I was asleep and then awoke suddenly at 4am. I knew I needed a lot more sleep because I’d been up late, so I stayed in bed, hoping that my need for sleep would override my need to get out of bed and do what I, or anyone, might do in the night, such as pee or have a drink of water.
As I lay there drifting in half-sleep, I became aware that my body felt crappy and this annoyed me. The first thing I noticed was that my eyes didn’t feel right in their sockets. I took note of how each body part felt dragged out in some way. None of my body parts felt rested. I noted particular feelings that indicated that I was again medically dehydrated.
I didn’t spend much time dwelling on the fact that the solution to to feeling crappy and fighting off dehydration all the time wasn’t going to come from the medical field. Lord knows I’d gone that route and gotten nothing but what could be summed up as disrespect. They saw me as crazy. They didn’t believe what I said about anything that was happening in my body.
Example…this has not really happened…I am making this up…Suppose there were some weird chemicals in this building, some leakage that got into the wall here, and while I’m trying to put away the dishes this chemical gets on me, on my hand and arm. So I end up with some nasty burn-like thingies and broken skin and blisters and it rather hurts. Now a normal person with no psychiatric diagnosis would go to the doctor and get some kind of protective covering, maybe some salve or whatever it is they do, maybe medication such as antibiotics if there is infection, possibly sent to a burn specialist, definitely given some sort of follow-up plan and instructions on how to care for this burn.
Aside: All this will happen provided that the person has access to health care and that the health care provider and the patient speak and understand the same language. “Access to health care” means that you have some way of transporting yourself to that provider and actually receiving treatment. So if this provider is fifty miles away and you don’t drive and have no one to drive you there and can’t climb the ten stairs that lead up to the office door and can’t pay for the appointment and have no insurance, or they don’t have another appointment for five months, or your insurance card ended up in the wrong mailbox and you’ve been making calls for months and keep getting put on hold for a half hour and then disconnected and no one can verify who you are anyway and they keep telling you you don’t exist, you know something? You’re fucked.
Okay, I’m done with the aside. Now, this is what happens to me if I end up with a chemical burn. I have this burn. I call the doctor. The doctor knows I have anorexia nervosa. The doctor thinks, “Hmm, people with anorexia nervosa do not see their bodies realistically. She has distorted thinking. She must be delusional. Hallucinating even. This is the Watertown Housing Authority and of course there are no chemicals in the building. Impossible. She must have underlying anger issues. Probably needs antipsychotic medication and heavy duty therapy for her body dysmorphia. Why is she calling in the first place? Probably attention-seeking.” So I wait for my call to be returned and it gets late and I can’t do a damned thing with my hand because of the broken skin and I’m starting to wonder if I have an infection or a fever. Honestly, I don’t know if you can get a fever that fast from a chemical burn, but suppose for a moment that this has happened.
So very begrudgingly I go to the ER. You guys know the idiocy I’ve seen in these places if you’ve been following my blog and I’m not going to continue much longer with this fiction story because I’m getting tired of it. Of course, these people in the ER would look at my hand, verify that yes, it is burned, and ask why I self-harmed, that is, deliberately did it to myself, screen me for suicide, and may or may not have me locked up. Either way, do I get adequate burn care, that is, what the normal person got? Do I get a dressing, salve, medication, followup burn care plan that is possible under my transportation circumstances and insurance plan, and home wound care instructions?
I doubt any of you answered yes to this question.
Like I said, I must have spent only a few seconds thinking about all this at 4am this morning, then my mind went on to thinking other thoughts. One thought led to another, and then another. And then I figured it all out.
Trust me, everything I have been through over the past thirty-two years is not the result of “demeaning images of women in the media.” To say that this is the societal sickness that causes eating disorders trivializes this disease and makes gross assumptions, not the least of them being ignorance of the fact that not all people with eating disorders are female. People are blaming the media because they don’t want to see the sickness inside themselves.
The sickness is ignorance, bigotry, and fear.
The sickness is the gross assumption among the general population that people with eating disorders have no insight or intelligence or logic when it comes to our bodies.
I am rapidly finding out that this is false.
Just about all of us, when we go into any kind of treatment, get it drilled into us that we are incompetent, and the argument is so convincing, and so comforting, that it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing it.
This falsity isn’t only in the realm of treatment. It’s all over society now. There are all sorts of ways of looking at eating and weight and your body but of all these different approaches, healthy and otherwise, we are the most psychotic.
Get this: Me bitching and moaning all this time about having a fat face? And then, this led to all the hiding and all the shame, and me putting myself down for having body dysmorphia and seeing myself unrealistically, and all my struggles with that. It’s kind of blowing over now and I’m getting into this new space. I see it in my journal lately, like over the past week. Anyway….
Here’s my point: I was right all along. Am I so crazy and delusional about my face? Absolutely not. You know how they tell you to put your feet up when you have edema, so that there won’t be so much swelling in your ankles?
If you’ve ever had edema, have you ever experienced waking up in the morning with less ankle and calf edema, and then noticing more ankle swelling at night, after you’ve been in an upright position for a while?
No, elevating your legs won’t change your body chemistry. What it does is that it moves the excess water buildup around in your tissues so that isn’t all accumulated in your ankles. This is done by the force of gravity, plain and simple. So when I’ve been lying down for a long time, all this fluid is moving around in my body and redistributing itself. When I wake up in the morning, my ankles don’t seem so swollen.
So where did all the fluid go? Uh huh. You got it. It’s redistributed.
Guess what? It’s not my freaking imagination. I am not crazy. I am spot-on. And to be told non-stop that what I am experiencing isn’t even happening, that I am out of my head and mentally incompetent and that my attitude represents societal sickness, I mean, whoa!
This is the sickness. This is the ignorance.
So I woke up to this incredible life-affirming realization that yes, I really, really do have a fat face sometimes. There is a medical explanation for it that I figured out myself using my own logic and common sense.
Had I continued to listen to the bull crap that was being shoved at me in treatment, I would have been convinced that I completely lacked insight and intelligence and wisdom and strength. I would have been convinced that I needed someone else to control me so that I could get well. I would have been told that I needed someone else to tell me what I look like now and what I should look like in the future and that I should no longer be concerned with this because I am mentally incompetent to make any decisions in this regard.
I am told that I do not have a life-affirming attitude. Me? It is the way that I am treated, the very core assumptions, that are not life-affirming. I am treated this way and this belief is pushed upon me.
This face is on a head and inside the head is a damn smart brain. I am so, so worthy of respect and decency than to be subject to such an attitude.
Pretty cool, huh? I knew I’d bust it all wide open.