or have a proper meal when my is mother is just eating cereal is ridiculously trying and that whiny voice of greed and self loathing kicks in questioning whether I need the food on my plate. I hate how pathetic I sound right now! On the flip side is the constant desire to eat out. “Do I want to go out for lunch tomorrow?” “We’re going to your sisters for tea” “I’ve made you this”. I feel like I’m losing control of everything and I know that’s not all a bad thing but not having the chance to even prepare myself and then be expected to smile and act as though I’m enjoying it is getting to be rather exhausting. Isn’t it enough that I am managing to just get my meals down me whilst sat in their living room without the added stress of eating out? I get that it’s supposed to be something enjoyable and that people like do but I am losing count of then number of times it is happening and I still aren’t at a place where eating out is something that is a good experience for me. I’m really missing having my home where I can power down for the night and just process everything. Obviously I can’t say anything or even admit to not being fine because I’m a guest and my Mum letting me stay is more than some would be willing to do. Goodness knows that I’m not the easiest person to live with, especially having lived on my own for so long. I’m really hoping it doesn’t last for much longer!

In addition there seems to be stuff going on with my little brother and I don’t know what it is. His relationship with food doesn’t seem to be that great and has a few body image issues (but unfortunately what 12-year-old doesn’t?). The kid refuses to eat meals with the rest of the family and prefers to take his meals upstairs to his room to have in front of his x-box and even they return mostly uneaten. For the rest of the time he just goes backwards and forwards from the kitchen to get snacks and back to his bedroom. It is worrying me. We’ve tried to talk to him tonight, asked him what foods he’d like for either my mum or me to cook during the week for him but he just says he doesn’t like anything and then distracts with some random information before walking off to his room again. My brain is overcrowding itself with little red flags at the moment and yet I am unsure what to do. We’ve had the talk about body image and about how sometimes people use food or lack of food to manage feelings that seem too big or frightening and yet he continues to tell me he’s fine, that there is no problem. I’ve even said that if at any point he thinks he wants to talk to someone else about what’s going on for him then to just give me the word and I’d sort out someone for him to see that was away from the family if that was what he wanted. How much of this is normal behaviour? Am I just more sensitive to this then what is necessary?

Ok so that turned into a little bit of a rant didn’t it? I’m sorry, you guys seem to be getting the end of my frustrations sat the moment. I really dislike how childish or ungrateful this is making me sound because that isn’t who I am usually. I’m just struggling and putting all my effort into increasing my meal plan and getting my mood to stabilise whilst keeping the difficulties under wrap from my family that there seems to be nothing left at the end of the day. But I think I prefer it to be like this…have action where it matters and not let myself be paralysed in this situation. As long as I’m doing it then I can moan about it right? I hope so.

I hope you guys are being good to yourselves tonight.

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3 thoughts on “Family food dysfunctions

  1. I can totally relate to your worries about your little brother. It’s the same for me. I don’t see my family very often, but when I do, it’s hard for me to tell what kind of eating behavior is normal. Say my little brother (who is also 12 years old :-)) isn’t hungry for a meal, I’ll immediately be worried. I tell myself it’s probably normal, he may have eaten candy beforehand, or maybe he is nervous about a test or has a stomach ache – it could be anything and does not have to be the beginning of a disorder. It’s similar with my friends, but with my family even more so, maybe because I know now that there have been more eating issues in this family than I was formerly aware of. Plus, I don’t think anyone would have expected me of all people to develop an eating disorder because I simply did not care about my weight when I was younger – I was normal weight and I wasn’t overly dissatisified with my body or anything; in fact, I even considered people who were obsessed with their weight superficial. Yet it did “happen” to me (if you can call it that), so it might happen to anyone. So I’d definitely be sensitive to red flags and, while not being to pushy about the sitaution because it might only trigger something, definitely keep an eye on any further “danger signs”.
    I hope you’re doing well, and your brother, too.

    1. I used to have the exact same though thinking that it would not happen to me, that people who were obsessed with their weight were superficial or just not very much fun, but I think we both know that weight is only the surface of an eating disorder. It is at times I guess the red herring to stop you from dealing with what’s really wrong. I hope he will be ok and will be keeping an eye out, it’s just hard isn’t it to know how much of it is just yourself projecting or something to be concerned about isn’t it?

      1. Exactly… I can never be sure to which extent I am just seeing a potential problem because it might be a problem if I behaved that way, but for someone else with non-disordered eating behavior it might be perfectly ordinary… or it might not be. I’m never sure. I don’t want to conjure up problems, but I know that I tend to avoid confrontation, so I cannot even be sure about my motives. Oh well… seems like there’s a lot to learn still.

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